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Old 04-08-2011, 12:45   #1
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Take the Internet Cruising with You

We are internet junkies. Virtually everything I know about sailing and maintaining a cruising boat came from sources I read on line. We do all of our gear research online. We buy our parts online. When we have a problem, the first thing I do is go to Google and type:

inverter **** the bed site:cruisersforum.com

We do much of our research on the places we want to visit online. Fellow cruisers' blogs are goldmines for anchorages and ports we need to visit.

Keeping track of all this when we're out there sans internet is difficult at best. We found a really great solution that I thought I'd share with y'all.

Evernote.

Evernote is an online/offline/mobile note taking software. The basic premise is you can upload notes from several different sources:
  • free-form text
  • clipping part of or a whole web page
  • uploading a photo or PDF
  • email to your specific Evernote address which upload the contents of the email

These notes can organized into notebooks and tagged for further dissemination. The data lives both on Evernote's servers and your local hard drive. It can also be stored on your mobile phone. We use it for all sorts of things but here's how we use it for our cruising.


Articles
When I'm taking on a project, more frequently than not, I don't know what I'm doing. I'll do a google search, read a few articles which then lead to a few more which spider out into 20 or 30 different articles, blog posts and forum posts. I use Evernote's Chrome extension to snap up the relevant parts of those posts and store them in Evernote for later consumption when we're out in the boonies and have no access to the interwebs. Recently, I ran across an article on soft shackles made of dyneema. Sounded interesting but I don't have time right now to delve into it. However, when we're anchored somewhere in the boonies with nothing to do, I can pull up the articles I found on soft shackles and take a crack at it.


Projects
When we realized we had to replace our existing windlass, I researched several brands. I zeroed in on the Maxwell line and downloaded the PDF manuals of the models I was interested in. I uploaded those manuals into a notebook called "Potential Gear". I called Maxwell about some questions I had (and they were really responsive, BTW) and took notes about that conversation.


Once I settled into the project, I created a task list. Like all boat projects, the more you hone in on a task, the more it decomposes into multiple tasks. I treat my tasks list like this, starting at the high level tasks and then breaking them out into smaller tasks. This helps me think through one piece at a time without getting bogged down in details. As a task gets done, it gets the strike through font (which is incredibly satisfying). I post-date my task lists so they always sort to the top of the list.




As part of that task list, I keep a shopping list- because you've never done going to the chandlery. This is especially handy having the Evernote client on my phone so I can reference it in the store.


I also do alot of sketches for projects. Especially wiring projects. Rather than try to keep track of all the sheets of paper I scribble on, I take a photo of the scribble and upload it to Evernote. Here's the cool part. In the photo captured in Evernote below, notice that the word "solenoid" is highlighted in yellow on the photo. This is because I did a search on the word "solenoid" and Evernote found this photo based on my sloppy hand written "solenoid". Cool, right?


Manuals
I'm religious about keeping manuals for gear on our boat. PDF manuals are also an important part of how I research new gear for our boat. Whenever I run across a PDF manual for gear I have already or are interested in buying, I upload it into Evernote into our "Hello World" notebook (if we already own it) or the "Potential Gear" notebook (if we're thinking about owning it). We keep all the paper manuals for the gear we buy and that's what I'll use when I'm laying on top of the engine covered in transmission oil but having the electronic copies to research prior to tackling a problem has been pretty handy.


Receipts
Whenever we buy something, we put the receipt into Evernote. If I get an email receipt, I email it to Evernote. If we get a PDF, I upload it. If we get a hard copy receipt, I run it through our Neat Receipts scanner into a PDF and upload it. This gives us an easy to access purchase history of all the gear on our boat.


Destinations
We also read a ton of cruising blogs, wishing we were out there again. When we run across destinations that we really need to go see, I use Chrome's Evernote extension to create a note from the blog entry. I then tag it with "destination" and a tag on the general area. Here's our notes on British Columbia:


We've been using Evernote for about 10 months and paying for the service for about six months. We've been really happy with it so far. It gives us all of the information we need at our fingertips. In the very likely event a computer gives up the ghost, no worries, our data is stored online and probably sync'd to the other laptop we have on board and our mobile phones.

One thing we don't use Evernote for is data that has to be secure (SSN, credit card numbers, passport copies, etc). They have the ability to encrypt portions of text but until they harden up their service more, we'll keep using Truecrypt to keep that data secure.

For you crusty salts who bristle at the idea of relying on a computer to manage a sailboat, Evernote is not in any critical path on this boat. In other words, if Evernote up and disappeared tomorrow, we could still navigate safely and maintain our boat properly. However, life is a hell of a lot better with it than without.

(For what it's worth - I have no affiliation with Evernote other than being a self-proclaimed advocate.)
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Old 04-08-2011, 13:13   #2
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Re: Take the Internet Cruising with You

That is way cool. What is the cost?
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Old 04-08-2011, 13:18   #3
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Re: Take the Internet Cruising with You

Your inverter **** in your bed? Puts my boat problems into perspective!
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Old 04-08-2011, 13:35   #4
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Re: Take the Internet Cruising with You

Thanks for the reminder; I used Evernote back in my PC days.

I did a quick search, and although on Linux one can run Evernote under Wine, a better product is Nevernote (original, huh?).

Reports are that it will sync with Evernote online, but I have not tested that out yet.

I will report back once I know.
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Old 04-08-2011, 13:52   #5
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Re: Take the Internet Cruising with You

Quote:
Originally Posted by avb3 View Post
I did a quick search, and although on Linux one can run Evernote under Wine, a better product is Nevernote (original, huh?).

Reports are that it will sync with Evernote online, but I have not tested that out yet.

I will report back once I know.
Yes, please. I'm interested in how Nevernote will work out. Evernote and to a lesser extent Silverlight-based Netflix is the primary reasons I'm using Windows now instead of Ubuntu. I'm a Java dev so I might jump in and help out with the development if it looks like its going to stick around.
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Old 04-08-2011, 13:57   #6
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Re: Take the Internet Cruising with You

Quote:
Originally Posted by DeepFrz View Post
That is way cool. What is the cost?
Free.

If you want, you can pay $45/year and that will get you:
  • 1GB per month uploads (the free version limits you to 60MB/month)
  • Upload any file types -Office docs, video, etc (free version limits you to photos, text, audio and PDFs)
  • Collaborate on notebooks with other users
  • No ads in the application

Some other stuff as well but that's the highlights.
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Old 04-08-2011, 14:14   #7
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Re: Take the Internet Cruising with You

Quote:
Originally Posted by RainDog View Post
Your inverter **** in your bed? Puts my boat problems into perspective!
Yeah, we just assumed it was house broken.
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Old 04-08-2011, 17:18   #8
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Re: Take the Internet Cruising with You

Quote:
Originally Posted by janders View Post
Yes, please. I'm interested in how Nevernote will work out. Evernote and to a lesser extent Silverlight-based Netflix is the primary reasons I'm using Windows now instead of Ubuntu. I'm a Java dev so I might jump in and help out with the development if it looks like its going to stick around.
Nevernote (now named Nixnote) seems to cover most of the bases. You will like that it is written in Java, and open source, so all my feature requests will now go to you

Here is a link to the documention (help file), which resides on Evernote.

The sync seems to work flawlessly. The only issues I was able to determine is that one can't readily add attachments in Nixnote, however, the ones I added in Evernote synced well.

The OP had a brilliant note explaining the way they use Evernote, and us Linux (Ubuntu) users can now use the same tool.

Cool, and to the OP, thanks!
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