Evernote – Great Tool for Getting Things Done (GTD)

I recently discovered Evernote which is a very handy service that bills itself as your external brain. In a nutshell, the services that helps to you organize “notes” and access them from anywhere (web, desktop, mobile phone). A note can be an a quick text note, a clipping from webpage or your desktop, any type of image, or an audio recording.

What makes Evernote special is that has three killer features and a very compelling price point (free for low to medium use and $5 a month for more space than you could need).

To start off with, Evernote has wonderful optical character recognition (OCR) technology which lets you search your images for text strings. Now you can take a picture of someone’s business card and find their info by searching for their name, number, email, address, whatever is on their card. You’d be surprised how often the ability to search images can come in very handy. Looking for a new house? Start snapping pictures of “For Sale” signs as your pass by and search for them later.

Secondly, it has tremendous search capabilities, letting you specify tags, geographical location the note was taken, date created, whether the note contained a to-do item, whether that to-do has been completed or not, etc. Just about anything you can think of, you can search for. And searching is faster than putting things in folders (think gmail).

Finally, Evernote has outstanding syncing capabilities, letting you access and store your data wherever you are. The iPhone app is wonderful and they continue add device specific features to the service (geo tagging using the iPhones’s GPS for example). They have really pulled off one of the best desktop/web/mobile solutions I’ve seen for any service yet.

So what does Evernote have to do with GTD? What’s great is that the tools are very flexible so they can work with your existing personal organization scheme. So if you want to apply GTD principles for example, you create notebooks for GTD contexts and then use tagging for projects. Or you can use notebooks for both contexts and projects and search by combining them. You can create individual notes for action items, or you can have a single note with a number of items each with a “to-do” checkbox. Through its really great UI and functionality, Evernote lends itself to your style instead of forcing you to use it in a certain way.

To wrap it up, Evernote is a great service that can both boost your productivity and help you have to remember less while making your information easily available from wherever you are. For someone like me who is constantly suffering from information overload and has a horrible memory to start with, Evernote is exactly what I needed.

Great Programming Quotes

Juixe Techknow has posted a truly wonderful collection of programming quotes. Some of my personal favorites:

The software isn’t finished until the last user is dead.
Anonymous Support Group Member

The first 90 percent of the code accounts for the first 90 percent of the development time…The remaining 10 percent of the code accounts for the other 90 percent of the development time.
Tom Cargill

Why do we never have time to do it right, but always have time to do it over?
Anonymous Code Monkey

Debugging is twice as hard as writing the code in the first place. Therefore, if you write the code as cleverly as possible, you are, by definition, not smart enough to debug it.
Brian W. Kernighan

iPhone App Developers are Making Serious Bank

So the iTunes App Store has been out for a little over a month now and we are starting to see some initial sales numbers. The remarkable thing is that some of these numbers are rather, well, remarkable. Let’s look at a couple examples:

  1. Tap Tap Tap has posted their (Semi)Final Numbers for July with the juicy takeaway being that their two current iPhone applications brought in $75,177.38, leaving them with $52,815 after Apple’s cut. Simple math here shows that they would be on pace to make $633,780.00 during the next year for just these two applications provided they maintained this pace. Of course, they are already hard at work on their next two applications as detailed in their post here.
  2. Mac Rumors has posted that a smaller developer named MintApps is currently making a more modest but still impressive $158 a day from their nutrition application. The significant datapoint here is that this particular application is currently only ranking in around as the 800th most popular application on the App store
  3. NeoSeeker reports that overall App sales for Apple are currently raking in $1 million a day.

The really crazy thing is that we are only at the very beginning of the app store. As adoption grows, well you get the picture.

Some Traveling Tips for Geeks

I apologize for the delay in posting over the last 2 months (both regarding part 2 of the Python bot series and new articles in general). I’ve been doing a lot of traveling not keeping up on things as well as I should. So in that vein, I’ve decided to write a post with some quick tips on traveling for the technologically-inclined.

  1. Skype, Skype, Skype. If you are going international, get an account and prepay for some phone time. Then buy a portable headset and microphone. Whether you bring a laptop with you or go to Internet cafes, Skype will allow you to make calls for incredibly low rates anywhere you can get an internet connection. For me right now, my cell phone costs 50x what Skype does per minute to call back to the USA.
  2. Manage servers? Sign up with Pingdom for active monitoring. You can then rest assured that as long as you aren’t getting emails or SMS messages, your servers are working fine. This is a good idea even if you aren’t traveling, but since you might be checking your voicemail less (or never) if you are on the go, moving more communication to email can be very helpful. This of course requires you to still check email but you might be already planing on doing this anyway.
  3. A Nintendo DS can help you pass time on long flights and train rides. But to carry less stuff, get a mod card and put all your games on one cartridge. Only games you already legally own of course (wink wink).
  4. On a budget and/or want to meet more people? I recommend exploring the options of couch surfing and staying at youth hostels. In either situation you might end up scoring free wifi as a great bonus.
  5. Use online apps to help plan your trip and save money.

Have a safe and happy trip!