Time to Ditch Evernote

I recently got an email from Evernote that they are going to be reducing the capabilities of the Basic account that I’ve been using for the past 5 years.  Normally I’m fine with that since I don’t use Evernote that much these days but the real sticking point was that they were reducing me to 2 devices only.  I have Evernote installed on 5 different devices and even though my usage has been reduced I find this very limiting.  I have it installed on 2 iPhones, 2 computers, and my iPad Air.  Depending on my day I use any one of these devices to start looking at things that I put into Evernote.

I’ve been using Evernote kind of like my own personal digital locker of sorts.  I just toss in stuff that I think might be important so that I can find it later on.  I have quite a few IFTTT recipes that use Evernote currently to put in important emails, pictures, and receipts for easy finding.  Granted I could probably just rely on searching Gmail for all this stuff but it was nice to have it in an app where a ton of other stuff was stored.  I also used to keep work notes in Evernote but I don’t do that anymore since my company went Google, now everything lives in the Cloud at work so the business need for Evernote has gone away.

The trick now is to find something that can take over for Evernote as I move away from the platform.  There are a couple of options out there but I need it to be platform independent.  One stand out right now is OneNote by Microsoft.  I used to use this app back in my Accenture days for taking notes and it was really handy too.  What I need to do is go on a purge of some sort and remove notes that don’t have any meaning anymore.  I’m sure there are tons of work notes that won’t be relevant and I’m using it as a way to back up my photos too but I have Google Photos for that as well as Flickr.  There are tons of ways that I can get away from Evernote but I will still miss the convenience of just looking at one app.  Not a big deal though, I still remain rooted in not paying for cloud storage and services if possible unless there really is a dying need for it.  Hence my purchase of a NAS a few months ago, it stores everything I need and it’s MINE.

I might take some time this weekend to further research options of where to move my note taking, the one new requirement of course is that I can draw in the new app so I don’t have to type everything out.  Although I will say I’m quite the fast typist.  But every now and then, a little scribbling is good enough.  Bye bye Evernote!  You will be replaced in the next 30 days!

Trying out ifttt

I’m trying out this new service that I discovered while browsing through my Twitter feed on Flipboard.  It’s a service called ifttt, for those of you that have never heard of this before, it stands for “if this then that”.  This is a neat little service that allows you to “put the web to work for you” by creating a series of recipes to do certain actions on the internet.  As an example, I’m a heavy Evernote user, at least I am for work but I do use it for personal stuff too.  Since I want to be able to archive a lot of the things that I do, I’ve been looking for Evernote recipes to utilize.  One of the things that I want to archive are blog posts such as this one.  I have just set up a recipe to archive anything that I post to my blog to my Evernote account so that I can have a running archive of all the crap that I rant about online that no one will ever read.  This recipe isn’t my first one, the first one that I did was to have all my Instagram photo’s archived to Evernote and that one seems to work just fine since over the past few days I’ve seen pictures pop up in my Evernote account that I took with Instagram.  I must say thats pretty damn nifty!

Being nifty and all, I’ve created a few more to archive pictures I’m tagged in on Facebook, my tweets on twitter, and my status updates to all go to Evernote. I hope that I have enough space to save all this crud but since most of what I do online is text and not media, I don’t think it will be a problem.  Only time will tell as ifttt does its little dance on the internet as I’m posting things.  The only concern that some people might have is putting in their login and password into ifttt to make the recipes required.  I have enough trust in most service aggregators to put those credentials in but if there are qualms about doing that, then this service isn’t for you.  Besides, I can always change my password if something fishy starts going on anyway or enable my privacy features on any number of accounts that I hold.

The only thing that I think is missing is a way to go back and archive things that have already been posted. For example, I’ve blogged a LOT over the years.  There are at least 7 years of posts sitting on WordPress right now and it would suck if I lost them all due to some unforeseen error.  The best that I can do is export it all to an XML file so it can be re-imported into another blog hosted by WordPress.  If I could just put it all in Evernote, that would be totally bad ass but I know that I would quickly go over my limit since there are nearly 1000 posts in this blog.

I’ll continue to monitor my Evernote account for changes since I made quite a few recipes tonight.  If this works out, Evernote might be my Go To app for almost everything that I do on the web as long as I don’t go over my monthly limit for my free account.

Why can’t we kill fax machines?

I’ve realized that in my years being in technology, it’s just really hard as hell to kill off old technology. I go to different clients here and there and I hear about critical things running off of mainframes built 30 years ago that can’t be replaced. One of the things that I see that can be placed but hasn’t is the fax machine. I understand the purpose of the fax machine, to send documents to someone else instantaneously without the need of the mail man. I used it extensively myself when communicating with my father about 15 years ago when he was stationed over seas in Japan and Africa. That was one of the best non-intrusive ways of getting a message to someone since at the time no one really used email.

To this day I still have to send faxes even though there is a much better way to send documents about…. EMAIL! Banks are notorious for requiring to have things faxed in which to me is just silly. There is always some lame ass excuse like a document needs to be signed and then faxed over. I can’t tell you hoe many times I’ve faced something to my bank only to see it lost in the shuffle and then having to fax it again. I don’t have a fax machine at home anymore so every time I send a fax it costs me money to do so. There are so many apps now that let you take pictures and make them PDF’s that can later be emailed out. That totally takes away the need for having a fax, not to mention it saves paper! There are lots of arguments about using email, especially about it getting intercepted during transmission. There are plenty of ways around that, one of which is secure websites that allows you to upload the file to a secure area for review. Another is to zip the file and put some password protection on it or using web forms.

The lamest excuse I’ve heard from companies that require me to fax something is that they need the document signed and for your signature to appear on the document sent to them. Even the most basic of businesses have at least one person who can scan in a document, create a PDF out of it, and email it over with no problem. The need for faxed forms has gone away in my opinion but businesses can’t seem to get away from this ancient technology. Think about how many trees could be saved by not faxing crap everywhere? I’ve gone pretty green by not even getting most of my statements in the mail but by downloading it from a website and keeping it in an encrypted file so it cant be stolen. I’ll be glad when I don’t have to use faxes anymore, then I can make better use of my iPad for work instead of using it just for personal stuff like I do now except for the occasional note taking with Evernote.

Evernote is awesome for work

Traditionally I have been a OneNote kind of person when it comes to taking notes for my work related stuff.  It was nice that I could draw things (which I rarely did), put notes anywhere on the page (which I did a lot), and they were all neatly organized in notebooks.  The only problem with this system is that I had to pop open my computer if I needed to read something while I was on the go.  Since I started my new job back in February, I’ve started to use Evernote for my work note taking application.  I’ve used it for personal stuff in the past but I’ve since moved that stuff to Springpad because I normally just need to remember things that I need to buy and Springpad has a better interface for that sort of thing.  I’ll miss the text searching in images but I normally use both at once.  Anyway, I digress yet again.  I’ve been using Evernote for my work notes for just meetings that I attend where I need to remember something but I don’t necessarily need to publish meeting minutes to anyone.  I don’t use notebooks anymore but I do use tags and the ability to search my tags and for text is pretty helpful.  I’m trying to not create too many tags for work though so it doesn’t overtake my personal stuff.

Where I’ve found Evernote to be most helpful is by using two computers at once or when I am on calls and not near my computer, I have my Evernote app handy on my work cell phone so I can peck out some notes on the go.  I have Evernote installed on all my devices where Evernote has an app available and I’ve used it more than once on two computers at the same time since it just made things easier for me so I wouldn’t have to switch windows all the time.  I’m fast approaching having more work notes than personal notes and I see that increasing as soon as I get my stylus for my iPad2.  There is an application called Notes+ that I’ve been eying for the past week or so, my friend uses it with his iPad and the one feature that they’re supposed to come out with will be Evernote syncing.  There are other iPad apps that do Evernote syncing but Notes+ is the closest app that I can find to OneNote for the iPad.  There is a OneNote app for iPhone but it looks like crap on iPad so I won’t be using that.

I’m going to continue to utilize Evernote for work, especially because I can encrypt my notes if I need to.  There really isn’t a lot of stuff that would be sensitive that I’m writing in those note books since I’m in IT Consulting and note Management Consulting.  Now if I could only see my notes when I’m on the plane with a FREE account, that would be totally awesome.