Is everyone leaving Evernote?

evernote-logo

Is everyone leaving Evernote? Seriously. I have to ask.

I’ve noticed a slightly disturbing trend in the tech news: the growing number of destinations available for exported Evernote content.

First, there was Apple – you can import Evernote content into the Apple Notes app. Next came Microsoft, with a (PC-only) importer for their OneNote app. And this morning, I read on Twitter that DayOne are considering an importer too!

Continue reading “Is everyone leaving Evernote?”

iOS Apps I missed

While I briefly “went Android” (don’t judge me, Apple fanboys) I found such a great selection of apps for my Samsung Note 3 that I barely noticed what I’d left behind. There were Android version of all my favourite and most-used apps: Twitter, Evernote, Dropbox, Instagram etc. But not everything was covered by the many thousands of available apps in the Google Play market…

Now that I’m back with Apple, I’ve just realised the apps I really missed, including:

Day One: A superb diary app. I love keeping a diary and this allows you to simply add any thoughts or reflections, while it pulls in your location, the local weather, any photos you like etc. It syncs across Dropbox (or iCloud if that’s your thing) so you can access and write in your diary on any iOS or Apple Mac device. I *really* missed this and couldn’t find an appropriate Android replacement.

iBank: I found this a really useful app for recording where my money goes. It allows to record expenditure “in the moment” and syncs with a desktop app to give you a detailed breakdown of accounts and credit cards. If you wonder how your account is empty at the end of each month (or before!) then this app will make you more aware of how you’re spending it. And mindful shopping is a lot better than impulse shopping.

Passbook: Everything from event tickets, my Starbucks card and my boarding passes for flights end up here. One handy app to open, rather than multiple separate ones, just when you need that crucial piece of information. It’s one of the best innovations to come out with iOS 7, there’s not doubt about it.

I also brought something back from the Android camp: Pocket Casts. This is a superb replacement for the godawful podcasts apps that comes with iOS 7. Yes, it has improved over time, but in my view it’s missing some key functionality and has usability issues.

As someone who consumes audio and video podcasts in alarming volumes, Pocket Casts is a godsend. Easily subscribe to podcasts from a range of networks, sync your preferences across devices and never find you’ve got duplicate downloads or missing episodes. Yes: I’m looking at you, iOS Podcasts app.

It’s not a free app, but at £2.49 I’d say it was an absolute bargain. If you listen to more than a couple of podcasts a week, or are as frustrated as I am with Apple’s native app, then give this one a spin. And if you’re an Android user, I can heartily recommend the slightly different, but equally impressive Android version.

Trying out Postach.io

For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been experimenting more regularly with Postach.io – a fantastic service that let’s you host a blog based on the Evernote app. Simply write your post in evernote, tag it “Published” and it appears on your blog.

Simple as.

It definitely lacks all the bells and whistles of WordPress and most other blog platforms, but in a sense that makes writing easier. I can’t express just how easy it is just throw thoughts down into a note in Evernote and get them onto your Postachio blog.

Meanwhile, I can use Disqus for comments and Google Analytics to track visits to the blog. The latter is interesting – and a lot more powerful than what’s built into WordPress.

Postach.io is a work in progress – functionality is being added all the time. Apparently they’ll be adding a way to import posts from WordPress. If it’s simple and works, I may just do that.

So, for the moment, come and follow me over at MacPsych.Postach.io.

Who knows? Maybe you’ll join me 🙂

Coaching with Nike+

kb_20971_1An update to Nike+ apparently adds a virtual coach to the app – it looks interesting and, for some people at least, will provide a manageable and sensible schedule to prepare for that next race. While running *looks* easy – one foot in front of the other – knowing how to get ready for any race can be difficult, especially if you compare yourself to more advanced runner.

That way lies madness, tears and injury.

If this provides realistic plans for distance, scheduling and speeds, then I’m all for it.

Especially as I’ll essentially be starting from scratch once I begin to run again in a couple of months. I’ll have had at least 4 months off due to my knee injury and subsequent surgery. I’m itching to get back into it, but have another two months to wait until it’s safe. So it’s just swimming and cycling for me until then.

I’ll definitely try Nike+ out on my first runs and, if the coaching functionality is any good, use it to prepare for my first half-marathon of 2014.

Whenever that is…

Postach.io joins the App Centre

932326b07b28d2bce64e168404c95d96The really very excellent Postach.io has joined the Evernote App Centre.

What’s Postach.io, I hear you say?

If you use Evernote, it’s an idiot-proof method for turning notes into a perfectly serviceable blog. It’s definitely idiot-proof as I’ve managed it – took about one minute to get it up and running. I really have a soft spot for Postach.io as it leverages a technology I use several times every day (Evernote) and means you don’t have to ever worry about your posts going AWOL when your blog host goes belly-up.

Even if (fingers crossed) Postach.io was vaporised tomorrow, all your blog posts would still be sitting in your Evernote account.

Genius.

Yes, it’s missing lots of the bells and whistles of more advanced blogging platforms like WordPress and (shudder) Blogger, but I think that’s an advantage – it’s all about getting words down on the page and publishing.

Another advantage: Evernote works so well with IFTTT, you could set up all kinds of crazy auto-posting from other services like Twitter and Facebook. You could send all your tweets, Instagram photos and Tumblr posts to a single, easy to maintain blog.

I can’t wait to see how it develops over time – you can already import posts from Tumblr and I hear there’s a WordPress importer on the way. You can add Disqus for comments and use Google Analytics to keep track of hits. All in all, it’s a great alternative to the most established blogging services out there.

Who knows – they might be able to tempt me to blog there full time.

Check out the Postach.io Feed for examples of what others are publishing using this great app right now…

New iPad? Yes please!

iPadMiniSo yesterday’s iPad announcements from Apple were delicious, right?

Very pleased to see a retina iPad Mini, now with 128GB storage. I’ll be getting one of those as soon as they hit the shelves. I’m in love with the iPad Mini form factor, so more storage, faster processor and a better display combine for quite the tasty treat.

I’m sure I’ll get a few quid for the model I have: 64GB, scratch-free and constantly held lovingly.

(I can remove the comics and greasy fingerprints, honest).

Yes, the iPad Air looks nice, but it’s still too big for me.

I know – talk about a First World Problem. “That insanely powerful and versatile tablet computer is just too heavy for my weak wrists…”

Nice also to see the launch of OS X Mavericks. Amazingly (to anyone who knows me) I haven’t installed it on any of my machines – despite it being both available and FREE! I’m looking to replace both my iMac and Macbook Air in the coming months, so I can do without the headache of a system update when I’m only going to use it for weeks.

Plus, by the time I’m using Mavericks, they’ll have identified and sorted most of the bugs.

Right?

It looks loverly and I can’t wait to get my hands on it. But only when it’s pre-installed on a new machine.

Free updates to iWorks and iLife (both of which I have on my iPad Mini)? Yes please, though I’m wondering if I’ll ever get them to work for me properly. Think I need to dedicate some time to finding my way around them and wean myself off the bloatware that is Office for the Mac. It’s a requirement for my day job, but I’d dearly love to uninstall office from all my machines.

Maybe one day…

All in all, a great set of announcements from Apple. Sadly, it’s also one that will result in me being significantly poorer in the coming weeks.

Thank jeebus they didn’t announce a new Apple TV or an iWatch. I’d be selling a kidney to pay for it all.

Day One at a time

DayOneNot an error. I’m talking about the app called “Day One“.

I’ve blogged about it before, but I’m afraid it was lost in the great blog meltdown of 2012. (Still hurts).

DayOne is a great little app for keeping a journal. It’s on Mac OS and iOS and syncs in the cloud, so you can make journal entries on any of your Apple devices, knowing they’ll all be joined up next time you’re connected to the interwebs.

I use it pretty much daily, sometimes more than once a day. It’s so quick and easy to use, I can type a few words and maybe add a photo I’ve just snapped. Meanwhile, if I’m using the iPhone, it captures where I was when I made the entry and even – if I want – what the weather was like.

They recently updated the app with the facility to export your journal entries to PDF, which is a nice piece of functionality. But it got me thinking about the other improvements I’d like to see added. Now, I’m no app developer (I don’t even play one on TV), but I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to add some/all of the following:

  • The ability to automatically add your social media nonsense. So, for example, adding what i tweeted or shared on Facebook on any given day. This would add some interesting context to journal entries, or even account for what went one on days when I couldn’t be arsed to write anything in DayOne. 
  • Foursquare check-ins would also be handy, reminding me of where I was on any given day.
  • I’d also like it to link with WordPress, so anything I blog is automatically added to the app. Again, it can help fill in the gaps on days when I haven’t been journalling everything.
  • Similarly, but going in the other direction, the ability to share your entries with other apps like WordPress, Twitter or even Facebook. For those moments when you’re convinced that what you’ve written is pure gold and deserving of a share with the rest of the world.

All of this is basically in an effort to avoid any duplication of effort. Yes, I could simply copy and paste anything written in DayOne into other apps, but I’d much prefer a simple ‘share’ button.

People of DayOne: hear my pleas! You have a great app on your hands and I’m a big fan. Some social sharing updates would make me even more so.

A new OmniFocus

OmniFocusMy favourite – and most used – app on both Mac OS and iOS is getting a new version. OmniFocus 2 has been announced, though sadly without a confirmed launch date. What I’ve heard so far about the app is positive.

  • A new forecast view of commitments by timeline
  • Introduction of review mode, just like on iOS
  • Unified sidebar for simpler and more consistent navigation

I’m really looking forward to learning more about the app as it develops. It’s the app I have open in front of me more than any other both at work and in my personal life. Review mode will be a big plus.

I use this on my iPad mini to do a quick “where am I?” in terms of projects at least once a week. The project-based prompts remind me to add actions, follow up on things I’m waiting for from others and review my commitments in terms of scheduling work and other activities.

It’s really useful for avoiding those heart-stopping “Oh crap” moments, when you realise you’ve forgotten something or missed a deadline. Or have over-committed and find yourself painted into a corner with competing demands and too little time to do a good job.

I use it to implement my own version of GTD, keeping on top of tasks, projects and broader life-plans. It’s so easy to use – and yet flexible enough to accommodate very complex projects and commitments – that I’ve stuck with it even after experimenting with other apps and systems.

Good news also for existing OmniFocus users – we’ll be able to upgrade at a 50% discount on the list price.

iOS4.2 on the iPad

So Apple finally shared the iOS upgrade love with their bazillion (roughly) iDevice customers. While iPhone peeps got some minor upgrades in there, it was iPad aficionados who experienced the biggest changes to their devices.

I downloaded and installed the update, but it didn’t go as smoothly as advertised. In fact, it was so far from smooth, I ended up restoring my iPad to factory settings, before finally getting iOS4.2 to work. This meant re-installing all my apps, ibooks and other bits and bobs, which took longer than you’d think. But once I was done, the benefits of 4.2 were immediately obvious.

Firstly, back-ups now take mere minutes, rather than the hours (literally) they used to. Syncing my iPad and installing some new books or other documents can be done as fast as syncing my iPhone. This is something I could only dream of last month.

The there’s folders. I now have a pretty well-organised interface, over two iPad screens. This is in contrast to the seven I used to have – it was taking longer and longer to find apps. So now I’ve got my news apps in one folder, my games in another, my social networking apps in another… well, you get the idea. A long overdue, but welcome upgrade to the iPad.

Aside from the cosmetic, what else is there?

Multi-tasking is not the overwhelming productivity boost Apple would have you believe. But it’s handy, I’ll give them that. AirPlay with my new Apple TV is fantastic and has to be experienced to be believed. It’s all very Star Trek to be honest – you can ‘beam’ a song, tv show or film from your iPad to your Apple TV. No wires, and virtually no set up. Get. In.

I’ve yet to try AirPrint – mostly because I’ve yet to encounter any need to print something that’s on my iPad. But to know I can is very, very useful. Overall, the device seems quicker and more responsive.

It’s not all sweetness and light, however. One major change that bugs me – and I’m far from alone in this – is the change to the orientation switch on the side of the device. This has – for some reason only known to Senor Jobs – been changed to a “mute” switch, just like on the iPhone. In order to lock the orientation of your iPad, which is something the average user does constantly, you now have to double-click the home button, scroll to the left and click an on-screen icon.

What a pain in the arse.

I’m hoping Apple see sense and allow users to change the functionality of the screen lock button themselves. Screen orientation is so much more important on the iPad, and there’s nothing more annoying than it flipping around while you’re trying to read.

What next? An upgrade to iBooks would be nice.