No, I’ve no idea what “Bamboo Slate” means, but the product has a definite use

Bamboo Slate logoThe Wacom Bamboo Slate is not a new product and not everyone would benefit from one, but it helps me in a specific way and might just be of interest to you.

Wacom Bamboo SlateWhat is it? It is a writing pad. You write (or draw or doodle or sketch) onto normal paper with a special ballpoint pen (a bit fatter than a normal ballpoint pen, but it feels the same otherwise). The magic is that, at the push of a button, what you have written is transferred to a mobile phone app and to a cloud account that can be accessed by logging in to a web page.

Why would you want one? When I visit IT Support clients, or speak to a client or potential client on the phone, I usually take notes. In most respects, my life is as paperless as I can get it, but typing directly onto a computer or tablet or phone gets in the way of things (such as listening to the client). I don’t want to have to type up hand-written notes later as there’s a very great chance that I’ll never refer to them agan. Nevertheless, I want a permanent record and, obviously, I need to be able to find specific notes if I have to.

Bamboo penWhy not just use paper? Trawling back through several notebooks to find a record that may or may not exist from six months ago is very tedious. To some extent, the software with the Bamboo Slate can actually read my writing and search through text for me. It also keeps the date and time that each note was saved, so that can also help in searching for specific notes. Notes are kept in the app on a smartphone and also in the cloud, accessible via a browser. This also means, of course, that you don’t have to lug old notebooks around in order to have access to their contents.

Why not just take a photo of a normal hand-written note? Tried that. It does work, and the image can even be searchable (to some extent) if you import it into Evernote, for instance. However, it’s all just too much effort. The beauty of the Bamboo Slate is that it’s very very quick and easy to translate a normal hand-written note into a permanent record and then easier than with paper notes to search for an item later.

The slate itself and the special pen that you have to use weigh just 284gm (plus the weight of a normal notebook), so it’s not a hassle to carry around (as long as you remember to do so!). Refills for the special pen undoubtedly work out more expensive than using a cheap ballpoint pen, but I don’t think that will be a problem.

I have had this Bamboo Slate for several months now. I’ve held off from writing this blog post about it as I thought this might just be one of those things that seems great when it’s novel, but which you stop using and then forget all about. That’s not happened yet, but I’ve found that there’s a little bit of discipline needed in using it:

  • You have to remember to press the button to turn it on – before starting to write the note you want it to record! There’s no boot-up time or anything like that, but I’ve often had to write the beginning of a note twice because I’ve remembered part way through that I’ve not switched it on. Doh!
  • I am careful not to write passwords, or other very sensitive information, on the slate. I have no reason to think that the “Inkspace” cloud account is any less secure than any other cloud-based account, but that’s insecure enough to make it wise to think about what is being stored there.
  • You have to remember to take the Slate with you! One of the mixed blessings of writing notes in a normal notepad is that you can have one on your desk, one in your work bag etc. I say it’s a mixed blessing because searching for an old note might mean searching several notebooks that were on the go at the same time. That doesn’t happen if you use a Bamboo Slate.

How much? £84.99 from PC World for the A5 size (there’s also an A4 size).

Easily capture those small pesky receipts

Scannable logoFor all the wonderful computer programs, apps, wizards, bells and whistles, that are constantly being devised and updated, there is one area of everyday life that never seems to change – all those bits of paper that you have to keep, sort and file. Everything from rail ticket receipts to supermarket receipts for the office coffee supplies. Often these are for relatively small amounts and we are often tempted to think “oh, forget it. It’s not worth processing the receipt just so that I can claim my money back”. Or, as my mother used to say “the game’s not worth the candle”.

The key, I think, is to have a system that is so quick and straightforward that we don’t put off doing it until it becomes a nightmare to sort out. Even if we don’t complete the task in one hit, the important thing to do is to capture the raw data in enough detail that subsequent recording into a final format is quick and easy. If the initial data capture is anything more complicated than the easiest and quickest possible then we are apt to put the task off “to get on with more important things”.

Receipts for scanning

Figure 1. Receipts ready for scanning

Since cameras came to mobile phones I have tried several “apps” that aim to capture pieces of paper quickly and easily (receipts, for instance). However, they’ve never worked for me as they’re just a bit too time-consuming and a bit too complicated. I don’t want to have to engage brain before using such an app: I just want to be able to do it on auto-pilot and within a few seconds.

I think I may, at last, have found something that fits the bill. For a long time I have been singing the praises of Evernote. It’s not perfect, but it’s a great way of quickly capturing all sorts of data that may need to be accessed later without time-consuming and complicated searches.

The app I’ve just discovered is Scannable. – and it works very neatly with Evernote.

Take a look at the three pieces of paper on my desk (Figure 1). To scan them all into Evernote:

  1. Arrange the papers the right way up with at least a 3 inch gap between them (as in Figure 1).
  2. Open the Scannable app and point the phone at the first item.
  3. The app then automatically puts a box around the item (defining its boundaries).
  4. It then makes a shutter sound as it captures the area defined by the boundaries.
  5. Move to the next piece of paper to be captured and wait for steps (3) and (4) to be repeated.
  6. Repeat steps (4) to (6) until finished.
  7. Tap on the tick at the bottom right of the screen (see Figure 3).
  8. Tap on the “share” or “upload” icon (the box with the arrow pointing out of the top edge).
  9. Tap on “Evernote” as the destination.
  10. Either choose the default notebook offered or search for a better notebook into which to place the scans.
  11. Make cup of tea.

Scannable - screen capture 01

Figure 2. Scannable is about to define the borders of the item

Scans ready to send

Figure 3. Scans ready to send to Evernote or elsewhere.

The steps outlined above are much much easier to carry out than to write down.

The big advantage this capture software has over similar ones that I’ve tried in the past is the automatic definition of the area to be scanned and the automatic capture of the scans. Steps (2) to (6) above are really very quick and easy.

The scan arrives in Evernote as a pdf file with one page for every item scanned. Obviously, you can then annotate the note containing the pdf with any relevant information.

You don’t have to send the scans to Evernote. They can be sent as email attachments or exported to other apps, for instance.

Scannable is free: just search for it at the Apple App Store.

Having a paperless office is now more a question of trusting the technology and changing one’s habits than a question of technical possibility

Panasonic KXP1081 DM Printer

I think this was the first printer I owned – a Panasonic dot matrix – back in about 1984

Way back in the mists of time (aka the 1980s), the “Paperless Office” was some kind of technological Holy Grail. Ironic, methinks, that this was also the time when computer programs used to spew out reams and reams of green and white continuous paper as it thundered through chattering dot matrix printers. There even used to be a car bumper sticker that read “Save trees – murder a programmer”. The IT industry undoubtedly created more paper than it saved.

Things are very different now, and I can think of several good reasons why:

  • With the advent of personal computing (ie the “one on every desk” that IBM used to dream about), the user of the data is much more likely nowadays to be the person who produced it, and that person can see his output onscreen rather than waiting for the office boy to deliver a 10kg printout from the computer room.
  • Word processing and the internet – especially email – have, between them, almost annihilated the printed letter (that was often printed in three copies if produced in an office).
  • Adobe Acrobat Icon

    You may need to buy Adobe Acrobat to create pdf files…..

    The pdf (portable document format) file means that the output of one program can easily be read by anyone having the free software (Adobe Reader) to open it. We don’t need to print something on paper in order for someone else to read it. My own client records system was written (by me) using Microsoft Access. There wouldn’t be any point in my sending an invoice with an email if it were in the Access format as it would be unlikely that the client could open it. By “printing” the invoice as a pdf file, the entire process is completed without paper (at my end, at least – I have no control over the client printing it out and filing it).
  • Following on from the point above, most invoices and other paperwork that we deal with on a regular basis are now routinely sent out by, for instances, the utilities companies, as pdf files attached to emails. We don’t even need to keep most of these invoices as we become accustomed to the fact that our financial history with companies such as the utilities is always available online. I am aware that a lot of people do still routinely print out such invoices and file them away in lever arch files, but that (I submit) is only a matter of habit. If we were confident of our computer backups and confident that the information would always be available online, then we wouldn’t bother with the paper. This confidence will almost certainly increase over time.
  • Programs such as Evernote and Dropbox allow us to synchronise our data across computers and mobile devices (tablets and smartphones) without manual intervention. In my own case, for instance, whenever I raise a client invoice, it is saved in a Dropbox folder that then automatically synchronises with my Evernote database. This data can be carried about with us anywhere on tablets and smartphones for almost instant access.
  • Adobe Reader Icon

    …..but you can open pdf files for free with Adobe Reader

    There are also plenty of other pieces of hardware and software that allow us to scan any pieces of paper into our computers so that we need never hunt down the hard copy original again. The problem with doing this is that you constantly wonder if the effort to scan and electronically file something is ever going to be repaid by saving you time in finding it in the future. For that reason, I still maintain one single lever arch file, where all the “semi important” bits of paper go. Since I refer to it so rarely and there’s so little going into it these days, I don’t even bother separating it into sections. I just bung one sheet in on top of the previous one and I only seem to fill about half a file a year.

As time goes by, we who were born in the days of paper will gradually fall off our twigs. We will be replaced by people who’ve used computers all their lives – people who may never know what it’s like to have a brown envelope drop onto the mat.

Paperless Office - Not

I’m not really getting the hang of the “paperless office”, am I?

All of this came to mind this morning when I received an email from my electricity supplier inviting me to check my tariff. I clicked to follow the link and was taken immediately to a page on their wesbsite where it showed calculations indicating that I was already on the best tariff. I clicked the Evernote icon on my browser and Evernote saved that exact page for me in my Evernote database and gave me the opportunity to file it in the “notebook” that I have labelled “domestic”. All over and done with in a matter of seconds, and not a piece of paper in sight.

You see – there really is an upside to computers.

PS: if you need to create pdf files, investigate before buying Adobe Acrobat as some programs (eg “Word”) have a pdf writer inbuilt. Also, some scanners can create a pdf file direct from the scan.

I recently blogged that the computer market appears to be maturing in that there are fewer innovations in the hardware from year to year. All the bells and whistles that nerdy people used to add to their computers are now all built in and taken for granted. The hardware is still getting faster, but there are fewer new goodies to bolt on.

The software side is different. A shift is taking place in the way we do our computing. More and more of our data is being held for us “in the cloud” (by services such as Skydrive, Dropbox, Evernote). In a lot of cases that same data is also held on the hardware we are using, but we needn’t go into all that now.

Laptops in the cloudsThe huge advantage to storing data in the cloud this way is that it is accessible from many devices – even devices that use different operating systems and different versions of the programs and apps. I currently have Evernote and Dropbox available on my Windows 8 laptop, Windows 7 netbook, Macs, iPad, iPhone and Android phone. It’s all a far cry from the days when I had to remember to make data backups from my laptop and transfer them to the netbook before taking the netbook out with me.

All of this “data mobility” through internet access does have a few downsides, though:

  • My long-held opinion that our online data is not secure against prying eyes has now been well and truly shown to be “jaundiced realism” rather than “paranoia” (I am resisting the urge to use words such as “Told”, “You”, and “So”).
  • You are sometimes stuck if you don’t have an internet connection.
  • And, the point I’ve been trying to build up to, is that the very way we access, view, and interact with our data is constantly at the mercy of whoever is providing the service. I’m not suggesting they are unreliable or badly intentioned but they do have the very annoying habit of changing things without warning.

I think the most obvious way that this is apparent is not, in fact, services such as Evernote (that we access via programs or apps on our own computers and devices), but services where the data and the interface with it are both provided directly via a web browser.

The most obvious of these is our old friend webmail. How often have I heard the cry of anguish that Gmail, or Yahoo, or Hotmail, have changed the user interface again and now it’s impossible to find anything. This often happens without any warning at all and it can feel like an intrusion into our personal space. We get used to doing something in a particular way. Most people don’t want to consciously “engage” with Gmail: they just want to get at their mail without having to think about it or re-learn how to do it.

Bang on cue! When I opened Gmail today to grab a logo for this blog I was presented with this screen telling me it's all changed again.

Bang on cue! When I opened Gmail today to grab a logo for this blog I was presented with this screen telling me it’s all changed again.

Just occasionally I’ve been in the vicinity when clients have given vent to the frustration this can cause. Part of me sympathises with my client, of course, but every now and again I’ve tried to offer a different perspective (tactfully, I hope!):

  • The service suppliers get us to to agree to their terms and conditions before we can use the service. No-one ever reads those terms and conditions because they give us no choices and they are, anyway, utterly incomprehensible to human beings. You can be sure, though, that somewhere in those tems and conditions they have told us that they will make any changes they feel like at any time and that we can like it or lump it.
  • Computer software is still a relatively new, and rapidly changing, technology. Advances can only happen by having change. That may be a truism, but it doesn’t mean it’s not true! We just happen to live in a time of lots of change. Personally, I like that and, to an extent, earn my living from it. Frustration, re-learning, adapting – they’re all part of the change. Hopefully, we can also sometimes experience pleasure, delight, surprise, and even a sense of fun when engaging with this stuff.
  • The other thing I occasionally point out is that the only way we are paying for a lot of this stuff is in the form of giving away our personal data when we use the service. Most of the internet, including webmail, Dropbox, Skydrive, etc, is free at the point of use. That’s astonishing, if you think about it. If any of us could have imagined the internet forty years ago, I’m sure we wouldn’t have also imagined that it would be largely free (which is not to trivialise the cost of giving away our personal data: this is just the wrong blog post for that particular hobby-horse!).

Heraclitus (c 535-475bce), looking as if he's just lost his internet connection

Heraclitus (c 540-480bce), looking as if he’s just lost his internet connection

So, we engage more and more with the internet to store and retrieve our data, to communicate with friends, family, suppliers, manufacturers and Uncle Tom Cobbly. All of this communication happens via “software interfaces” – be those on Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, Evernote, Skydrive – or wherever. As the software becomes more powerful and more “feature rich” those interfaces are going to continue to change.

We’ve just got to live with it.

Apparently, it was the Greek philosopher Heraclitus who first said “The only constant thing is change” – and that was two and a half thousand years ago, so you’d think we would have got used to the idea by now.

I’m going to stop blogging about Evernote soon

…but I’d like to just share my latest findings and opinions in case this will help you to decide whether or not to take the plunge.

For the most part, I am still pretty confident that Evernote will become firmly fixed in my routines as my main admin and organisational tool. Of course, the more time, effort, and data you commit to these things the harder it is to back out later. I think I’m approaching that point of no return.

I currently have two big concerns about whether Evernote is up to the job:

1) Security

Marvin the Android

Marvin from the original BBC TV series (not the wussy-looking thing from the later film)

A big concern is the ongoing fuss (and fear, outrage, shrugging of shoulders, boredom, acceptance etc) about the NSA and it’s Prism program – sucking in the minutiae of everyone’s lives by stealing all our online data. Like all online companies, Evernote will reveal your data to the US authorities if compelled to do so by a Court Order. Whether or not the NSA already has Evernote data is anyone’s guess. But what about the portions of encrypted text in an Evernote data file? Will the encryption keep the US government out? No chance whatever. Evernote uses an ancient method of encryption called 64-bit RC2. Asking the US authorities to crack data protected by this method is a bit like asking Marvin to open doors ( “Here I am, brain the size of a planet, and they ask me to open a door” – Marvin the Depressed Android, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy).

Also on the subject of data security, it’s possible to prevent the casual snooper from getting into your Evernote data by protecting it with a password, but I understand that the data file kept on your hard drive is, in fact, unencrypted. A quick test of this was thwarted by Windows telling me that I couldn’t open the file because it was in use (which it shouldn’t have been as Evernote was closed). I think it’s prudent to assume that the data isn’t secure.

2) Data File Sizes

Those nice people at T-mobile gave me a new smartphone last week. It’s a rather nice Sony Xperia SP. I wasn’t sure why they had given it to me as we’d already agreed the details of my renewed contract. It dawned on me after I’d received it – it’s got 4G capability. I started getting text messages from them suggesting that I might like to upgrade my (freshly renewed) contract. I don’t like. Can’t see the point at the moment.

Android Logo

Logo of the Android operating system

Anyway, it’s an Android phone (nothing whatever to do with Marvin: “Android” is the operating system, like “IOS version 6” is the current operating system on an iPhone). It’s had good reviews and I thought it a good idea to bring myself up to speed with Android on mobiles, so I’ve been playing with it. I’m just getting to the tipping point where I might put my “proper” SIM into it. However, there’s a problem. The phone only has about 5gb of useable internal storage. That’s fine, normally, as you can fit a micro SD card of up to 32gb capacity. The problem is that Evernote does not allow the phone to move its data onto the SD card. It has to sit inside the internal 5gb. Well, my Evernote data is already 0.7gb and I’ve only been using it for a couple of months. There’s just a chance of there being a silly but big problem ahead when the data gets too big (and there will undoubtedly be other demands on that limited internal 5gb).

Nevertheless, I think I probably will make the move over to the Xperia as it’s very fast (especially with Evernote), has a bigger screen than the iPhone 3GS, and is rather nice.

The reason I keep pointing out the potential problems with Evernote as I find them is that I know what a big commitment it is to move over to a new admin system. In fact, I really like Evernote. It’s not perfect by any means but it feels solid and consistent, as well as flexible. Just to counteract some of the seemingly negative comments above, here’s a couple of tips:

Shortcuts – if you are already using Evernote, then you may find this link to some shortcuts useful.

Evernote List Sorted by Priority

Evernote List Sorted by Priority

Prioritising – one of my notebooks contains a list of “to do’s”. Each item in the “list” is a separate “note”. It is, of course, useful – and easy – to be able to sort the list into different orders, but Evernote does not have an inbuilt way of assigning a “priority” to a note, so sorting on this is not readily possible.

The answer is to create a tag for each of the numbers 0-9 (or more if you are even more neurotic about admin and organisation than I am). Then just add the relevant tag to the item (this doesn’t, of course, affect any other tags already assigned to the note). Then, just sort the list of items into tag order (see illustration). Since Evernote sorts each note’s tags alphabetically it means that the number tag comes to the left of the list and the entire list will be sorted on “priority”.

I wonder if Marvin could have thought of that.

Speaking of Marvin, if you don’t know what I’m talking about and have five minutes to spare, have a look at this YouTube clip

I’ve done it – I’ve committed myself to Evernote for my digital administration

The Evernote logoFollowing on from last week’s blog, I have started using Evernote to improve my digital organisation. It may be a bit premature to start recommending it, but I think I’m ready to take the risk. It’s a very versatile program, but it’s also one that’s very easy to start using. However, the only way you’ll find out if it will work for you is to “suck it and see”. You may have tried programs like this in the past and then abandoned them for no apparent reason. Actually, in my experience, there is probably one or both of two reasons that so-called “productivity programs” fall by the wayside of the electronic superhighway:

  • You don’t use it for long enough for it to become an established part of your routine (so you soon forget all about it and then, when you do remember it, you can’t remember how it works).
  • There is more effort and/or time required in using it than you get back in terms of the benefits of using it. As my mother used to say, “the game isn’t worth the candle”.

Evernote really helps in both these respects because it’s very easy to get started with it and to start organising your data in a way that is meaningful to you. To use some management-speak, the learning curve is very shallow. Thereafter, there are any number of ways that you can make better use of its capabilities.

Shortcomings

I’m very much a beginner with it, so I don’t know all its shortcomings yet. However, if I list the ones that I’ve found so far, then it may just save you from wasting time if these limitations are crucial to you:

  • You can not “print” a document from a program so that it goes directly into the Evernote system. This is not such a problem if you can create a pdf file from the program you are using (either with Adobe Acrobat or from within Word, for instance) as you can create a pdf file in a folder whose contents are automatically imported into Evernote.
  • There isn’t much encryption available. It does require a username and password to open the entire “file”, but, thereafter, there isn’t much choice. It is possible to encrypt a selected piece of text (and this seems to work well enough), but you can’t encrypt (or hide) complete notes or notebooks.
  • Evernote doesn’t deal in “files and folders” as such, so you can’t just copy Evernote notes around your computer as if they were files available to other programs. They can be “exported” to html files but this isn’t the same thing at all.

Benefits

On the other hand, I’ve already found loads of huge “pluses”, such as:

    • You can designate folders on your computer as “import folders” for Evernote. Anything placed in these folders is automatically imported into Evernote as notes (the original files are unaffected). I am using this to store the maps I keep that remind me of the route and journey time to my clients. This will be really useful for clients that I see rarely as I think that punctuality is very important. I am also using it to import copies of my client invoices automatically. Incidentally, both of these import folders are Dropbox folders, so the data was already accessible from all of my computers and devices. I’m expecting, though, that it will be much easier to access it from within Evernote.
    • You can put shortcuts inside notes – eg to launch programs.
Paper Filing System

Would you like to move away from paper filing systems?

  • You can create voice memos (eg from a smartphone) and include tags so that you can identify and store that voice memo (eg by tagging it with a client code). I am trying to get into the habit of creating a voice memo when I leave a client so that there is a record of the visit. Evernote allows me to do this “on the hoof” with my iPhone such that I don’t need to do any subsequent filing or labelling or anything at all. The memo will just be there if I need it. I will be able to identify it by its tag (client code) and its date and time.
  • When I started with Evernote it seemed as if the “notebooks” were just a “flat” structure. In other words, it seems at first sight as if all notebooks are independent of each other. This could start getting out of hand if there are, say, dozens of them. However, I then discovered what Evernote calls “stacks” (stacks of notebooks). The result is like nesting folders within folders. So, you could have a stack called “Clients” and have notebooks inside it called “Invoices”, “Pending”, “Finished Work”, “Contact Details” etc.
  • You can send emails directly into your Evernote system and automatically file them in the right notebook and with relevant tags.
  • You can send web pages or clips of web pages directly into your Evernote system and, again, specify the notebook and any relevant tags.
  • There are comprehensive search facilities.
  • Evernote supports Windows, Mac OSX, Apple IOS, Android, and Blackberry.

Evernote ItemsI was so impressed within the first few days of using it that I bought the premium version (actually, it’s a subscription – £35pa), so now my mobile devices can store a local copy of the data and the data upload limit goes up from 60mb per month in the free version to 1gb.

I don’t care if I do sound sad for enthusing over a data organising system. This might just be the closest thing yet to having all my work data organised from one place. And that’s important in helping me to provide an efficient service to my computer clients – and it may just be important to you, too.

“Recommended”, “Maybe”, and “Time for Something New”

Anyjunk

Not so long ago, I blogged about the pile of redundant and knackered stuff that has been sitting in my flat for months. I stopped driving many years ago, so I couldn’t just take this to the nearest proper place myself, and I didn’t want to presume on friendships to get it done. So I had to find a commercial solution. Well, it’s done and I’m happy to recommend the company – Anyjunk – who took it all away. They charge by volume, with the minimum being 1 cubic yard (but, no, they don’t charge in groats or £sd). They gave an estimate over the phone and we agreed a final price when they arrived.

AnyJunk logoThe final pile was a bit smaller than the one featured in my blog a few weeks ago, but it’s still a reasonable guide as to their prices. The total cost was £120. The two guys who took it away were friendly, efficent, and didn’t huff and puff about climbing up and down 53 steep stairs several times. So, Anyjunk might work out too expensive for just a few items, but if you’ve got a load to get rid of, then have a look at their website.

AVG Mis-direction

The AVG logoI used to recommend AVG Free antivirus software, but became too embarrassed at the number of my clients who fell into the many traps set by AVG to “encourage” their users to trade up from the free version to the paid one. Well, I know they’ve got a lot better, but they’re still not completely squeaky clean. I have AVG Free on my netbook and the box displayed here in Figure 1 popped up today.

AVG Program Update - figure 1

Figure 1 – AVG tell me they need to update my free program

“Here we go again”, I thought, “I’m ready for you this time, watching your every step”. So, I clicked the “update now” button. Then up pops Figure 2. I won’t go banging on again about all the nice friendly green ticks in the column they want you to go for. Suffice to say that they have put a little dot against “Ultimate Protection” at the bottom of this column. If you just click the “Next” button then you will install a trial version of the paid product. In order to update your Free product to the latest version of the Free product, click on the dot inside the red elipse I’ve put on Figure 2 and then click the “Next” button.

AVG Program Update - figure 2

Figure 2 – you must click the button in my red elipse if you want to update your existing, free, program.

Then all will be well. In fairness to AVG, they have definitely made things simpler than before. There is now only this one trap you can fall into, and if you do accidentally install a trial copy of the paid version then uninstalling it (using the standard Windows method) will prompt AVG to offer to install the free product you wanted all the time. Sharp as knives, aren’t they? Let’s hope they stay as good at antivirus protection.

Microsoft OneNote vs Evernote

Why don’t Microsoft make much fuss about their note-taking/organising software, OneNote, that is part of all the Office versions? Perhaps they don’t think very much of it. I’ve finally given up on it altogether. It’s just too tedious and idiosyncratic in how it organises the blocks of text on a page. That may sound like a minor gripe. If you think so, I challenge you to try it. It’s infuriating.

The Evernote logoSo, I have had another look at Evernote. This seems to be the only other serious program around for organising all the disparate parts of your digital life. Everything from note-taking, to picture embedding, to voice-notes, web pages. I’m sure I haven’t yet found just how much it will do, but I’m delighted by what I keep finding and I’m writing this blog on my Windows 8 PC using it now. If I want to look really cool, I can take my iPad Mini (with its Logitech keyboard, of course) and do some more work on the blog somewhere more public than my own flat.

That’s because it’ll work on all devices and the data is in the cloud, so I can get at it anywhere that my iPad has either a 3G or WiFi connection. I was initially put off Evernote as I thought it was “cloud only”. Not true: I am confident that I have a backup on my PC in a place of my choosing. I am contemplating taking out a subscription so that I can also work on my iPad or iPhone when no internet connection is available. That will also remove the ads that are (not unreasonably) earning Evernote a few bob in the free version. I’d prefer a “one time purchase”, but the main offering is the ongoing use of their servers to store the data and make it available on all devices, so I can’t blame them for preferring the subscription option.

… and Evernote has a “word count” option that tells me I’ve written 872 words (before revisions), so now I can go out to play.

© 2011-2019 David Leonard
Computer Support in London
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