Monday, 26 December 2016

The End of 2016

I sat down this Boxing Day morning to tidy up my desk, and files a few bits away. I normally do this small, in brackets, job at this time of the year, its seems right to start the year of to a clean plate.

But as always I get side tracked, and its hard to stay focused on the job at hand. So after a full morning, dodging tasks handed to me by my good lady, and incoming text messages from my sister who also seems to think I have nothing better to do, I have got my filing more of less done, a book shelf sorted and my computer cleaned, and I mean that in the literal sense, as the screen looked like it was in need of a dam good clean, so the glass cleaner cloth was used to a big effect.

Next is my year of CPD, as a lecturer, I can not be accused of not full filling my 35 hours, I read constantly and often, a lot of my notes and photos get logged into Evernote, I tried Microsofts OneNote, and dabbled with or is that continue to dabble with Googles Keep, I just want it to succeed, but how can it against Evernote. it just works, and works well across all my devices, the same can not be said of the others in this respect.

I want to update my spreadsheet for CPD hours, but i fear this is going to have to wait, I have just found my list of papers and articles I want to write, or finish, my web site needs updating with my latest paper, and I have the notes on my recent Professorial lecture to update and bring together into an article.

Saldey 2016 has not been a pleasent year, my father died in August, so a lot of things I had planned were put on hold and other things moved or did not get my full attension, whilst I dealt with this, but as I speak, dad is in a small plasic bag on my shelf awaiting a final resting place with his father. I know roughly were he is, but need to spend time finding his old plot in Aston Parish Church.

I live on the cusp, let me explain, I run a Mac, and for the best part, its fine, but I use Google for lectures, and writing, Drive is so good at being on all the machines I have to work on, here at home and at Uni, Mac just does not like sharing like Google does, Pages is ok for short writing, but I prefer Google Docs, for my longer papers and articles, and Chrome, I have set up with a few nice little apps, that Safari just does not have. You may ask why not move to a chrome book, I might in the new year, but my CAD work with Vectorworks is firmly placed on the Mac and I will not move from this, unless Nemetschek, come up with a web based app like Auto cad. I want to return to Gmail, after moving to Mac mail some time back, but the pain I will have to endure in doing this just is not worth it, so here i satay mostly Mac, with more than a little Google.

So there it is, end of another year, I have so much to do in 2017, my list of things I want to do grows longer, I shall be 65 this year, and thoughts of retiring just don't form any part of my plans, but a change in work just might, as I write more, blog more frequently teach better, and add to my mentoring, the future is not me, its the youngsters who are waiting in the wings.

Consultancy now seems more viable, as I concentrate on developing my futurist side, our industry is changing, CAD is morphing into something else, point cloud looks so inviting , but the real interest for me is all the data we generate, how we use it as we delve into AR and VR,  plus data has to involve Algorithms, and online data from so many places and things, hence todays photo. Oh and not to forget how spreadsheets and Google are going to play such an interesting part in all of this.

2017 is going to see all of these melt into MR, or Mixed reality. How it will be used is an ongoing development, there are several camps, which  track , one looks interesting, one has promise, and the rest, well we will see !. At the right time, I will expand my thoughts on this, but until them  watch the blog.

Talking of which, the blog has been a little quiet I know, but now, as I enter 2017 I have so many lined up to write about, expansions of several lectures, more videos to post and if I can some trial live lectures. As I write my abstracts for papers, I will use the blog to air thoughts and discus the paper before going to print.

So there it is, the end of 2016, and a whole new year looms,

Friday, 2 December 2016

My data bank - Shall I stick to Evernote

For as long as Evernote has been in existence, I have been adding articles, pdf files, meeting notes, just about anything I thought work keeping, in the great archive Evernote.

I scan letters, articles I see in magazines, and my trusty Moleskine pages, I take photos within Evernote of bookshelves. The OCR will, if I have taken the photo close enough, will mean it's searchable.
I use it as part of my research, as the little app I have on both safari and Google Chrome Web Browsers, shows any links in my Evernote account as well as the internet. Very usefull for my private notes.
But in the last few month, Evernote has increased the premium fee, there is a free account, but my use means I need to pay, so is the increase justified,
I sat back and wondered,t has anyone else got a similar product that does all of what Evernote does and more.
My list is simple,
I have alway used Mac, so have a lot of notes pre Evernote in Mac format, mostly “pages”, Searching can be done via the Spotlight search button, but is not easy and only brings up the file name
Microsoft OneNote has for some time been gaining ground on Evernote, but after using it to trial its ease and sharing I find on the Mac it's not really ready yet, the iPad version has a hit and miss approach to sharing the main account, and search is therefore limited, but I like the layout and methodology.
Google Keep, has quietly, been adding features to this simple yet so easy to use product, and sharing across all my devices is very google like, easy, it just works, I like the way I can add data, even on the Mac its simple, but it can’t save PDF files, there is a simple work around involving saving the pdf to Google drive, getting the link and pasting that into Google Keep, but any search will only read the link and notes you might have made, unlike Evernote that saves a complete pdf, and makes the entire content searchable. And the search is limited to Keep, searching on my browser does not bring in my keep notes unlike Evernote.
Making notes in individual Google Doc’s is so much like Apples Pages, it is so easy to use, but searching is so limited to the file name.
So after a month of trials and frustration, I am back to Evenrnote, well I never went away, I just duplicated my notes, it took time but showed me that Evernote still has the edge, by some considerable margin, sharing is so good, across all my devices, and almost everything I do is available for the search withing my browser.
Is the extra worth it, answer, yes, will I do the same trial again, yes, but I’ll wait a year and let the other programs mentioned, try and catch up, Google Keep seems to be the one I will watch, Google's ability to both store for free and search this information is well known. However they need to up the ante on pdf and photo import.

There is so much to talk about I blog, toweet, and add notes to various places, so to clooect all of these into a readable archive, I have created an email News letter

This first newsletter. Essentially it's going to be an alternative to my blog, with the current article, plus side issues.

I have for some time wanted to add, my side research and findings, like my Twitter  uploads, but not limited to the letter limit. I want to explore this newsletter design, so it will change.
I use a Google App called “Convert Google Docs to Gmail drafts”, which as the title says, I create this as a google Doc and transferred to gmail to send out. Taking a copy to add to my blog. So if you want so recieve this, try this download link to the PDF. or alternativley fill in this google form with your name and Email and I'll send as an Email. ( This is in trial so hang in there as I sort )