Tag Archives: Desktop

Thanks Google, but I’ll Keep my Evernote

Yesterday Google officially announced what has been swirling around as a rumor for days, their note taking application – Keep (read the announcement).

The service is very similar to Springpad and my personal choice, Evernote. It allows you to input your notes, take pictures, and create lists. Currently you can use it from your Android phone (running 4.0 and above) or from the web – Google Drive integration is coming.

If you had asked me about this service a few months ago you might have gotten me to take more than just a look at – I might have even jumped to it, but not now for a variety of reasons.

The shutdown of Google Notebook

There are still a few of us out there that remember Google Notebook, Google’s original note taking app. We also still remember when they decided to shut it down and everyone went scrambling for a way to save off their notes (this was before takeout). The folks at Evernote, among others, stepped up and offered a solution and in some cases tools to import your notes.

The shutdown of Google Reader

This was just announced (read about it here) and like Google Notebook it hits home for many of us. I’ve been a fairly regular user of either Reader or a service that depends on it for some time and have been now forced to find an alternative (I’ll post about it when I decide). I won’t sit here and “rage against the machine” that Google is for taking away this service as it is their right and they have given us plenty of time to migrate to something else. It does go to show though, that once again we were beholden to the almighty Google.

My decision to diversify

I mentioned a few months back, I’m diversifying my tool set. As many who know me would tell you, if it was a Google product, Scot would be “all in,” but that has changed. While the prospect of having my notes available right there in Google next to other items of mine I cannot bring myself to contradict my earlier decision. Will Google Keep be better than Evernote? There’s no way of knowing at this point but given that Evernote is working to be a 100 year startup, have clients for all the major platforms (Linux the notable exception) and have a profitable business model (yes, I pay for it) it’s hard to argue against them.

So, I know where I stand, how about you? Will you take to the walled Google Keep or use a different tool for your note taking and web gathering? Take a minute and share your thoughts.

Need help picking a Linux Distribution?

TuxWhether you’re new to Linux or have been using it for a while sometimes you just need a little help picking which one to run.

If you are looking for that help you can ask anyone who uses Linux and you’ll most likely get their favorite flavor or distribution along with while it’s the best one out there. You’ll also find that everyone has an opinion and they all feel it’s the best choice for you. There is an alternative.

The Linux Distribution Chooser.

The site hasn’t been updated in a while but the “quiz” still works and it takes into account how computer savy your are, whether you’ve run Linux before, and even tries to factor in the type of computer you’re going to install it on.

I found the result screen interesting as well. The site lists out the top contenders for you based on your results and then list those that don’t quite make the grade and why they didn’t (lack of GUI install, possible slow performance, etc.).

All in all it’s a good site and the results may give you some insight as to the version you should install – but the decision is always going to be a personal one.

Have you recently install Linux? Which distribution did you pick?

Duck, Duck, Good-bye Google

duck-duck-goAs I’ve already mentioned, I’m in the process of diversifying my online tools. In my last post on this topic I talked about changing my default browser to Opera from Google Chrome and so far, with a few minor challenges, things are going well on that front.

After making that switch I decided that it was time to change my search engine and after considering the various options decided on duckduckgo.com.

One of the biggest reasons I decided to go with duckduckgo.com is that they don’t track you; they don’t save your searches, and they don’t pass along that data to the site you click through to. I also have to admit their results still point me to what I’m looking for and the list includes sites I may not have already seen.

That was something that I had started to notice with Google, my searches had a tendency to hit the same sites over and over. I don’t think it was because they were pushing those sites but instead it was because their search algorithm had, over time, learned that those were the sites I preferred – all the more reasons to shift away from everything in one bucket.

The challenge was on the mobile side of my life as duckduckgo.com can’t be configured to be your default search engine in a mobile browser. So I’ve added it to my list of links on the main page of my mobile browser of choice, Dolphin, and shifted the default browser to bing.com (the lesser of the evils).

Do you use a search engine other than Google? Why not share your choice in the comments below?

Goodbye Chrome, Hello Opera

Opera BrowserIn my last post, I talked about how I was going to look at the tools I use and diversify them a bit as I have come to rely on one company, Google, for nearly everything I do.

And that’s not good.

So, since a large percentage of my time is spent online I figured the logical place to start is with my browser. I’ve been a Chrome user almost since the day it came out. I’ve enjoyed the tight integration with their other products and the speed at which is runs but it’s also the basket that holds all the other eggs so out it goes.

With Chrome off the table I looked at the other possible browsers out there. I crossed Internet Explorer off the list right away as I wanted to maintain a certain decoupling with my operating system and as I work in Windows most of the time I also decided to cross off Safari as well (that whole Apple vs. Microsoft thing).

Next on my list was Firefox. Before my days as a Chrome user I was a Firefox user and spent many hours toying with the different extentions and add-ons, constantly tweaking it. I’m also concerned with the way that Firefox has hogged memory in the past (like Chrome does now) as I typically have a lot open on my desktop. So while it stayed on my list for a while and is installed as my backup browser I decided to pass on it as my primary browser.

So, where did that leave me? With a list of off-shoot browsers and the one that I decided to go with – Opera.

If you read the above statement and don’t know anything about the Opera browser, don’t feel bad, according the stats over at Netmarket Share Opera has about a 2% market share – that’s right not a lot of folks are using it.

So why go with the #5 browser in the market? I think it goes back to this older post. In that post I mentioned that I needed to get back to what I enjoy, puzzling things out, solving problems and trying new things. I’ve used all of the browsers mentioned above and had never really tried Opera so I thought I would make a go of it on this switch.

To be honest, as I write this I’ve been on Opera for my personal browsing for over a month now (I still use Chrome at work) and other than a few minor inconveniences things are going well. I’ve had to adjust to not having instant access (via extensions) to some of the services I use but that also made me take a look at those services to determine if I really needed to have that access or use them at all.

Do I miss some of those things? I did at first, but as I use Opera more, adjust my work flows and change up my tools, the pain of those changes lessens.

I’m still learning my way around Opera and haven’t really dug into all it’s capable of yet but I’m peeling back the layers a bit at a time and so far I’m happy with my decision.

So, what browser do you use? Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera, something else? Why not share about it in the comments below.

Use a desktop shortcut for easy Evernote import

If you’re like me you frequently download PDF articles from the web and then want to be able to store them away in your Evernote for later review or retrieval. Which then usually leads to  you to follow a multi-part process to get the file there.

  1. Tell the browser to download the file
  2. Locate your Evernote import folder
  3. Move the downloaded file to the Evernote import folder

To save some of those steps you could just download directly to the folder but what if you want to stitch multiple files together? What if you’re creating a zip archive (such as a group of photos) that you then want to import to Evernote?

What I’ve done is create a shortcut on my desktop and pointed it to the Evernote import folder on my hard drive. Now when I want to import a file I can just drag and drop the file onto that shortcut and it’s imported into my default notebook for later processing.

You could just create your import folder on the desktop but I like to keep all of my created folders in the ‘My Documents’ folder so that I can easily backup and recreate the directory structure if needed.