Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Evernote, Spotify and Amahi

I've been using Evernote for over a year now as my primary note taking app. It does a fantastic job keeping my notes in the cloud so I stay in sync between work, home and on my mobile. But it's "killer" feature is its handwriting recognition. Often enough, I end up taking notes on the go either in my notebook or on post-its. I just scan them and sync to Evernote, and its sophisticated script recognition searches the images. For business cards, Evernote just uses my Macbook's iSight camera to grab a snap. Now, I can check back at my notes anywhere anytime to find what I need - even from a cybercafe through their web interface.

Over the last week, I've taken the power of Evernote and applied it to a pretty mundane task - eliminating the clutter in my study (#7 on my 'list'). I've taken every flyer, receipt, statement, document and printout and sorted them into three categories:

  1. Trash. Heads straight for the bin. This category was about 20% of the junk that had piled up.
  2. Soft storage. I scan a copy, upload to Evernote and trash the paper. This category was larger than I had imagined. 80% of the papers lying around were things I didnt need hard copies of. This made a huge difference in eliminating a lot of papers.
  3. Permanent storage. I scanned the copy, uploaded to Evernote, and categorized the documents into manila folders for archival in a closet.

I've used a dozen different note taking tools in the past - from OneNote to Treepad, but I dont think any of them come close to Evernote. I would highly recommend giving it a try!

While on the topic of useful software, here's two others to check out:

  • Spotify - Forget and Pandora. Get onto Spotify for listening to music. You'll need to use an online proxy to work around the country restrictions and use it in India.
  • Amahi - Take an old laptop/desktop and convert it into a media center that streams your home collection of movies, music, and files. Plus, access it from anywhere using the inbuilt VPN (based on Open VPN). Currently runs on Fedora.

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