Thing 8: Google Calendar
It’s only in the last few weeks that I’ve started using Google Calendar ‘properly’. I have a gmail account to access Google Reader so it’s always been available to me, but I recently worked out how to sync the calendar to my Android phone and that’s when things took off! My phone based calendar has limited options in the events and if I program a recurring event I cannot delete one occurrence (so when I mark Brownies sessions I can’t delete the one that appears during half term etc), so I started by putting these into Google Calendar and syncing my phone to it – so far so good (and much less annoying!)
I then wanted to add reminders for work related things such as when I have meetings at our other site – not because I’d forget per se, it’s just easier to have these things all in one place – and I can access my Google Calendar from my work PC instead of whipping my phone out every time (which I think looks unprofessional if people see me at my desk typing on my phone). I can also edit things that I’ve input at home, so for example when I was looking up train times for a library visit last week I was able to add notes to the calendar and know, when I need the return train times, I had them handy in my phone calendar.
I haven’t made anything public yet, but there isn’t really the need for it. But it does seem a useful tool, especially if you used it for, say, library events, and then embedded it on the website.
Thing 9: Evernote
I’ve actually found Evernote to be really useful – ok, so I’ve only be using it a week, but my next two weeks are really busy (two conferences in two different cities, not to mention a Healthcare Assistant Training day, a Shropshire Health Trainers meeting, the Village Fayre, complete with the Brownies in parade, and the swimming club’s annual gala!). Evernote has given me a place online, and on my Android phone, to store lots of useful information – yes the documents and notes could be stored on my phone before, but not altogether in one place. I have a ‘notebook’ for the conferences, including attached pdf’s with programmes in them and even a checklist of things I need to remember to bring with me. Once I get there I can make notes about the session’s I’ve attended and keep them all together (although knowing me, I’ll fill a paper notepad too!) and I have separate ‘notebooks’ for meeting agendas as well as one for Brownies and one for the Swimming Club I volunteer at (I sit on the club’s committee and organise scheme’s of work etc!) so I can keep things together, but also keep ‘home’ stuff separate from ‘work’ stuff.
The only thing I don’t like so far is that it automatically tags my notes with my location when I’m adding notes from my phone – I’d like to be able to choose to add this ie add a ‘Glasgow’ tag for notes added at the Health Libraries Group Conference and not add a ‘Telford’ tag for things added from home; but ultimately I can learn to live with it, it’s not exactly a deal breaker for me. (P.S. I have since realised I can just delete these after posting!)
A friend of mine uses Evernote and I mentioned it to her the other day. She advised that she doesn’t trust it with data that she isn’t prepared to loose as someone she knows has lost all of their data. While this might seem like a scathing criticism of Evernote, it got me thinking – ultimately it is common sense. We shouldn’t be saving important digital documents in one place anyway – whether it’s a PC or a web-based service, if something goes wrong you can loose it. One of my friends on my Masters course lost an assignment – while backing it up on a USB stick. The computer crashed and took out the data on the stick too meaning that both copies were lost. The only copy he had was a week old print out, which just goes to show that USB sticks aren’t 100% reliable either. Really important stuff should be saved in a few places (and maybe a print out isn’t a bad idea either, even if it is a week old!) which is where my Dropbox comes in – but more on that in Thing 13! This is one reason that when writing my Masters dissertation I saved it to a new document every few days – if the one I was working on got corrupted I could go back to a version a few days old, instead of starting from scratch! I didn’t need it, but why tempt fate!
OK – I’m off to enjoy a quiet week before my life turns to chaos – the week off from CPD 23 couldn’t have been timed better!!