Posts Tagged ‘evernote’
I am going to share a Contract Search tip which was emailed to me by a long term reader of this blog (so a big thanks to Rob). It’s a very useful tip for those looking for the next freelance gig or contract job.
Rob says when you are applying to 5 or 6 contract/freelance jobs every day, it can quickly become confusing on what you have applied for, what jobs need what skills, and which agent was used for what position.
To aid in the search, Rob cleverly uses Evernote. When Rob replies to an emailed job, or just before he hits the ‘apply’ button on the web based job board, Rob highlights the job detail text and uses the Evenote web/text clipper to add a new note into a new Evernote ‘Contracts Applied For’ folder.
If an agent calls or emails him back, it’s a quick task then to pop into Evernote, search on the agents name (or company), and all the posts applied for through the agent are listed.
It’s also a useful tip for checking that you are not applying for the same position again where it is re-listed in the jobs board, or is going through more than one agent.
If you have never used Evernote before, the clipper function is an add-on which installs itself as a tool button into most browsers and MS Office/Mac programs and allows you to quickly highlight text and add it as a new Evernote note. The clipper can be downloaded from the Evernote add-on site.
Thanks for the tip Rob.
On Wednesday last week, I produced 32 hours worth of coding output. But unlike my reckless younger self, I did not have to put in an ‘all nighter’ or work two days flat without a break (I was known to do both when I was 18). No, on this particular Wednesday, I got out of bed at 7am, started work, finished at a little before 4:40pm, and yet had produced 32 hours worth of code.
I had done this through Evernote. I have talked about Evernote before, but thought I would share how I use this marvel of technology.
Ripping Apart Projects with Evernote
Whenever I complete a project for a customer, I add 3 or 4 hours of project time into my plans. When the project is delivered, just before I file it away to my document storage system, I then rip it apart. I run through all of the code I have produced, looking for the ‘clever stuff’ – code that does a particular function, or overcomes a problem, or is just generally useful.
All these bits of code then get copied to Evernote in one of a dozen different areas. I have areas for VB.NET, C#.net, SQL scripts, SQL tricks, DOS commands, VBA, VBS, and a host of others. Sometimes I copy 3 or 4 lines of code, sometimes its entire routines, sometimes whole files. Each gets a good title of what it is it does.
How I worked 32 hours
So on this particular Wednesday, I thought as an experiment I would list what I was going to do, and how long it would take me to code from scratch. Then I coded it in my usual way – coding some of it by hand, but finding large blocks already coded in Evernote, and i just copy, paste and tweak. I like to think of myself as a bit of a Frankenstein of a coder.
The result is that in a little over 7 hours or work time, I had coded what I estimated would have taken me 32-34 hours by hand. And of course there is the bonus – the copied code has already been used, therefore tested, therefore less bugs when reused, therefore less testing needed.
So I worked 7 hours, the code should have taken 32 hours; what do you think the customer got billed, 7 or 32 hours? Who do you think got the difference in to their bank account?
All the tools I use (such as Visual Studio) have their own snippet catalogue systems, and I could use those. So why do I use Evernote? Simple – portability. I can see my notes on my PC, on my phone, on my tablet, and at a customer site. It’s all searchable, all findable, quick, easy and free.
Bless you Evernote for making me more productive, and allowing me to bill more than I could possibly work.
Just call me Professor Frankenstein.
Is it right to take something you have done, and charged a customer for, and give it or sell it to somebody else? That’s the question on my mind today. Let me explain…
Take as an example the car that you drive. You have purchased that car. But the design, the specifications, the look and the feel… well that is owned by the motor company. You buy the metal and the plastic, but you don’t own the design.. or do you?
But what about the web page or the code or the design you put together for your customer? What are they buying – are they buying everything including the ideas you have and the design, or are they buying the end result – the car if you like – that they can use, drive and work with?!?
For me one of my biggest work assets is the tools that I use – I have in my Evernote account, a thousand little snippets of code that do all kinds of things – from complex searches in SQL Server, to universal date conversions, through to full applications to do data quality reporting. As I am forced to develop something new for a customer, if its useful, I clip the code to Evernote and its there for the future. And that clip means that instead of wasting 4 hours reinventing the wheel, I can find the code, paste it in and it only takes 10 seconds. But is it right that the customer has paid for my time to do the work, and I am snipping it for use in the future – for future clients and projects?
My view is.. yes. My logic is, ok I may be snipping something that they have paid for my time to develop, but in the majority of cases, I have saved them time and money by using the code clips on their projects– I haven’t spent 5 hours of their time working a problem in the past when I solved it from my evernote collection. It balances out – I am not taking the entire package they are asking me to develop or design, just a very small part of it.
Where I am in doubt, I always say up front this is what I will be doing – and it’s never been a problem for any customer.
And it’s a massive saving of time, effort, and more importantly – my sanity through relief from boredom; doing the same thing over, and over and over again.