Thursday, May 2, 2013

Finding Detours to Roadblocks Using Dropbox

In the face of roadblocks, we naturally seek detours.

Image Source:
Earlier today, I received an email from Hermann in Mindelheim (Europe). He asked the following:

Hi, I've read your articele here
and [was] wondering if there are really alternatives out there for EN?
What will you use in the future?

Here's my two-minute response:

Howdy! Thanks for your email. I've been exploring how to accomplish the same thing without Evernote this week. 

First, I have to ask myself how I use Evernote. Here's how I've used Evernote:
  1. Place to put my notes on various things I'm doing or about. Those can range from notes about work to the phone number for the air conditioner repairman.
  2. A place to store important documents.
  3. A place to capture web site information, keep track of web sites organized by a particular notebook name or tag and then re-share via social media easily.
  4. A place to store pictures/photos/images that I encounter on the web.
  5. Record audio directly to the Cloud for easy sharing. 
Of those uses, I have been able to find Dropbox-based workarounds for 3 of the primary ways I used Evernote. The biggest way I used Evernote was #3, which involved using Evernote to clip content for content curation purposes and easily re-share it.

Here are the workarounds:
  1. Note-Management: Store markdown-formatted text (very easy) in folders in Dropbox. This is working surprisingly well and is fast, something I noticed Evernote was starting to slow down with the number of notebooks and notes I had.

    Read more about this here:
  2. Document storage: Dropbox again to the rescue, I simply organize my documents in Dropbox.
  3. Image Storage and Access: Using save to Dropbox browser extensions, I can easily save images to Dropbox, then re-share the link to that image if I need to, or better yet, just share the whole folder. Since I often use Chrome browser, I rely on Download to Dropbox extension to put pictures there. Also, Dropbox has a photo album feature enhanced by Camera uploads from my mobile devices that works quite well.
  4. Content Curation: For keeping track of web sites organized by a tag (keyword), I use Pocket and rely on recipes to share with others as appropriate. Sharing is the main point of putting content in Evernote for me. If I weren't sharing so much, I'd probably just keep using it. You can read about this here -
  5. Audio Recording and Sharing. Some interesting options include DropVox ($1.99), ($1.99) but I have yet to try these. Any suggestions?
One of the ways which I managed to move content out of Evernote to Dropbox involved taking advantage of the CloudHQ web site (pretty neat that Senad, the founder of CloudHQ, sent me email). It copied ALL my content out of Evernote easily, quickly. Once my notes were in Dropbox, I could just rename the text files to include "md" extension instead of "txt" This made it very easy to open them in one of the free/inexpensive (less than $6) markdown text editors, or use web-based Writebox to make your own markdown (markdown formatting is easy). 

If you consider that an Evernote Premium account costs $50 annually, and that Dropbox offers 100gigs of online storage for $99, allowing you more versatility to save all sorts of content, well, I can only ask myself, why didn't I do this before? Of course, before I invested in Dropbox, I had 26gigs of free space already (through various promotions over the years). I could have just used that free space to store images, notes and never tapped in to the paid account.

The answer was simply I didn't reflect on all the different components of online storage I was using, with my content scattered across various services (e.g. Google Drive). Now, I can quickly access content (it's actually faster to access my notes via a markdown text editor on my Android/iPad than run the Evernote app!).

This is an unfortunate trend...we have access to so many tools, we seldom take the time to learn how to use one fully before moving on to another. I know I have that problem; do you?

With appreciation for Hermann's question,

Check out Miguel's Workshop Materials online at

Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

No comments:

The Courage to Lead