Paperless office? Ha! How about a paperless life?

Is it possible to make everything digital? Is it desirable?

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Earth Class Mail is not cheap. The company has a wide range of plans, and generally charges more with the more mail you get. However, they do save you enormous amounts of time, and can also help you eliminate junk mail and other mail you don't want. Expect to pay at least $20 per month for Earth Class Mail.

reQall: We all need help remembering things. For centuries, we've used paper. We scribble notes to ourselves to remember all kinds of things. We carry them around or put Post-it notes all over our workstations. The free reQall service replaces all these paper notes with something far better.

You can use the reQall cell phone applications, or just speed-dial the number. You say what it is you want to remember -- it's like leaving voice mail. The reQall service will transform your spoken words into text and remember it all for you in several powerful ways.

If you mention a time and day, for example, reQall will alert you via your BlackBerry or iPhone. So if you say "call Mom tomorrow at 1 p.m.," your phone will ring tomorrow at 1 p.m. and a message will pop up that says, "call Mom." If you say, "buy a loaf of bread," reQall puts that item on an online shopping list.

Items that have no specific time and date will also be retained on the site and will be available via your phone. ReQall also jogs your memory on things with occasional reminders.

Amazon Kindle2: You're familiar with the use of an Amazon Kindle or competitive e-book reader for reading electronic books, magazines and newspapers.

But I like to use my Kindle for just about any kind of paper I would normally print out and read. For example, when I speak to a group, instead of printing out paper notes for my remarks, I just convert the Word documents to a Kindle-compatible format and read them directly from my Kindle. The Kindle is great for anything you're going to read in just about any circumstances.

Living a paperless life isn't perfect. But it's better than the alternative.

Despite its long history, dead tree pulp just isn't all that great for storing data. It's fragile. It's inert. It can't be searched. And it can be lost. It burns. It fades. But most of all, it accumulates.

Paper is the stuff that clutters our lives and chains us to our homes. The "paperless office" vision is dead and gone. But thanks to brand-new products and services, we can finally live a paperless life.

Mike Elgan writes about technology and global tech culture. He blogs about the technology needs, desires and successes of mobile warriors in his Computerworld blog, The World Is My Office. Contact Mike at mike.elgan@elgan.com, follow him on Twitter or his blog, The Raw Feed.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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