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Now You Have to Pay to Email to Evernote, But Here’s a Workaround (EverMail)

July 31, 2015

Evermail

One of Evernote‘s best features is being able to email notes directly into Evernote. They give you an email address, and if you get an email that you want to file away for reference, you can send it right to Evernote. (You can even, if you word your subject line correctly, tag it and put it in a specific notebook.)

However, Evernote recently announced that you’d have to sign up for one of their paid plans if you wanted to keep your heretofore free email address. It’s not a huge sum, but I don’t plan to upgrade–I just don’t need the larger upload storage space at this point, which also comes with the paid upgrade.

Enter EverMail.

The Mac Mail plug-in from ChungwaSoft was available long before Evernote changed their pricing structure, and I used it regularly then. Now it’s an essential part of my workflow.

Here’s how it works.

 

1. I get an email, the contents of which I want to file in Evernote.

 

An email about the Septuagint. What could be better?

An email about the Septuagint. What could be better?

 

Look again at the image above–at the top right you’ll see the Evernote elephant icon. That’s because I have EverMail installed in my Mac Mail app.

 

2. I click the EverMail icon, which gives me three options.

 

2_Create a Note

 

3a. I choose “Create quick note,” which I can select with mouse/trackpad or via keyboard shortcut.

 

4_Quick Save

 

I can quickly save my email to any notebook. The shot above doesn’t show it, but I now have it set up to default to my “Inbox” notebook in Evernote.

 

3b. I select “Create note” to further customize my email/note before sending to Evernote.

 

3_Edit Note

 

From here I can not only select the desired Notebook and tags, I can set a reminder, adjust the Note title, add my own notes to the link I’m saving, and even include email attachments so they save to Evernote, too.

This is actually even an improvement on emailing to Evernote, because now I don’t have to remember the right subject line syntax for adding tags and sending to a proper Notebook. I can do everything from within Mac Mail and not even have to open Evernote.

Once you install EverMail, you’ll see it in your Mail toolbar:

 

Mail Menu Bar

 

And here are the settings–EverMail puts itself right into your Mac Mail Preferences:

 

Settings

 

I mentioned free earlier. EverMail is not free, but at $13.95, you’ve got yourself a permanent email-to-Evernote solution that you don’t have to keep paying for each month.

Setup and use have both been exceedingly easy. I’m a big fan of the app. Check it out here.

 


 

Thanks to the good people of ChungwaSoft for giving me a download of EverMail for review purposes.

Advances in the Study of Greek: New Book. It’s Awesome.

July 30, 2015

Advances in the Study of Greek

 

Now that I’ve spent considerable time with Advances in the Study of Greek (book announcement here), I’m reporting back to say: It’s awesome.

I have a review submitted for an upcoming issue of Bible Study Magazine.

Two observations that didn’t fit into that review, with one that did:

  1. Campbell’s writing is good. Compelling, clear, cogent, coherent, etc.
  2. He has a further reading section after each chapter, and his footnotes point to even more related literature that I already want to check out.
  3. I didn’t expect there to be as many practical, exegetical examples as there were, but this made me more engaged with the book, and helped me see more explicitly how its contents could better inform my sermon preparation.

Advances in the Study of Greek is available now. Check out the book here.

Lifeline for iOS: Rescuing Taylor from a Lonely Planet

July 28, 2015

Lifeline

 

Lifeline begins with your receiving a transmission from “Taylor,” a man or woman who is stranded (and alone…?) on a strange planet. Maybe “game” is the wrong moniker for this app–it’s really more of an interactive experience, similar to the Choose Your Own Adventure novels of days gone by.

 

Lifeline: The Basics

 

It starts like this:

 

IMG_4300

 

And away you go! From here on out, it’s as if you’re interacting with Taylor, complete with realistic overnight pauses in communication as s/he goes to sleep for the night.

Taylor’s funny, even amidst dreary circumstances:

 

IMG_4303

 

Your first choice with fairly serious consequences comes early in the game:

 

IMG_4304

 

Off Taylor goes, and you wait:

 

IMG_4307

 

One of the coolest things about the app is the on-screen notifications you get even when you’re not “playing”:

 

IMG_4308

 

You can even respond without unlocking your phone:

 

IMG_4329

 

For the most part Taylor will do what you say, though it is not uncommon to have your wisdom second-guessed. After a little banter, though, Taylor will ultimately follow the path you suggest.

 

Evaluation (Insignificant Spoilers Below)

 

I had way more fun playing Lifeline that I thought I would. And I was much more drawn into the story than I expected to be.

The pacing of the story (i.e., how often you receive notifications and the real-life waiting time overnight or while Taylor is walking somewhere) is nearly flawless. You really have to spend three to four days to get Taylor to the end. Well… unless you make bad decisions early on.

I was actually pretty happy with myself that I got Taylor safely off the planet on the first try.

 

IMG_4341

 

After you finish the story you get the option to go back again, this time with no delays, which is a really nice way to quickly try other paths.

 

IMG_4342

 

When I went back to try new scenarios, I realized that you can get him/her killed the first day pretty easily!

The phone notifications are just like any other app’s notifications, though when you’re immersed in the game they sort of feel like text messages. There is no sound with the message notification, and I couldn’t find a way to change this setting. At first I found this a bit frustrating, but was actually glad for it as the days went on, so that I wasn’t constantly interrupted by Taylor. (You can adjust notifications in the settings otherwise.)

One mildly vexing thing about the game is that it’s not uncommon that after you make a decision for Taylor, s/he confirms that it was a good (or maybe not-good) decision by giving you more detail about surroundings… detail s/he already had and that would have been very useful before offering advice! E.g.:

 

IMG_4315

 

But I can’t tell if this is a frustration with the game-writing or the character. Not a big deal either way.

Lifeline is great. It’s available in the iOS App Store right now (see here). It’s also available on other platforms, and rumor has it that Lifeline 2 is coming soon…. Check out the game in more detail here. And go here for a fascinating behind-the-scenes write-up.

 


 

Thanks to the good people of Big Fish Games for giving me a download of Lifeline for review purposes. Find my other Apptastic Tuesday reviews here.

New Caspian Record: Dust and Disquiet

July 27, 2015

Dust and Disquiet

 

Caspian has been on heavy (and I mean: heavy) rotation ever since I saw a screening of their concert film Live at the Larcom.

They’ve got a new record coming out this fall, which I suspect will be excellent.

Here’s the track list, with names that portend some epic soundscapes:

01. Separation No. 2
02. Ríoseco
03. Arcs of Command
04. Echo and Abyss
05. Run Dry
06. Equal Night
07. Sad Heart of Mine
08. Darkfield
09. Aeternum Vale
10. Dust and Disquiet

I’ll report back as soon as I can. In the meantime, you can pre-order here or here, and listen to the first released track below (you’ll have to open the post if you’re reading on email or RSS):

 

 

How to Voice Dictate a Mind Map on Your iPhone

July 26, 2015
iThoughts icon

iThoughts mind mapping app

 

You can create a mind map with no hands in just three steps on an iPhone.

Before you voice dictate your mind map, you need:

Then head to the Drafts action directory to pick up this nice little callback url to install to Drafts. If you click this link from your iOS device, you can have it install the action right to Drafts. (More on iThoughts and x-callback-url options here.)

I’ve assigned this action its own “Run Action” key on the customizable Drafts keyboard, with the label MM. My keyboard in Drafts looks like this:

 

Mind Map Key

 

Now the fun part, and it’s just three steps:

 

1. Outline the text of your mind map in Drafts.

 

Here’s what I’ve just voice dictated:

 

Text in Drafts for Mind Map

 

To get going, use Siri to record what will be your first node (“topic” in iThoughts parlance).

To get to a second node, simply say, “New line, new line” and say what your next node/topic will be.

If you want to do sub-nodes (i.e., “children” topics) after you have dictated your main/parent topic, say, “New line,” and then have Siri indent your sub-node with the “tab key” command. Then dictate that sub-node or child topic.

You can add more parent, child, and sibling topics similarly. (iThoughts has a nice terminology overview here.)

 

2. Run your “iThoughts: New Map from Outline” action in Drafts.

 

I simply tap my “Run action” key, which automatically opens my draft in iThoughts as a mind map–and does it so quickly, I can barely catch a screenshot of the dialogue!

 

New Map from Outline

 

3. View your mind map in iThoughts.

 

Here it is

Here it is

 

Because of iThoughts’s sync setup, you can now view (and modify) your mind map in iOS or OSX platforms.

If this isn’t amazing tech, I don’t know what is.

UPDATE: I’ve just learned you can achieve this same effect with MindNode, my current go-to app. It doesn’t have as rich x-callback-url support, but you can make a mind map from voice-dictated text using the “Open in…” feature in Drafts. Very cool.

 


 

Thanks to the good people of toketaWare, for giving me a download of iThoughts for iOS and OSX for review purposes. More on that app to follow.

I Love to Run vs. I Love to NOT Run

July 25, 2015

I Hate Running

 

I have fallen off the wagon a bit these last 10 days or so with regard to running. Nothing to be proud of, I know. Today I realized something frustrating (but true):

I love not going for a run.

It feels good to not have to wake up super-early to exercise, or figure out how I’m going to schedule a jog in a day with multiple other demands.

But then I went for a run today, and remembered:

I love going for a run.

Ah, these blasted competing values. I get caught in the crossfire every time!

 

I Love Running

 

But I do love running, even though I also love not running, and that feeling–as long as I can keep remembering it–will get me out there again in the next day or two.

Interview: Kaplan’s Executive Director of Pre-Medical Programs (1 of 2)

July 23, 2015

It’s not the first time Words on the Word has covered science and medicine (Organic Chemistry, anyone?). I have my wife to thank for the additional focus of the blog.

She’s taking an MCAT prep course through Kaplan Test Prep. You’ll hear more from her later about the course itself. I had the privilege not long ago of interviewing Eric Chiu, Kaplan’s Executive Director of Pre-Medical Programs.

Below is the first half of the interview. The second half will go into more detail as to the specific MCAT offerings available through Kaplan.

 


 

What level of importance does the MCAT have in the medical school admissions process?

If has a great deal of importance. However, the med school admissions process is holistic. Schools are looking to profile students to find the best candidates: not just ones who are well-qualified to enter their programs, but students who are going to be successful academically in their programs, as well as in residency and on the USMLE (United States Medical Licensing Examination).

One reason why MCAT scores and GPA are important is that those two quantitative factors best predict performance in med school and board exams.

Eric Chiu, Executive Director of Pre-Medical Programs at Kaplan

Eric Chiu, Executive Director of Pre-Medical Programs at Kaplan

Last summer Kaplan administered a survey of 78 med school admissions offices, both MD and osteopathic programs. 40% of them named the MCAT as the largest application killer–the largest percentage of any response to that question. About 80% of them supported changes to the new test. And 68% thought the changes would better prepare students for med school.

The new test just launched–April 17–18. This is first application cycle where schools will be looking at both new and old MCAT scores. The reality is that this will be an interesting year in terms of admissions and how med schools look at new scores in particular.

The scoring field is completely different–there is new content knowledge, but also a different set of test skills. And there’s no conversion table from old to new scores. They are entirely different tests.

Schools will not have the same type of longitudinal mapping of new MCAT scores to school performance (i.e., USMLE scores, performance in third year of med school) for a few more years.

But there is a lot of confidence that the new test–and the preceding research that informed building it–takes into account an understanding of what skills would set students up for success. There’s been a concerted effort to make sure the new exam is an even better predictor of academic performance in med school. And it addresses more holistic things like behavioral sciences, which helps take into account issues of patient care and the movement for health care reform.

 

How much, on average, do the most successful test takers prepare? How many hours per week (and for how many months) do they study for the MCAT in a targeted way?

About 300 to 350 hours, all told, go into preparation. For students who are able to pace their prep and especially for Kaplan students in our course, we encourage them to start two to four months out from test date. Kaplan has courses scheduled that allow students to spread their preparation out for 10–14 or even 16 weeks.

We encourage students to begin studying even before their course begins. As soon as a student enrolls in a Kaplan MCAT course, they’ll get their books and online access, so they can start prepping months before their first scheduled class session. Therefore, we also encourage students to consider enrolling in their Kaplan course a month or two before the class sessions begin. Students can access courses in the online center and through the MCAT Channel. We recommend that they start attending live instruction via the MCAT Channel, especially for content review, even before they begin their course in earnest.

 

The books that come with the prep course (image via Kaplan)

The books that come with the prep course (image via Kaplan)

 

What makes Kaplan unique when compared to other MCAT prep courses?

We’re really excited about it, with the new exam and opportunity for reinvention. Unlike a lot of other companies, we did not think only of adding a few extra hours of content for the new course. We really used the test change as an opportunity to rethink and reinvent our entire approach to MCAT prep.

Our course is fundamentally based on two principles:

1. Not every student needs the same content review in their MCAT prep. All students need strategy and skills development for the exam, so in that sense we put our students through a similar path. But there’s a wide gap and wide range in terms of what students bring to MCAT preparation. Recognizing that, we allow students to find their most direct path to preparedness for the MCAT, rather than offering a one-size-fits-all approach. Our course offers the most content review available (via the MCAT Channel) on a schedule that makes sense for our students. They can invest time in the content areas that need the most help.

2. The course is designed to allow students to work as efficiently and flexibly as possible. Pre-med students are exceptionally busy. They are very active, have great aspiration, are hard workers, and can focus on lots of things at once. But they are still strung out on all the things they have to do to be better prepared for the application process and to build themselves into the types of people who will be great doctors some day. They are working at balancing school, life, work, research, volunteerism, clinical experience, and MCAT preparation.

Very few students can commit to MCAT preparation full-time. We allow our students to flexibly fit our course into their schedule.

And we’re the only company that offers the MCAT Channel. It makes available live instruction, six days a week: Monday through Thursday evenings, and Saturday and Sunday afternoons, as well as weekday summer afternoons. Students can log in to the channel if they need more help. This allows students to pinpoint where they need content review. We place our most expert (10 best, top-rated by others) instructors here. The MCAT Channel allows students to get questions answered in real time.

The Live Online courses also have additional instructors in the room, offering public chat answers and one-on-one interaction. This is really about designing flexible instruction to allow students to choose the right avenues for them, and then to fit it into their schedule as flexibly as possible.

Sessions are also available as recordings. This is all above and beyond the regularly scheduled course times. We make sure students get all the strategy they need for the 12 in-class sessions.

Kaplan has also built up a library of over 100 science review videos. These are short, concept-specific videos (7–15 minutes each), with the production value and expertise that Kaplan can bring. There is even interactivity with the videos–instructors actually pause several times during the video to do a concept check, which prompts students to interact with the material.

 

In the next part of the interview: which Kaplan course to consider, how Kaplan has adapted to the new MCAT, and strategies for studying.

 


 

Here’s Mr Chiu’s bio from Kaplan:

Eric Chiu is the executive director of pre-medical programs for Kaplan Test Prep, managing the company’s MCAT business, including marketing, program development, and delivery. A veteran Kaplan instructor, Eric has over a decade of experience teaching MCAT, LSAT, GRE, and GMAT preparatory courses and has presented to tens of thousands of students on topics related to test preparation and the admissions process. Eric has also overseen the development of Kaplan’s MCAT 2015 program, a revolutionary new approach to MCAT preparation, including the launch of a comprehensive Science Review video library and live, elective programming via the MCAT Channel. Eric holds a BS in Electrical Engineering from the University of Maryland, College Park.

Thanks to Mr. Chiu for the interview! And many thanks to Kaplan for giving us access to the Live Online MCAT Prep course for the purposes of offering an unbiased review. More to follow.

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