I do a lot of text processing. Think for a second of the images conjured up by the terms food processor and paper shredder. That is how I think of text processing. Many times, I don’t care what you feed me, I just grab it, churn it up and regurgitate a report.
Chris via Compfight
For example, if a client needs a tool to extract email addresses, I don’t care if the file is email from Outlook, customer contacts from a spreadsheet, or the Quaker Valley Quilting Bee membership list. As long as the email addresses look like email@example.com, the tool will find them.
For this Evernote consolidation project, I will test the limits of context-free text processing. By exporting the notebooks into a specially formatted file, I can write a utility to parse and manipulate the key elements: titles, tags and stacks (Evernote’s implementation of a notebook within a notebook.) Even though it would seem that some conscious effort must be made to categorize, tag and regroup my notebooks, I believe that the tool can be designed to automate that effort.
Evernote itself is built upon the very foundation of context-free frameworks: XML. Validation is the hallmark of XML’s lack of contextual constraints. By that, I mean to say: XML is used to examine documents based upon its definitions! This magic trick is possible because XML validation only ensures that the documents are well-formed. It is left to the content consumer to decipher the message carried in the documents. (Read more about XML validation)
Here is a screen shot of part of the Evernote export format Document Type Definition:
Evernote export format DTD
To be honest, it looks rather generic. That’s a bit like dismissing a parked Ferrari – I know there is more to Evernote exporting than meets the eye. Still, the initial plan is to treat the exported Evernote file as one continuous stream of text.
I will refer to my own previous Evernote project for inspiration. Later, I will dig into some code provided by Marty Zigman and his readers, as they attempt to import Excel data into Evernote.
I have been doing some thinking about all of the disorganization in my digital life. Instead of repeating what has been so eloquently covered by Brandon Pittman, I decided to start an Evernote housekeeping project. Maybe this will take my mind off of the mess I’m making of my Cloud / Backup initiative.
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Motivation for this Project
Why Evernote? Simple. I use it every day. I have tools that automate my note collection, from the Evernote Web Clipper to the PowerBot extension for Gmail. These tools and my need to keep notes on so many different topics have led to a proliferation of notebooks, notes and tags. Consequently, I’m always thinking about things in terms of Evernote!
- Automating Evernote
Earlier this year, I did a project for a client that needed 400 totally random Evernote entries. Before I bid, I exported some of my notes to see how they are stored. It turned out to be XML, so I figured it would be a breeze. It was more like a stiff gale, but I managed.
- Evernote Templates
Later, I discovered a website called KustomNote, where Evernote devotees can design and use form-filling templates. I use the site to save my freelance bidding activity.
- Consolidating Notebooks, Notes and Tags
Finally, in a fit of frustration, I Googled site:evernote.com pile vs. tag and stumbled upon this discussion. A link to a mind-boggling suggestion by one of the participants really helped me to bang the rocks together. This suggestion is Evernote Organization without Organizing and it is so close to how I use KustomNote that I feel I’m on the right path to information transcendence!
The goal is to simplify Evernote through automation and consolidation. A by-product will be, if successful, a nifty template system that I can use instead of – or in addition to – KustomNote.
It was a dark, stormy night and the roads were deserted. I had just pulled up to a red light when I heard it. Lucy gurgled painfully and exhaled with a deep finality.
“Well, that’s that,” thought I. I called the emergency room to cancel our unscheduled visit. I would never forget how easily my mind slipped gears, almost in tune with the death mobile. For that’s what it had become, a stark, rolling reminder that the light is not always green on the other side of the street.
Indeed, that night, the stupid light had chosen that moment to malfunction. I sat for ten minutes, as the last echoes of eternal hope sprang away into the mist. I had finally stopped listening for a resumption of Lucy’s ragged breathing and, only then, focused as I was on “the arrangements”, did I realize that the light hadn’t changed.
Funny thing, that light. Years later, I rolled through that same part of town, as a police officer. I no longer cared about such pedestrian conventions as red means stop. A flick of a switch and I would be rolling. So, yes, I was rolling through that intersection when I heard it.
The phantom echo of my true love’s final breath.
The vignette above is based on a writing prompt from Girl Who Reads
Ever see a spider’s web after a storm? Shredded. Devastated.
24 hours later, the thing is back, better than ever. Pound for pound, I bet spiders outwork bees and ants. Then again, I’ve never seen an ant colony after a flood or a beehive after a bear attack.
Julie Falk via Compfight
The Internet is full of little spiderwebs. That’s why those Googlebots are called spiders, FYI. Every day, storms knock the weave off of some industrious person’s gorgeous creation. Unlike the counterparts in nature, it may take weeks or even months to get the warps, wefts and sticky posts back in place.
My little cove took a pounding. And that’s all I’m saying because, really, nobody wants to read about server issues.
I’ll be moving furniture around, washing windows, etc., etc., etc. If you happen to pass through and see a besmudged, industrious creature peeking out between the <div> tags, wave before you fly, roll or otherwise continue on your merry way.
Total brightness, like a television with a broken contrast knob, beckoned the passengers of the Wingohocking Cruise Lines flagship, Rainbow Fairy. At first, everyone thought it was part of the evening’s entertainment. But, as the light continued to float around their heads, a collective consciousness began to echo throughout the ballroom.
The ripples translated to panic, anxiety and an overwhelming urge to be alone. Somebody wondered aloud, “nerve gas?” Others, less inclined to introspective navel gazing, shot out of chairs, grabbed husbands or wives and made a beeline for the exits. The ripples intensified into a visible ribbon that seem to glisten and flow like a translucent ground fog.
The curious speculator put a finger to his lip. This view, noted by no one, actually changed the course of events. The fog, not used to being questioned, tried to share a sense of urgency with the mesmerized individual. This backfired into pandemonium for the already fleeing passengers; they suddenly got the nauseating sensation that the ship was beginning to list.
The fog was pissed off. That one fool caused the reaper to lose most of its harvest.
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Copyright © 2013 by Mitchell Allen
Originally appeared on CreativeCopyChallenge #309.
This is for my Friend, Jace Daniels. Congratulations on winning the 2012 First Look Project for best Horror / Thriller screenplay!