Evernote As My iPad Task Manager

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I use Evernote quite a lot for my own notes, but I also use it at work. I’ve got two notebooks for each of the positions I’ve held at work, and I’ve got a few tags associated with notes depending on which coworkers I need to consult for a given project. However, as of three weeks ago, I’ve taken it one step further: I’m trying to use Evernote as my main task manager as well.

That means all of the work tasks and personal items on my to-do lists also reside in Evernote, alongside my notes about bags and cool iPad apps. It’s been a pretty big change, and Evernote’s UI isn’t exactly fun or efficient for task management, but it works and provides a very unique advantage.

First up, the basics. You don’t create Evernote reminders like you do in other task management apps, but rather reminders are attached to existing notes. Evernote notes consist of a plain text title and a main body (which can contain rich text, links, and files). Turning a note into a reminder gives you the option to add a notification at a given time, and it also keeps the note in a special reminders section of the Evernote app.

Simple task lists

Each note in Evernote is assigned to a specific notebook, which ends up acting like the category for that set of notes. So if I set up a “groceries” notebook and fill it with notes that had titles like “buy milk” or “buy eggs”, that could work as a basic to-do list.

Sub tasks

Evernote also supports sub-tasks, in a manner of speaking. Each note can support a set of checkboxes, so you can break down larger tasks into smaller chunks. For example, making bacon pancakes is a more complicated endeavour than simply buying eggs, so it can help to create a set of sub-tasks that I can cross off.

These sub-tasks are really helpful for tracking my progress through more involved projects. The only weakness of this system is that sub-tasks cannot be assigned any notifications — you can only set a single notification for any given Evernote note.

Context right beside your tasks

The main reason I decided to try Evernote out as a task manager is its ability to show a lot of context for a given task. When I have to “finish my expense report” it’s really helpful to be able to keep all of my PDF receipts and the expense report Excel sheet right inside of that note. That way, once the notification pops up to remind me, all I have to do is tap on the note, and all the files I need are gathered in one place for me to get right to work.

I was finding a disconnect while using other task managers because, although they would remind me and help me triage tasks, it was too easy to lose my place as I juggled all of the open windows on my work PC. It was also hard to find a task manager other than Evernote that was natively cross platform across the Mac, PC, and iOS.

Evernote isn’t the most fun program to use for task management. It lacks satisfying animations or sound effects, and it doesn’t have the clever natural language parsing of Due or Fantastical, but it’s hands-down the most efficient task management system I’ve used at work.

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iPad in Education: Huge New Rollout in Minnesota, Huge LA Project Suspended

iPads at St. Paul Elementary School

This week brings good news and bad news in terms of the iPad’s adoption in US educational institutions. Earlier this week it was reported – by The Verge and others – that the massive iPad rollout in the Los Angeles School District has been suspended, with rumors saying they’ll end up being replaced by Chromebooks and similar devices.

Meanwhile, the St. Paul School District in Minnesota is set for an iPad rollout that is said to be the largest ever for a state school system. It will bring 40,000 iPads on a one-to-one basis to students within the school district.

The approach to how the iPads will be used in classrooms in St. Paul sounds a little more freeform than some other deployments, as the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports. I like the quote they use from Craig Anderson, principal of Hamline Elementary in St. Paul – which rolled out iPads to all its students in grades 2 to 5 last year:

… But the point, according to proponents such as Anderson, is to have the devices in students’ hands so they can create and, hopefully, innovate.

Anderson, who likens the iPad to a pencil, warns of the danger of “overplanning” and limiting how far teachers and students can take it.

“As educators, we have the luxury of whether to use the tool or not,” he said. “But kids are not going to have the option of living in a world that doesn’t use technology.”

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Dropbox Simplifies Pro Pricing: $10 Per Month for 1TB

Dropbox Pro 1TB

Dropbox announced a few pretty major changes to their Dropbox Pro accounts today, but the change I found most interesting was the simplification of the pricing and storage options. There’s now just one $10/month Dropbox Pro account that offers 1TB of storage, which is 10x more storage than was previously offered at that price point.

This is great for iOS users who want an alternative to Photo Stream for photo backups, since Dropbox can handle uploads of the photos and videos on your iPad’s Camera Roll (and do so in the background!). The new 1TB of storage for Dropbox Pro also pairs very nicely with Dropbox’s Carousel service for viewing and sharing your Dropbox photos…although we still need a dedicated iPad app to take full advantage of that on tablets.

I think this is great news, since I prefer Dropbox to competing services like Google Drive. However, I will likely be saving my money for iCloud Drive when it rolls out later this year, since that will natively back up my photos and videos from all of my devices at full resolution.

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Latest iPad Rumor Says 12.9 Inch Model Coming Next Year

12 Inch iPad

This week’s big iPad rumor is all about a much bigger iPad. It’s a rumor that was around for months back in 2013 and has now surfaced again via a report by Bloomberg, which says production of the much larger new iPad is set to get started in the first quarter of 2015.

The report states that the new larger iPad’s screen will measure 12.9 inches – a big step up form the current largest iPad Air model at 9.7 inches.

There would be a number of potentially ripe markets for a jumbo-sized iPad. One that was frequently mentioned when the 12 inch iPad rumors first started was the education market, with the large iPad replacing textbooks. Ironically, I’ve also read a report this morning on how the momentum of the iPad in the education market is on the wane. Maybe this rumored larger model would help address that.

What do you all think about a nearly 13 inch iPad? Would you use one?

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Quick Look: Belkin BOOST UP Home and Car Chargers for iPad

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I was sent a Belkin BOOST UP Charger and BOOST UP Car charger, both of which feature 12-watt charging for the iPad.

Belkin’s website copy claims that these BOOST UP chargers are 40% faster than a 5-watt charger at fully recharging an iPad Air, which is true, but not really a fair comparison because neither an iPad Air nor an iPad mini with Retina Display ship with a 5W charger. In fact, the newest generation of iPads both ship with Apple’s own 12W chargers out of the box, so they’re exactly as fast as this offering from Belkin. However, that’s not to say that there aren’t some slight differences here.

[click to continue reading…]

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Deals: The Rebel Photographer Giveaway – Win A Canon EOS Rebel T3 DSLR Camera & The Fantastic Photography E-Learning Bundle

Featured this weekend in iPad Insight Deals is a giveaway contest that should grab the attention of any photography buffs here, or even just any of you who fancy a camera that’s a big step up from your iPhone or Android smartphone. It’s the Rebel Photographer Giveaway, it’s free to enter the contest, and here’s […]

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iPad Art: Voice of Night

Today’s featured iPad painting is yet another instant favorite from Deborah McMillion, aka Hotel Midnight. This one is titled ‘Voice of Night’ and is accompanied by these words: Why look to the dark as a sinister thing. Why look at sinister as anything more than just left. A day without sunshine is just the night! […]

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Notable New iPad Apps – Ancient Battle: Hannibal

Another great-looking strategic war game title has hit the iPad App Store this week. It’s called Ancient Battle: Hannibal, and of course it’s centered around Hannibal’s legendary battles against Rome in the Punic Wars. The game is from Hunted Cow Studios, who have already brought a number of excellent strategic war games to the iPad, […]

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