Posts Tagged ‘getting organized’

Going paperless and getting organized – Part 2

May 10, 2013


It’s been over 4 years since I last posted on this topic, and I am ready to offer an update.

I made the complete switch to Apple products, so our house now has an iMac, Macbook, iPad, Apple TV, and iPhone. There are trade-offs involved, but for me the benefits (one relatively functional system that combines software and hardware) outweigh the costs (moderately expensive, plus I have all my computer eggs in one corporate basket).

I would not have done this were it not for one cloud-based application that is not dependent on Apple: Evernote.

I have been using Evernote for five years, and now it contains all my personal and other information, organized in about 65 notebooks (as of today I have 6495 notes). Each note contains either a single piece of data (e.g., a product on Amazon I am considering buying), or a whole category of data (e.g., all of my contacts with my dentists). A note can be written by me, clipped from the web, a photo, a video, a sound file, an attachment, an email, or any combination.

Evernote works just as well if you use one notebook, or 200. How you organize is entirely up to you. I have my notebooks arranged under main categories, such as Health, Food, People, My Stuff. Under My Stuff, for example, I have notebooks for House, Bicycles, Yard, Computer Hardware, etc. Under Food I have separate notebooks for Wine, Recipes, Cooking Tips, In-state Restaurants, etc.

When you do a search, all notebooks are searched, or you can specify one. You can put multiple “tags” on each notebook and organize/search that way.

Now, if I need information (e.g., a history of an insurance claim), it is super easy to find, and almost effortless to update. What is even better, and essential, is I can access this data instantly on all my devices, or any mainstream device connected to the internet.

This is really my dream system, one I have been hoping would emerge in my lifetime, but never really expecting it to.

With Evernote, I have essentially gone paperless. On my always-present iPhone, I use an application called Drafts to assemble or compose notes, etc., then hit a button to instantly transfer the note to Evernote. Just as often, I email a note (or forward an email) to Evernote. As a Premium Evernote user ($45 per year), I can search any attached document, whether it is a .doc file, a .pdf, or something else (like a photo). The free Evernote program is powerful, too. You can switch back and forth from free to premium with no obligation or penalty.

I use other programs to store and access a variety of information I want to keep, such as Vimeo for videos I create, Flickr and Snapfish for photos, Yahoo for email (also Gmail).

I do keep backup data on hard drives, and Evernote allows me to keep its data (my data) on my devices, so it is available whether or not I have an internet connection.

The main problem going forward is I am increasingly dependent on a corporation (Evernote) and its continued availability and functionality. So far, despite a few problems along the way, it has been dependable, and its future seem assured.

The computing “cloud” – an update

October 5, 2009


One year ago I posted on my transition from using a Palm handheld to using a Blackberry Curve (here) — this is a follow-up. This will be a very short post, but the main point is that I am happy with the transition. “Cloud computing” remains somewhat controversial, but has been widely accepted as inevitable. I love it.

Now, when I want to save a tidbit of information (such as medical information, travel plans, online purchases, chapters of my book, etc etc) all I do is post the tidbit in “the cloud” and it is saved for me. The best part about this is it is available to me on my iMac, my PC laptop, or any other computer I happen to have in front of me, including my smart-phone (although I would need to get a newer model to get full functionality).

What I want to share with you now is that the most amazing software for saving these tidbits in the cloud is a free program called Evernote. Check out their site for more information (here). I am in no way associated with that company, except as a customer (I upgraded to the premium version which is not free).

By the way, I have not posted lately because I am writing another book (more about that much later).