Some Evernote Love

I have been a premium subscriber of Evernote for a few years. At first, I paid to get the larger amount of storage, and to toss them a bone.

It is the premier cross platform notebook. I have written in the past that Microsoft’s OneNote is a better app, but being Windows only means that I am not going to adopt it.

At first, the disparity in features between OneNote and Evernote were pretty wide. But with the last few updates, the gap has narrowed greatly, and in some ways, Evernote has surpassed. The ability to toss PDF’s, Gmail messages, and pretty much all documents at it is impressive to say the least. Its apps for the smartphones are also excellent.

And, as a premium subscriber, it will OCR documents for me in the background, so they become searchable.  Adobe Acrobat does that as well, but it is nice to just send them to Evernote and let it chew on them.

Lately,  I have been using Evernote for collaboration. I have invited some people to share my “Marketing” notebook, and it has fostered some great idea sharing.

I am beginning to use it more and more for my daily workflow, and it is improving my productivity. I have no doubt that trent will continue.

If you are a “free” Evernote user, consider taking the plunge and go premium. You will find a lot more uses for the product and service.

Unfortunate Name Choices

I got an email in my inbox today that seemed to imply that I ‘missed’ a big announcement last week.

Well, I certainly didn’t remember any big announcement, but if I had I probably would have ignored it.

You have to wonder if their marketing team has a pulse
You have to wonder if their marketing team has a pulse

This startup has called themselves “Alpha Software”. Really?  ‘Alpha’? Now I love playing with new and edgy things on my ‘puter, and have installed a lot of buggy, pre-release candidate, alpha quality software, but to name your company ‘Alpha Software’, that really takes the cake.

For those who didn’t grow up steeped in computers and software, the software development process has a few milestones. The “Proof of Concept” that demonstrates the capability. The “Alpha” phase which is early, not ready for prime time, and certainly likely to crash in spectacular ways. The “Beta” phase is when you are comfortable releasing it into the wild to get some early feedback. And finally “Released” which means that you are comfortable standing behind the product, selling it, and providing at least a modicum of support.

Only the brave or the foolish will install “Alpha” level code. Funny name for a company though. I think I will pass.

Living in Suburbia

Warning: I am going to write about extremely boring shit for a few posts.

When we moved to Arizona in 2003, we were moving to Tucson. A great place, lots of charm, but truly a no plan sort of place for how they let growth happen. Consequently, you had lots of little communities scattered all over without rhyme or reason. We lived on the far east side of town, in a fairly low density neighborhood. We lived at the end of a road, with a lot of open space around us. We liked it.

Then last year we moved to Chandler, a suburb in south-east Phoenix. It is everything that Tucson is not. Well planned, plenty of green space, well maintained cities, enough population density to support local businesses (stores, restaurants and the like). The sidewalks are paved, and there are street lights. Yes, it is hotter then hell here, but the myth that Tucson was 10F cooler is pretty much debunked (we both track each other quite closely).

Why do people still do this?
Why do people still do this?

But Phoenix is a big city, there is no denial of that fact.

Chandler is where Intel is located. The Kyrene school district is one of the best in the state (all that Intel tax money), and the neighborhoods are well groomed.

But, I experience something here at a scale that is astounding in this day and age. Direct door hanger marketing. Almost every day, I come home to find a pitch, coupons, or offerings of service. Landscapers trying to sell their services (lots and lots of them ply their trade here), Baskin Robbins trying to get people to have a treat, house cleaning services, even the local Auto Row has put hangers on the door. Sigh.

I thought that this primitive form of direct marketing had gone the way of the Do Do. Apparently not, as it is alive and well, flourishing here in SE Phoenix.

In Tucson we had very little of this. Maybe a couple times a year. Before that in San Jose, I don’t recall EVERY having a door tag on my condo or any place I rented or lived. (There probably were some, but not enough to be memorable.)

Well, I guess it is better than the crap that is Groupon.

Next up: The joys of shopping with extreme couponers.

Curse Survey Monkey…

I have been using Survey Monkey for a few years.  Great product, and for simple surveys, it really can’t be beat. But I stopped using it at my last job (we had a high buck license of Eloqua which pretty much kicks all asses).

The Survey MonkeyFlash forward to today.  The non-profit that I work with (Southern Arizona Greyhound Adoption) needs to replace a couple of board members who decided to resign. Perfect use of a survey to get a tally of yay’s and nays’ from the membership.

But now Survey Monkey has changed.  First, my old account disappeared.  Not a big deal, I hadn’t used it in a couple of years, so I wasn’t upset.  I sign up again, and go to create the ballot as a survey. A lot of the nifty functionality that I used to enjoy for my simple surveys is now an “upgrade”. Boo.

The biggest limitation is that you can only use it to gather 100 responses.  Since we have over 200 members, and expect 80%+ to vote, that is not a good solution.

I took the plunge and subscribed to the first tier of premium (I have some work surveys to do as well, so I will get a fair amount of use for my $17 a month), and I have an even chance of being reimbursed for the subscription.

On my professional blog, I have done a few entries about the “Fremium” market strategy, and how you need to make sure that there are reasons for a casual users to “pay”. Survey Monkey certainly has applied similar learning, and it encouraged me to open my wallet to get the better version.