Twitter Updates for 2009-04-21

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Evernote, the universal notebook

Everyone knows Evernote is great for note taking, but what else are notebooks for? Specifically, for writers? That’s right, drafts. And with Evernote, I can compose both articles and fiction on any device: locked down work PC, desktop at home, netbook, Windows Mobile and yes, even my iPod Touch.

I wrote my first novel, Between Heaven and Hell, almost entirely in longhand in a paper day planner, typing the pages in at night when I got home. In large part, it was this experience that led me to my focus over the last decade on technology for mobile writing.

As computing moves into the cloud and more of us have multiple computers to use throughout the day, I’ve been looking for a solution for not so much as mobile writing as ubiquitous writing. The ability to access the projects I’m working on or jot down new ideas any time, anywhere. And the center of my system is Evernote.

If you haven’t seen Evernote before, it’s a multiplatform note taking and retrieval application. You can use it on the web, on Windows (installed or portable), on the Mac, on the iPhone, Windows Mobile and a mobile web version for other phones. The data all syncs to the cloud, so what you save in place shows up everywhere else. You can organize your notes in multiple notebooks, and each note can also be tagged with keywords. And of course, you can search for any aspect of a note, from contents to date modified. (Notes even have fields to store your GPS coordinates from when you created them.)

Obviously, this is boon for writers when it comes to research. But what I’ve discovered is that it works just as well for writing copy itself. Every article I write for my blog, and every chapter of novels I write, begin as notes in Evernote. They all live in my “Writing” notebook, with blog entries tagged with “” and chapters tagged with the name of the book they’re a part of. Then I just start typing.

I’ve found that I prefer the various dedicated clients to the web version, just for speed. I use the portable Windows version running off a thumbdrive at the office, installed Windows clients on my netbook and home PC, and I have Evernote installed on both my Windows Mobile-based Touch Pro and on my iPod Touch. Stuff that I’m currently working on is tagged with “!QuickAccess” so I can just search on that tag and see everything at once.

On the iPod Touch, I have to be mindful that on that device I won’t always have an active internet connection, meaning I can’t guarantee I’ll be able to pull notes down from the cloud. Mobile clients don’t store everything locally and sync the way the desktop clients do. They basically just provide a faster interface to your web-based notes. But the exception is that on the iPhone and iPod Touch, you can mark individual notes as “favorites” (they get a little star) and those notes will be locally cached on the device for offline access. So I make sure every time I access something on my QuickAccess list on the iPod that I star it as a favorite.

There is one catch I feel I should mention. On both the iPhone and Windows Mobile clients, you can view any note you want, but you can only edit plain text notes. Any rich formatting– italics, bold, changing the font– will make the note read-only on the mobile device. Since I’m using this for drafts, not presentation, this doesn’t really affect me much. I write everything in plain text and then add formatting only when I copy the text into either Word (for fiction) or Live Writer (for blogging). But I thought it warranted a mention just to save people some of my initial confusion.

If you want the capability to write anywhere you have a PC or a phone, no matter what it is, Evernote might just be the tool for you. I breathe a lot easier knowing that not only is all my writing automatically backed up to the cloud, but that I can get to it, add to it and edit it from wherever I may be.

Twitter Updates for 2009-04-20

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Twitter Updates for 2009-04-19

  • Big day. Painter’s taping the bathroom, cleaning up bedroom, laundry and oh, yeah, lots of LOTRO. #
  • RT @pourmecoffee “BREAKING. Franklin Mint: Obama-Chavez handshake plates now available for smashing and/or mantel display.” #
  • RT @anamariecox “When worlds collide: A confused Chavez says he was actually attempting to tea-bag Obama.” #
  • RT @rstevens “When it hits nine months after election day, we should check the birth rate in blue states.” #
  • Obama actually listening to world leaders rather than dictating to them. Pleasantly brimstone-free. #
  • Am I the only one who finds it easier to type on an iPhone in portrait than in landscape? Wide keyboard is too much for my stubby fingers. #
  • Tomorrow, starting to wake up an hour earlier to write. Word count progress to follow. #
  • In regards to people who think I “overshare” on Twitter and my blog: #
  • Or, in the immortal words of the maritime philosopher Popeye: “I yam what I yam.” Tru dat. #
  • And yes, as I continue the swing up out of depression into a more manic phase, I’m getting some of my feisty back. #
  • Pruning my tweetlist today, making painful cuts to get down to a followable number of followed. #
  • @robotech_master It’s not brave, it’s that one of my early life lessons was from “Risky Business”: Sometimes you have to say what the f*ck. in reply to robotech_master #
  • @robotech_master I think it’s telling that I’m keeping a lot of authors, editors and agents, and dumping a lot of mobile tech people. in reply to robotech_master #
  • @robotech_master Nah, people I actually know personally (even if we’ve never met in person) I’ll definitely keep. in reply to robotech_master #
  • @tibbarerew “A really morbid short story…” Is there another kind? in reply to tibbarerew #
  • Preferring Twitterlator Pro to fan favorite Tweetie on the iPhone. #
  • @DarrenHumphries Note I’m talking about the Pro version. Has groups, autorefresh, themes, every sharing option I can think of, inline pics in reply to DarrenHumphries #
  • w/ eReader, ShortCovers, Kindle and Stanza, a little overwhelmed with iPhone ebook options. #
  • After brutal, heartbreaking cuts, still have twice as many followed as I can keep up with. /sigh #
  • @robotech_master Dangit! Another one! My Springboard floweth over. in reply to robotech_master #
  • Just reread Crichton’s “State of Fear” and found its skepticism of human-induced climate change more plausible. How much can we really fix? #
  • @TeresaKopec I think we can clean up local conditions, but are largely powerless to affect global climate. The planet is much too big for us in reply to TeresaKopec #

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Twitter Updates for 2009-04-17

  • RT @anamariecox: “Heavy is the head that eats the crayons.” #
  • RT @rstevens: Some people call me the Space Cowboy. I tell myself they don’t realize how hurtful that is. #
  • Have a ton of housework to do but can’t seem to make myself do it after a full day at work. To do list needs electroshock. #
  • Don’t miss #queryday: #
  • @richfinck Missed my chance today. We’ll have 2ft of snow by this afternoon, but not in time for me to call in snowed. in reply to richfinck #
  • #queryday If I have a previous book published as an ebook only (on B&N’s, should I mention that in my query? #

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