Tag Archives: Android

Clarity Keyboard – Technology You Need To Be Using

I love Android.  The biggest reason?  Because you can make it work the way you work, or want to work.  Don’t like the background color, you change it?  Critical you see the weather in Laguna Beach?  Add it to your desktop.  You type differently than others?  Pick the keyboard that works for you.

When I was in middle school, I took typing.  Probably the best class I ever took in Middle School (next to Ms. Edwards 8th Grade English) because it gave me a skill that has carried me forward over the years.  Anyway, this class truly taught me to touch type; never look at the keys; always at the “paper.”   So, then came along the Smartphone.  I so want to “look at the paper,” but that’s not the way it works.  You really have to look at the keys.  So finding the right keyboard is critical.

I’ve used Swiftkey for years now.  Its prediction technology is amazing.  It really knows what word you need next most of the time.  I was intrigued by their new neural network keyboard.  It takes prediction technology to a whole new level.  The original Swiftkey’s predictions where always good.  But now they are great.  Alas, it’s beta, so it’s missing the Swiftkey features of “learn from your Evernote account, Gmail and text.”  I hope they can add that.  (Also, for what it’s worth, I guess because it is beta, it’s a hair fuzzy, graphically, and only has two themes.)  If they bring it to market, I’d consider switching for sure.  But, with this keyboard, you are still having to look around – at the Keyboard; at the Predictions.  So, then I saw their other beta, Clarity.

No “predictions” here.  Well, that’s not 100% true. Their goal with this keyboard is to let you “just write.”  So, that’s what you do.  You keep your eyes on the keyboard and just type.  It does its predictions in line with your typing; multi word – auto-magically (thanks Blake) correcting as you go along. When you do look up, your writing is pretty darn accurate.  It lets you focus, and focusing is important to productivity.

Looking to “just write” on your Android and have focus.  Give Clarity a try.

Epilogue: In my introduction post to this series, I said “no iOS.”  Well, I somewhat fibbed.  Swiftkey is available for iOS also.  Give it a whirl.

Evernote for Tasks

As many know, I wrote an add in for Microsoft Outlook to help with task management for business users.  Alas, that’s water under the bridge.  So, now I use Evernote for this task.

I love Evernote.   I love that I can:

  •  Capture everything.
    • Mobile – if I’m out and around, the Evernote for Android client let’s me get things into my Inbox quickly and off my mind, especially:
      • Receipts using the Page Camera.
      • Quick notes to remember to do something.
      • Sometimes an audio note if I’m driving.
    • Email – I use Outlook for work and Gmail for personal.  Both have Evernote add-in’s that let me quickly throw an email into the InBox.
    • Web – If I’m browsing the web in Google Chrome and see something I want to keep, Evernote Web Clipper let’s me capture it in a form that will work for future reference.  Sometimes I send these to my InBox, or sometimes I send it straight to my Reading notebook for future reading.
      • I like to cook.  I will look up or find recipes and throw these right into my Recipes notebook.

You may have picked up on “InBox.”  Yup; I use David Allen’s GTD.  And, if you want a step by step “getting started” guide, go buy David’s “Evernote for Windows Setup Guide.”  It’s worth the $10.  I had things fairly figured out, but I picked up some tips and tricks from this, as well as simple motivation.

Prior to this, I had started with (okay, don’t laugh at the title), The Secret Weapon.  It brings in lot of good GTD concepts and is a great jump-starter as they did everything in videos.  (Make sure to check out their About Page for an overview.)  I ended up not staying with this system.  The issue – everything is more “priority” based, but as David says, and as we know, priorities shift on an hourly basis.  I was finding that keeping priorities set was a struggle.  Everything always went to urgent.  Other stuff never surfaced.  So, I’m pretty much on David’s guide’s method now.

Struggle is a good word to wrap up with here.  I again love (just no better word for it) Evernote as I can search (anywhere, on my phone, jump on a web browser in a hotel), organize, have everything protected up in the cloud, share.  Once you really start putting everything in Evernote, it’s very powerful.  But, overload and priorities are where I’m currently struggling with task management (not Evernote the tool).  I have things coming at me every minute of every day in my day job (home too).  I don’t feel 100% in control and that’s very stressful.  Alas, as I write this, I remember a couple of things:

  • If you are a person of Faith, well, then you are not supposed to be in control – He is.  Let Him control it and he will guide your way.  If you try to control it, you will just screw it up. 🙂
  • I had the opportunity once to attend a GTD class David ran.  After words, I asked him about the over load and he said something to me that was profound (and, sadly, I forget from time to time until moments like this) – “You have to get comfortable with the fact that you have a lot of things on your lists.”  You have to just let it go and trust that the system will bring you back around to these things at the right time and place.

“Mind like water.” That’s where we have to get to.  Evernote has proven to be a great tool to let me “cast things off” and work on getting to that state.

Swype Ditches Beta Tags, Lands in Google Play | News & Opinion | PCMag.com

Saw this today in the news

After a lengthy beta phase, the Swype virtual keyboard has finally made its way to the Google Play store for Android devices.

I tried Swype a couple of years ago and was very impressed with it.  It was always dead on.  However, I’ve moved on to SwiftKey.  Their prediction capabilities are unparalleled   After a reboot of my Samsung Galaxy Note II, its default keyboard with its “predictions” are there and I always give it a try.  But, I always, and quickly, fire back up SwiftKey – it’s just that much better.

Swype Ditches Beta Tags, Lands in Google Play | News & Opinion | PCMag.com.