Monday, September 3, 2012

Evernote~Your External Brain

This summer has been a wild and crazy time.  We have been gone more than we have been home.  But now things are settling in a little and I have to tell you I am beginning to love conferences.   The summer held two excellent ones for me.  I attended the 4 day Family History and Genealogy Conference at Brigham Young University in Utah and The Evernote Trunk Conference in San Francisco which was just one very full day.  

There are several things I'd love to share from the 4 day conference at BYU but the syllabus is several hundred pages and waiting patiently on my desk for me to get to it.  If you are interested in genealogy you can see some of the posts on this blog.  {http://alegacythat}  So let me just tell you a little about Evernote today.

Evernote has been around and being developed since 2007-08.  It is a life management system.  It is yet another way to organize and store information.  As we are continually barraged with more and more vital information via the Internet and other places, these types of programs are emerging to help us cope with it and organize it.  Organizing on a new level just makes sense so we can be more productive and efficient. Remember the days when a big calendar would pretty much cover life events for us?  Those days seems to be gone forever.  Remember the Old Franklin Day Planners we lugged around?

 Well Evernote is the new and improved, electronic version and so superior to the old methods, and obsolete ways of keeping on top of our lives.  With the advent of the computer age we soon had the world at our finger tips and the largest library in the world on each and every desktop.  Now we not only have all of that but with Evernote  we can pick and choose to store and massage anything on the Web and everywhere else via scanning.  We can organize them in our own private storage notes and notebooks and they are completely searchable by keywords and tags.

You see an article you want to read later or save?  Evernote.  You can delete anything once you no longer need it.  You want to save photos and videos or music...Evernote.  You want to keep your own notes from a conference or meeting or your study notes for any facet of your life...Evernote.  You want to write or save blog posts, emails or documents...Evernote. You want to plan and organize events, projects, etc...Evernote.  This is just the tip of the iceberg of what Evernote can do for you.  Do you hate sorting and organizing receipts and expenses for business deductions or your personal income taxes?    I  do.  Scan all receipts and categorize them and you have everything you need long before you visit your accountant. The possibilities are endless for how Evernote can help you manage your life.

I personally think it is the best system out there for staying on top of your "beautiful" life.  (Evernote's phase!)  Evernote is for individuals not for big corporations.  It can easily make small business ventures much more efficient with 500 or less employees and they are working on going bigger.  Their goal is 10,000 employees right now.  It has a 100 year business plan.  They plan to be around a long time  and I think they will be.

They call Evernote your external brain!  So there is a tremendous business application to using Evernote but their customers are you and me; just ordinary people that want to be on top of their lives. I think it is great when we just want to de-stress and not have to remember so many things day and night.  I have been using it for a few months and already I feel more relaxed because I can get to what I need in just a few seconds anywhere I am.  Now that I know so much more about it I am really ready to use it more.

For me the practical application for it with genealogy is keeping searchable research notes that don't have to be keyboarded or scanned in from my hand-written notes and they are searchable.  Oh and did I mention you can also share with others and collaborate with them on various things should you wish? That has great family history application.

You can read about Evernote and sign up for free as long as you are inputting less that 60 megabytes or less per month.  If you go over you will want their premiere subscription which is unlimited and has many more features for $5.00 per month.

The program is cloud based like Dropbox or Google Cloud but it has one feature that makes it better.  It is not just a place to store things in a cloud but you can actually create notes for yourself by writing right on the site.  It is compatible with all operating systems which is a big advantage to everyone who uses mobile devices or stationary devices that start with an i.  iPhone, iPod, iMac, MacBook Pro and iPads.  It is compatible with all windows bases computers and all mobile (non-apple) devices as well.  It also is in beta testing for feature phone users which is about 3/4 of the entire world's cell phone users.  (Feature phones are the old Nokias, etc. we use to have or in some cases, still do.)

The other outstanding feature of Evernote to me is you can write your notes on the computer or any of your mobile devices and then they become available to you anywhere when they automatically sync on all your devices.

 So no more notes scribbled in a notebook and never found again without inputting as a document and filing electronically or printing it out and paper filing.  Yay!  I am in love.  This is a solution that I have struggled with for day one in genealogy.  I never could fit my narratives into those tiny little boxes on research logs.  So I used spiral notebooks.  Don't do it for genealogy.  Use Evernote so you can actually find your notes!  Imagine that!  And just in case you have some hand-written notes you want to keep you can just snap a photo with your digital camera or smart phone and save it on Evernote with the Evernote App!  They have even partnered with Moleskine Notebooks and you can draw or write notes or whatever you like, add an identifying sticker that comes with the notebook and Evernote will file it for you!  I am really excited about their product and their company.  The employees just exude happiness, one that cannot be feigned. 

In my opinion, the best way to get started is to do the tutorials on the website @ or YouTube.  Love to watch someone demo it...I never could follow the geek manuals.  Too dry and confusing and now too heavy!

Well, I hope I have gotten you excited about just thinking about looking at it to see if you could benefit from Evernote.  I know there are lots of places for storing info these days and it can be overkill.  And some of you are just totally fine with your own systems.

What I love about Evernote is it is easy, and effective.  And there is room for all of my interests and activities and goals and the like.  I can see that it is aptly called "an external brain" and I know I need this as my internal brain is pretty much fried these days, just trying to become better at genealogy.  I need all the help I can get!

Won't you just go to and see for yourself?  And let me know what you decide!



Marie said...

Bonnie, what a great and informative post. You've sold me on it! I thought about you the other evening. We were sat down and watching the 25th anniversary DVD of Les Miserables, a commemorative concert in the O2 arena. At the end they had singers from the different productions of it through the years and one of them was Michael Ball!! I immediately thought of you and said to Todd there's my friend Bonnie's heartthrob!! If you ever do get ove here Bon, you will hopefully do a lot more than meet me at the end of our street! If at all possible would love to have you stay here! It would be a great jumping off point for you and Jim to anywhere in the North West!Love you! xxoo

Sister Susie said...

This would be ideal for those that are "packrats" lol! My problem is I forget what I have even though it's right in front of me. I would totally forget it if it were on computer records that I would never see, ha! I guess I'm guilty of just living in the moment. I'm so glad for those whose can keep up with it all to have a new tool to help them in doing so! Enjoy! Love to you all, Susan