Applications Useful stuff Web/Tech

Cautionary tale about clearing your browser history

I cleared my Firefox cache in an attempt to resolve a slow performance issue. Boy, I didn’t realise how much I rely on my browser history to get things done every day.

I should have persisted with the performance issue …

Events and Life Music People Travel and places

Music in the park with Tal Kravitz

Tal Kravitz performed at one of our city’s annual Autumn music festival events in a neighbourhood park yesterday. According to his bio on his Facebook Page

Tal Kravitz is a musician and a singer educated at Israel’s finest music institutions. He is also a traveler who journeyed on a personal search for original tribal music in far corners of the world not yet exposed to Western civilization. Tal plays piano, harp, guitar, a variety of bagpipes, the musical saw, African percussion instruments and more.

We really enjoyed the event. Kravitz is really engaging, and involves the audience (who loved him).

Fortunately we arrived early enough to find good seats. I took advantage of that for some photographs.

Kravitz used a range of musical instruments including an Irish harp, a saw (the kind you use to cut wood), bagpipes, and some sort of electromagnetic/sonic device.

Business and work Useful stuff

Evernote's persistence despite my growing dislike

I once swore by Evernote. I used it for everything. I used it to take notes, to collect scanned documents, receipts, bank statements and serve as a general reference archive for everything that caught my attention and that I want to be able to get back to one day. I still do much of that with Evernote today but that is more because I haven’t worked out how to do all of what I want to do without it yet. I’m getting close, though. Until then, Evernote is the app that is just slightly more convenient to keep using to remain in use.

Evernote used to be clearly superior to other options. It works fairly well on my desktop and I have a host of workflows that tie into it. My bank statements and assorted legal newsletters route into Evernote automatically. I scan all my receipts and store them in Evernote in case I ever need to find them again and I keep track of case reports and miscellaneous bits of data in there, including important data relating to my home and family.

I don’t use it to take notes any more. The apps are too slow to get going and unreliable enough to really not want to go there at all. All the documents I scan and store in Evernote go into a Dropbox folder too. I once contemplated using Evernote for my tasks too but Omnifocus is where I manage all my projects instead. I used the mobile apps all the time to capture stuff on the go. I still use them for that but not nearly as much as I used to, the apps are just too unreliable so it’s easier to take a photo with geo-location data and email it to my Evernote profile for storage.

Between Dropbox for file storage, Omnifocus for my tasks and short term reference and my plain text notes (synchronised through Dropbox), there isn’t a lot I really need Evernote for lately. The one thing keeping Evernote in my workflows is not knowing how I can export all my data into a coherent archive that I can reference later, if I choose to. I also have a couple niggling uncertainties around how I would capture and reference emails I receive (such as email newsletters) which I forward to Evernote automatically.

I can probably supplement a Dropbox file storage system with Yep and Leap from Ironic Software and integrate better into my growing Openmeta Tags use for my notes and documents. The cost of a bundle of all the Ironic apps is even less than my annual Evernote Premium subscription.

With all of this I find myself wondering what went wrong? When did Evernote become the service I use because I am more or less locked into it, despite it being the sort of service that eschews lock-in, in favour of common standards and formats? Is Evernote going to fix these apps, make them all work better or should I join the few travelling out into the desert in search of something a little more reliable and effective?


All about the traffic?

I’ve been a little obsessed about my blogs’ traffic for a while now and lately I have found myself wondering why. Sure blog traffic is important if you want to make some money off your blog because it is all a numbers game. It didn’t help when I was told that the stats I have been relying on are probably not the important stats from an advertising perspective and the 200 000 page views (give or take) are not nearly as important as my humble 21 000 unique visitors last month (which doesn’t sound nearly as impressive as the page views for the month). So I started to reconsider what is important to me when it comes to my blogs, particularly the blogs that have even less traffic than this blog and it occurred to me that while the traffic is great (when I have a lot of it and get a cheque from Google), I blog because I enjoy writing and talking about stuff.

I am probably not going to be able to retire on my blogs for a long time (ok, probably never) and with all the new blogs starting up, the first mover advantage sailed long before I started blogging that exciting day in December 2004 so I am probably far better off just focussing on my writing. That is the important stuff, isn’t it?

I came across a post by Seth Godin where he talks about this emphasis on stats and how too strong a focus on traffic distracts us from the real reason why we blog in the first place. After all, if it was all about the traffic then I may as well spend the time it takes to put out a decent post setting up multiple link blogs and begging for links from other bloggers. But it isn’t really about the traffic for me. Sure I am ecstatic to have loads of people (all of you) reading what I write and letting me know what they/you think (and I’d love to have more of you dropping by) but you are more than just numbers to me so I write for you and for me.

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