Jody Foo

Writings by me.
May 30, 2013

Both Evernote and Whitelines are offering a product + app combination for easy scanning digitalization of notes taken on paper. Since the product offerings are quite similar, I spent some "unproductive" time creating this review and comparison. To be honest, I have not used the any Evernote Smart Notebook, but I have filled a few Moleskine notebooks. I do however use the Whitelines LINK A5 notebooks quite often.

Whitelines LINK

The Whitelines LINK notebooks use their trade mark white lines on gray background. I have found that the ink does not flow so well when writing in Whitelines notebooks. The LINK notebooks have printed fiducial markers on each page in the notebook. The markers enable the iPhone (and soon to come Android) app to recognize the page boundaries and which upload options (if any) the note taker has chosen. The result is a fluid workflow where the user starts the app, then frames the page in the display and the app automatically takes the picture, correts for perspective distortion and email the picture and/or uploads it to Evernote/Dropbox.

Whitelines LINK paper

Whitelines has a wider range of products compared to Evernote. You can choose between two sizes (A4 and A5), two kinds of covers, and two page styles (ruled or 5mm square grid). The cheaper cover made of glossy thick paper and is spiral bound. The more expensive cover is also spiral bound, but made of harder, matt black paper, and has a rubberband to keep the notebook closed when not in use. The hardcover versions contain 80 sheets of 100g paper compared to 70 sheets of 80g paper used by the softcover notebooks.

Evernote Smart Notebook

Evernote's notebooks are made by Moleskine and do not use printed fiducial markers. They are basically regular Moleskine notebooks (see below). So if you want to use a fountain pen, you are better of buying one of these.

The Evernote Smart Notebook comes in two sizes (Pocket: 3.5'' x 5.5'', and Large: 5'' x 8.5'') and two page styles (lined and square) in its product lineup. The smaller version has 96 sheets, whereas the large version has 120 sheets.

The "smart" Evernote notebooks, differ from the "stupid" Moleskin notebooks by having lighter, dotted lines (instead of solid lines) making them less visible after scanning the note. Other differences are the light green rubberband and placeholder cloth ribbon. The cover is also emblazened with glossy decorations using Evernote's graphical profile.

Since no printed markers are used capturing a page from the Evernote notebook, operating theapp (both iPhone and Android versions available) is slightly trickier.

The Evernote notebooks however, come with four sheets with six different kinds of "Smart Stickers". These stickers do have fiducial markers printed on them and can be associated with their own tag, enabling you to tag your scanned notes.

Evernote Smart Notebook, Smart Stickers

Price

If you look at how much paper you get, i.e. price per squared unit, the most expensive paper is packaged in the Evernote Smart Notebook 3.5'' x 5.5'' at 69.48 SEK/m2 (USD 0.97/ft2). The cheapest paper is packaged in the Whitelines LINK A4 at 7.48 SEK/m2. Comparing all products, the Evernote/Whitelines price ratio is between 1.0 and 9.3. That is, depending on which products you compare, the amount of money you pay per writable space can cost up to 9.3 times as much if you choose a Evernote/Moleskine notebook over the most cost effective Whitelines notebook.

Cost of paper list, incl premium

Cost of paper ratio, incl premium

However, you do get 3 months of Evernote Premium with notebook. Taking this into account (subtracting $15 from the price) and doing the same comparison. The cheapest paper is still the Whitelines A4, but the most expensive paper is suddently found in the Whitelines LINK Hard Wire A5 (i.e. the smallest hardcover Whitelines product).

Cost of paper list, excl premium

Cost of paper ratio, excl premium

The most fair comparison however, would be between the Evernote Large Smart Notebook (5'' x 8.25'') and the Whitelines 232 LINK Hard Wire A5, as the form factor is the most similar. Comparing these two products, you actually get more paper for your money if you buy the Evernote Large Smart Notebook.

Paper amount ratio

Jan 22, 2013

Today the image below made its rounds on Facebook, twitter and a few blogs. It gives an example of a funny/provocative correlation.

IE = Murder

It is funny because it gives an example of how funny correlations can be found between two unrelated variables. To bad the actual chart is wrong though since it compares the absolute number of murders with the percentage of Internet Explorer users. I was however, intrigued and decided to see if any of the numbers were true, so I looked for them.

Data

I found homicide rates in the US stated in number of homicides per 100k people on wikipedia. Browsers stats I took from W3Schools's yearly logs since they were the only statistics I found (without putting to much time into the search) that stretched back to 2003.

The W3School numbers were a bit lower than those used in the original image. The Wikipedia article also only showed relative homicide rates (which is good), so I had to visit the United States Census Bureau (here and here) to get the actual population numbers so that I could calculate the actual number of homicides. One should also note that the crime statistics found on Wikipedia are biannual. Therefore, I only used browser statistics from those years.

Number of homicides vs. Internet Explorer use.

Below are two charts, one for 2003-2011 which was the range of the data I had, and one for 2007-2011 which aproximates the date range used in the original image. As you can see, the numbers are actually quite accurate.

Absolute homicide numbers 2003-2011 Absolute homicide numbers 2007-2011

Homicide rate vs. Internet Explorer use

However, the comparison is flawed, so I made two more charts, one showing the index values of the number of homicides per 100k people vs IE use from 2003-2011 and the other showing using 2007-2011 as its date range. Below are the charts.

Homicides per 100k 2003-2011 Homicides per 100k 2007-2011

As can be seen, even though both variable show a declining trend, their rate of decline differs.

Jan 12, 2013

I have been using jitouch for several weeks now, and am very happy with the increased speed with which I can navigate tabs and windows in OS X.

jitouch ($6.99) is a third-party preference pane which allows you to bind commands to mouse gestures. BetterTouchTool (BTT) is a similar but free tool which may be a bit more configurable. However, jitouch is much easier to use, has a nicer interface and has these handy animations that show how the gestures look like. jitouch also has character gestures. Character gestures are used by drawing a gesture on the trackpad using your index-finger and you ring-finger. I like this because the finger+swipe gestures available are ergonomically limited (try holding your first fingers down and doing anything comfortably with your pinky).

I use the follwing gestures:

  • TipTap left/right: Previous/Next tab (one finger anchored, tap with a finger to the left or right of the anchored finger). This works in all apps that have tabs (if not, I just remap the the menu item to a keyboard shortcut using the OS X Keyboard Preferences, and add an application specific gesture to jitouch).
  • Three finger tap: Open link in new tab (BTT does not have this action). This is great since I scroll with two fingers (ring finger + middle finger). When I come across a link I like, I just tap it with my index finger.
  • Character gesture C: Close tab/window
  • Character gesture T: New tab
  • Character gesuture down: copy (works in all apps)
  • Character gesture up: paste (works in all apps)
  • Character gesture Y: Keyboard Y. I use this in Gmail since I scroll messages with the trackpad after clicking on them. Drawing a Y on the trackpad is much faster than clicking on the "remove label" button. Since I have my hand on the trackpad, I do not need to switch from trackpad to keyboard. One could argue that only using the keyboard is faster. It generally is, but I find selecting a message using the trackpad is faster than moving to it with j/k and pressing enter.

My conclusion is that a tool such as jitouch or BTT is the trackpad equivalent of keyboard shortcuts! For keyboard shortcuts, I use have my own set of shortcuts using both Keyboard Maestro and Apptivate. I use both because Keyboard Maestro lets me set up complex actions. Since I write in Markdown alot, I have macros that wraps selected text in backticks, square brackets, parenthesis etc. Apptivate is really greate since it supports keyboard shortcut sequences. This means that instead of creating unique keyboard shortcuts for each macro, I can group my macros under a main keyboard shortcut with secondary (and tertiary) single letter modifiers.

For example, I use the main keyboard shortcut ctrl+cmd+w as the starting chord for my "wrap selection in.." shortcuts. I then follow this chord by a single B followed by a single T for "wrap in backticks". If I follow the first chord by a single S followed by a single B, I trigger the "wrap selection in square brackets" macro.

Nov 7, 2012

There are several versions of Universal Time

(Not very universal eh?! Bold face added by me. Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universal_Time /jody)

  • UT0 is Universal Time determined at an observatory by observing the diurnal motion of stars or extragalactic radio sources [...] different observatories will find a different value for UT0 at the same moment.

  • UT1 is the principal form of Universal Time. While conceptually it is mean solar time at 0° longitude, precise measurements of the Sun are difficult. Hence, it is computed from observations of distant quasars using long baseline interferometry, laser ranging of the Moon and artificial satellites, as well as the determination of GPS satellite orbits. UT1 is the same everywhere on Earth [...]

  • UT1R is a smoothed version of UT1, filtering out periodic variations due to tides.

  • UT2 is a smoothed version of UT1, filtering out periodic seasonal variations. It is mostly of historic interest and rarely used anymore.

  • UT2R is a smoothed version of UT1, incorporating both the seasonal corrections of UT2 and the tidal corrections of UT1R. It is the most smoothed form of Universal Time. Its non-uniformities reveal the unpredictable components of Earth rotation, due to atmospheric weather, plate tectonics, and currents in the interior of the Earth.

  • UTC (Coordinated Universal Time) is an atomic timescale that approximates UT1. It is the international standard on which civil time is based. It ticks SI seconds, in step with TAI. It usually has 86,400 SI seconds per day, but is kept within 0.9 seconds of UT1 by the introduction of occasional intercalary leap seconds. As of 2012 these leaps have always been positive, with a day of 86401 seconds. When an accuracy better than one second is not required, UTC can be used as an approximation of UT1. The difference between UT1 and UTC is known as DUT1.

Oct 23, 2012

What is it called when the people whom you used to work with at a previous work-place have left?

Sep 10, 2012

Note to self. SublimeCodeIntel disables column selection in SublimeText 2 for Mac.

Fix: Comment out mouse binding in the default SublimeCodeIntel mouse bindings preferences.

Jun 22, 2012

I recieved my ReadyNAS Ultra 4 a couple of days ago and have installed two 1TB Western Digital Caviar Green disks (WD10EZRX) creating a single X-RAID2 volume. The green have not given me any trouble yet and provide me with 927GB of space.

Since I have a Mac I initially only enabled the AFP protocoll, but later found out the ReadyNAS Remote (official Add-on) only support CIFS shares, so I switched. I also installed the Enable Root SSH Access Add-on. This made copying data from my USB drives into my shares a bit easier. The shares reside in /c/ with my users share in /c/home/<user name>. However, as I log in as root ownership of the files have to be changed using chown.

Overall, I am satisfied at the moment. As I have not added additional disks I can't give a report on how X-RAID2 expansion works.

May 21, 2012

Just a short note on how to write an AppleScript that opens the current Finder selection in a specific app. Why I would want something like this? Why, to open a bunch of files in Sublime Text 2 using a keyboard shortcut run using Apptivate of course!

Here is the script that opens the selection in Finder using Sublime Text 2:

tell application "Finder"
    open the selection using path to application "Sublime Text 2"
end tell
Apr 12, 2012

I just pushed a few scripts I created to help me create styles for MultiMarkdown Composer to github.

https://github.com/fnurl/mmd-composer-styler

Mar 29, 2012

Here is a nice tip and setting for all of you who own a Mac and use your controll key: You can remap the Caps Lock key to work as the controll key. This makes it more ergonomic when you press the Ctrl key using your pinky.

Picture of Mac OS X keyboard modifier settings

The best way is of course to use the fleshy part of your hand just below the lowest pinky joint. See the picture in this Stack Overflow post.