Feb 25

CardDesk for Evernote

Quite a number of third party apps have sprung up now to further improve your Evernote experience. I can think of three free apps off the top of my head – Sunrise Calendar, CardDesk and Kanbanote. Sunrise Calendar, now owned by Microsoft, can integrate your Evernote reminders with reminders from other apps like Google Calendar so everything is in one place. CardDesk, shown above, makes a nice display of selected notes from Evernote on any number of virtual desktops, while Kanbanote organizes your Evernote notes in Trello-like boards. All are free and very enticing. Once you have signed-up for free accounts with these you must authorize the apps to access your Evernote content. More about that later.

Yet when I read reviews of third party Evernote apps, not much is made of possible privacy concerns. You give them permission to access your Evernote database and pull out data and that’s all very well if you don’t have private or sensitive stuff in your notes but I suspect many of us do and just play fast and loose with our privacy or possibly just forget what we have stored away there. All this isn’t helped by the fact that these apps are free so we install them without thinking too much about it. Possibly if there was a price to pay, things might be different and we’d consider things more carefully.

And if that hasn’t got you completely paranoid, just look at the permissions of some of these apps. Yes I know, something else we’d rather gloss over and just get the app installed come what may. Here’s a snapshot of the Sunrise permissions. And remember, Microsoft now own Sunrise.

Sunrise permissions

Evernote themselves discuss third party app permissions here and it’s worth a read if you’d like to know more about how third party apps access your Evernote data including retrieving your notes. As explained there, it’s mostly done through a process called OAuth, an open standard for authorization. You can also view a list of applications that currently have access to your Evernote account using OAuth by visiting https://www.evernote.com/AuthorizedServices.action. From this page you may also revoke access to individual applications. I’ve also had a look round and found recommended privacy guidelines which Evernote urge third party developers to follow. They’re not binding, just recommendations, so the developers don’t actually have to follow them.

So what can we do about data privacy when using third party Evernote apps? Well if you’re careful about what you put in Evernote and have no problem with third party apps looking through everything, fine. Otherwise, if you want to use these apps, look carefully through all your Evernote notes and either put sensitive or private stuff somewhere else or encrypt the contents of those notes.

Any Evernote third party app developers listening? Care to drop a comment and allay my fears?


Feb 19
My Choice of Scanner for Going Paperless
icon1 techandlife | icon2 Life | icon4 February 19, 2015| icon3No Comments »

ScanSnap S1300i

I blogged recently about my plans to go paperless. I have always had a flatbed scanner for scanning single sheets but I decided to buy a duplex (i.e. scans both sides of sheets) multisheet scanner for going paperless. There’s a great variety of scanners available from small portable models like the Doxie Go through to models like the dedicated Evernote ScanSnap. The Doxie models weren’t quite what I wanted and the Evernote ScanSnap model was too much for me both in terms of price and capability. In the end, I settled for a Fujitsu ScanSnap 1300i. Michael Hyatt has posted a very nice review of using the ScanSnap 1300i to scan directly to Evernote so there isn’t much point in me duplicating his work here. Go to his post to see how he uses it with Evernote.

I’m very pleased with the ScanSnap 1300i scanner so far. Very straightforward to set up and use. I like its weight – heavy enough that it doesn’t slide around as you add paper to the feeder for scanning, yet light enough to be reasonably portable. I have it sitting on top of my multifunction printer most of the time and just lift it off when I need to use that instead.

To finish, I’ll point you in the direction of DocumentSnap, a great blog for lots more information on going paperless, scanners and scanning.


Feb 3

No signal - Nexus 4

Do you have to stand in a certain spot or a certain room at home to get any kind of mobile signal? Do you have to go out into the garden to check your messages?

Well I used to. I couldn’t find a solution to this weak mobile signal problem. You can buy mobile signal boosters/repeaters and femtocells which can help boost your signal, but there is some debate over their legality in UK. Ofcom say they are illegal. However, they may be legal in your country.

In any case, there may in fact be a free solution to this problem if you have it too. Check with you mobile provider to see if they have an app which allows your phone to use your home broadband connection to move voice calls and messages to and from your carrier’s network rather than hunting for a very weak or non-existent mobile signal. You may also be able to use it at other locations where you have access to a wifi network and where the mobile signal is poor.

In UK, the mobile operator Three offer this through a free app called Three InTouch available for both Android and iOS. The instructions for downloading and installing the app are very clear and it’s working really well on my Nexus 4. O2 have a similar app called TU Go for Android, iOS and Windows but it’s only available just now for O2 Pay Monthly and Business customers. Vodafone don’t seem to have a free smartphone app at the moment but currently offer the Vodafone Sure Signal femtocell for £100. Virgin has the SmartCall app for Android and iOS phones.

So if you have a problem with a poor or non-existent mobile signal at home, check if your mobile operator has a free app to tap into your wifi network. Failing that, check out if signal repeaters/ boosters and femtocells are legally available in your country.


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