Monday, August 31, 2009

Evernote Update: The System

A week or so ago I laid out my plans for Evernote, and I'm happy to report that I have it all set up exactly how I always dreamed I would. I installed the software for our HP Deskjet F4280 onto Dean's XP desktop and was able to set the default scanning action to scan a document with the built-in OCR for character recognition and then save the scanned document to a folder on our shared hard drive. I then went into Evernote and used the 'monitor' function to have it automatically add any documents saved into the scan folder as a new note.
The way this works is a tremendous help to me. Every piece of mail I receive now immediately gets scanned and then shredded. Then, when I have a moment, I can go into the Evernote software from my desktop, laptop, netbook or iPhone to name and tag the note then route it into the appropriate notebook.
For the existing filing cabinet of paperwork that I've stored (including gems like paycheck stubs from 10 years ago and my first cellphone bill) I have been going folder by folder to scan all the papers in and then shred the originals. Its going to be a long time before I get it all done- especially as its a flatbed scanner- but at least I feel confident that I'll eventually get it all done.
For those tiny (gas) receipts that I forever seem to have in my wallet, or the dark recesses of my handbag, I've taken to taking a quick snapshot using my iPhone and immediately throwing them away. In fact, its become such a habit that last week I had lunch with a co-worker at Subway and I whipped out my iPhone (which has a better camera than the Blackberry Bold) and took a shot of my receipt before tossing it into the trash. She had a million questions to ask about my process and I was glad to share. I think I made a new Evernote convert!

App-A-Day: PodTrapper


You might ask yourself what someone who owns an iPod Touch is doing with a Podcasting application on another device. Isn't iTunes meant to be the quintessential residence for all things podcasts? Well, it is...and yet, my most-wanted feature is curiously absent: auto-updating of podcasts from the device. Which means that if I forget to connect it to my PC one evening, I won't have my Buzz Out Loud fix on my way in to the office.
I recently remembered that before I lived a multi-gadget existence, I had purchased PodTrapper to get my podcasts auto-updated at 3am every morning. While I listen to my audio podcasts via my iPod, I enjoy watching my video podcasts on my Bold as I work out in the morning. Podtrapper is sold at a reasonable $9.99, which is a small price to pay for a neat little app that will work hard while you sleep, and present your favorite podcasts in an easy-to-configure playlist.

Friday, August 28, 2009

You Apps Could Cost You....


Sent to you by Lulu via Google Reader:



Things you can do from here:


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Humpday Humor: The iPhone Ad You'll Never See

Monday, August 24, 2009

App-A-Day: Shazam

I've always liked using Shazam on Windows Mobile but when it became available on Blackberry I was especially impressed with the added option of being able to see similar tracks. Shazam is a handy application to help you identify a song by name and artist- and here's a handy trick for you if you use Pandora streaming radio: Tag a song playing on your favorite Pandora station. Now, look through the 'similar tracks' and add them to your station to help you discover more music in the genre of your preference.


Friday, August 21, 2009

Evernote in High Gear

I've been using Evernote for about a year and a half for all kinds of uses, but I feel like its time to kick things up a notch. I'm still inundated with those pesky little receipts that seem to sit in my wallet for months for no particular reason: I need more organization!
We recently purchased a new HP Printer/Scanner/Copier combo unit, but so far installing the hardware has been rocket science: I can get the printer to work, but not the scanner- the very piece I need the most! Its not an ideal situation, and I may need to resolve it by attaching the printer to Dean's computer (which is XP) rather than mine (which is Vista).
I noticed that there was an option for OCR (Optical Character Recognition) in the software for the MFP, and I will have to wait until I get the scanning portion up and running to see if it will work well in conjunction with Evernote. If it doesn't, I may look into getting the Fujitsu ScanSnap S300 which is heavily advertised as being the perfect companion to Evernote.
I need to get to the point where there is a process to keep my life as paper-free and uncluttered as possible....

Thursday, August 20, 2009

App-A-Day: BBTran


Here's a handy little application for you: BBTran will do a variety of translations for you to and from over 30 languages. You'll need an internet connection to use this, but the upside to that is that it keeps the size nice and small. It also has a dictionary built in, so you won't need to install a separate application for that.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Humpday Humor


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Blackberry AppWorld on Your Desktop!

Looks like today is just an 'app' kind of day! You can now access Blackberry App World from your desktop. While you won't be able to download apps from the site, you will be able to have a link sent to your mobile address for an OTA download. You can also read descriptions and reviews. Useful if you're on a device with limited memory, or are considering a move to Blackberry.

The 'Real' Palm App Catalog

While I (and the the rest of the online world!) have been complaining about the paltry apps offered on the Palm Pre, a quiet movement has been taking place. Developers have been working hard creating 'Homebrew Apps' and now that has been nicely gathered into a repository over at PreCentral. And while the App Catalog has been stuck at around 30 apps, there are presently 133 Homebrew Apps available for free.

Podcast App: PrePod Comic Reader: Comics

Currency Converter Google Voice App: GDialPro

Monday, August 17, 2009

Gadget Usage

Last November I shared with you my gadget list, and the role each one plays. Nine months later, and quite a few things have changed. Here's my current setup:


I have my Bold in hand just about all the time. Its my phone, but I also use Podtrapper to download a few video podcasts daily which I watch as I workout. I've got solid Twitter, Facebook and IM clients which I'm able to keep always on and connected, but not run down the battery before the day is done.

My iPhone is my iPod Touch. I use it for listening to audio podcasts in the car, as well as watching videos during my lunch break. We recently got the Apple AV cables on the TVs in the den and bedroom, so we can easily watch a movie on the larger screens. And with 16GB, I can carry quite a number of videos at a time.

DESKTOP (same)
My desktop is a dream with a large screen and enough power to be the heartbeat of our home. I keep the Tivo Server running on it, Orb, LogMeIn, Evernote and everything else I need.

We got a pretty highend midsize laptop in our den which gets a lot of use. Dean and I share it as we sit in the den, and he also uses it in the garage as he looks up info to help him as he restores a 1978 TransAm (the one from Smokey and the Bandit, apparently?)

My HP Mini has a spot on my bedside table, but I frequently tote it from room to room with ease. It's also my go-to gadget for trips now, after its excellent performance earlier this year. I find myself using the den laptop less between my Bold and Mini, which is great since Dean spends a lot of time looking up information about cars.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

HP Mini Refresh

There are 2 areas I am focusing a lot on in my tech life these days: organization and efficiency. I'll talk more about the organization side later, but the efficiency side has to do with making sure I am making the most use out of the hardware I have. I realize that I haven't been getting the most out of my HP Mini lately, mainly because I've been afraid of running out of memory. But over the past week I've been looking into alternative ways to incorporate it into my life. The first thing was to make it more aesthetically pleasing, and that was resolved by getting a Vista-like lightweight Zune theme which I've been quite pleased with:


Next was to uninstall all apps and only add ones that allowed me to select which folder they needed to get installed so that I could offload them onto my SD card. In the course of doing that, I stumbled on an entire site dedicated to portable apps. I plan to scour the list to see which ones I need to install, but QuickOffice, Sumatra and VLC are already jumping out at me.
I'm also going to swap out the RAM to 2GB, which can be done quite inexpensively and easily.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Future Phone

Well, its been 6 and a half months with my Blackberry Bold which is a virtual eternity with me. And so far, I haven't seen too much that has me itching to leave RIM. I gave the Pre a fair shake, but the hardware and lack of software put me off. Initially I thought I might get more interested when the next version (the Eos?) comes out, but now I'm not convinced about that.
I've been extremely happy with my experience on my Bold, with the exception of the low memory and underwhelming camera. I'm managing to work with the memory issues, and my new iPhone 3G has given me some relief from the camera image quality. But looking ahead, I realize that I want a longer-term solution since its just a few things keeping me from absolute nirvana.
I've been hearing a lot of whispers about a rumored new Blackberry- the Onyx- and it might be just what I need to get me there. It has an improved 3.2 megapixel camera with auto-focus, 256MB of memory, and a smaller footprint. It still keeps the WiFi, and 3G (which I'd lose if I got the Tour or 8900). I'm happy with my AT&T service, and as of today, am eligible (on Dean's line) for an upgrade. As the Onyx is rumored to be coming to AT&T by the end of the year, barring any magical new device between now and then, I think I'll be able to hold out until then.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Bugging Me...

Its already August, but there are a number of things that I'm sick of hearing about. In no particular order:

-Apple's app approval process. Look, at this point we have created the beast that is Apple. You all have spent years telling them how wonderful they are and how Microsoft sucks in comparison- this is the outcome. Deal.

-Search Engines: Bing, Wolfram Alpha, its enough already. Quit it.

-The Economy: I feel like the recession is the new alert level. Every morning there is someone on the news reminding me of how broken things are. Just fix it, mkay?

-Jessica Simpson: I don’t care who she’s dating, dumped, or wearing.

….more later

(As an aside, AT&T went to my home today and fixed our phone and internet issue. I got a call telling me it was fixed and I was able to use LogMeIn to connect to my home PC, which showed me all is working now.)

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Internet Down

Today we had a bunch of things to do which involved us popping in and out all morning. Once we settled in this afternoon I noticed our internet service was down. After testing out router I picked up the phone and realized our phone line was dead. We have AT&T for both and haven't had a problem with either in the 2+ years we've lived here so I was a bit surprised to have this problem. I used my Blackberry Bold to look up the number for customer service and (as its Sunday) was only able to schedule a Tuesday service call via the automated system. I found it hilarious that the auto-system asks:
"Are You able to get a dial tone on your telephone?" Immediatelt followed by:
"Are you calling from that phone now?"

The last time we had no internet service was in May 2007 when over-zealous Verizon cut off our service right away when we called to schedule ahead for our move. It was about 2 weeks of no internet, and I had the Samsung Blackjack at the time. Funny, but the thing I remember very clearly was that it was during the Rosie O'Donnell-Elizabeth Hasselbeck face-off and we went to Dean's sister's house (we all lived close by then) to watch it on YouTube.
This time around, I'm pretty chilled about it. I've got excellent service on my Bold, including YouTube (although the picture quality isn't great). I just dug out my registration code for Podtrapper so that I can have my podcasts to listen to as I drive to and from work. In fact, this has made me decide to use Podtrapper all the time since it will auto-update my podcasts (which my iPod won't). I also have PageOnce via Viigo so I can easily keep track of which bills are getting close to their due date.
Hopefully, they'll be able to get this fixed quickly and painlessly.
Sent via BlackBerry Bold

Thursday, August 6, 2009

A Tale of Selective Privacy

A user on the Crackberry forums posted this photo, which apparently one of his friends had snapped on the highway on her way to Virginia. I've blurred it out (somewhat) but the photo shows that the occupants of the vehicle thought it would be a good idea to post their Blackberry PIN numbers for all to see. I'm sure it seemed like a fantastic idea at the time.

So, imagine their surprise when they were bombarded with pin messages after the photos were posted on Twitter then on Crackberry- 2 places were thousands of Blackberry users frequent every day. In fact, Tyler (see photo) was concerned that his pin was being broadcast. Concerned. Yes, not worried about all the folks on the highway who had unfettered access to his pin, but that it had made its way to the internet (as these things ALWAYS do- don't believe me? Make a sex tape and see how long it takes to hit Twitter).

As a relative newcomer to the Blackberry world, I don't exactly know what havoc one could create knowing someone's pin and first name. But I do know that even the LifeLock CEO learned the hard way that displaying your personal information on a vehicle in public is probably a bad idea.

Monday, August 3, 2009

App-A-Day: SharpCast

Today's app highlight is one to extend your desktop right to your Blackberry. Sharpcast offers a free 2GB of memory to share between your PCs and mobile devices. The Blackberry application gives you quick access to files on your computer, and if you have Documents-To-Go installed on your phone, you'll be able to open Word, Excel and Powerpoint files with ease.