Monthly Archives: August 2011

NaBloPoMo – Why are they hounding me? Why? Why? Why?

Its that time of year again. A time that I have to face reality. A time that I sometimes dread and other times can’t wait to sit down to my keyboard. It’s NaBloPoMo. Well, it officially starts tomorrow. What in the world makes them hang this over my head? Why are they so cruel? I can’t even remember to take my one-a-day vitamins, so why do they think I can do this every day? Why are they hounding me? Why? Why? Why?
For those who don’t know. NaBloPoMo is National Blog Posting Month and it starts September 1st. You sign in and make a commitment to post at least once a day. My problems with it are many. First, I HATE, with a capital H-A-T-E, any one telling me I HAVE to do something. Telling me I have to do something is like telling me to do the opposite. Are you like that?

Second, I’m not a disciplined person. I’m easily distracted. I start on one project and a couple of hours later, I find that I’ve wandered around tackling three or four completely different projects without making any advancements on the original project. You might find that surprising about me, because I am known for getting a lot done and I do, but I don’t do it in an orderly fashion. In fact, one of my genealogy friends, said she “wishes” she was as organized as I was. Huh? OK. I can tell anyone who asks what day and time I sent an email dating back to 1989 when I started archiving them. All I have to do is fire up my trusty FileMaker email archive, search for the topic and can quote you verbatim the entire conversation. However, any attachments or other documents that were mentioned, will take a while to find as they are buried in my massive CD backup archives. That’s another “one day I’ll get around to it” item. I need to condense the CDs and copy them all onto an external. I know that by doing this, I can save a lot of time and be much more organized. My excuse for not doing this is that I don’t have the time. Funny. I don’t have the time to do something that will save me a lot of time.

And, the third problem I keep having with NaBloPoMo is that I have more than one blog. There’s the genealogy blog, this personal blog, the Web Developer blog — and the yet-to-be revived Geekesse blog. Like I said, I’m all over the map and the blogs I have show that. So, this month. I will concentrate on Notes While Surfing. I’m not saying that I’ll abandon the other blogs, but if I focus on just one, I might be able to do keep my 1-a-day commitment.

As a website developer, I have new clients who point to some great blog and tell me “I want a blog like that.” When I ask them what they like about it, it really comes down to content. Inevitably, I tell them “The only way you can get a blog like that is to post regularly like they do.” So, I’m going to take my own advice and try to keep my commitment to NaBloPoMo this September.
Why don’t you join me?

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Cleaning House Tip – Use an Elephant

It’s been a while since I’ve posted. The good news is that I’ve been very busy with work, the bad news is it doesn’t give me a lot of time to catch a wave on the world wide web. Yesterday, however, I decided to tackle the nightmare that is my bookmarking world. While surfing I often will bookmark a page with the honest intention of coming back to it. However, even after I’ve read the page, it ends up that I have lots of left over bookmarks. A couple of weeks ago, a cousin asked me if I’ve used Evernote? She “loves it,” she said. Well, truth is, I had installed Evernote a long time ago and it had just been sitting there.
It seemed to me that it did the same thing as Instapaper–saving a webpage to be read later on your iphone or computer. I do love Instapaper. It’s saved me from boredom many times. I’m not a big fan of the magazines that doctors’ offices, hair salons, and what have you, tend to keep in their lobbies. People Magazine, Us Magazine, year-old copies of Time Magazine or Newsweek, have me yawning before I hit the second page.

So, I pull up Instapaper and, tadah, articles on websites that I found interesting enough to save to Instapaper are right there waiting for me, right where I left off reading. Its cool.
My cousin, said she had been using Evernote to organize all of her PDFs and notes for our family tree research. I hadn’t even thought of using Evernote in that way.
So, I fired up Evernote to check it out again. After a few updates, like I said, I hadn’t used it in a long-long time, I tackled a folder of notes and pdfs, and managed to delete quite a bit of old stuff. In no time at all, I had a very organized hard drive. So, what the heck, I tackled my bookmarks. Deleting those that had become outdated and saving the ones I wanted to read later on Evernote. I created what Evernote calls notebooks, for each of my bookmark folders, adding notes and tags to each of the files I wanted to keep. I don’t know about you, but often times I go to a bookmarked site and think to my self, “Self, why did you bookmark this page?” Many times, it’s for some obscure reason, i.e. I liked the color palette or something silly like that, and by the time I come back to that page I’d forgotten. When you click on the “Clip to Evernote” link in your browser bar, a window will pop up where you can write notes, create tags (keywords), which notebook to assign it to, whether to save the URL or just a clip of the page, and other options.
Being a little protective about my bookmarks, I fired up the iPhone and opened up the free Evernote app, put in my password and was happy to see that it had synched everything to my iPhone. Totally cool.
After all the house-cleaning, I found that I had actually cleaned out around 6 gigabytes of files. Here are some of the pro’s and cons I have about Evernote:

Pluses and Minuses

Encryptability (is that a word?) –  I like that right-clicking on sensitive text will encrypt it. Don’t like that it even hides it from me. I’d like to be able to put in the password once and all encrypted text would be viewable on my computer
Web surfing – I love that It saves an entire web page when I click on the “Clip to Evernote” link on my Safari Browser bar. I don’t like that it is no longer compatible with Firefox. Come on! I use Firefox more than Safari. Especially when I am working on web development. The work around is to click the Icon on my Mac and save the url but it doesn’t look the same. It just saves the text and your notes. (Note: yes they did update the Firefox add-on, but its still not as good as the Safari version)
Price – I love that most of its free; But $45 just to be able to add other types of documents such as ppt files is a bit steep. I have a lot of different subscriptions and its beginning to really add up so I’m holding off on going premium until I really need the added options. It also turns out that I’ve used up more than 75 percent of what’s allowed in the Freebie version, so I either have to pay, delete some files, or stop saving pages.
Integration – I love that it integrates with Facebook and Twitter; I don’t like that it doesn’t integrate with Google plus, blogger
Importability – It allows you to import a file. I have a lot of notes in tons of folders. The problem is, I can’t import all these notes all at once. So converting all my notes is going to take a long time. I have to figure out how to do it all at once.
Searchability – It could be that I haven’t figure it out yet, so I might be wrong, but Evernote’s search bar only searches for words that you’ve tagged. It doesn’t seem to search through the content of the websites. I didn’t realize it until I tried to find something that I’d read recently but didn’t save the right keyword or tag. I ended up having to scroll item by item to find try to find it. 
All in all its a great app, that I plan to use a lot more.