For businesses and power users who work with a lot of PDFs, converting to and from PDF on iOS can be cumbersome. Going all in on the iPad as a platform means that many people need a powerful app to convert between different formats.
You could never chastise me for not reading enough.
I have been reading since I was three years old.
Mom and I weren’t exactly middle class so we would trek to the local library where we’d check out a mountain of books, all of which I’d read in about a week.
This screencast is a brief look at BusyContacts, a companion app to BusyCal, to make it a powerful CRM (Contact Relationship Manager). This can be useful when scheduling meetings with professors and clubs, advisors and the like.
Take a look at it and see if it’s for you. If you don’t have BusyCal, you can get both BusyCal and BusyContacts as a bundle for a great price. You can get them here.
So I’ve been giving DEVONthink Pro a good run-through and I have to say, I really really like what it has to offer, so much so I will be buying Pro Office. I have several databases for important projects and things that I want to keep locally on my Mac, with backups in Time Machine, SuperDuper and CrashPlan.
So how does this differ from Evernote? For my usage, I send text to Evernote from Marvin Reader app that I want to save immediately from my iPad. Marvin has a way to send text to Evernote directly from a book– it doesn’t have a typical share sheet. For instance, I am looking for scholarships for next fall semester as I have pretty much almost exhausted all my school loans. So I send text from The Ultimate Scholarship Book 2016 to Evernote in Marvin, then I combine the notes and add them to DEVONthink for safe keeping. This way I can access them offline and add the due dates to my calendar, in a database called school:scholarships:aid.
In general, I catalogue important data in DEVONthink and ephemeral data in Evernote. Data that I’m going to move around or not keep for long goes in Evernote.
I still, for the most part, have to pay for Evernote– the feature of emailing data and text into Evernote is a paid feature and now the price has gone up by $1/mo or $10/year. I only use this feature for Marvin Reader on my iPad and iPhone because of the lack of share sheet, so for now I will continue to pay.
What sets DEVONthink Apart
Categorization is one of the things that sets DEVONthink apart from Evernote. For example, you can group or categorize files based on metadata or what is actually in the files. I have 3000 books in an ebook database in DEVONthink. I can choose a predetermined category called Dewey Decimal System and it will categorize the ebook files based on the metadata or info it scans from the books themselves and categorizes them in the Dewey old school style filing system. This is good if you want to know a genre of a book or a sub genre of a book.
There are other categories available that you can group together automatically.
DEVONthink Mobile Apps
There has been much hand-wringing about DEVONthink mobile apps but I understand what they are and what they are not, for now. I don’t have problems syncing data, all my data syncs over to my iPad and iPhone, quickly and easily. The caveat is I don’t have a lot of data yet in DEVONthink. I have maybe 12 databases with at least 30 gb of data (I have videos in there as well). The videos that I’ve stored in DEVONthink I don’t sync over to save space on my iPad, but I may just to see where it falls down. There is a version 2 coming and they promise improvements. Because I have so little data synced over to my DEVONthink mobile apps, take my praise of them with a grain of salt. I’ll update my review once I sync over more data.
There will be more about DEVONthink as I use in the classroom– I’ve got a history class as well as a computer science class so a lot of research and data. I keep the app open to see where I can use it in everyday situations. I’ll let you know.
I am currently playing with DEVONthink, the 150 hour free trial. I’ve heard a lot about it; a lot of academics use it and swear by it and I decided to give it a go. It is touted as a powerful alternative to Evernote, however, you don’t have the cloud component. So while you can sync between and iPhone or iPad (those apps have been trashed throughout almost every blog I’ve come across so I’ll hold off on those) it isn’t an everywhere you are app which is attractive to many.
The upside of this is that it is local so harder to hack or get your data. The syncing happens over your wifi (so make sure to secure your wifi) so there is no cloud middleman.
DEVONthink relies on databases to organize your data. You can import data into DEVONthink by dragging and dropping folders into the sidebar. Which, folders and hierarchical structures are the main way DEVONthink works. With DEVONthink Pro you get multiple databases…for a price. If you are a student (which this blog is specifically for students) you get a good discount on Devon Technologies apps. DEVONthink Pro is $80 without a discount– not a cheap app. With the student discount it is $50.
DEVONthink really isn’t essential unless you’re doing massive research. I am still playing with it, and I will update once I get a real use-case for it in school. Currently waiting for an admissions letter for Pitt and I hope to put DEVONthink through its paces during my stay there. For now, I’ve only got 6 databases with three or four of them empty. Stay tuned for more info.
Until then you can find people talking about DEVONthink here.
As promised, here is my screencast review of BusyCal. There are a few around but people seem to be in love with Fantastical 2 since it has just been released. It’s receiving high praise so I’ll test it out and report back. I don’t plan on buying another calendar replacement app, but I will utilize the free trial.
In any case, here is the BusyCal screencast.
You can buy BusyCal here.
Learning more about screencasting as I go. The quality is okay but I should have bumped the quality up past 1206 kbits/s. So now I know.