Productivity

Updated DROE Tool In the Works

I am finally working on a major update to the DROE Tool (stealing time over the holiday weekend).  I hope to have an alpha test version posted within the coming week.  I have already fixed the compatibility issue with OneNote 2010, and am working on some other enhancements such as configurable hotkey definitions.

I have pulled together a list of bug fixes and enhancements from your previous comments on the blog.  If there is something else you would like to see, or if you just want to make sure I don’t forget something, you can post a comment here.

-Carl

UPDATE: Version 0.5 alpha01 is available for download.

Note Taking & Note Page Templates

Part of my new year’s resolution is to be more prolific and to share more ideas, tools, templates, etc.  In the past I often tried to wait until I had things nearly perfected, and felt that everything needed an exhaustive write-up.  I may still do some of that, but you’ll also be seeing a lot more raw content.

So let’s get to it…   There are a lot of times where it is slightly rude or just not feasible to take notes with your laptop.  Good ole pen and paper still have their place.   As I mentioned previously, I use a small 5½” x 8½” binder for this purpose, along with some custom note pages.  The note template I use is in the spirit of the Cornell note taking method, but with some modifications.

One of the primary modifications is that there Read the rest of this entry »

Configuring Google Voice as a Jott / reQall Replacement

I’m a big fan of reQall, Jott, and the various other voice-to-text services out there.  I currently have a reQall Pro account and use it on a daily basis.  Naturally, the first thing that came to mind when I heard that Google Voice was going to have voice transcription capabilities was using it to augment or maybe even replace my current tools.  After some trial and error, here is the method I came up with to configure Google Voice for this purpose.

By the way, if you would like an overview of the Google Voice service, there are some nice articles on Lifehacker.com.

GENERAL ACCOUNT SETUP

  1. Create a Google Voice account.  Until it’s open to the general public, you’ll need to request an invite here.
  2. Go through the basic setup following the instructions to add your home phone number and create your account.
  3. Once your account is created, click the Settings link at the top of the page and go to the General tab (see screenshot below).  Make sure that Notifications are set to go to your desired email address.  Optionally, you can disable the “Send a text (SMS) message to” checkbox.  I disabled this because most of the messages are ones that I leave to myself, so I don’t need a text message telling me that I just left a message ;-)
  4. The Call Screening, Call Presentation, and Caller ID settings will not really matter for what we are doing.  Set these however you wish for your other callers.  Do check to see that the “Transcribe Voicemails” box is checked, and save your changes.



SETTING UP YOUR CUSTOM GREETING

The idea here is to create a greeting that mimics what you might hear when dialing into Jott or reQall.  This greeting will only be heard when dialing in from your cell phone.  There are several ways Read the rest of this entry »

Evernote CEO Discusses App (SXSW Video)

Phil Libin, Evernote CEO, discusses the current state of the app in this video from the SXSW ‘09 conference (courtesy of Arik Hesseldahl). One of the interesting notes is that the company is now “net margin profitable”, meaning that they are turning a profit even when you consider all of their overhead expenses. Their primary source of revenue according to Phil is their premium subscriptions, so they are already profitable even without the new ads.


Phil Libin, Evernote from Arik Hesseldahl on Vimeo.

Strip Outlook Attachments and Replace with Links

UPDATE OCT 2009: Reader jumpjack has created a Google Code project for this macro. You can download the latest source code on the project page.
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There are many good reasons to strip attachments from your email messages. The main reason for me is that I often embed email messages into my Outlook tasks for quick reference. Since some tasks have multiple emails (each with multiple attached files), I need a way to keep the task size manageable. So, I simply strip the attachments before embedding the email into the task. Another reason to strip attachments is to improve Outlook performance. Smaller PST files are less likely to be corrupted and are faster to search and index.

The Outlook VBA macro below is one easy way to strip attachments from your messages. Simply select one or more messages in the Outlook explorer window, then activate the macro. The result is shown in the screen shot below. As you can see, all of the attachments throughout the email are numbered and replaced with links at the top of the message. There is even a hyperlink to the folder containing the attachments. The macro also saves a text copy of the original email message along with the attachments for future reference.

You’ll notice that there is still one small attachment remaining called “Attachments Removed”. This is added so that the paperclip icon in Outlook is still active, which indicates that the message has (or had) attachments.

The attachments archive folder is organized with one folder per email, as shown below. The folders are named using the date of the message, the sender name, and the subject line. At the end of the year, you can grab the whole collection and zip it up for archive purposes. Since the links are hard coded into the emails, you’ll want to be consistent with your folder locations. That is why I simply use “C:\Outlook Attachments\” along with the year. If I ever want to restore some old messages and be able to browse the file attachments, I know exactly where to put them.
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