Occasionally, when I get some breathing space, I scout around to see whether anyone’s written the nirvana of information organisers that I’ve been looking for, for a few years now. My current stop-gap solution is Treepad, as I mentioned here.
However, what I really need is:
- Hierarchical structure!
- RTF/HTML text/images/etc
- Seamless cloud sync
- Offline PC / Web / iPhone clients
- All my information, where I can find it, when I need it, in a manageable form.
- Ideally, selective sharing/collaborating of branches
- Today’s wish item: org chart support!
No-one has yet managed it. Treepad does OK, but has no mobile clients or cloud sync. Google Docs, Evernote, and a thousand other note tools, do it all.. except Hierarchies. No people, Hierarchies are not dead. Just because most people can’t organise their information worth a damn and just want to Hadoop-search everything, doesn’t mean I can’t organise myself as much as possible.
Mediawikis are very close, if you create your own hierarchy, but a pain to manage.
So… folks, seen any perfect info tools around these parts?
Several months ago, I was told about BlueAnt. The headsets were awesome, I was told. They had taken the crown from Jawbone, I was told.
Well, looking at reviews, actually that’s not true any more – Jawbone have come out with headsets (the Icon, the Era) that are more stylish, more functional, and with better noise cancellation, than BlueAnt. Plantronics are up there too. But the BlueAnt Q2 was $55 at Fry’s, while the Jawbones were in the ‘special expensive cupboard’, so I went for the Q2 anyway.
So, how is it?
Well, not great. For a start, the soft ear gel of the BlueAnt sits in my ear without the ear hook, less securely than my old Jawbone 2. I could usually expect the JB2 to stay in my ear while walking unless I was having a bad ear day(?!). With the ear hook, it’s excellent – but I’m always afraid of breaking the ear hook when the headset is in my pocket.
As for functionality… well, not great! The voice commands are a step back. Example:
I want to call my Mum.
On Jawbone 2:
- Hold the rear button for 2 seconds
- Headset connects to iPhone voice commands; iPhone beeps
- To iPhone>”Call Mum”
- iPhone< “Calling Mum”
- Tap the single button
- From Q2< “Say a command”
- To Q2>”Phone commands”
- From Q2<“Activating your phones in-built voice commands on the connecting phone”
- Headset connects to phone… 3-4 seconds
- Phone beeps
- To iphone>”Call Mum”
- From iPhone< “Calling Mum”
Wow. 10 seconds just to connect to voice dialling, before I call the number. 15 seconds in total. Guess what – it’s quicker just to pick up my phone.
So – there you have it. Less productive than the Jawbone2.
On the plus side, the Q2 is way louder than the JB2, which I have trouble hearing even at max volume in noisy environments. And the controls are a little less fiddly, with the power button impossible to accidentally switch on in your pocket, which was often an issue with the JB2. One downside with the Q2 – I also thought it more stylish than the BlueAnt T1, but I suspect the T1 is less likely to pick up dust and crap from your pocket into the otherwise fashionable grille… which the Q2 does in spades!
So – a dated headset for ham-fisted sales reps, not fashionistas.
I bought an MX870 for a pretty decent price in Australia – somewhere around $200 IIRC, which isn’t bad for a AIO from a product family that is consistently in the PC Pro A-List.
In fact, I didn’t question my purchase for a second, having really liked the MX860 before it. So, how does it stack up?
– All the features of the MX860, and more
– Scan as PDF to SDCard (I do this a lot with papers to archive, and then copy to my PC and organise once a fortnight)
– Scanning to SD card is quicker and easier than scanning to PC/etc
– Separate tanks for printing (they last a LOT longer than the ‘refill’ warning from the printer
– Excellent quality printing with decent ink
– WiFi scan/print
– Duplex print and scan
– For some reason, scans the first page of a multipage really slowly… but then the second, third, etc. scan almost as fast as I can open the lid and change the pages
– VERY sensitive ADF. Standard 80gsm A4 paper is about it. Any payslips, car rental statements, fanfolded leaflets, etc. etc. will jam
– How do you unjam the ADF?? Admittedly I’ve still not looked, but the only solution seems to be to yank hard enough, and hope it doesn’t tear
– Refuses to do anything once a cartridge is completely and utterly empty – annoying if you just want to scan something
– Sometimes takes ages to warm up
– You have to manually select ‘scan to card’ every time you power on! Why can’t it just keep it as a default?