Posts Tagged ‘Evernote’

I’ve become a content consumer, not a creator.  But I’m okay with that.

eat contentI’ve been blogging for a long time, but of late the need or urge to blog has waned, and I find myself reading more than I’m writing.  In fact I missed posting anything the entire month of August this year.  Maybe it’s because I am creating or at least designing all day long for a living that the pastime of writing a blog has begun to feel a little too much like work. When you write reports and emails all day the last thing you want to see on your off-time is a blank page staring back at you.

So the creative side of me has been on sabbatical, unless you count Instagram, but that is not creating so much as it is capturing. Sure it takes some creativity, but it is really just find beauty or interest in your surroundings.  At least for most people like me, it serves as a creative outlet or a way to chronicle your adventures in photos, but as usual, i digress.  My mom always said it was the Welsh in me, eventually i get back to the topic in hand, but it takes a while, days even. As a matter of fact, when I was young…. sorry, case in point there.  Anyway…

Thankfully I have met many people who can create enough for me to consume.  And I’m not talking about cat videos here, I mean real content.  interesting, informative, well written content. WordPress blogs alone account for over 1.2 million posts a day.  Sure, some of them may be just a retelling of their lunch order, but still, you have to figure a good portion of them are actually worth reading.  And that is just WordPress, not to mention all the other blogging platforms and self hosted blogs… the numbers are staggering really, we create so much content constantly you have to wonder if there is anything you can contribute to it that is worthwhile, or hasn’t been said before.  Thankfully, the answer to that question is yes there is, and a good chunk of that is created right here in little old London.  Check out my twitter feed if you don’t believe me and see the people I follow.  Many of them are home-grown bloggers and writers that keep me up to my ears in info and entertainment.

Also, thankfully, it is readily accessible, and getting easier to keep track of and save for later, or just clearer to read.  Sites with all the ads and moving videos and whatnot really distract me from what I am reading, which is why I was so happy to the see Evernote’s “Clearly” extension for Chrome.  The ability to take a visually busy site and hone in on the pertinent info is a godsend.  At least to me.  Whether you use Evernote, Circus Ponies Notebook, bookmarking, or adding to your reading list, even Dropbox and Box make it easy to hang into the important stuff, or just read them later at your leisure.

The world needs consumers. Much of our economy is based on that fact.  So take solace in the fact that you and I are doing our part, even when not actively creating.

Speaking of cat videos, if i ever post one, please take the great big book on engineering that sits beside my desk and beat me senseless with it.

write on,

barkerp

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lockMarch is Fraud prevention month, and the recent problem with web services being hacked has made me a little more cautious about my online habits.  One that stands out is the hacking of Evernote.  While they were quick to make adjustments to their programs to force users to pick a new password, the fact of the matter is, many people use the same usernames and passwords on numerous services or devices and having them “out there” for the hackers is a scary thing when it comes to personal information.

I’m sure most people do it, they have 3 or 4 common passwords and cycle thru them. As a matter of fact, I’m sure of it.  I’ve seen people in my office do it when trying to remember a specific site’s password.  If one of those is out there in the wild and you are using the same username in a bunch of places, odds are any hacker worth their salt will be able to find the commonalities and abuse them.  If you don’t want to use a different username on everything you sign up for, then at least use a different password for everywhere/everything you use that common username on. If you are worried about forgetting your passwords, or at least forgetting which one is used where, there are plenty of apps out there to help you with that.  My app of choice for the past few years is 1Password and I know I’d be lost without it, thankfully it is installed on my iPhone, iPad and MacBook Air so it is always with me.

Don’t be too quick to reset info or provide more info.  If you get a request, be it email or a pop up on a website to verify your information, don’t just take it at face value.  Wherever possible, call your bank or whoever is requesting the info.  It is still difficult to hack a telephone call.  Many sites have two-step verification in an attempt to eliminate the hacking of passwords, since you have to match a phrase or image as well as input your password.  That’s not to say they are unhackable, just more difficult.  The old adage “an ounce of prevention…” still holds true when it comes to your personal info.  Think before you share too much.  The more info you put out there, the easier it is for you to be spoofed or hacked.  Especially when most people’s passwords are either a child’s name or a pet’s name.

Facebook, Twitter and all the social networking sites make it so easy for us to share our lives (and info) with the world, just be careful you are not sharing too much and opening yourself up to personal identity disaster.  Check those security settings and use them.  If you don’t understand them, find out what they mean.  It only takes a few minutes to be safe and can potentially save you tons of time, money and headaches later on.

barkerp

travel-2Anyone who follows my Twitter feed, or on Facebook or Instagram, knows I travel a fair bit.  Well, if flying from work-site and back in the same day usually really only seeing the city from a taxi or rented car on the way can be called traveling that is.  Seems like I’ve seen all the big airports but rarely any of the sights while there.  Sigh.

listIt used to be you went thru your written list (even those checklists are electronic now) of stuff to bring with you traveling and packed it all, now I find I go thru making sure everything being brought is updated and backed up so I have access to everything should something happen and I lose a device (it gives me the willies thinking about losing my beloved iPhone or iPad but it does happen).  And of course, chargers and cables to make sure all my electronics can be used (having forgotten a charging cable once when on a long trip was enough thanks) and have cloud access to the important stuff I may need while away.  Thankfully there are apps for just about everything now and it’s almost possible to bring it all along digitally instead of having to lug along a ton of paper with notes & info about the project in question.  Personal faves are AutoCAD WS for drawings, and Quickoffice Pro as well as Pages for all the documents I may need to view or create.  Dropbox is a great place to store the important stuff too, as is Evernote, because no matter how prepared you may think you are, there is always a missing file or document in your local copy you brought with you.  The trick is to remember to make them accessible prior to leaving the office.  Thankfully in our always connected society, even if you do forget something it is usually only an email away if you have willing cohorts in the office, or if not, remote access capability into your office server or workstation.

Even the very act of booking, checking in and boarding the plane has become very digital in nature.  With the Air Canada app for instance, I can check on flights, book them, do my check-in, and get/save my electronic boarding pass.  I add my flights into the app and get updated info on delays/cancellations and gate changes too, making the entire traveling process a tad easier as well as no more wasted paper.  Gotta like that, being green, and I don’t mean the kind from too much turbulence while in flight.

i feel this way many many times...

I feel this way many many times… sans the briefcase

There is no toothbrush app tho, and I do still need to pack a change of clothes, but with my WeatherNetwork app, at least I will know what to expect when I get there and can pack accordingly.

To anyone wondering, yes those are the mountains in BC visible from YVR – Vancouver international airport, and yes, that is my nose print on the glass as I look longingly at them while awaiting my plane.

Yep, it is the life of Riley at times, but thankfully with the help of a few electronic travel companions, the time flies as I do.  Or more accurately of late, helps to pass the time while waiting to fly.

barkerp

Some things are free.  Some things are good.   Rarely do you get both combined in one.  Evernote is one exception to this rule, and now its even better.

If you don’t know about Evernote you may want to wander over here and take a look at what it is and what it does.  To sum it up, its a great place to store info and notes that remain accessible across your devices for easy access.

I use the program on my Mac almost daily – many times just as a temporary way to keep info on hand while I write blog posts or research things, but what really makes this app so helpful is the way it shares info with my iPhone.  It’s not limited to just the iPhone and Mac OS X though.  This program works on Windows PCs, Blackberries, Windows phone, Android phones, Palms, etc.   ( In fact the Blackberry app was just updated about 2 weeks ago)  All you need is an account, which is free to set up, and then you use that account on whatever devices you want to keep all your info synced and accessible anywhere.

old home screen

new version

The iPhone app was good before, but the latest changes (version 4.0 is the current one at time of writing) have tweaked the interface and its now much easier to see what it is you have stored as well as create new items or organize the ones you have in different ways to make it easier for you to find what it is you are looking for.

The way it creates new notes and allows many types of attachments to be added to them so you can keep all the associated info in one note is extremely helpful.

You can even add audio recordings and location tags to your notes right alongside your photos and text notes.  Perfect for when you are in a meeting or at an event and want to keep all the pertinent stuff in one place.

old notes listing

new notes w/ snippets

The new snippet view is stunning and shows so much more info about the notes you have stored that it will undoubtedly save you time when looking for a particular note, or you can use the improved search function and get lightning fast results.

I’ve been a fan of this program for a while, and even more so now since everything about the user interface just screams polished and refined and improved.

This is one of those apps that makes you wonder what you ever did before you had it in your arsenal.  Did I mention its Free?

Useful and free.  Two words that you don’t hear together often enough, but describe Evernote very very well.

tcg