Online Insights on fiveAA, Sunday, June 22, 2008

June 22, 2008

We can now have an external brain to keep track of all the tiny bits of information we encounter every day, through a service called Evernote. The service is in Beta at the moment and I am a few days away from taking part in the early trials. The technology is breathtaking. The basic idea is that Evernote will capture and remember everything you send to it and then it will index text including text from images so that you can search for bit of information you need, whenever you need it.

There are three prongs to this service:

  • The website, where you register your Evernote account
  • Your desktop, where you install the software
  • Your mobile phone, where you install a client for capturing and sending information to your Evernote account.

There is a very good introductory video about this service on the front page of the website.

Some of the features I am looking forward to using include the ability to send a phone picture of a wine label or business card to Evernote, copying sections of text and images from interesting websites without needing to save the whole page which will make bargain hunting easier, and the ability to capture my handwritten notes into the system with my webcam.

You can sign up for a Beta invitation at

Here is another site to help you organise your “stuff”. It is library software to help you capture books and other media into a single database, with the ability to export lists to spreadsheets or webpages.

There are some very cool aspects to this software, including:

  • Your webcam can become a barcode scanner for reading your book barcodes
  • You can set it up to track people who borrow your books and media
  • You can export your collection to a page on your website, so that you and your friends can peruse your collection – might come in handy when you need to make an insurance claim.

Before you wonder how long this will take, the process for loading information is made quite fast and simple because Libra taps in to the Amazon database. This means when you scan or type in an ISBN number, your collection gets information imported about the author, publisher, story, etc, in an instant. CDs, DVDs and games sometimes need to be searched by titles, but it sure beats typing everything out longhand.

When you look at your collection, simply clicking on the media title will display the title’s information. You can start getting organised today at

Mr Dad
I have been amazed at how many parent-focussed sites there are on web, since becoming a parent. One I found, called Mr Dad, is a site set up by a US-based Parenting Expert, Armin Brott. Although the site tries to sell you his books and DVDs, there is a blog on the site of his Q and A column, in which he answers questions from dads. Here are a couple of interesting ones:

Sharing. A dad wrote in to seek solutions to his two-year-old’s grabbing and non-sharing habits. Armin replies by sharing “The Toddler’s Rules of Ownership” which included such gems as If I like it, it’s mine, If it’s in my hands, it’s mine, If I can take it from you, it’s mine, and If it’s your and I steal it, it’s mine.

He makes the point that “he toddler who shares easily is a pretty rare bird. In fact, toddlers are supposed to be self-centred at this age.” In fact, allowing your children to see the reactions from people who they grab toys from, is part of the lesson about how to share. Here are a few ways Armin says we can prepare for play dates, to keep your child’s developing sense of sharing moving in the right direction:

1. Prepare by reminding your child that more than one friend might want the same toy at the same time.

2. Put away or don’t take the “unsharables”.

3. Practice sharing by asking your child to share a toy with you from time to time, then make a big deal of saying thank you when you return it.

4. Enforce a no-grabbing policy by returning toys to children if your child has grabbed them.

Curiosity. Armin has some great suggestions for harbouring a sense of wonder and curiosity in your children. Did you know that between 2 and 5 years old, children ask 400,000 questions? And that how you answer them plays a big part in their development, more so than the 13 years of schooling that follow? Armin says the best answer is another question, such as “what do you think”? The goal is to encourage the search for answers, not just dish out questions like the Bigpond dad!

Read through the questions and answers at

This site is meant to be a “counterweight” to the hustle and bustle of your typical website. There is new age music in the background and a choice of images – sunset, lakes and woodfire. I chose the woodfire. It fills your screen and you can just stare into it in a darkened room, and relax! Note: let images load before you choose “fullscreen”. Also, I had difficulty getting the lakes and sunset to load. The fire, though, was lovely.