Saturday, October 22, 2011

How To Use Siri With The iPhone 4S To Create A Note In Evernote

Ok, I've got this working perfectly now, thought I would share.

The problem: I wanted a way to be able to add a note to Evernote completely HANDS FREE (i.e. when I'm driving).  The iPhone 4S and Siri make hands-free reminders incredibly simple (and useful), but I also needed a way to compose Evernote notes hands free.

With a little help from Google Voice, I've got it set up seamlessly.

For example, I can say to Siri...
"send a message to Evernote...Tim recommended that we stop by the lighthouse on vacation next month, do a little research on it"
...and within seconds, the note appears in Evernote.

Here's the overview of how I set that up: Siri sends a text to the phone number created for my "Evernote" contact, which is my Google Voice number.  Google Voice then forwards that text to my Gmail account.  Gmail then, via a filter, bypasses my inbox (so no email notifications are received) and forwards the message to the email address provided by Evernote.

Side Note: This would have been FAR easier if Siri had the ability to compose emails, or if Evernote gave us the ability to add notes via SMS.  As long as neither of those are possible, I think my solution is the best completely hands-free way to add notes to Evernote.  If you've got a better idea, let's hear it in the comments!

Here's the full step by step: 

Step 1. Make sure you have a free Google Voice account.  Write down your phone number.

Step 2. While you're in Google Voice, go under your voicemail & text settings and make sure you're forwarding texts to your email address.

Step 3. Write down your Evernote email address, which you can find on the account settings page.

Step 4. Create a contact on your phone for Evernote. Add your Evernote email address, and for phone number, put in your Google Voice number.

Step 5. If you're using Gmail, you'll have to add your Evernote email as a forwarding address.  You go to the Forwarding & POP/IMAP settings and click the "Add a forwarding address" button.

Gmail will then send a verification email, which (obviously) will appear in Evernote in a few seconds.  Go into Evernote, and click the link in that note to let Gmail know that the email address is valid.

Step 6. At the top of your Gmail account, next to the search bar, there's a link that says "Create a filter".

Click that, and follow the steps in the images below (you're creating a filter that will take all of the text messages sent to you by Google Voice and forward them on to your Evernote email address).

click next step after this....

Step 7. That's it, you're done!  Just ask Siri to send a message to Evernote, and she'll do it...completely hands free!

One note about notifications...if you have the Google Voice app on your phone as I did, you'll probably want to turn off notifications/badges/etc so you don't get a notification every time you create a note. For me, that was the final step to make it completely seamless, like it was built into the iPhone 4S from day 1.

Friday, October 14, 2011

How To Integrate iOS5 With Facebook

If you have an iPhone or iPad and you love Facebook, you're probably a bit miffed that Apple chose to bake Twitter into their new software instead of Facebook.

The new software release (iOS 5) makes it dead easy to tweet almost anything from almost anywhere inside of your iPhone/Pad.

Luckily, there are two pretty easy workarounds to use this "Tweet" button to post to Facebook.  Neither are perfect, but both work really well.

Option 1: If You Don't Currently Have A Twitter Account

Well, you're going to need one, so go sign up for one.

Then on Twitter, go to your Settings > Profile.  At the bottom you'll be able to connect Twitter with your Facebook account.

Once you've connected the two, again from Settings > Profile, simply check "Post your Tweets to Facebook" and you're good go to!
Now anything you Tweet in iOS will be automatically cross-posted to your new Facebook wall!

If you don't want every tweet going to Facebook, choose Option 2 instead...

Option 2: If You Already Tweet (And You Want To Individually Choose Which Tweets Go To Facebook)

You, my friend, need the Selective Twitter App.  Click that link and set it up by entering your twitter username.

Once you've installed that, any tweets where you include the hashtag #fb will be cross-posted to Facebook.  That way you can pick and choose what goes to FB and you're not flooding your wall with 20 posts an hour. 

Once you've set that up, you just use the "Tweet" function in iOS 5 and #fb to your tweet, and it will post to Facebook.

Both of those options work really well.  The only thing that you can't do with these iOS workarounds is post to Facebook without posting to Twitter...but considering the way those two websites are built to interact, that's probably not a huge issue for most people.

Monday, October 10, 2011

How To Secure Your iPhone or iPad

You probably already know that Apple offers the free MobileMe/Find My iPhone service.

You may have even set this up, so if your phone is lost or stolen you know to just go to to locate it.

What you may not realize is that a thief could easily thwart your defense by simply deleting the "Find My iPhone" app!

Here's what you need to do to make sure that doesn't happen.

First, Set Up Find My iPhone (this works with iPads as well)
  1. Install the Find My iPhone app from the App Store
  2. Go into the Settings app on your device, choose Mail, Contacts, Calendars, and under Accounts click Add Account . You'll use your regular Apple/iTunes ID and password to sign in, and then turn ON Find My iPhone/iPad.
  3. Test it on your device by launching the app you downloaded in step 1 and use your Apple ID/password to sign in.  Your device should locate where you are.
  4. Test it on your computer by going to and signing in with your Apple ID/password. That website should locate your device. (also note that you can click the blue circle and you'll be able to either display a message on your device, play a sound, lock it, or wipe all the data off of it...all right from your computer!)
Good job!  That's more than the average person does to protect their device, but even the tech savvy individual doesn't always think that you need to go a step further.

But you still need to SECURE it so a thief can't just delete the app or turn off the GPS!
  1. Go into the Settings app on your device, choose General, then choose Restrictions and click Enable Restrictions.  You will have to choose a 4 digit passcode.  Make sure you don't forget it!!
  2. Now you've enabled restrictions, but you haven't actually set any yet.  We are going to set 3 of them
  3. Under Allow, turn OFF the one that says Deleting Apps. This will ensure that a thief can't delete the Find My iPhone app.
  4. Under Allow Changes, click Location and then select Don't Allow Changes. This will make sure a thief can't disable your GPS.
  5. Finally, under Allow Changes, click Accounts and select Don't Allow Changes. This will ensure a thief can't delete your Find My iPhone account (the one we set up in step 2 in the first section).
That's all you need to do!  Your i-device is now secure.  If it is stolen, a thief will not easily be able to stop you from locating it.

Keep in mind that those restrictions will prevent you from doing some things you may want to do (delete an app, for example).  In that case, just go back into settings and turn the restriction off temporarily, then turn it back on after you're done.

Note: I know that a thief could potentially just wipe your phone clean and re-sell it or use it themselves.  NOTHING can stop that, but remember that a person who snatches an iPhone they see laying around probably isn't the brightest person in the world.  Following the above steps at least gives you a fighting chance of locating the cops and provide them the location so they can recover it.  This also ensures you can wipe the data if it really is stolen (as opposed to just being lost).  If you want some extra security, you should go to Settings > General > Passcode Lock  > Turn Passcode On and set it to Erase Data after 10 failed attempts.  You should also write down the IMEI number under Settings > General > About and report that to your carrier if it is stolen. They can blacklist the IMEI number which may also assist in locating it for you if the thief tries to get cellular service with it.