MightyText – SMS Done Right.

SMS messages sent monthly (June) in USA
SMS messages sent monthly (June) in USA in million, source: http://www.cellsigns.com/industry.shtml (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I prefer texting over phone calls, but emails, IMs, and most other forms of computer communication over either of these. But isn’t texting the same as computer-based textual communications? Nope, its way slower. It takes FOREVER to type out messages on one’s phone keyboard, no matter how good it is…and writing on a real keyboard – well, it is just so much faster.

This is where MightyText comes into the picture. You install the MightyText app on your smartphone and then can use the web-based interface to send and receive text messages. When a text message is sent to your phone, it appears on your computer – and when you want to send a reply you can send it from your computer.

Sure, there are a lot of somewhat similar solutions out there – like Google Voice’s texting abilities – but these don’t reply from the number on your cell phone. The way MightyText actually works is that it communicates with the app. on the smartphone – both when it sends and receives messages – so even though you are writing the message (or reading it) on your computer it is literally being sent through your phone.

MightyText is fully functional at the base feature level. There are a few items I’d like to see incorporated, including:

  • If you read a message via the web app it should be marked as read on the phone.
  • You should be able to “archive” old sms messages and search the archives easily.

Do you use MightyText? Something else? Let me know!

Evernote: Getting Life in Order.

Image representing Evernote
Image via CrunchBase

I think of myself as a fairly busy person. Whether I am or not one thing is certain – I have a horrible memory. I am always thinking of what I need to do at just the wrong moment, and forgetting what I need to do at just the right moment. How do I cope?

Well, I’m never far from technology. If nothing else my Verizon Droid is always in my pocket. When I’m at work I’m at my computer and when I’m at home, I’m at my computer. See the common thread?

For a number of months now I’ve been using Evernote to facilitate my life organization skills – and it is a huge help. With the release of 4.0 I’ve become even more impressed. I haven’t quite reached SugarSync levels – where I’m paying for my account – but it is getting close.

Here is what I love about Evernote:

  • There are applications for just about every kind of computing device imaginable – Windows, Mac, iPhone (iPod, iTouch), Android, Blackberry, Palm, and Windows Mobile – not to mention a web-based interface.
  • When you delete an item from Evernote it first gets thrown into a trash bin from whence you can undelete it.
  • It seamlessly synchronizes between all of my devices – my notes are the same whether I access them on my home or work computers, on my Android or via the web-based interface – it all just happens.
  • It allows for a number of advanced ways to search / filter / organize your notes – but I find tags is more than sufficient for my needs.
  • The note-taking interface isn’t just for text – you can make audio and photo notes as well.
  • The textual interface has a nice word processing feel offering a number of nice features such as fonts, textual alignment, bulleted lists, and so on.
  • The software is extensible. While I haven’t used any of the extensions I’m pretty excited about Dial2Do and find the LiveScribe smartpen pretty interesting.
  • The freemium account is more than adequate for my needs. I’m still using 0% of my storage!

When I think about products I always try to think, “but what could be better?” I’m not sure I can think of much for Evernote – other than perhaps a synergy between Evernote and SugarSync. The two should work out a deal – some way in which the features of Evernote are integrated into SugarSync. This really would be a coup for SugarSync. SugarSync is already the best file backup / syncing / archiving / sharing application around and integrating Evernote functionality would just level everything up a layer.

I look at the features Evernote offers for going premium ($5/mo.) and I really don’t see anything I need…but if I could get a combo SugarSync / Evernote package for $7/mo. – I’d jump on that. SugarSync would get a huge boost in features, Evernote would be pulling in $2/mo. right and left – and no, this need not include the premium features – charge the other $3 if people want not only SugarSync integration but also Evernote premium features.

SugarSync – For Backups, Archiving and Sharing.

Image representing SugarSync
Image via CrunchBase

I am continuously encouraging individuals and businesses to make backups of their systems. I am continually shocked by the number of individuals who take no steps to protect their data against a catastrophic failure and repeatedly see clients who ask, “So…can you get my documents off this computer?” Far too often I have to tell them that I cannot, that it might be possible to if the drives are sent to a data specialist – but the cost will be steep and even then the results not assured.

There is no reason for anyone to be without a backup of their sensitive and important data. In the past this was a time consuming and costly endeavor – now it is simple and inexpensive. One service (among many) that can assist in this area is SugarSync. SugarSync provides you with 2 GB of free storage – no strings attached. This is enough to cover your critical documents – but won’t be enough for those thousands of pictures you’ve taken with your digital camera. But for $5 a month you can get yourself 30 GB (this is what I have) – which should be enough for most enthusiasts – though probably not enough for those with large music collections (they have even larger subscriptions for you – still at reasonable prices).

Let me highlight just a few of the reasons I love SugarSync:

  • Versioning: SugarSync backs up your files – but what happens if you have a Word document and you make an edit to it and then save it? Does your old file get overwritten on SugarSync? No! SugarSync keeps the old version and the new version – and allows you to roll back to older versions. This is a huge feature – extremely useful.
  • Syncing: SugarSync allows you to install the client on multiple computers/devices that then synchronize files between the systems – in my case this includes my home laptop, home desktop, and work desktop. Now you can access your files from anywhere – make edits from anywhere – and know you are always using the latest copy of your file.
  • Simple Web-Based Editing: You can access your files via a web browser on any computer and SugarSync automatically handles syncing the changes back to SugarSync – no need to download the file, open the file, save the file, upload the file – now SugarSync compresses all of these steps into a smooth operation.
  • Sharing: You can share your files with others. This is a great feature – and can be done on a strictly controlled basis so only those you want to can access your files.
  • Platforms: SugarSync supports not only Windows but Mac and Linux. Further SugarSync provides extensive mobile device support including the iPhone, Android, Windows Mobile, and Blackberry!

That said – I do have a complaint (and will add more as they arise):

  • I use SugarSync for my personal files but also for my church. Unfortunately, I cannot tell my SugarSync to sync files from my church account. I have to use the web-based interface. This is a significant nuisance and there is no reason I shouldn’t be able to download the church files as long as I authenticate. This has been a long-standing issue and SugarSync has done little to resolve it.