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Ditching Evernote for Google Keep

I’ve found a replacement for Evernote with the newly introduced Google Keep. Evernote has been great, but like so many good application it’s become bloated from feature creep.

Here’s what I need in a notes app.

  • Text Notes
  • Checklists
  • Snapshots (Photos of labels, serial numbers, parts, etc.)
  • Basic tagging or category organization
  • Mobile App
  • Desktop or Browser App
  • Cloud sync

Evernote definitely ticks all of the boxes and a lot more, but I don’t need fonts, highlighters. I don’t need to organize notes with categories AND tags and I don’t need to share notes or collaborate on them. Evernote’s desktop client feels more like a nicely de-bloated version of Microsoft Word.

Google Keep has the features I need and that’s about it! I like elegant  simple applications and Google’s managed to do it with Keep. Sure, there’s room for improvement but it’s pretty good as it is.

My only real concern is that Google has dropped other services that I enjoyed, most notably their recent decision to scrap Google Reader. If they do eventually drop Keep, it should be easy to find another service, even if it means going back to Evernote and the bloat that comes with it.



2013 Tech Goals

When you work in a technical field like I do, it’s easy to lose sight of why you got into it in the first place, because you love technology! It’s been a while since I explored technology purely for my amusement and enjoyment. I’m going to try to change that this year, here’s a few of my Technology Goals for 2013.

  • Learn to Code.
  • Do some hardware hacking.
    • Build at least one project using an Arduino starter kit.
    • Pick up a Raspberry Pi to play with.
  • Personal Computer projects.
    • Build a home NAS using PC hardware that I have lying around.
    • Build a Media Center PC with some more hardware that I have lying around.
    • Get rid of the rest of the crap hardware that I have lying around.

My day job doesn’t give me much room to play around with tech as much as I’d like. If I can accomplish a few of the above goals in my personal time, maybe I’ll find a new spark of geek creativity to follow for a while.

I Void Warranties

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Right? Yeah, sorry, that’s never been my motto and never will be.

I was the kid that took toys apart to see what was inside and to see if I could make them do something other than what the manufacturer intended. In the early 80’s, my brother and I had these little battery powered trucks called Stompers and Rough Riders. They ran on one AAA battery and we spent many hours racing them in the dirt in our backyard. They were fun, but we eventually figured out that there was a small magnet near the motor that acted as a governor, limiting the speed of the trucks. If you cracked the case open and removed that magnet, the trucks almost doubled in speed. Battery life sucked, but damn they were fast!

30-ish years later, I still can’t leave things alone. It’s rare that anything electronic or mechanical stays in it’s stock configuration once I have it for any period of time. If there’s any chance that I can make something faster, louder, brighter, more efficient or whatever, I’m going to give it a shot. My wife regularly lambastes me for  not being satisfied with things the way that they come out of the box.

I Jailbreak iPhones, root Android devices, install amplifiers, cut holes for bigger speakers, put bigger batteries in things, take unnecessary parts out and generally just mess with anything that looks like it needs a good tweaking! Sometimes my efforts reap very little benefit. Sometimes I break stuff. But a lot of times I end up with something that’s better than it was when I got it, or at least a little more customized to my tastes.

It boils down to the fact that I love to figure out how things work. I respect a machine for what it is and for what it can do, but after a while I want to see what’s inside. I want to know what makes it work and see if I can make it work any better. I’m not alone in this. What do you think the Large Hadron Collider is? Scientists are using it to hurl sub-atomic particles at each other at near the speed of light to bust them open and figure out what’s inside!

The bad thing about this practice is that it does tend to result in a feeling of never quite being satisfied with how things are. For me, the fun is in the endless pursuit of, and not necessarily in possessing a perfect toy.

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