Saturday, December 29, 2012

Evernote for Mac

If you have a Mac and haven't yet tried Evernote, you're really missing out.  The new update for Mac is very impressive.  I love the new shortcut features and the preview of notes that I've scanned using my Scansnap s1500.  Tagging/moving notes between notebooks also seems easier to me.  While I've adopted the new Mac version of Evernote, I'm a little weary of the iPad update.  I haven't updated yet considering some of the hate being posted on the Evernote review page in the Appstore.  Hopefully, the bugs get worked out soon and I'll give it a try when they're around version 5.02.

Monday, November 5, 2012

My Productivity Apps

During my presentation at GLACUHO, I demonstrated a number of Apps on my iPad.  Here's a screen shot of some of my favorites.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Evernote Hyperlinks = Increased Productivity

It's amazing how quickly time passes when you're busy!  Its also amazing how when you're busy, you find ways to become more efficient using Evernote and other Evernote-friendly apps.  One feature of Evernote, I've recently "rediscovered' is the ability to make links to other notes.  This is something that you will setup from the Windows or Mac client.  The good news is once you setup links inside of a note, they will work seamlessly on an iPad.  Here's how I tend to use Hyperlinks in Evernote:

1. As my week goes along, I send everything and anything to Evernote.  It's a gathering place for my ideas, projects, and tasks.  

2.  When I have a meeting coming up, I set an agenda in Evernote.  Rather than have to remember everything on my agenda, I use the power of hyperlinks to make connections to other notes within Evernote.  

3.  Not sure how to use the hyperlink feature?  Click here to learn more.

If this is your first time visiting the blog - welcome.  New users, start at the beginning of the blog to get a better understanding of how I leverage Evernote, iPad, and other apps to improve my personal productivity.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

IQTELL - The next big thing?

Recently, I got to participate as a beta tester for IQTELL which  uses the slogan "The Best Productivity App in the History of Doing."  This web based client is a mash-up of a number of important services that I utilize daily including my email, calendar, Evernote, and the GTD philosophy.

I went through a training a few days ago which provided an overview of the client and I have to say that I'm very pleased thus far IQTELL.  The vast options available are at first a bit overwhelming and the web-based didn't really grab me the first time I logged in.  One strength I've noted of Evernote is the ability to have a PC and Mac based application that allows offline use.  IQTELL doesn't appear to offer this.  With that said, I am warming to this application and have a feeling that it will become a very strong product that I will be using for a very long time.

The strengths of this program are vast and for those of you that are into the GTD philosophy this is a real dream come true in terms of integration.  Instead of working in multiple programs -you can work within one dashboard. Once I get everything setup, I believe this will quickly become my favorite productivity app.

I think the sheer number of options it comes with can be a bit overwhelming so it will require some patience and learning to truly get this software running your life.  Again - I stress "running your life" because I think this thing can help make work-life integration much better than anything I've seen thus far on the market.  I don't think it's a replacement for Evernote but it sure is a nice compliment to Evernote.  If my comments have intrigued you enough to try it, go to the IQTELL website and ask to sign up as a beta tester.  With some patience and practice, I think you'll find this to be well worth the time investment.

Oh - I almost forgot! They have Android and IOS apps for the client as well to assist with the GTD functions.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Tips to help type on the iPad Virtual Keyboard

I often hear technology bloggers ask the question about the future demise of laptops with the rise in iPad usage.  While I don't fear the demise of the present day laptop, I don't see it anytime soon until Apple can redesign the virtual keyboard into something that provides the speed of a tactile keyboard.   

Since we can't wait on Apple innovation, it may be more helpful to become "better" at typing on the iPad virtual keyboard.  Great tips in the link below on how one might begin to become a better virtual typist

New eBook for increasing iPad Productivity

Three of my favorite topics are combined in the new eBook: iPad Productivity - GTD, Evernote, and iPad.  For those of you that are new to increasing your productivity through your iPad, this is a great book to start with.  Not too long but certainly full of enough suggestions that the price tag of $5.00 is a steal.  Personally, I had no idea that QuickOffice worked so well with Evernote.  That will be one piece of advice I follow-up on later today!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Evernote Slacker

When I'm asked about my utilization of Evernote, I describe it as a life-organization device.  Just send anything and everything you have there.  It may not be completely organized when it gets there but it will be easier to find.  The search feature of Evernote comes in very handy due to it's amazing ability to search within files and even recognize handwriting (if your handwriting is somewhat legible...)

During times of intense work (such as the start of a new academic year), I sometimes fall back into old habits and move away from Evernote.  I have to remind myself that Evernote doesn't really care if the note is tagged or saved to the right folder.  It's always better to have something in Evernote than simply sitting on my desk as a hand-written note or handout.  

So....even if you're an "Evernote Slacker" like I've been in the past few weeks, don't worry - just keep sending everything you want to remember to Evernote.  

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Placeme as an Evernote add-on

It's rare that I come across an iPhone app that impresses me as much as Placeme.  I just downloaded this app two weeks ago and I have to say I'm very impressed!

Here's the basics of the app

  • Placeme is a personal GPS tracking program.  It doesn't publish your location but simply sends you a report of where you were during a particular day.  
  • Why would you want to have something like this?  As a Student Affairs Administrator - I want to be sure that I'm not married to my office space all day.  Each morning, I get feedback on where I was the previous day.  If I see that I've been shackled to my office the day before, it's a great reminder to get out and visit with students and staff.
  • Another fabulous feature is that it integrates with Evernote so that each morning you see a report in your Evernote account.  Even better is that any notes you create during the day are hyperlinked under the location you were at the day before.  In other words, if you create 10 notes in Evernote while you were in your office, they will all be listed in chronological order.  As you can see below - the report I got in Evernote shows my time spent at China Fortune Restaurant as well as time spent at the home we're renting.  The two items under "Home at the Ridges" are hyperlinked to the documents I was working on at the time.  Simply clicking on those items will bring up the notes they reflect.  
Check it out in the App Store!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Reflections on a year of no paper

It's been a full year since I decided to go paper-free.  To be fair, I haven't gone 100% paper-free as that's likely impossible.  To describe my lifestyle is kind of like a reduced-fat cookie.  I'm 90% fat-free but still have a little bit of the good stuff.

Here are some of the thoughts I have about becoming paper-free and how the transition has gone

1.  You need to go cold-turkey.  It's sort of like learning a new language.  You're better off immersing yourself in the desired new behavior as opposed to easing into it.  I just stopped carrying a pen and paper.  Don't worry - someone will have a pen in the meeting you're going to if you actually need it.  Just be polite and borrow it if there's a sign-in sheet or something similar.

2.  Don't expect your friends and co-workers to go paper-free.  It's just not realistic to convert an office or organization into paper-free.  As a result, you need a personal scanner.  I like the Scansnap s1500 but know that Canon has an impressive device now as well.  Just take their paper they give to you and scan it.

3.  You need a document management service.  I prefer Evernote but there are others.  You need a place to put all of the information you need access to.

4.  Continue to evolve.  Carrying an iPad 3 is much easier than using an iPad 2 in terms of documents.  You can take a photo of a document with an iPad 3 and it will be close to the original.  The iPad 2 camera is simply garbage.  Sorry for those of you with an iPad 2.  It does most everything else just as well.  However, the camera doesn't work well.

5.  Use a tablet.  I prefer the iPad but everyone needs something to read with.  It is really up to you and your budget in deciding what you want to get.  The tablet is simply easier to read from than a laptop/desktop.  The tablet is not a replacement for a laptop - just simply a better reading device.  I always say that a tablet fits between your smart phone and your laptop.

6.  Moving is much easier when you're paper free.  I still have a lot of books I needed to move to Ohio University but in terms of paper files, I've cut that stack down by about 75%.  The only file folders I have are those that I haven't had a chance to scan yet.

I'll probably add to this list at a later date but this is at least a start.

Blog to be updated weekly soon!

Going to get back to making posts here and there on a weekly basis to the blog.  Been busy transitioning to Ohio University.  Sorry for the delay and I appreciate the continued hits to the blog!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Livescribe Pulse Smartpen and Evernote

Do you need a Smartpen?  I decided it was time to give the Livescribe Smartpen a whirl and check out the integration with Evernote.  I have to say that I am very impressed with the Pulse model that I'm using.  It records anything I write in a Livescribe notebook and once I dock the pen, it sends my handwriting right to evernote.  I could go on for days about the utility of this pen and how well it works with Evernote. If you want the ability to carry around a notebook and still use Evernote to remember everything you write, don't delay - get yourself a Smartpen today!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Trentacostes heading to Ohio University

Sorry for the delay in recent posting.  I recently accepted the position of Executive Director of Residential Housing at Ohio University and will be transitioning my family in the next few months. I'ts bittersweet as I've had an amazing 8 years at NKU and will miss many of the great friends and colleagues I've made. 

However - no worries for those of you following my blog at NKU - I intend to continue to update this blog during my tenure at Ohio University.  I continue to believe in both Evernote and the iPad as amazing productivity tools.  This blog will continue to reflect tips and ideas I have for leveraging both.  Thank you for continuing to follow the blog.


Use Siri to email notes to Evernote

Sorry for the delay in new posts - life has continued to be hectic.  A future post will explain why there's a been a dely in new ideas and posts

In the meantime, here's a great tip for those of you using Evernote who also have Siri (Iphone 4s).  Those that love Siri know that she has some limitations but here's one way around the evernote limitation.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

It's been a while!

To say it has been busy is an understatement....

More tips and tricks for iPad and Evernote coming soon.

In the meantime, for those of you on Twitter consider following Evernoteman (my username).  I tweet more than I post on here.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Evernote for Dummies

If you like what I have to say about Evernote but need more of a step by step guide, this book may do the trick.

iPad Lounge Screencast

I had a few requests for a shortened version of the lecture I gave at the iPad Lounge. I crunched 60 minutes into a little less than 13 minutes. The short video I took is a little jumpy in the middle so I apologize but the gist of the apps I use to be paperless are covered in this shorter video and will hopefully peak your interest to try them and move yourself towards a more paperless world.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Use Multitasking Gestures

If you've updated to 5.0 (or 5.1) you have the ability to use multitasking gestures. If you haven't tried them yet, you're missing out on a great way to navigate quickly between apps. You use them with four or five fingers making the motion all at once.

1. Swipe left to right for moving between apps
2. Swipe up to reveal open apps

Monday, March 19, 2012

Never forget to attach a file again

Ok....I admit - this isn't an iPad app.'s still pretty cool and will prevent you from looking foolish because you forgot to include an attachment when emailing from Outlook.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Organize your apps by function for a more intuitive interface

Saw this post on lifehacker and thought it was a great idea and something to share on the blog.

To read the post, click here

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Voicemail Transcription? Voicemail in your email? Yes, it's possible and it's free

Why pay extra on your cell phone bill to have voicemail transcription? I recently made a switch on my voicemail box to use Google Voice. Don't have an account yet? Visit: to get a local number.
I placed a phone call to Cincinnati Bell and asked for conditional call forwarding which was added at no charge. I asked them to replace my conditional calls (e.g. all non answered calls or calls that come through while I'm on the other line) to be directed to my new Google Voice phone number. To the user leaving the message, they hear no difference in the voicemail message (assuming you set it up prior to connecting to the service). But for you - it can send you a text message with a transcription of the message as well as attach the voicemail as an audio file that is sent to your inbox. If don't have "visual voicemail" and want something close to it. This is a great option....and it's free.

Slow computer?

Recently, I was asked a question about the campus computer replacement program and how one could improve their computer without spending money on a new one (prior to the computer coming up for replacement). I know this isn't iPad related but I feel as if it's a common problem on campus so I am going to address it here in the blog. First and foremost, you need to make sure you have enough memory. Not sure how much you have? Visit and download their memory configurator. Find the link that says "scan my computer" and agree to let it install on your CPU. If you do everything correctly, you will find a report that shows your current memory and the potential for memory upgrades including prices. I've ordered through this site both at home and at work. Of course, once it arrives, one needs to install the new memory. I would suggest contacting Information Technology is you are not familiar with installing memory. For those that are comfortable and have done it before, it's slightly more complicated than replacing a light bulb. It's less involved than you think.
Once you get your memory upgrade (typically most machines only have 1 gb - you want at least 2 gb) - put in a service request for your computer to be reimaged with Windows 7. Most computers still being serviced will be eligible to upgrade as long as the memory is above 2 gb. Prior to having your computer reimaged, you want to be sure you have backed up all important documents to your J or K drive. When a computer is reimaged it is completely wiped clean. Why do you need to reimage your computer? For the average user, a lot of junk accumulates on the cpu over the course of a few years making it run slower and often with errors. Please know that having a slow computer is rarely due to hardware. Most times it's due to software conflicts and other issues so the reimaging can cause a dramatic change as long as you have enough memory.
For most users, adding memory and reimaging will provide additional computer life and improved productivity.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

iPad Lounge Presentation

A special thanks to everyone that attended the iPad lounge yesterday in Griffin Hall. Great turn out and even better discussion. If anyone has found this blog as a result of attendance, welcome!
I'm hoping to link the video to the presentation once that is made available but in the meantime, here's the Prezi I covered yesterday:
My apologies in advance for some of the poor contrast of some of the text. Click on the text to zoom in closer.
If anyone has questions, feel free to email me as always

Friday, March 2, 2012

Declare Email Bankruptcy

It's ok. I've been there. 1000+ messages in the inbox? 200+ folders? How can manage the madness? First, you need to admit defeat and instead of trying to get better think about doing your work differently. Once you get there and want to try a new productivity-altering method, try the one suggested here:

You only need three folders! Not 10, not 100, only three. Trust me.

The info below is copied almost verbatim from A big props to Adam Pash and his book Lifehacker. If you don't own this book yet, please consider purchasing yourself a copy. You will be forever changed.

The Trusted Trio

Follow Up
These messages represent tasks you must complete; whether that's a response that will take more than two minutes (anything less than that, just respond on the spot!) or some sort of an action. All these messages represent an item on your to do list.
Examples of messages that might go here include: a request to update the web site, or a message from a long-lost high school friend who you haven't spoken to in years that you want to spend some time writing with updates on your life. To make sure you actually follow up on the messages in this folder, you must review it regularly. Alternately, when you add a message to this folder, make sure you also add it to your to-do list. Here's more on how to separate your email from your to-do's.

The Archive folder is your long-term email reference library. Place all the messages that contain information you may want to retrieve at some point in the long term future in Archive. Any completed threads, completed requests, memo's you've read, questions you had answered, and completed project email goes into Archive. Basically, whenever an email is "closed" but you may find it useful at some point in the future place it in Archive.
Dumping everything directly into Archive may seem scary to dedicated filers . It was to me at first. However, the archive is your "pile" versus "file;" Just remember it's completely searchable, and any message you place there will be retrievable using a well-crafted query.

The Hold folder is a temporary holding pen for important messages you'll need quick access to within the next few days. If you're waiting on someone else to get back to you with crucial information, or you're maintaining a thread about a time-sensitive topic, keep it in the Hold folder. For you GTDers (getting things done for those who are unfamiliar), items in the Hold folder might correspond with items in the next few weeks in your tickler file.
Examples of messages that would go in Hold are: a FedEx confirmation number for a delivery that's on its way, or a message from a co-worker that says, "I'll get back to you Tuesday re: The Big Project."
This folder should be reviewed on a regular basis and cleared out as the message contents are no longer needed (ie, that FedEx got delivered or your co-worker gets back to you.)

What does email management have to do with the iPad? Well, if you've ever tried filing messages on an iPad into 100 folders you'll see the problem in about 10 seconds. Once you move to this method, you will find filing messages on your iPad may be quicker than using Outlook. You don't need the folders - trust me. Change your work life today. To further illustrate simplicity, consider the mind of Steve Jobs. Allegedly, when developers were told that the iPhone was to only have two buttons, the first response they gave him was that it was impossible. They brought prototypes with 8, then 6, then 4, but he held strong -"bring me a device that only has 2 buttons. That's it - 2 buttons." Today, that vision has realized the iPhone, iPad, and other "i" inventions. I'm suggesting that three folders follows the same line of thinking.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Sign documents and send them as a PDF on iPad

Softsign allows you to sign documents with your finger or with your stylus. Once you're done, you can email the document to the intended recipient. While i haven't utilized this tool a lot in my daily work, I believe it will become a part of my future workflow. Cost is only a dollar. The reviews are average but I haven't found any problems with the program.

Monday, February 27, 2012

How to make a phone call with your iPad

Forgot your phone? Need to make an important call? As long as you have WiFi nearby, you can use a program called Talkatone to make free phone calls using Google Voice. How do you get started?

1. Go out and setup a Google Voice number (it's free)

2. Download Talkatone from the App store (also free)

3. Start making phone calls from your Ipad (speaker is at the bottom, mic is at the top).

Monday, February 20, 2012

Evernote, GTD, and The Secret Weapon

I've had a few requests for Evernote. I'm planning on doing more with this program over the next few weeks but for now, I'm going to reference a new site I located that speaks to the ability of the program to sync with your inbox and GTD. If you're unfamiliar with Getting Things Done (GTD), I encourage you to google the philosophy. It's pretty straight forward but the way I summarize the concept is use your brain for thinking and not for remembering. Allow the system to help you remember and you can spend your day on thinking/producing.
Here's a workflow chart for GTD

Saturday, February 18, 2012

How to lock your screen orientation

Ever had a situation where you wanted your screen to stay still? Trying read while laying on the couch? Screen rotation while lying down can make you feel like you're watching "The Blair Witch Project" so knowing how to lock your screen orientation is a must.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Want to run SAP on your iPad?

Programs like SAP, Microsoft Word, Excel, etc. don't play nice on an iPad. Information Technology has provided a workaround that was sent out this week.
Here are the basics of what you need in order to make the workaround work:
1. You need a WIFI connection (also one that's pretty good - you probably will have difficulty on a weak connection)
2. You need VPN software. IT provides an explanation of what and how to use that here -
3. You need the VM ware software. Follow the instruction on this page -
4. Have a little patience - you will likely need to refer to these directions at least one more time to get the hang of it.
Once you get into the Virtual Machine PC, you'll find that it runs just like a PC.

Show your NKU Spirit on your iPad

This morning I created a background for the iPad that will make you the envy of everyone else who hasn't made it their background.

Click here to learn how you can install it on your own iPad. You will need to have Dropbox installed on your iPad and may need to click pause on the video as it's done in less than 90 seconds.

Call if you need help.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Paperless office part 1

Is it really possible to have a paperless office? Completely paperfree? That's a bit of a stretch as most folks at NKU are still throwing around paper in meetings. Can you go 90% paper free? That's probably where I'm at in terms of my adoption of a paper free environment. Why go paper free? Well, there's a number of reasons that come to mind. Here are the top 3 for me:

1. It's like hiring a digital assistant on the cheap (more on this in later blog entries) - thus filing is minimal and you look ultra-organized.

2. It's eco-friendly

3. You can carry many file cabinets of material with you everywhere you go. Plus, it can minimize your need for a big office footprint.

4. Did I mention it helps with organization? Just making sure...

Stylus Recommendation

I've been researching many of the various styluses available for iPad. There are really three types that exist at this time. One has kind of a rubber cushion at the bottom which to me at least feels like a crayon. There's another one with more of a textured tip that resembles velcro. While this one tends to be a little better imo, there are times that the tip doesn't show up when writing. The newest type is my favorite to date which features a clear disc at the end with a fine ball point. The model I've recently tested is the Jot. I believe this is about the best you can find to date. Again, I think it's best to try out the various styluses prior to buying one. If anyone wants to stop by and try the three types, just let setup a time with Barb Barnes and I'll be happy to let you sit down and try out all three.

Quick and Easy iPad Education

If you're struggling on how to figure something out, the first two areas that I visit almost daily include: and For instance, a search of "how to reset iPad, brings up the following on youtube: