The last time I talked about Windows 10, it was after an update wiped out my operating system. Because I never thought about going to the Microsoft Store in town, I ended up loading Windows 7 instead and I moved on from there.
How we view our hard drives
Recently I read where all updates to Windows 7 were ending, and I decided it was time to go back to Windows 10. However, I also didn’t want automatic updates anymore, so I bought Windows 10 Professional. I got it at a discount; y’all know I wasn’t about paying $199 for it after all these years! 🙂 Continue reading How To Gain Access To Your C: Drive On Windows 10→
This is a rewrite of an article I originally wrote in 2009. I’ve left the only comment I got on this article previously because Peter (who used to go by Sire) was the first person who ever purchased this product from me. Also, this article has an affiliate link, which is underlined in blue. It’s the same product as the one over there in the right sidebar. I’ve read often that if you write a review post about a product you actually use and like that it will drive sales of that product. Let’s see how true that premise is.
Back when I was warning folks about hidden messages in email, I mentioned Mailwasher for the first time. I wrote this review originally because I was trying to let people know that there was a safe way of checking email that protects their computers as opposed to downloading email and then looking at it. There’s not a lot that’s changed since that first review except a few things about how it looks; that and I can update the review a bit since I’ve purchased the latest version. Continue reading Mailwasher Email Processor→
Mitchell Allen is a prolific writer, pretty good chess player, and all around technophile. He did a Q&A on the topic of online cloud storage with Sharon Hurley Hall and one of the programs he talked about was Evernote, which I use and love but know I don’t use all that well. After discussing whether this should be a guest post or a Q&A we decided on the Q&A. Don’t get confused with both of us being “Mitch” here; I asked the questions so I’m in bold; thus, Mitch gets the first word here. 🙂
Mitch, thanks for inviting me to answer some questions about one of my favorite productivity tools. I’ll leave the techno-babble on the doorstep and bring in this little basket of basics.
1. For folks that don’t know (because they didn’t read my Evernote for Android post), tell folks what Evernote is.
Evernote is a tool for saving just about anything. Notes, pictures, music clips, videos and files. Once you have saved your stuff, Evernote helps you find it later. It is like having your own little World Wide Web.
Like the real web, you can access your stuff on many different devices. That’s because Evernote automatically syncs your devices with your online account.
Finally, you can share your stuff. I will talk about that in a moment.
2. At a very high level, can you tell folks how you personally use it?
Here are the top five things I do every day:
• Save web pages
• Jot down ideas for stories
• Update to-do lists
• Hunt for references (stuff I said a long time ago, links to resources)
• Manage my disaster recovery plan
The web pages are better than bookmarking because the text is right there. Sometimes it looks awful, but most pages are legible.
I have dozens of notebooks, each of which could be the next Great American Novel. LOL Most of the time, I’m just feeling creative and I like to jot down the ideas while they’re fresh in my mind.
Evernote has a very simple keyboard shortcut for creating a checkbox in a note (Ctrl+Shift+C). I create lists and try to check them off as soon as I can.
Hunting for references is probably the most frequent activity. I am always looking up stuff about Microsoft Excel, for example. I also spend a lot of time tracking down web addresses to include in my email correspondence.
Because of my freelance software business, I am always looking for the best ways to safeguard my stuff. Evernote is the perfect tool for me to keep track of my progress, as well as my thoughts about different backup strategies.
3. You pay for Evernote; what extra benefits does that get you and is it worth the expense for most people?
The limits on a free account are very generous: 100 notebooks, 60MB upload per month, 25MB per note and 25MB per attachment (actually, the attachment plus the note together cannot exceed 25MB). I was pushing up against the 60MB limit, so I don’t mind paying 5.00 a month for a premium account. I get 250 notebooks, 1GB upload per month, 100MB per note and 100MB per attachment (same restriction on combined size of note and attachment.) I am always editing my notes and all that syncing counts toward my quota!
Folks who only occasionally hit the limit on uploads can pony up the cash for just the months when they need it.
4. I just discovered that I can keep a journal or log by using Notebooks on Evernote. Can you explain Notebooks better and how people can really use them to their advantage?
Well, I promised not to get too technical, so think of a notebook as a steno pad. For a journal, you add a new note each day, similar to starting on a fresh page in your steno pad. You know those colorful sticky tabs that folks use to bookmark different sections of a report? Well, that’s your tags. Only, with Evernote, you kind of have to remember what tags you use. Otherwise, there is no point – you won’t be able to search for them later!
Actually, you don’t have to use tags, because Evernote will let you search for phrases, just like a Google search. Here is a useful link from the Evernote blog.
5. Is there a way to set up Evernote as a task manager?
As recently as February, 2013, the CEO of Evernote stated that the tool wasn’t all that great for to-do lists. But, if you Google task manager +evernote, you’ll find a bunch of people who seem to manage it.
Personally, I stopped using Evernote for task management. Gmail, Basecamp and my own custom-built tools are more suitable for the types of tasks I need to manage. I use Evernote to keep to-do lists for personal stuff, if I don’t need a reminder.
6. We actually share a notebook; can you compare the differences between sharing notebooks as opposed to using Dropbox for sharing?
This is one feature I don’t care for. It clutters up my space. I have joined a few shared notebooks and I have to wade past their tags. Ugh. I prefer to use Dropbox to transfer files and Google Docs for, well, documents!
7. I’ve never understood how to use the Shortcuts area; can you talk about that?
The new version of Evernote shortcuts took some getting used to. Instead of bookmarks across the top, the shortcuts now appear on the left side, along with the tags, notebooks and everything else. The trick is to drag the note from the preview area onto the Shortcuts title or within the section itself.
I discovered that, if you drag a note onto a tag, that tag is added to the note, which was not what I expected! As a further experiment, I dragged a note onto the title Notebooks and it moved the note from its old notebook into my default notebook.
8. What’s that Atlas thing all about?
I never paid the Atlas any attention. From the Evernote website and forums, I learned that it uses geotagging to establish where the note originated. So, if you take a lot of pictures, this might be useful. Of course, that brings up the issue of privacy and security surrounding geotagged images. If the notes are private, that should be no problem. But if you link to them or share them, be careful about the information you are sending along with the image!
9. I tend to mainly use it for saving URLs to look at later on when I’m either on the Nook or my phone, and I have my grocery list there as well. You know me a bit better than most; how better could I use it?
I don’t subscribe to a best practices philosophy for productivity tools. Each of us has his own way of viewing the world and how things should work in it. If the two uses you just mentioned make your life easier in some way, then Evernote has done its job.
What I will say is that you should play with it as much as you can. As you get comfortable with the features and annoyances, you will come up with more ideas.
The beauty of Evernote is that you don’t have to commit to anything. I used to save my freelance proposals on Evernote. It was a hassle, so I stopped.
10. I know you use a lot of things. Is Evernote the easiest, the best, or is there something better or easier?
The only thing easier than Evernote is pencil and paper. There may be better-designed alternatives but I am satisfied with 90% of Evernote. The lone 10% annoyance is that it freezes temporarily while I am typing. Not always, but enough to get on my nerves if I’m trying to get some ideas down. I have a lot of software running on my laptop, so it may not even be Evernote!
The best thing about Evernote is that it does not force you into a specific way of working. As I work with it more and more, I continually refine my interactions. Yet, like most productivity software, it just sits in my taskbar until I need it.
With so many people freaking out about the demise of Google Reader, and realizing that I hadn’t ever really written about the program I use, I thought it was time to introduce it to you. I’m a standalone guy instead of having everything in my browser so this might not be what some of you want. But I love it so it gets some love publicly now. 🙂
Feedreader is basically a program that allows you to track any RSS feeds you want, categorize them, and determine how you want to view them. I use the standalone product as I mentioned before but they also have a browser version as well as some other versions of the main product, but I can’t tell you anything about those.
The first image is exactly what the program looks like when you open it (to enlarge you’ll have to click on it, then when it opens again click again and it’ll be much bigger & easy to see). You see that I have my categories there on the left, and I’m highlighting one of the articles from one of my other blogs just as an example. This is only a reader; if you’re subscribing to blogs you have to click on the link at the top of the article and it’ll pull up a browser so you can comment on it.
The second image shows you how you can add feeds to the program. However, an easier way to do it is to click on the RSS feed on the blog or website and the program will automatically open up and allow you to add the link to it. Once it adds the link then you can go to the left and change the name or move it into a new category.
The final image shows you one of my categories, which I call Friends. Everyone in this category is a close friend, as opposed to a blogging friend, thus the only person in here that doesn’t live in the states, but I count him as a close friend after so many years, is our buddy Sire, and 3 blogs on this list are his. lol
The way you move links around is you open up a category, go to the link, hold your left mouse button down and drag it to where you want it in that category. You hold it as far to the left as you can so that if you want to alphabetize things, which I do for all my other categories, it’s easy to do. On this list you’ll see I have all my blogs at the top, which I do to make sure everything is always working properly.
Anyway, I love this thing and I think it’s a great alternative for those who still want to track RSS feeds. I don’t know if they have a mobile version, as truthfully I don’t want to read feeds on my smartphone so I’m not worrying about that. Check out the site above and you might find what you need there.
After years of fighting the demons of getting a video camera for my computer I finally got one in December. Then, after years of fighting it because I didn’t have a video camera, then months of thinking about it, I finally got Skype. Now that I’ve created an account I want to ask you, the masses, just what the heck I’m supposed to be doing with it.
To date I’m connected to 5 people. I’ve only talked to three of them, but only two of them by video. I’m glad to have talked to the third person, our friend Vernessa because I wouldn’t have known that you could go totally audio without having to do the video thing. That was really important to me because, well, I tend to heat up in the evenings and sometimes during the day and I’ll sit at the computer without a shirt on. Sure, guys can get away with this, but I like to protect as many people as I can from seeing any of this uncovered; yeah, I know, TMI! lol
Anyway, I now have this Skype account; just what am I supposed to do with it? Before I loaded it I kept hearing from all these people who said they had Skype accounts and wondered if I had one so we could talk. Well, all those people seem to have disappeared. I thought it was the growing thing for business, to be able to talk to people and have them see you while interacting with each other; nope, none of that.
What gives? I assume there’s a bit of etiquette and being protective with this thing, but is there also apathy? Am I late to the game?
I mean, do I put my Skype address in my advertising? Do I list it on my websites, or here on this blog? I’ve never seen anyone else do that, but I’d have to admit that it wasn’t something I paid a lot of attention to in the past. And do you just up and call people if you find their number or do you send email first then wait for them to say “okay, hook me up”?
Frankly I’m stumped. Vernessa said she basically stays on most of the time, but Homegirl, truthfully, the only time I’ve ever seen you on when I’ve had the program open was the one time we talked. I’ve got it open as I write this a day before it’ll post and I don’t see anyone I know on. Then again, it’s only 5 people.
This kind of reminds me of the issues I’ve seen with the Hangout feature on G+. It works great, but only if you can find people to talk to. Supposedly you have to set it up way in advance to talk to people. That’s not such a big deal I suppose, and maybe that’s the way it’s supposed to work with Skype as well. I just don’t know.
So, for once, I’m asking questions. How do y’all use Skype? Are you using Skype? And what’s the protocol, if any, for getting the word out without inviting all the crazies to hook up with you?