Tag Archives: Evernote

Ok Google, you win!

Google Magnifying GlassAfter months of working on options to pull myself away from my reliance of Google products I’ve thrown in the towel – my apologies to all those out there who were hoping I’d reach escape velocity.

Folks that have wandered around the site know that I’ve always been big on Google products and the fact that I couldn’t just drop them all and walk away shouldn’t be a cause for alarm, but there are a few things I’ve observed.

  1. The world loves Chrome. There are some other great browsers out there (firefox comes to mind) but, they don’t really seem to get the love when it comes to add-ins. Yes, I have a few that are specific to Google services but there are others that I can’t seem to find an equivalent for, and since I don’t want to give my the functionality – Chrome it is.
  2. Gmail just rocks. I realize that might not sound professional but it’s the best way to describe it. I rarely have an issue accessing it and the spam filtering is fantastic – hard to give those up. I’m also on an apps domain which I share with others so I can just summarily take it down without impact them so that’s also a blocker for me as well. (By the way, the new inbox app for Android is pretty solid as well.)
  3. Google Voice. I’ve been using a number through their system since before it was their system (anyone remember GrandCentral?) and while it hasn’t gotten as much love as it could have over the years the voicemail system works well for what I need it to do.
  4. Mobile. Other than Apple there aren’t a lot of choices beyond Android and while I carry an iPhone for work (and everyone else but me at home does as well) I didn’t want one for my personal phone. I opted for the 2nd generation Moto X and, to be honest, have been very happy with it to date.

I could go one by I really don’t want this to turn into a Google fanboy post (it might already be there anyway).

Am I all in with Google? No, there are a few areas where the giant G taken over.

  1. Notetaking. As I mentioned previously I’ve moved to OneNote for my notetaking setup. These are the notes that I want to have for the long haul such as projects I’m working on.
  2. Social media. Yes, I’m still on Google+ and post things there from time to time and belong to a number of communities but my focus of late has been twitter and I’ve recently setup a facebook page for those that would like to use that platform to follow me (please be sure to like it as I’m just getting it rolling).
  3. Photos. While there is plenty of love for pictures inside of Google, I’m setup with flickr and don’t see that changing. It does make it easier to share over with family who primarily use facebook.

Does this mean that I’m going to look to the mighty G for a solution to everything and stop exploring other avenues? Absolutely not, if I’ve learned one thing on this journey is that there are never enough solutions to a problem and rarely are they all from the same source.

So the question has to be asked, are you all in with Google? Avoid them likely the plague? Or are you somewhere in the middle? Please share in the comments below.

 

Goodbye Evernote, Hello OneNote

OneNote over EvernoteLong time followers of this blog will know that I have been a huge fan of Evernote, so much so that at one point it was my goto tool for everything. I stored my task list in it, clipped articles to it to read later, I stored photos of receipts in it, I even forwarded voicemail and newsletters to it.

As of today though that’s all changing.

Earlier this year there was a blog post by Jason Kincaid where he called out Evernote on their product and it generated enough of a buzz that Evernote CEO Phil Libin acknowledged it.

In that post he mentioned that they had improved the stability of the product and were going to be working to improve all of the clients. Unfortunately for me, I haven’t had that experience. In fact, tonight I was presented this:

20140731_Evernote_Last_Straw

That’s right, you’re seeing a notebook that says it has two notes in it but the display shows that they are none to show. I triple checked that I didn’t have a filter going and verified that the notes exist in both the web and Android clients.

Did I open a trouble ticket? Nope, and I’ll be upfront as to why. In every case I have opened a ticket the resolution has always been the same – remove the software and install it again. The last time I had an issue not only was this the instruction of tech support but they also directed me to install a beta version of the software with no clear, “this will resolve your issue,” explanation.

When you couple that with the issues I’ve recently had with being unable to remove tags from the Windows client (not see in the Android versions) and an issue where the sync setting on my phone kept turning off – I’ve had enough.

So today I decided to cancel my premium subscription (I was a subscriber for over two years) and move to OneNote.

I know that some will see this as a radical move but when you can’t trust a product for something that’s supposed to be a core function it’s time to change.

I’ve been using OneNote for about six months at work and have not had a single hiccup to date – hopefully it will hold up just as well with everything else I’ll be throwing at it.

 

Use a home screen shortcut to access Evernote notes

2 steps to create home screen shortcut(Tested on Android 4.1.2)

If you’re like me I have notes for a lot of different things in my Evernote account and sometimes I need to access one repeatedly (phone access codes for example). You can open up Evernote, and search it out or create an in application short cut but for even quicker access add it to your home screen.

After finding or creating the note in question
1. Select the menu button at the bottom of the note.
2. Select ‘Add to Home Screen’

 

 

At this point you should have shortcut icon on your home screen which give you one touch access to the note.

An Evernote shortcut on the home screenDon’t have an Evernote account? You can get one here (referral link).

Project Reboot – September Check-in

It’s been about 6 weeks since I started Project Reboot and I thought I would check in and let folks know how things are going.

Task Management

I’m still rocking the Evernote solution I decided on. I’m still not using it as consistently as I would like but I do find it easier to use it than some of the other solutions I’ve used in the past. I did sign up for another solution a couple of weeks back to check it out but caught myself before going to far down that rabbit hole. It’s the common problem of “productivity porn” and I’m still working on not falling into that trap.

Social Media

So far I’ve managed to keep this from ruling my life, I’m still trying to iron out all the wrinkles though. I’m not living in it like I use to and I’m not constantly trying to keep up with it either. I spend very little time with Google+, facebook is limited to just family and friends (and then only once, maybe twice a day max). LinkedIn and Twitter are seeing more emphasis but between the two I’m only dropping about an hour or so.

RSS

In my last update I mentioned that I was going to tackle my RSS backlog and look at my options for keeping up with it. The first thing I did was look at my feeds and realized that there were a number of them that were either not updating any longer or I wasn’t reading so I decided to drop those. Then I looked at the remaining volume and found I had a couple that were being updated so often everything else was getting lost in the mix. I nixed those as well as I found I was reading only a few articles out of the whole feed – I can go to those websites for that (they are topic specific or series).

The final decision I made was on the reader. After giving it some thought I decided to roll my own with Tiny Tiny RSS. Does it have all the features of Feedly or the now defunct Google Reader? No. Does it give me what I need without the fear of being shut down or the need to pay to use it? Yes. Okay, there is a mobile app that costs $2 but at least it’s not a monthly subscription.

Email

Along with the need to bring my RSS under control I started work on email. I know I’m not as bad as some but I’m averaging about 1200 inbound emails a month to my main account so it needed attention. The first thing I did was switch the bulk of the mailing lists I’m on over to digest mode – instant reduction. I’ve also been going through and unsubscribing to those that I no longer read or no longer want.

One of the changes I’m working on is to move to other forms of communication where I can. Obviously phone calls work along with text messages and I’m using both where I can – going to try and push more folks to using those along with messengers and direct messages through Google or Twitter (check out this post recommended by Greg in my last post).

My Office

I’m not talking about my work office or the office I have as Secretary for the Masonic Lodge I belong to, I’m talking about my home office. The best way to describe it – controlled chaos. Most of the time I have to move something to get to something else or have to go digging for hours to find it. So, while I was on vacation the last couple of weeks I’ve been spending a few minutes here and there to try and eliminate some of the chaos. I know there are those that would say I’m doing it wrong, that I should block a few days, empty the office and then ‘rebuild it.’ Wasn’t going to happen. I wanted to actually enjoy my vacation and, to be honest, emptying my office wasn’t going to work as you need somewhere to put it all. So I’ve been scanning (storage in Evernote), shredding (that whole security/privacy thing), tossing out (yeah!) and rewiring (zip ties anyone?) – it’s a work in progress but as least now I have a bit more open desk space and don’t trip over something every time I get up.

Things are far from complete, some of the things I still need to iron out:

  • My social media policy
  • A clean up and refresh of the blogs I work on
  • Tools – make some decisions and get rid of the rest

I also need to finalize what constitutes the completion of this project (and put a date on it) as if there’s no criteria for completion it’s really a process not a project.

Project Reboot – Two week update and RSS feeds

Newspaper_Feed_add_256x256So two weeks ago I officially kicked off my Project Reboot, a project where I’m looking at the various aspects of my life both on and off line. I know it’s only been a couple of weeks but I thought I quick update would be a good idea.

Task Management – This was my first area of focus and I decided to make the switch and use Evernote for all of my task and project tracking. So far the results have been mixed. To be honest it’s still a bit early to tell as it’s a new setup for me and any new system will take time to iron itself out.

Social Media – A little over a week ago I tackled this part of my life and I think the results have been pretty good so far. As I suspected I ended up doing very little with facebook and LinkedIn as I paid a bit more attention to what I was doing on those two networks.

For Google+ I ended up uncircling about half of those that were in my list. The result was interesting, the number of folks that had be circled really didn’t change, in fact it’s gone up a couple of ticks since then. The posts that I’m looking at seem to be a bit more in line with what I would like to read and there seems to be a bit more interaction now.

Twitter was by far my worst network and while it goes against what many ‘social experts’ would tell you to do I nuked my entire list. That’s right I unfollowed everyone. For the most part it happened very quietly, I had a couple of responses and after pointing back to my blog post things continued on as normal. I’ve have about 20% of those following me leave but again I’m seeing a bit more interaction now and my twitter feed is definitely easier to review.

I will say this about twitter – use lists. While I may have unfollowed a lot of folks I have many of them on a list and check out what’s being posted frequently and I’m slowly starting to follow some of them.

This week’s challenge is RSS (really simple syndication). I don’t follow a lot of feeds but I’m looking at almost 1600 unread items – seems a bit out of control. I have been using feedly but as I’m going to be evaluating things a bit I’m going to test out The Old Reader and see how it goes.

Is there an RSS reader that you prefer?