Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Evernote 4 for Windows Released

The #1 wish of most of us using Evernote on Windows, is a desire for a faster interface.  Our wish has been granted.  Evernote 4 is awesomely fast.  I've been using a Beta for the past couple weeks and love how fast it is at jumping to new notes when you switch Notebooks, and when searching.

Check out all the details on their blog and download it here.

Evernote's goal for this release was to recreate the features of 3.5 in a faster client, and a cleaner interface.  On their forum they say they will soon " start work on the list of long awaited feature that include sharing, due dates, templates, note links and more."

I'm real jazzed about Due Dates.  I've use Evernote now as my personal task program, so Due Dates will be a big plus.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Family Tech: Music Downloading

This week's column is about something everyone under 30 already knows.  For the rest of us, I discuss legal ways of getting music online in this week's Family Tech column.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Evernote is not an Everything Bucket, but a Miscellaneous Bucket

If you have read this blog even a few times, you know my favorite app of all time is Evernote.  And you know I also like the web site Lifehacker.com.  They have driven some awesome traffic my way in the past.


I must take exception though to a recent post.  Adam Pash in "Avoid Everything Buckets, AKA Why I can't get into apps like Evernote", says he dislikes programs like Evernote because one mindlessly dumps data into it, without any thoughts of organizing it.


Pash says "Any of the "everything buckets" I've ever tried do many things poorly rather than one thing well ".  He does admit "That doesn't mean that you can't or don't use Evernote or some other universal capture application to great effect. (You may be a wizard at making Evernote do exactly what you want.) "


And right there, he has the essence.  How we think of information, and how we want to be able to go back to information we have encountered, is immensely personal.  Our personality types, our working practices dictate the approach we take, and the type of application we want.


Pash cites a post by Alex Payne, a former Twitter developer now doing his own startup.  as the genesis for his own opinion. Payne's piece  advocates organizing information via the filesystem, specifically the Mac file system.  He says the search capability of Spotlight replaces the search in an Evernote type app.  


Payne misses the point the most of us encounter information that merely makes a twitch a bit, "Hey this is interesting" but do not want to take a moment to think how we might use it, or how we should organize.  We just want to be able to grab it so we can deal with it later, or not deal with it, but be able to find it if we want.


Payne's solution is also Mac oriented.  The search on my Windows 7 platform is not nearly as fast as Evernote.  


And Payne's solution does not consider syncing to multiple platforms.  I love that I can enter something into Evernote while surfing the net on my iPad, and then later pull it up on my PC with no action on my part.  Or pull it up on my two year old smart phone to tell the doctor what prescriptions I am taking.


I suspect Alex Payne is a very smart guy, but he and I are coming from different places.  I previously disagreed with his criticism of the iPad when he said that he would not have become a programmer had he only had an iPad growing up.  He failed then to understand all those older programmers he works with, had tinkered with something other than computers in their youth, and then went on to build the personal computers industry he is thriving in.


I do not think of Evernote and their ilk as Everything Buckets but rather as Miscellaneous Buckets.  I still put contact information in my contact manager and appointments and events into my calendar.  Evernote gets everything else:  seldom needed bookmarks, copies of receipts I might need to have again, manuals, warranties, research information etc.

Help with comment to "Recording your own notes with Google Voice"

Some people trying to follow the instructions in my post "Recording your own notes with Google Voice" do not see an "Show advanced Settings" link that I mention.  This is where it is on my Google Voice.  I am posting the screen shot here, since you cannot post a photo to comments in Blogger.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Family Tech : Hey, I produced a video

The church up the street we belong too is celebrating its 160th year.  The original church building remains, although our congregation built a new building in the 70's.

I've long wanted to do a documentary on the Historical Church, as we now call it.  Prompted by a birthday dinner held a week ago, I put together a 15 minute documentary in a couple of months.  I want to do more with it, eventually producing something about 30 minutes in length exploring the history of the surrounding area a bit more than this shortened version does.

For those not from these parts, our community is just south of Mount Vernon, also on the Potomac.  This little church is located about a mile or two from the river in what was a very rural area as recently as the 1970's.

The lessons I learned, and how you can take the hours of home videos you shoot in a year of your kids, and cut them together into a 10 or 15 minute production, was the topic of this week's Family Tech column.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Your $2000 toddler toy

My brother sent this link today.  The toddler in his life is just like this.

An autism teacher I know says her students are enthralled with the iPad.  They will gladly do work if it means a few minutes on the iPad.

Oh, and I got the $2000 figure here, as the cost of ownership of an iPhone 4 for 2 years.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Your First Day with Evernote - updated

One of the top two posts ever on this blog is "Your First Day with Evernote" that I created a year ago.  I have kept it updated, but today went through and added a bunch of new things.  Check it out here.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Family Tech : Networked Games

I've never been much of a game player on computers.  There is just too many other interesting things to do.  Lately my extended family has been waging battles via an iPhone/iPod/iPad game called Words with Friends.

The concept made me pay attention to some of the other networked games out there for computers and game platforms.  Like many things on the net, they have a dark side to go with the fun, and social aspects.  Predators go where the kids are, and online gaming is one of those places.

These all are the topics of this week's Family Tech.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

iPad goes to college

I mused during this summer in a column, "Was the iPad good enough for college?"

Leo Laporte mentioned in aone of his podcasts, a student who is trying to use an iPad for much of school as he can, and blogging the results.

I read "The Experiment Journal" with great interest.

Whole lotta stuff to talk about

When I first started blogging, I read advice somewhere to never, ever apologize for failing to blog--that it was just boring.

I agree, yet I am breaking that rule.  I am afraid if I do not say something, readers will this this blog has become just a mechanism for promoting my weekly newspaper column, Family Tech.

That is not so.  The blog predates the column, and likely will go on should I ever stop writing the column.  The intent is to have the blog cover those issues more technical then the column would need, or those things not oriented to technology for the family.

Of course, looking for a job takes up a lot of my time.  And too, I've have been busy with a special project, a video documentary.  More about that in the coming weeks, ironically in a Family Tech column.

So many things have been tagged in my Evernote for blogging.  Let's touch base on Evernote itself first.

They have posted their twenty-second podcast.  Their twenty-first excited me when CEO Phil Libin mentioned that Due Dates would soon appear in Evernote.

They have added Site Memory, letting bloggers add a button letting readers capture content directly to Evernote.  I just took a look at it, and adding it to the Blogger platform I use is not straight forward.   They promise integration soon with major blog platforms, so when it comes to Blogger, or I have more time to fiddle, it will appear here.

And the Evernote Windows client gets better and better.  I am using 3.5.7 now, and finally you can easily tag multiple notes, and move multiples to new notebooks etc.  Not sure how long this ability has been there; I just know it wasn't earlier and is appreciated.

And their Chrome add-on now shows you relevant Evernote notes when you search Google.  That is way cool.

Thanks for sticking with me during the month and half this blog was mostly links to my column.  More things for my fellow Evernote, Dropbox, cloud, iPad, and gadget fans here soon.

Dropbox Add ons

More and more I am seeing people take advantage of Dropbox to add new functionality to the PC environment. The most recent I have signed up for is AirDropper.  It lets you send someone a slink they can use to upload files to you directly into your Dropbox account.

I just sent my first request and am waiting for the person to send me files.  Seems like a good way for people to be able to send me multiple and large files.

I haven't tried this one yet, but there is another email to Dropbox service, from Habilis.  I've been using SendToDropbox.com that I first talked about in July.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Family Tech : Personal Finance

When I bought my first computer, a Radio Shack Model I with a cassette recorder for data storage, I was sure I could finally get the definitive handle on my personal finances.  Many computers and decades later, I am still seeking that holy grail.

This week's Family Tech reviews the state of managing your finances by computer.  And until writing this, I had forgotten I had beta tested the first online banking service, Bank of America (when they really were B of A, not Nations of NC).  That was back in 1983 and it was all text/command line driven.  Kind of nice; I could write scripts in my terminal software to get the data for me automatically.