Tag Archives: evernote

Spaced repetition like a boss

Derek Sivers has a post about spaced repetition. If you are new to Spaced Repetition or even if you are not, I highly recommend reading his article or googling about this cool technique a bit. Derek’s article is focused on memorizing a programming language, which is a cool use of SR. However, the way he does it has a weakness: he’s using Anki.

I came across SR while I was learning Spanish. This technique is widely used among language learners to remember new words and phrases they are learning. Most of them use Anki, which is an app built for remembering stuff using flash cards and spaced repetition. But unless you are the really persistent type, it’s not an easy task remembering to load up Anki every day and reviewing the day’s cards.

I used Revunote for some time. It’s an Android app that integrates with Evernote. It gets the notes that you tag as ‘Revunote’ from Evernote and shows them up in increasing intervals (1, 3, 7, 14, 30 and 60 days). Revunote is simple and does exactly what it says, and I still use it; but is there a better solution?

A possible candidate is email. We don’t ‘forget’ to check mail and we check them every day, no exceptions. If we could plug in SR to our email, that would be perfect. And how do we do that? FollowupThen.

Email followups

FollowupThen is a free email service (with optional premium service) that lets you make email reminders. For example, if you send an email to 3feb@followupthen.com, the mail will be sent back to you in the 3rd of February. If you send it to 10h@followupthen.com, it would bounce back in 10 hours. If you want to reply to an email and if you can’t do it till tomorrow, you can forward it to tomorrow@followupthen.com and you can guess the rest. Pretty cool, huh? It’s can be a life-savior to most of us. There’s a comprehensive how-to on using FollowupThen here.

Now think about this: what will happen if you send a mail to both tomorrow@followupthen.com and 3days@followupthen.com? You will get the mail both tomorrow and in three days. Can you see where I’m getting at? Spaced repetition coming into play!

So here you go:

  • Open up your email client and create a new contacts group.
  • Add the following contacts to that group (with each followed by @followupthen.com):
    3h, 24h, 3days, 7days, 2weeks, 1month, 3months, 6months.
  • Compose a mail with what you want to remember.
  • Send it to your new group of contacts.

Voila! FollowupThen will make sure you remember whatever crap you put into that mail! You can add/remove the times you’d like to review as you wish. YMMV. Just make sure you read each email that followupthen sends; no skipping, please. If you can stick to this simple rule, I’m telling you, this simple system can work miracles.

What do I want to remember?

Fair question. What, indeed? Here are some suggestions.

  • Some new words or phrases in a language you are learning
  • An interesting code snippet or a design pattern
  • Lyrics of a song or a poem
  • A Linux/Git/Vim/whatever command
  • Facts for general knowledge
  • Some telephone/credit card/whatever numbers
  • Anything that you wish you could remember

This is no rocket science. There’s little effort required to set it up. And there’s no reason why you shouldn’t give spaced repetition a try. Go!

Evernote for GTD?

Life is boring. It’s the little things in life that helps you keep the interest. To keep the embers burning. To make the mundane stuff exciting. To keep it real. To keep you diverted from… oh well, I love being redundant. And what a thoughtful way to start a blog post. 😛

Now to the real stuff.

Among the other bazillion things it can be used for, people have been using Evernote as a GTD tool. (For those who are unfamiliar with GTD, it’s the younger brother of to-do lists, who is dead, by the way. Faq here.) Had read a lot about this in blogs and forums, but never bothered to make the first move until three months back. Before this, I’d been using a GTD-optimized version of TiddlyWiki for a few months and doit.im for about two weeks.

The first attempt was a disaster; in fact, the project was given up three or four days later. The main reason being that I just wanted to implement a GTD system but didn’t have a solid idea how to carry on with it. But about six weeks ago I started the whole thing afresh and have been using it with good results ever since.

There are quite a few tutorials, rants and forum posts in the interwebs on how people set up GTD in Evernote successfully. So I wouldn’t go as far as to document my whole procedure here. If you’d like some inspiration, I’d recommend Ruud’s Evernote GTD How To and this shared notebook by bluecockatoo. Just search for ‘evernote gtd’ and you’d find dozens of other links.

One thing to keep in mind is that you’d have to make maximum use Tags and Saved Searches in Evernote for this. Just one notebook is enough for the whole system; it’s the powerful world of tags and saved searches that make the foundation of the whole scene. Ruud’s post mentioned above describes these things in great detail.

For reminders (ticklers, in GTD slang), I’m using FollowUpThen. Here’s a video on GTD + Evernote + FollowUpThen.

Wanted to write some more but I’m being summoned for dinner. So… another time! 🙂

Backup all your stupid tweets with ifttt

Update : Twitter’s bullshit policy changes has made IFTTT to remove all its Twitter triggers. So the following works no more. 🙁

IFTTT‘s one of the most powerful tools in the interwebs and it keeps getting better by the day. (Take a look here if you’ve no idea what ifttt is). A few days back the site got a complete overhaul in the interface.

Two new channels to automate WeMo devices have been added. It’s a set of magic tools that lets you control home electronic devices. This opens a world of ridiculously awesome possibilities. We can only hope these stuff will be available soon in this part of the world. Kudos to drac for pointing out. 😛

Yes, this is really possible.

Some really cool ingredients have been added as well. For example, now you can _append_ stuff to a note in Evernote or a text file in Dropbox. I was considering backing up all my tweets in Evernote earlier but what kept me away was the fact that ifttt would create 1000 notes for 1000 tweets. But not anymore.

Here’s a recipe to backup all the stupid stuff you tweet. It will create a note titled ‘Tweet Log’ and append all your tweets to that note. This includes all your replies and retweets, but you can opt them out. Feel free to re-use it or create your own.

The resulting note will look like the following:


  • This will log only the tweets you post after activating this recipe.
  • If you’re tweet in high frequency and the note gets bulky after some time, just edit the recipe and give a new name, like ‘Tweet log #2’.

If you don’t use Evernote, you can do the same with a text file in Dropbox. Use the same trigger and choose ‘Append to a text file’ action under Dropbox.

And if you’ve created or come across any cool recipes, please do share! 🙂

P.S. The same method can be used to log your facebook posts, etc.

P.P.S. Yes, you can log the tweets of your twitter-crush as well. 😛

Evernote and me

I use Evernote a lot. Coz you think of anything and you can use Evernote for that.
First it was for saving the usernames and passwords of the khazillion of sites I’ve registered in. Another note was made to save the important bank account numbers, registration numbers and the like. Yet another note holds the serial keys of stuff I’ve purchased.
Then I got used to saving quotes and other important notes in Evernote. This is made easy by the Web Clipper extensions available in Chrome and Firefox. You can grab any part of the page, even with pictures, and instantly save in a note in Evernote.
Since recently I started saving various measurements I take in notes. For example it hold notes for my shoe size, shirt size and so forth. Saved me from a lot of hassle. You can also take notes about what you loan to others, etc. If you own an iPhone or an Android life becomes much more easy coz you can capture images and instantly send them to Evernote. And tagging the notes can keep everything organized.

P.S. And here’s 100 random things you can do with Evernote: http://www.andrewcmaxwell.com/2009/11/100-different-evernote-uses/

Symbian and Evernote

Yes, we all hate Symbian, more or less. But if all you have is a Symbian you have to learn to live with it. And learn to love it.
The app I miss the most in my Symbian is Evernote. There’s no official or unofficial Evernote client for Symbian. There is one for Symbian^3 I guess, but that’s no longer in development and works only in Nokia N97.

But still, you can access the Evernote mobile from your phone. Yes, it’s not as slick or fast as using a native app, but you get full control over your notes in this mobile version. It won’t load images so it’s faster than a normal web site.

If all you need is to make a small note, there’s yet another option. Use Twitter. Everyone has Gravity installed, right? Include @myEN in your tweet and the tweet will automatically saved as a new note. (You have to activate this in Evernote settings and follow @myEN). Or you can simply DM @myEN.

Learn to love your Symbian.