Sunday, November 29, 2009

Saturday, November 28, 2009

What to do if your Evernote quota is gone?

I did something stupid earlier this week.  I imported a bunch of big image files into Evernote.  I intended to put them into their own local, non-sync'd notebook.  I failed to designate the notebook as local when I created it.

In one act, my Evernote quota nearly maxed out with a week to go before rolling over.  I had maybe 200K left.

My first advice to anyone in the same predicament, is go Premium.  In fact, you can invoke Premium for $5 a month, and then cancel it after the first month.  Phil Libin, the Evernote CEO said as much in one of their podcasts.  Premium would have given me 500 megabytes a month right then and there, instead of the 40 megabytes a month the free account does.

I didn't for a variety of reasons.  The thought occurred to me the week would be a good opportunity to find strategies and blog about them.  Use them only if you can't go Premium.  Premium is a great value, and Evernote richly deserves their only income from users.

First off, I made a new local notebook and called it "Inbox - Local".  I changed my Import Folder settings so that my "watched" folder imported into that un-sync'd notebook.  You can see how I use a watched folder on my PC for scanning and printing to Evernote in my "First Day with Evernote" post, specifically the "Copy or Print to Evernote" section.

I use the bookmarklet in my browsers to capture bookmarks of web pages and full copies of web pages.  I do not think that talks directly to my local client, but instead sends it to Evernote and then it ends up in my local client in the next sync.

So instead of using the clipper, I manually entered the web page I wanted to remember.  It wasn't as gruesome as it sounds. I would go to the address bar of the browser, By default, all of the URL was selected.  I would control-C to copy then tab to my Evernote client.  Making sure I was in the "Inbox-Local" notebook, I would click on New note.  In my Windows 3.5 beta, the Title field was selected.  I would enter a title and tab to tags and enter in one or two and then tab to URL and control-V to paste.

That was generally it.  I could type a description if I wanted.  I was astonished to find it was faster to enter in the new  bookmark that way then to invoke the clipper.

My paltry remaining 200K of space will still enough for 100 notes according to Evernote, so my favored technique of texting reminders to Evernote still worked (that too is described in the First Day post).

Well, I made it.  This morning my Evernote month rolled over and I had 40 megabytes of new space.  I changed my Import settings back to my standard folder.  I copied the contents of "Inbox - Local" to the appropriate Notebooks.  It didn't take that much of my quota for this month.  I should be okay if I do not do something stupid again.

And as soon as I'm working again and not having to watch the cents, I'm going Premium.  You should too.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Great Danes and small children do mix. Both the 13 month old boy, and the seven year old Dane seemed to enjoy one another. Even when the boy crawled through the legs of Sol from one side to the other.
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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Uh oh!

Only 3 days to go though.  Can I muddle through without going Premium right now?

I am addicted to Evernote.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Delicious or Evernote?

Update same day as publish (11-20-2009 6:51 PM EST) : The Delicious import was forever on the Web Client's Settings page.  I see now Evernote has redone that page, and now has a separate Import page.  However that page only lists import from Google Notes.  It does not have Delicious anymore.  I'll leave a message on one of the forums asking about it and will update here when I get an answer.

Update 11-22-2009 - Evernote says "The delicious API changed its behavior enough that it failed more often than it worked for our users. We disabled it until we have someone who can sort out whether there's a better solution."  Let's hope it isn't too long.  When I see the import ability is back, I'll create a new post here.  

Some men collect cars, or golf clubs, or coins.  I collect bookmarks.
As I surf the web, I am forever finding things that I either want to be able to find again, or find interesting but do not have the time just then to read.

My early bookmark files became huge data bases in their own right.  I spent a lot of time organizing bookmarks into folders.  I also worried about backing them up, and keeping them synchronized across multiple browsers and PC's.

When first appeared, it was a godsend.  I could bookmark right to it and not worry about the multiple computer and synchronization issues.

Delicious, if you aren't familiar with it, is one of the original bookmark storage sites.  It was created by Joshua Schachter in 2002 and acquired later by Yahoo in 2005.

According to Wikipedia, Delicious has five million uses and over 150 million bookmarks!

When I started really using Evernote back in the Spring of this year, I noted Evernote's ability to import bookmarks from Delicious.  I did it primarily as a test.  Before I got too deep into Evernote, I wanted to see how well Evernote performed with thousands of notes.  Each of my Delicious bookmarks came into Evernote as a single note.  So it one fell swoop I had almost 4000 notes in Evernote.  And performance was fine.

I couldn't see giving up my Delicious bookmarking though and I didn't want to have to synchronize between Delicious and Evernote (especially since there was no way to do it).  Nor did I want to bookmark in two places, so I deleted the bookmarks from Evernote, and for a few weeks captured notes to Evernote, and bookmarks to delicious.

However, I found I couldn't mindlessly bookmark anymore.  Each time I found a site to bookmark, I had to ask myself  "Do I need this bookmark for a project I already have other notes on in Evernote?".  If yes, I'd store to Evernote, if not, then to Delicious.

I was getting bookmarks in two locations.

So I gave up and imported my Delicious bookmarks again into Evernote and now all new bookmarks go to Evernote using one of Evernote's excellent web clippers.

It is nice too to have all my bookmarks in a desktop client.  I can sort on URL and see other pages in the same site I have bookmarked.

This solution works best for me, but it does deny to me the biggest advantage of using Delicious.  Delicious is more then a bookmark storage site, it is a social bookmark site.

What that means, is when I tag a bookmark with say "evernote" I can also find all bookmarks other users have tagged with "evernote".  So I can discover information I had not found myself.  There are over 18,000 Evernote tagged bookmarks on Delicious for example.

Also, I can get the gratifying sense of how many people have found things on this blog worthy of bookmarking.

I can still get that information if I go to Delicious, but the bookmarks I'm capturing are not ending up in Delicious to aid other users (if they are unique) or adding to the popularity count for a given bookmark.  By storing my bookmarks where it is most convenient for me, I am being anti-social.

Also, Delicious warns me when I bookmark a site I've previously bookmarked.  Evernote does not, so I suspect I have duplicate URL's in Evernote.

I really wish in addition to importing my Delicious bookmarks into Evernote, I could synchronize my bookmarks between the two.  

Evernote says many have requested API keys to build their own applications.  I hope this is one application someone is building.  I recently got an API key.  I have two apps I need first, but this is on my list.  I'm not likely to get to it anytime soon (if at all).  So if you are a developer,a nd you want to create a Delicious/Evernote sync app, I think others in the community would appreciate it too.  And could you make it find duplicates too?  

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Is Dropbox the coolest software of the decade?

Dave Winer thinks so.  I think he's sort of right.  Dropbox & Evernote are tied in my mind.  And complementary.

On another topic, I got a nice link in this post today.  Thanks.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

How has your Smartphone changed your life?

I'm writing a piece on Smartphones as Christmas gifts.  By Smartphone, I mean a phone that can surf the web and maybe run apps that help you out.  Not only do I mean iPhone and Android phones, but Instincts, Palm Pre's, Blackberry etc.

I am looking for feedback to quote.  Please leave in comments any things you have on the questions, "Has your Smartphone changed your life?  How?"  Please mention your Smartphone's name.

All comments are assumed to be free to print as quotes with attribution to you.

Thanks for any help.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Are you your family's geek?

If over Thanksgiving, you are likely to hear "While you are here, can you take a look at my computer.  You know so much more about those things then I do." then you are your family's geek.

You may not think of yourself as especially knowledgeable but to those around you, in comparison to themselves, you seem like a whiz kid.

This week's Family Tech column at is a few things to help you maintain your miracle worker status.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Confirmed!: Google buys Gizmo5

TechCrunch is reporting Google has snapped up Gizmo5.  If true, this could mean fascinating things for Google Voice.

Day 2 : Nov. 10, 2009 :  Still unconfirmed.  Andy Abramson has some insights.

Day 4 : Nov. 12, 2009 : Confirmed by Google Voice Blog.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Friday, November 6, 2009

Let's give the traffic reporters some 21st century tools

I've always been a big fan of traffic reports on news radio stations.  When I lived in San Francisco, KGO freely promoted their phone number to call with traffic news. I was surprised when you did call, it was the on air reporter who took the call.  You'd think they'd be busy gathering info from all the resources they had to compile traffic information from.

I called so much, Lyn Durling in the morning used my full name while using everyone else's first name only, prompting my boss to ask if I was moonlighting for them.  Lyn asked me to call every morning when I passed over the 680 grade so he could get an accurate read on conditions.

It was surprising when I moved to DC that WTOP never says their phone number on air during the weekday.  I've caught it a couple times on weekends.  When I've called, they have been nice, and again it was the on air person who answers.

Stuck in really bad traffic the other day, I started to think how all the people stuck in the traffic didn't know they could call in with information.  And I thought of how inundated the traffic folks would be if people did call in.

I know there is technology now that looks at the GPS data of phones, and notes their location and speed.  From that, it can build a map of how fast various traffic arteries are flowing.

And more and more roads are covered with cameras.  But all those people in the traffic could be reporters.  They can see things when cameras can't.  They might be able to say, "The right late is blocked, but they are moving the car off the road now.   The road should be open in 5 minutes."

With all this high tech communication gear in our pockets, how can traffic reporters get this data, and assimilate what would be a mountain of data.

Twitter would be perfect in one sense.  The reporter could have Tweetdeck open and have a column searching for any tweet with tags like #dctraffic.

But there's that nagging issue of typing while driving being unsafe.

Maybe Google Voice would be a good tool.  The news station could freely promote their number.  People can call and leave a short voice mail.   While the transcriptions are not perfect, the transcription should be informative enough that the reporter watching them scroll by on a screen would get a gist of the trends people were reporting.  They could listen to a voice mail--even call a person back -- for more details.

I'm not sure how fast transcriptions reach you from Google Voice.  It may vary through the day.

Maybe this could be a custom service created by one of the traffic services that provide traffic reports to most of the radio stations.  Designed for a limited number of phone numbers, they could have expedited transcriptions and a TweetDeck type interface on the reporter's PC's.

And maybe the phone could even give out its GPS coordinates and vehicle speed.  The reporter could zoom in and see the recent reports for a given segment of highway.

That fire hose of data could be useful to commuters, reporters, law enforcement, traffic planners and infrastructure designers.

Update 11/6/2009 3:13 PM EST : Update via Twitter from @openczum, an iPhone app that does some of this.
Unfortunately, not everyone has an iPhone (like me).

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Family Tech column - Windows 7

My latest column is up.  In talking about Wndows 7, I wonder if perhaps it will be the last great PC only operating system.  More and more, I suspect future OSs will be designed alongside siblings for various platforms:  PC, slates, phones, TV's etc.

That's why I'm getting very intrigued with Android.