Friday, July 19, 2013

Tools and Technology: Nozbe, Evernote, and More

Today, I want to give you a few quick suggestions for workflow tools. I do not have affiliate status with any of these companies, so there’s no benefit to me if you use these, but there may be a benefit to you.

  • First: NOZBE. Somewhere, buried in the website, is the explanation of where the name came from. I don’t remember it at this point. This is an organizational helper app that is multi-platform (Web, PC, Android, and iStuff). I tried it out a few years ago, couldn’t quite get it to work for me, and so I canceled my paid account—right after my trial period, I believe. (Stupid tax paid.) Since then, I have come back to a free account and realize how useful this service is. If you are a user of the Getting Things Done organizational system, this is perfectly setup for it.

If, like me, you aren’t into Getting Things Done, but you are into getting things done, this still works. I have customized out the available projects and contexts so that they work for me, and this is the best recurring-task structure I can find. App for the phone/tablet (although an Amazon App for K-Fire would be nice) makes this handy all the way around. Nozbe allows you to set up a project, assign tasks to it, and assign where those tasks go. Paid accounts have unlimited projects and tasks—cheapskates like me have a project limit, but that has actually been helpful. I have a “School” project, then I assign each class as a context, then I can track school overall.

It’s a powerful system. I think if I knew how to blend both Ann’s and my accounts into a single paid family account (allows up to five users, which would be perfect) I would go to paying for this service.

  • Second: EVERNOTE. I just cannot describe how many ways I use Evernote. This is a note-keeping app that works with mobile devices, tablets, the web, and has a PC app. (And it works on iStuff for you Cult o’Mac folks.) Take a picture, link a file, it all goes across the web to everywhere. Imagine having a giant shelf of 3-ring binders to store all of your material. Then make that searchable. And make it easy to add material to. And make stacks that are like organizing those notebooks on shelves. Then add color-coded tabs that show what additional ideas link notebooks and shelves to other notebooks.

Now you have a general idea of Evernote. Included in the paid version (which we use) is the ability to not only attach a file to a note in Evernote, but searching will search those notes. Including PDFs, pictures, and scanned handwriting. I use Evernote for sermon composition and delivery—I write the sermon in a Sermon Preparation Notebook, then move it to a Sermon Storage Notebook afterwards.

I use Evernote for some financial issues. I’m going to stop getting printed receipts at gas stations, and just snap a photo through Evernote. Then, there’s no missing receipt! Works well for other items like that.

I also use Evernote for my bookshelf inventory. It’s not as awesome as a librarian, but I take high quality pictures of every bookshelf (all my shelves are labeled). Each shelf is a note, and I attach the pictures of shelf A-1 to the A-1 note. I can then type in updates or lend-outs, but the pictures are searchable if I know a title and need to find the book. Plus, I have a cloud-based library in case of emergency.

Evernote generally has good security, though I do not store Credit Card numbers in it.

Evernote, like Nozbe, has more powerful features that I have not explored—but I feel like I get my money’s worth as it stands. These two pieces of software also talk well to each other: notes link to tasks and such.

  • Third: MySMS for Android.  One of my pet peeves about people who text from email capable phones is that text messages disappear when you clear your phone inbox. There ends up being no real record. MySMS? It allows me to text from my phone, PC, Wi-fi only tablet, and automatically stores text messages, by conversation, in Evernote.
  • Fourth: Mobile Banking Apps that let me deposit checks from home. USAA does it. I can do this for my Capital One account that I have because INGDirect got bought out by Capital One, and it’s one of the reasons I haven’t closed that account, given my animosity toward Capital One. I love the convenience of this technology.
  • Fifth: Google Reader is gone. Google lost a bit of like from me for that, but it’s done. now I use for RSS reader purposes. I like it, though I miss the easier sharing to Blogger that reader had.

Those are my tech suggestions for the week!

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