Volume 12, Issue 4; 26 Jan 2009; last modified 08 Oct 2010

A quick and easy way to keep track of random bits of text.

I try out a lot of the new services that cross my path. I abandon most of them shortly thereafter, for one reason or another. Very few (Flickr, RTM, Dopplr, …) are compelling enough to keep me interested.

Evernote is one that's been hovering on the edge of my interest for a while. The feature that's kept me interested is that it runs OCR over any images that you send it.

Trouble is, getting images to it has always been a pretty significant hurdle. By the time you've scanned, cropped, and uploaded an image, you might as well have just written yourself a note. The same is true of copying files off my camera and uploading them.

All that changed when I stumbled across Clarifi. Clarifi is an iPhone case with a small magnifying glass that slides over the iPhone's camera lens. With this magnifying glass, the iPhone camera can actually take reasonable photographs of text in common point sizes.

Now it's quick and easy to take snaps of business cards, short sidebars and advertisements in magazines, and other random bits of text. Then I email the resulting pictures to Evernote where they're OCR'd and stored.

When I come back later, using the Evernote application or the web site, I can browse and search the photographic notes.

With this trick, Evernote might make my “keepers” list.