Evernote

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evernote1I have just discovered Evernote which is a great application for filing anything from ideas to pictures to business cards. You have to see it to believe it. I recommend you look at the introductory video on their site. It works particularly well in conjunction with the iPhone camera. Here is what has been most useful for me:

Suppose I receive a business card at a conference. I immediately photograph it with my iPhone. (A great accessory has just come out which allows for closeup pictures. See video here.) The iPhone remembers the time and the exact geographical location of the photo. The photo is automatically uploaded to the Evernote site, and within a few minutes a sophisticated OCR machine tries to recognize any text in the photo, even handwriting. At the next sync, this information is downloaded to my computer. Now the interesting thing about this recognition is that it does not try to get an exact result for the text, but just guesses what it might be, and stores every guess. So for my surname, which is not in its dictionary, it might store 20 variants. This data (in XML form) is stored with the coordinates of each match, along with each picture. The XML is normally invisible, but I exported and opened it in a text processor and found the following text as possible matches to my name. The first line is the coordinates of my name on the photo, the the rest, possible matches.

<item x="279" y="474" w="132" h="28">
<t w="20">BAZARGAN</t><t w="20">BAZARGARI</t>
<t w="19">BAZARGARL</t><t w="19">BAZARGART</t>
<t w="18">BARRAGAN</t><t w="18">BADMAN</t>
<t w="18">BAZARGAWI</t><t w="18">BAZARGAWL</t>
<t w="18">BAZARGAII</t><t w="18">BAGMAN</t>
<t w="16">BA ZARGAN</t><t w="16">BAVARIAN</t>
<t w="9">BATANGAS</t><t w="8">APIARIAN</t>
<t w="5">BATAVIAN</t></item>

When we search for a string, say “bazargart”, then my name is highlighted. This way I can quickly scan for any past cards that I have, without having to enter them in a database first. And this information is synchronized so I can access it from any computer by logging in, or from my iPhone (when connected to internet).

Lots more of course, but best to look at their site.

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