I’m not very good at filing. I tend to pile things on the corner of my desk and hope they go away. This makes it difficult to find things later. But there seems to be nothing I can do to fix this behavior. Even when I do have time to file, which is very rare, filing is not what I find time to do. So I am very grateful for cloud computing.
I subscribe to Pixily.com. So instead of filing, I move those piles into a prepaid envelope once a week and drop them in the mail. Pixily.com scans them and uploads them to my private file cabinet in the cloud. Now I can find everything with a simple search, print them out, email them to people, or just look at them online. I am now using my filing cabinet to store shoes â€“ a much better use for it.
Pixily.com announced a few weeks ago that it had partnered with EverNote.com. I used EverNote.com for a while just after it launched â€“ years ago — but something about it wasn’t ready (I don’t remember what) and I stopped using it. But this announcement made me think I should take another look. I’m glad I did. It’s terrific. It’s a lot like Microsoft OneNote (which is part of the student version of Microsoft Office) but it’s online (and free). It also offers a software download that synchs my online stuff with all of my computers so I can find things from my laptop, my netbook, or my office desktop.
It is great at capturing stuff that I know I will want to remember later but don’t know what do with now.
For example, I recently got a new fridge. The fridge has a built-in water filter system that will need a new filter in six months. I need to remember what brand to get. But by December, I will most certainly have forgotten. Do I keep the package that came with the original? Where? Nope! I used the Web camera on my laptop to snap a photo of it and sent that photo to Evernote.com. Then I threw the package out. Later, I was reading an article on the Web that contained a gardening tip I know I’ll want later, so I clipped that and sent it to Evernote.com too. I can grab info off the Web, take pictures with my cell phone â€“ maybe I’ll see a book I want but don’t want to buy right now â€“ or send things over from Pixily.com. I can email ideas, photos, or phone numbers from my cell phone or laptop to Evernote.com and I will always be able to find them later.
At Evernote.com, I can organize all that stuff into notebooks. But since I never file, I probably won’t do that. But that’s okay because I can just search for it when I need it. Evernote.com will find it even if the word I search for is in an image. So when I need to know what brand of water filter to buy, all I have to do is go to Evernote.com, type in the word “filter” and it will find that picture I took.
I have been using OneNote for years for this sort of note-taking and ad-hoc filing but I love this cloud angle. Fortunately, Evernote.com offers a very slick import feature so I can get ship all those OneNote files to the cloud, too.