These days, there are a plethora of cloud apps available that claim to make your life easier, give you more storage, and pretty much do everything you want (well, a lot, at least). One of the first, widely adopted, cloud services was of course Hotmail, which no longer exists, but has now become Outlook.com, and we must not forget Yahoo Mail either in this regard, as that was the main competitor for Hotmail at the time. Nowadays, both have been surpassed in number of users by GMail.
However, email is not the only thing you can get in the cloud. Pretty much anything you want, you can now do in the cloud, like doing your office work with Microsoft Office Online or Google Docs, take notes with Evernote, keep track of your to-do’s with Wunderlist or Remember the Milk, or storing files with Dropbox, OneDrive, Google Drive, Box.net, listen to music via Spotify, SoundCloud or Google Play Music, and a whole number of other things.
With all the options available, and all the comforts they bring, it is easy to get your head in the clouds (pun intended) and get overwhelmed with all the options, passwords and URLs and such. For instance: I used to store my bookmarks and passwords in Xmarks, but after they got taken over by LastPass, I had to bring my passwords over to their service, which was fine at the time. The advantage was that LastPass filled in all passwords in both FireFox and Chrome, and it was always up-to-date. XMarks gave some trouble with syncing my bookmarks between browsers, so, at one point, I decided to get rid of that and use Chrome’s built in sync, which works fine.
My passwords were still synced by LastPass and I was fine with that, until the moment that I realized that I was keeping double records, as I also store all my passwords in KeePass. I keep my KeePass file in my Dropbox, so that I have the most recent version of all the passwords available on any device I use. As I am not too enthusiastic on keeping a double administration, I figured it was time to say goodbye to LastPass, as it cannot be used on my phone, without paying for it, and KeePass is free on every device.
I also mentioned Evernote, which is my go-to note-taking app (when I remember to use it) and also the reason for this post. Having been gifted a premium account when I set up one of my phones, I can now upload PDF’s (and other documents) and have them OCR’ed right then and there by Evernote. This is a useful feature, as you are then able to search through all kinds of documents quickly. When you are trying to go paperless, like me, this is a very useful feature.
Note: the link for going paperless is just one of many links that I could have put there. Lifehacker, for instance, has a lot on this as well and Google has even more.
However, and here is the big catch: I never really got around to start using it as my go-to app to keep my important documents in. When I started scanning all my documents, I was looking for a (free) DMS that could aid me. Having first fiddled around with LogicalDOC (Community Edition) for some time, I migrated to OpenKM (Community) eventually, due to the fact that, at that time, OpenKM had more regular releases and supported more features (such as OCR capabilities).
This works pretty well for me, but it means that I have an app that I need to maintain myself (as I am hosting it on my own server) and the OCR-capabilities, which I mentioned earlier, do not really work easily out-of-the-box in Linux (read: Ubuntu 14.04, which I am running on my server when writing this). So, I am basically missing out on the biggest feature which I could be using. Another issue is that the search is not really working to my liking, so I don’t always find what I am looking for.
Making the switch to Evernote, however, is not as simple as it seems. One of my biggest gripes, and pretty much the sole reason why I have not switched yet, is that Evernote does not do nested notebooks, and never will. Instead, Evernote has stacks, which only goes one level deep. For instance: in my current setup, I have: Ben\Company\Salary\Year or Ben\Company\Lease\Year which is not possible to do in Evernote. In Evernote, I would have Ben\Company and then use tags to distinguish between the type of document. As I am writing about it, I realize that it is not a really big issue, but I probably just need to get my mind around the switch.
Another thing that I might need to do is to clean up my Evernote. I currently have 41 notebooks and 93 tags, with no real structure to speak off… I also have 216 notes, and the best thing would be to go back, remove all tags and notebooks and just start from scratch, but wow, that is something I just do not feel like doing at the moment 🙂
So, for now, am I am contemplating whether I want to put all my personal documents and administration into Evernote, and how to best organize my notebooks, notes and tags in Evernote. I will probably come back to this in a later post.