Showing posts with label misc. Show all posts
Showing posts with label misc. Show all posts


Using Evernote Clearly to Capture Articles Into Evernote to Read Later

In June, 2011 I mentioned in Using Readabiliy and Evernote to capture items from the web how I capture articles from the web into Evernote for reading later. My goal is to be able to capture things I want to read later, in avery readable form and in a way that does not require an Internet connection. I use the Readability extension to Safari.

I have started to use Google Chrome. I found the Clearly extension. From my MacBook Air using Chrome, when find an article I want to read later, I simply click on the Evernote Clearly icon.
This will format the page and bring it up in a new window, which will allow you to clip the page, not just theURL, to Evernote.


Using Readabiliy and Evernote to capture items from the web

These two tools are excellent. I use Evernote to takes notes in my classes at school and to capture things I don’t want to forget. I wrote about Evernote before, in this entry. This is the routine I use to capture papers or articles from web pages to read on any device, including my “hand held,” no matter what size the screen. I want to demonstrate how I use them in tandem. This assumes you have Evernote and Readability accounts, and have installed Evernote and Readability in your browser.
  1. Find an article I want to save, e.g., .
  2. Click on your keyboard’s “right single quote” button (’) for the Readability
    bookmarklet. The page you are on will be converted to a more readable

  3. Send the “readable” page to Evernote by clicking on the Evernote icon
    on your browser.

    That action will bring up an Evernote quicknote
    You can see I selected “Clip full page” and “Save page URL.” This window also allows one to add tags and select the notebook. (If you are not logged into Evernote, you will have an opportunity
    to do that.)

Over on Evernote on the computer, we see the saved page.

On the handheld in Evernote, the articles are indeed readable.

Reading this, it might seem like there are a lot of steps. There are
only 3 when you find a page you want to save: click on readability; click on Evernote; and click to save to Evernote.


CrashPlan saves me yet again.

I needed a file I deleted a month or so ago, for my clinical class. It was of a session with a client, but I decided not to use it and, so, I deleted it. After all, it was 3 GB. It’s just that now, I wanted to do a “before and after” thing. (The client had done a tremendous amount of good work.)

I looked in Time Machine. It was not there. Maybe TM cleaned things up. Maybe I have something set to delete files so the backup drive doesn’t fill up too fast. I tried Crashplan. I put in the search string “.MP4.” It found some, but not the one I needed. Bummer!! Oh. Wait. “Display deleted files.” Check. Try again. BINGO! Brilliant.

I have CrashPlan Family Unlimited. Like getting a “replacement” policy for fire insurance, when you need it you’ll be glad you did.


“What are you looking for in a job?”

“Never again spend all day talking about nothing that will never get made (sic). I want to do real things; to think about real stuff, for real people, who need real things done, and I want to feel great about my environment where I do it. If I am going to spend 10 hours a day there, I need to like [the people there] a lot… to have a culture that works. Money is the reason people say they leave a job, but culture is the reason that money becomes an issue.”
I was listening to the “43 Folders” podcast of Merlin Mann’s Time & Attention Talk at Rutgers. He was discussing the culture of meetings in different companies. As I listened I thought about a question someone had recently asked: what sorts of things are you looking for in a job?

When talking about job satisfaction and dissatisfaction, more than once I’ve had someone say, “That’s why they call it ‘work’ and not ‘vacation.'” While that sounds very clever, it does not address the other aspects of, and desires in, a job. I don’t know about you, but I am at the point in my life where benefits and salary are important, but they are second to having meaningful work to do and enjoying it, which includes the people, the environment, the culture, and the customer. Put another way, making a ton of money with fabulous benefits, producing wonderful and accurate reports that will sit on a shelf, sounds like Purgatory, if not Hell. (Granted, it beats doing all that for lousy pay.) Interesting and useful work trumps salary every time.

(Caveats: We need to eat. We need to be able to care for our health and that of our families. Sometimes, for a season, the most important thing is income. The economy could be so bad, and our particular skill set so out of step with what is needed, that we will do whatever we can to survive. I may be naïve, but I do hope that those times are rare.)

So, what does my perfect job look like, after things like working for and with an organization I can “get behind,” whose mission or purpose I can support and help advance? First, what Merlin described is a good start. Real challenges, real work, working with great people, for customers with real needs, who know they have them. I’ve been blessed with working with great people at every place I have worked, really, but that alone doesn’t offset “know-it-all” customers. Next, helping develop and guide others. This does not necessarily mean being a supervisor, though I have been very successful and satisfied doing that. Finally, the ability to work at home sometimes, is a great benefit.

I remember very well a recent job I had. I was a project manager leading an effort to assess the risks associated with an unbelievably large—really, unmeasurable—network. Further, we, the team, had an inkling that when we were done and the mathematics and statistical analyses were all proven, the final report would be put on a shelf. How did I keep from going crazy? I concentrated on the task at hand, certainly, but I also focused on the individuals on my team, helping them get through it, and preparing them for better work, better times. The result was sanity for me, the required “shelf-ware” for the satisfied customer, and—though not my goal—an excellent performance rating for me.

Looking at it from the other side, “Best jobs?” My top jobs—after my grad school assistantship—were working for DEC, working for TIS, and working for myself (Avolio Consulting).

DEC. Great people, challenging work, a lot of customers and sales people to bring together and for whom to provide “interpretive services” (we spoke “techie”). In my latter time at DEC, I was connected with developers and product managers in engineering, and the best group of peers in the field, worldwide. I was able to travel, had opportunities to teach, and earned a voice in the process of how and where the products went. I also supervised the best team of sales engineers I could ever imagine.

TIS. I was employee #78, or something. Small company, that I helped grow. “A fun place to work,” was a stated goal of Steve Walker, and it was. Again, I had the opportunity to grow in my influence, to mentor others, write, and speak. We had a great work environment, great corporate culture, and free lunch, coffee, and soft drinks. The people were great, and we still meet once a year for a reunion and party. I was influential in where the products and the company went.

Avolio Consulting.Great commute. No, just kidding, though I really liked that. Business was good, so I picked and chose my clients. The work was diverse: 1/3 consulting, 1/3 writing, and 1/3 teaching. The pay was great, but I reserved the right to give away
services when the client could not afford me and the challenge was interesting. (On my “Rates” page I quoted Sherlock Holmes in “The Problem of Thor Bridge”: “My professional charges are upon a fixed scale. I do not vary them, save when I remit them altogether.”)
I loved the varied work. I loved the ability to make decisions and set direction. It was wonderful working for “real people, who need real things done,” and solving real problems.

I notice something. In none of these did I mention “clearances,” or “commutes,” or “network and computer security” (or “information assurance“). Those things are secondary. They are particulars. In each of them, I did mention the same things that Merlin noted in his talk. I guess I agree with him. It may be different for you. I hope you find what you are looking for.



Previously, in one of the comments in this post about Evernote, I describe how I capture web pages to read later. This is especially important, because I do not always have access to the Internet. I want to download the webpage or document onto my iPod touch (in this case) and read it later, even without an Internet connection.

These are the steps I go through using Evernote.

  1. See something, in Twitter, for example; click on the URL.
  2. Click on “Email it”
  3. Make the “To:” address be to “My Evernote” (whatever my address is to send it my Evernote account).
  4. Open Evernote
  5. In the new Note, click on the URL. (You still need a network connection for this, so far).
  6. When the web page opens, click on the action button on the bottom right, and select “Clip to Evernote.”
  7. When it is done, under Notes in Evernote you will the page clipped as “Clip:” followed by the URL. You may rename this and delete the original Note that only had the URL.
  8. “Star” the note as a “Favorite,” and sync.

I stumbled upon Instapaper, “A simple tool to save web pages for reading later.” Like Evernote, it works on PCs, Macs, iPod touches, and iPhones. It really is simple. You use a “Read Later” Bookmark and it uploads the page you are viewing to your account on the web, to access later. Let’s do the same thing I suggested earlier, but this time with Instapaper.

  1. See something, in Twitter, for example; click on the URL.
  2. In Twitter, select “Open in Safari”
  3. Click the bookmark “Instapaper: Read Later”
  4. Open Instapaper app
  5. When it syncs, you have it.

Obviously, fewer steps. The Instapaper interface is not as “pretty,” but it does format the web page for easier readability. You can chose to download images, or not, in the Instapaper “Settings.” (I am using the free—so, with advertisements—version.)


“It’s banned in 19 states…”

Texting and driving: a report on NPR’s “Morning Edition”
. We need to make a law about this? Are we stupid? (Rhetorical. Rhetorical.)

It reminds me of that urban myth my brother-in-law shared with me years ago about a driver in motor home setting the cruise control, then slipping into the backseat for a beer.


Praise for the Latest Version of Bible Reader

I’ve used BibleReader for years, originally on the Palm handheld computer, and now on the iPod touch.
I like to follow a plan of reading through the Bible in a year. Originally, I followed a written (paper) plan, but then when I moved to an “all digital” experience, I wanted the information on my PDA. Years ago, someone wrote an add-on for BibleReader (I used on the Palm back then) that displayed a lower-case ‘d,’ and when you clicked on it, it showed a list of dates, and related verses, and little boxes to check off to keep track.

The newest version, version 4.11, not only keeps track of your readings, but also takes you there, and marks the beginning and end of the reading. Here is an example.
  • Open Bible Reader.
  • I like to write notes in a paper journal, so I next check to see what I am reading today, by selecting “Reading Plans” and “View Today’s Assignment.”
  • I then go back to this screen and select Continue Reading.
  • I read until I see “Done,” and select it.

BibleReader is available from Olive Tree Bible Software


9/11 + 8

8:46, impact
9:03, impact
9:37, impact
9:59, collapse
10:03, crash
10:28, collapse



I am embarrassed to say I am strangely intolerant about two things (but only two :-)), both in the PDA realm. The first, is people referring to any and every Palm Computer as a PalmPilot. As Wikipedia says,“The first two generations of PDAs from Palm were referred to as “PalmPilots”. Due to a trademark infringement lawsuit brought by the Pilot Pen Corporation, since 1998…” Back then, US Robotics manufactured the PalmPilot, and I had one. Probably, no one has a PalmPilot today, yet people still call it that.

And on the Apple discussion groups and elsewhere, people will talk about there iTouch when they mean iPod touch. Yes, even spelled with a lower-case “t.” You have an iTouch if you have an this iPod touch knock-off.


The world is shocked! The Washington Post was biased towards the Democrat!

I just found this amusing in a “no duh, Sherlock” kind of way. (Yes, I know that’s not really the phrase.) The Post’s Ombudsman, Deborah Howell, just reported, “An Obama Tilt in Campaign Coverage during the period November 11, 2007 through November 11, 2008.

I look forward to reading what they intend to do about it going forward, but it is kind of like someone noticing that NPR is biased towards liberal, Democratic candidates.


Hawaiian Shirts

My observation… not just for Fridays anymore.



I like to write. I journal. I blog. I don’t do either enough. I write, sometimes, for my day job. (But, writing for government contract deliverables—and who else even talks like that?—is something completely different, and can be life-sucking to a writer. But, I digress.) I just can’t seem to schedule a regular time to write, and this bugs me. So, I need to find a way. All that to point to an excellent column by Kurt Vonnegut. If I read this correctly, he wrote it in 1999. It popped up on a newsreader and I am pointing it out to you. It is How to Write With Style. If you write, please read it (it is very short). His summary:
  1. Find a subject you care about
  2. Do not ramble, though
  3. Keep it simple
  4. Have guts to cut
  5. Sound like yourself
  6. Say what you mean
  7. Pity the readers


Notes from a Boring Meeting

Every meeting can start with a contest. Everyone “plays” or demonstrates what his or her phone sounds like when it “rings.” The one with the most obnoxious one wins. Second place wins for the most embarrassing. These ratings are assigned by the group.


System Back-ups

In entry My Mac Let Me Down (Sort of), I talked about a hard drive crash on my PowerBook G4. It has taken me months, with no good excuse, to “report on my progress” and share some ideas.

As I stated in the previous blog on the subject, I do regular back-ups. I did not regularly back-up my applications (added programs), but I did know my short-list of “must have” additional applications, so it was not a problem to reinstall them. And anything I forgot would be remembered when I tried to use it. And anything else, I did not realy “need.”

That scheme proved to work very well. I asked for other ideas. Here’s a few thoughts from my friend David Strom.
I save all of my data into a folder for a particular year, I guess that is how I think of what I create. Anything that persists from year to year, like my QuickBooks, I just move it to the new year’s folder. Or I have it online.

Having two HDDs makes it easier to duplicate everything with SuperDuper!” [The ‘!’ is part of the product name.] This way I have two bootable drives, in case of failure of one of them. Run the pgm every day or other day, depending on how often your content changes. In my case, not much changes and it takes maybe 10 mins to do an incremental backup. SuperDuper! can be set to just do the increments.

Then once a week I do a backup of the current year’s data to a CD-R. I don’t need much more than that, but you might.

Then once every 60 days or so I bring up the external drive from my basement and do an incremental on SuperDuper!, again, so I have a bootable drive that is in another location.

My most important data is my contacts list and I maintain that on Gmail in two different accounts. Still working on getting that backed up. Gmail has very primitive tools for contacts backup.

Thanks, David.

Okay, so some of you are thinking “Wow. David is really, really paranoid.” (Or you are thinking something less polite.) But, if you have ever lost precious photos, critical emails, or irreplaceable files of any kind, you have some kind of sense that some back-up scheme is necessary. I’ve not yet done everything David does. I’ve started by using an external firewire drive with SuperDuper!. Every once in a while when I remember (!) I dump all my photos to a DVD-R and put them in my safe deposit box. I’d back-up to one of my Internet servers, but need to come up with a plan to do this gradually.

I do not have an automated process. I have to remember to do this. I do remember, though. I plug my Lacie firewire drive in and turn it on. The partitions on this portable drive show up. Each partition is 60G—each large enough to hold all the information on my 60G boot drive. I configured each to be bootable. (Actually, one of the four partitions is slightly smaller. I named this “Archive” and to it I manually copy things I don’t need to regularly back-up.For example, I have my photo archive there. I created it from iPhoto as another Library. I may someday do something similar for iTunes.) I then run SuperDuper! in “incremental back-up” mode, which they call “Smart Update.” Interesting (I think) side note. Someone at work (JHU APL) had a similar disk problem as I described in this entry. She lost some things she wished she hadn’t. Back-ups? Never. I asked around. Mostly it was guys that did back-ups and women that did not. (Of course, APL systems are backed-up by the IT department over the network on a regular basis; I am talking about home systems.)

So, I (almost) daily back up my entire disk using SuperDuper!. I switch between using two different partitions. A third I will use on which to install Leopard. Eventually. (SuperDuper! does not yet work with Leopard.) I am seriously thinking of backing up over the Internet next. Somehow. But, automatically.

Here are a couple of Mac-specific items I found in my searching.
My own personal “Mac Genius”—because he’s a friend—Kevin Long told me how he backs-up.
My backup needs are satisfied by Leopard’s Time Machine (which is as slick as the rumors claim) and .mac. Time Machine does incremental backups every hour. The initial sync takes a long time, as you might expect, but subsequent syncs have occurred without my noticing. (In fact, I’ve checked the Time Machine System Preference to make sure they’ve taken place.) Large, frequently-modified files like Entourage’s database are probably the biggest “problem” for Time Machine as it’s probably backed up during each Time Machine session. Luckily, you can choose to not back up some files via the Time Machine interface; I’d probably add the Entourage database to that list and rsync it on a regular basis instead.

For redundant backup (which includes my Yojimbo database), I also utilize .mac’s Sync application, which syncs my most important information across all my Macs and a .mac server somewhere. I also use Sync to schedule backups of larger, infrequently-accessed files like photos to CD or DVD. /blockquote>Thanks, Kevin. I suspect I’ll move to using “Time Machine” when I install Leopard.


“I know you and Frank were planning to disconnect me, and I’m afraid that’s something I cannot allow to happen.”

Yes, I am old and some of you will not remember HAL 9000, from 2001: A Space Odessy, but the older folks will remember that line.

I have 2 Linux boxes in the house. One is a new one that I use to stage my web site (and as my workstation when my PowerBook disappointed me for the first time (see My Mac Let Me Down (Sort of)). The other is built in an old (former) Gauntlet computer I bought from my excellent friend, Allen, and it is in the basement. I recently decided to shut it down. I am not using it and it is just using power. It has been up for 58 days since a power outage that lasted longer than the UPS battery. When the power came back, so did the basement Linux system.

I tried. It refuses to die. Observe.
# uptime
6:03pm up 58 days, 2:25, 1 user, load average: 0.00, 0.00, 0.00
# shutdown -h now

Broadcast message from root (pts/0) (Thu Dec 6 18:28:41 2007):

The system is going down for system halt NOW!
idt=0xffffe000, Can’t find sys_call_table[]
Uh, oh. It won’t shutdown. I am going down to the basement in a few minutes. If I never blog again, well…
I know I’ve made some very poor decisions recently, but I can give you my complete assurance that my work will be back to normal. I’ve still got the greatest enthusiasm and confidence in the mission. And I want to help you.
Yeah. Right.


Irony in Advertising

I clicked on the Yahoo News item to view the new bin Laden video. Part of the written commentary mentioned that he dyed his beard from grey to black.

Before the video came up, an advertisement played. It was for Pantene hair coloring. You don’t suppose he uses …


Radio Wave Scare Redux

This BBC News report, Wi-fi? Why worry?, talks about school (in Canada and in Chicago) banning Wi-fi because of fears of “the health impact of the 2.4Ghz radio waves used by wireless networks.” BBC News rightly reported that there is no heath concern and pointed out the obvious: “If the journalists were really concerned about the dangers of radio frequency electromagnetic radiation on the sensitive brains of the young, they should be calling for the closure of TV and radio transmission towers rather than asking us to turn off our wi-fi laptops.”

I had to laugh. It reminded me of something humorist and monologist Jean Shepherd said in a 1965 radio broadcast. Shep said, “Do you know that in the early days of radio, everybody blamed everything that happened on radio. In other words, in 1923 or something—it’s a historical fact—when KDKA when on the air or the early radio stations, of course this was like magic to every body, it was fantastic, they could hear stuff right out of the air. And then they began to worry about what was in the air! ‘What are these guys sending out?’ And people were beginning to say all these words that were in the air were beginning to be—were rotting their brains.”

Technology is scary. People are scarier.


Thoughts from a road trip with the radio blasting and the top down

Love is… Listening, with your daughter, to hours of Celine Dion on your iPod playing through the music system in your car on a multi-hour ride home. Wait… And singing along. Singing along and enjoying it. Singing along and enjoying it just because she’s your daughter and she loves Celine Dion.


‘Big Bang’ project put off to 2008

I read a Reuters’ story on CNN’s web site that CERN is using giant magnets in “First tests in a scientific project aimed at solving mysteries of the universe and the “Big Bang” which created it …”

Now, aside from the leap in faith in this science (they seem to know that the “Big Bang”—emphasis mine, capitalization theirs—caused all this, clever “Big Bang” that it was), I am a bit concerned. The article goes on to say, “Researchers on the project, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), say this will recreate in miniature the conditions which existed nanoseconds after the Big Bang some 15 billion years ago and should allow them to see what happened next.” See, I am more interested in what happened a minute or two before. I mean, what if it is the case that scientists in the previous universe were running just such an experiment? You see them all excited. “Okay. Steady. Ready to throw the switch in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, and.”


The stores and guns you laid up for Y2K won’t help you with this one. 🙂

Peter Curran, dropped me this note:
The world was due to end on 26th November 2007 when the CERN LMC inadvertently triggered a black hole. I rejoiced in this prospect, because the event would increase sales of my book, ‘The Ancient Order of Moridura’, with a similar theme, but then I realised that I couldn’t collect my royalties because of the destruction of the planet. Life’s a bitch sometimes!

However, the end of the world is postponed for a year because of problems with magnets – we must wait until April or May of 2008 for extinction and translation into another brane.

The Higgs boson must be laughing quietly, wherever it is hiding in interstellar space.
See his blog entries here and here.


Slide Presentation Behavior

There are many ways to tell amateurs from the pros. When traveling to a 5-day conference, the pro does not check bags. When watching someone give a briefing (and see, here is an area where my language has changed working at APL. Formerly, I’d have said “give a slide presentation” or “give a talk.”), the amateur points the wireless mouse at the screen, rather than at the computer with the receiver.