Should I adopt Google Keep?

In my series on working with tools in development, i felt it important to share this awesome tool that i have been using for a while. The tool none other than  Google Keep is the perfect tool for #productivity and daily organisational management out there. I have been using for a while now and it has kept me organised in my daily project work. Simply, Google Keep is a syncing notepad that connects to Google Drive. It also supports photo notes, voice notes, and checklists.  It’s ideal for quick note-taking on the go, anyone who appreciates simple, fast note-taking tools or to-do apps, or for saving notes on the desktop that you know you’ll need on your Android phone, like shopping lists, addresses, phone numbers, checklists and to-do lists, or conference call codes. Keep even supports Google Apps accounts, so you can use it with your own domain or a business account.

2017-08-28

The interface is colorful and easy to use. Those colors are actually organization tools that make it easy to tell your personal notes apart from your work-related ones, or your family-related ones, and so on.

Lets take a look at what keep can do;

1. Transcribe Text from Images

Keep has the ability to transcribe text from photographs. (As you see above, depending on the image, results can vary.) Just upload an image and then click the three dots in the menu below. This will prompt a pop-up menu. Select “Grab image text” and it will do its best to transcribe the words it finds (or thinks it finds) into searchable, editable text.

This little trick comes into handy if you want to easily access information on a business card, come across a sign that interests you, or want to revisit just about any print you’ve come across in your travels. Unfortunately, Keep’s tech doesn’t play so nicely with handwriting (at least not mine). Which is annoying considering Google has added handwriting recognition to a number of its other apps.

2. Keep Is Your Own Personal Stenographer

Ever have an absolutely brilliant idea while you’re on the move, but not have time to fiddle diddle with some touch-screen keyboard? Then, when you finally have a moment, you find that the brilliant idea was gone? Poof! Well, with Keep, you can just record a note into your device and it will be transcribed (fairly accurately in my experience) into a searchable, editable note.

Please note that Keep records audio as 3GPP files, which will probably work just fine on your mobile phone, but may not play on your older computer or laptop.

3. Set Reminders 

You can create a pop-up reminder in Keep, and it will show up elsewhere in your Google ecosystem (in your browser where Keep is open, in Google Now, or on your phone). Just click the icon resembling a finger with a string on it at the bottom of any post. Once you click that, you will prompt a pop-up menu that will allow you to set a reminder that can go off at a certain date/time or when you reach a certain location. You will then get notification in your browser or on your phone.

4. Easily Copy to Google Docs

Keep Google Doc
Since it’s part of the greater Google ecosystem, it would make sense that you could easily transfer a note in Keep into Google Docs. Just click the three dots at the bottom of a note and choose “Copy to Google Doc.” Then boom, it’s magically transformed into a Google Doc, which you’ll find conveniently in Google Drive.

5. Share and Collaborate With Others

Google Keep Share

Click the icon with the little plus sign next to a person and then you will share your note with someone else’s Keep. Then any changes one person makes will be reflected among all the people it is shared with. The original owner will have the ability to delete other users at any time. Maybe if I can actually convince others to use Keep, I’ll actually be able to use this function one day.

6. Filter Search

Google Keep Search
You might spend so much time searching creating and maintaining your notes that you might get overwhelmed by all the notes you’ve accumulated. Up at the top of the screen, there’s a handy search that allows you to find all the instances of a certain word or phrase. You can even filter further for notes that have been labeled a certain color, ones that have reminders, ones that have audio in them, etc. No knowledge will ever fall out of your brain ever again.
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Register for the upcoming MHM virtual conference 2017

October 17th, 2017 – Menstrual Hygiene Management Virtual Conference Participate online from anywhere in the world for free through our interactive virtual platform! The 6th Annual Virtual Conference on MHM in Schools co-hosted by UNICEF and Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, provides an opportunity to hear the latest research and programming from around the […]

via Menstrual Hygiene Management Virtual Conference – Register today — Sanitation Updates

Evernote Vs OneNote

As part of my series on working with tools in development, i felt a need to share with you some of the tools i use to stay productive. For notes taking ,i mainly use Evernote and OneNote and thus the inspiration to do a comparison of the two.

Evernote and OneNote are two of the most popular note-taking apps available. Because they’re both available for a variety of platforms, many of us rely on them to sync our notes with multiple devices. Both apps offer a similar set of features — including the ability to clip articles from the web and integrate with third-party apps — but they approach them in very different ways. If you’re trying to decide which of these two apps to go for, read on, as we check out the main differences between them.

To be clear, we’re comparing the Windows desktop versions of each program. We do mention cross-platform availability near the end, but just so you know, in-depth reviews of the non-Windows versions are beyond the scope of this article.

User Interface

User interfaces are a tricky topic. They’re important, but they aren’t everything. A great interface isn’t enough to save a poor app, yet at the same time, a poor interface will easily turn me away from an otherwise feature-packed program.

And when it comes to digital note-taking, user interfaces are arguably more important than in other applications. If the interface doesn’t feel comfortable to you, you’re going to spend more time wrestling with the program than actually taking notes.

People have different ideas as to what constitutes a great interface — yes, it’s mostly subjective — so I’ll just highlight the core differences between these two and let you make your own judgments.

Evernote

Evernote uses a three-column design that makes it easy and fast to switch between many different notes and notebooks when necessary. If you shrink the window’s width to less than 840 pixels, the sidebar disappears and the interface becomes a two-column design with more breathing space.

comparison-interface-evernote

You can also go into the options and switch to a layout that splits the notebook and notes horizontally, but I don’t really see any benefits to this mode. Of course, you can always disable the note panel altogether and access notes by double-clicking in the notebook.

Overall, I like that Evernote’s layout is as flexible enough to accommodate nearly everyone’s tastes. The amount of whitespace is perfect, though the lack of colors can be hard on the eyes.

OneNote

OneNote feels really weird at first, and it can take a while to get comfortable with it, but I personally think it’s more intuitive and conducive to productivity. I also feel that OneNote is more responsive (read: less laggy) than Evernote on my several-years-old laptop, though your mileage may vary.

comparison-interface-onenote

In OneNote, you work within a single notebook at a time. Each notebook has tabs at the top to distinguish between sections, and each section has tabs in the sidebar to distinguish between pages. Want to switch notebooks? Just use the dropdown selector at the top left.

One quirky but useful thing in the interface is the Quick Access Bar at the very top. You can customize the Quick Access Bar in the options to add/remove nearly any action that you can perform in OneNote. This feature is extremely useful oft-used actions, like inserting things or changing formats.

Note-Taking Features

Both Evernote and OneNote can handle regular note-taking just fine, including all of the core word processing features that you’d expect in any serious document editor, as well as things like image, video, and optical character recognition (OCR).

But a handful of things are quite different between the two.

Paragraphs

First, OneNote can handle free-floating “paragraphs”, which are groupings of notes that you can move around on the page wherever you want. This is in stark contrast to most other note-taking apps that can only handle notes on a line-by-line basis.

comparison-features-paragraphs

A lot of people have come to love the way OneNote handles its paragraphs and other note contents, but some people adamantly hate it. We realize it’s a polarizing feature and that could make it a deal-breaker.

Just know that if you prefer the traditional line-by-line way of taking notes, it’s definitely possible in OneNote. All you have to do is ignore that the feature exists.

Handwriting & Drawing

Even though both apps can import handwritten notes as images, one thing that separates OneNote from Evernote is the ability to draw and write notes by hand right inside the application.

comparison-features-drawing

Tools offered by OneNote include pens and highlighters of varying colors and thicknesses, lines, arrows, shapes, graphs, and an eraser for when you make any errors. Drawing in Evernote is made exponentially better when using a drawing tablet rather than a mouse.

Note: Evernote indirectly supports drawing and handwritten notes if you take notes using one of Evernote’s mobile apps.

Web Clipper

Both applications have something called a Web Clipper that can clip entire webpages from the Internet (e.g. for research) and save them directly as notes, though Evernote is generally considered to be miles ahead of OneNote in this area.

Conclusion

Both these two applications have some uniqueness in terms of design and usage. However both a little over the other depending on the user and also what the intentions to the user. I therefore conclude that both tools are good depending what your preferences are but for all your needs you can choose either evernote or onenote.

Don’t neglect shared latrines in drive for sanitation for all, agencies warn — Sanitation Updates

• WaterAid joins WSUP, World Bank and leading academics in urging donors, policymakers and planners not to neglect shared sanitation • Where private household toilets aren’t yet an option, safe, well-managed shared toilets are a crucial step to further improvement Funding for safe, shared toilets in fast-growing developing-world cities is at risk of neglect from […]

via Don’t neglect shared latrines in drive for sanitation for all, agencies warn — Sanitation Updates

Should i save my data on cloud?

I recently read a story about how amazon had scrapped their unlimited clouds services package to all its users. This in a way got me thinking about the realities of cloud based services. I have almost tried all cloud based services that are popular but still struggling with reliability aspect among them. In 2015, Microsoft announced a similar move where they also scrapped the unlimited package for overdrive  making it less than what was previously offered. I was among those affected by this move. A similar incident happened when my Dropbox was resented and i lost all files saved. With these incidences am still wondering how sustainable these services are and whether in the long run this is the solution to conventional ways of storage.

It’s pretty simple to understand where a file goes when you save it on your PC. It lives on your hard drive, possibly housed in a set of folders you’ve created and organized yourself. That file is only stored on your computer, unless you decide to email it to yourself or save it on an external hard drive or USB.

Now what about the cloud?

At its most basic level, “the cloud” is just fancy-talk for a network of connected servers (a server is simply a computer that provides data or services to other computers). When you save files to the cloud, they can be accessed from a computer connected to that cloud’s network. Now take that idea and multiply it to understand how the cloud works for you. The cloud is not just a few servers, but a network of many servers typically stored in a spaceship-sized warehouse—or several hundred spaceship-sized warehouses. These warehouses are guarded and managed by companies such as Google (Google Docs), Apple (iCloud), or Dropbox.

So it’s not just some nebulous concept. It’s physical, tangible, real.

When you save files to the cloud, you can access them on any computer, provided it’s connected to the Internet and you’re signed into your cloud services platform. Take Google Drive. If you use Gmail, you can access Drive anywhere you can access your email. Sign in for one service and find your entire library of documents and photos on another.

Benefits of cloud storage

On the flip side, the data you save to the cloud is far more secure than it is on your own hard drive. Cloud servers are housed in warehouses offsite and away from most employees, and they are heavily guarded. In addition, the data in those servers is encrypted, which makes hacking it a laborious, if not formidable, task for criminals. Whereas a malware infection on your home computer could expose all of your personal data to cyber-crooks, and even leave your files vulnerable to ransomware threats. In fact, we recommend backing up your files to a cloud service as a hedge against ransomware.

Another benefit to storing data on the cloud is cost effectiveness and ease-of-access. You can store tons of data, often for free, using the cloud. Measure that against the number of external hard drives and USBs you’d have to purchase, and the difficulty accessing data once you’ve stored to multiple other devices, and you can see why cloud storage has become a popular option for businesses and consumers alike.

Risks of cloud storage

Cloud security is tight, but it’s not infallible. Cybercriminals can get into those files, whether by guessing security questions or bypassing passwords. That’s what happened in The Great iCloud Hack of 2014, where nude pictures of celebrities were accessed and published online.

But the bigger risk with cloud storage is privacy. Even if data isn’t stolen or published, it can still be viewed. Governments can legally request information stored in the cloud, and it’s up to the cloud services provider to deny access. Tens of thousands of requests for user data are sent to Google, Microsoft, and other businesses each year by government agencies. A large percentage of the time, these companies hand over at least some kind of data, even if it’s not the content in full.

The other risk is the fact that there is guarantee that your information/data will not be deleted incase of changes in package subscriptions like the case of amazon unlimited to 30Tb limit.

Final verdict

Yes, despite all the challenges, your data is relatively safe in the cloud—likely much more so than on your own hard drive. In addition, files are easy to access and maintain. However, cloud services ultimately put your data in the hands of other people. If you’re not particularly concerned about privacy, then no big whoop. But if you have sensitive data you’d like keep from prying eyes…probably best to store in a hard drive that remains disconnected from your home computer.

If you’re ready to store data on the cloud, we suggest you use a cloud service with multi-factor authentication and encryption. In addition, follow these best practices to help keep your data on the cloud secure:

  • Use hardcore passwords: Long and randomized passwords should be used for data stored on the cloud. Don’t use the same password twice.
  • Back up files in different cloud accounts: Don’t put all your important data in one place.
  • Practice smart browsing: If you’re accessing the cloud on a public computer, remember to logout and never save password info.

Creating the perfect idea

They say necessity is the mother of invention and to achieve success one needs the perfect idea.  The perfect idea is a combination of many things that need to be nurtured to be in place. First tBusiness idearusting in the Almighty God to bless the idea. God is the foundation of perfect ideas. Scripture says every good and perfect thing comes from God, so why not trust him. You need to trust God to help move the plan.  Second is positive thinking that the idea will work. Most projects fail/stall because of lack of having a positive mentality towards ideas.  Many people associate project failures to finances and marketing but forget the first reason why they created the business. A positive mind can sustain a business even without finances or any other support. According to research, most businesses fail to meet their targets in their first three months or even a year, and yet they keep operating with losses. Question: How do think such businesses survive? Well, the answers can vary but one common thing is that they believed that the business will pick up at a certain time. If you maintain a positive attitude, this will be infectious and those around you will pick up on your positive energy. Everyone in your company will feel positive and customers will want to do business with you.

This in turn will lead to you maximizing the performance of your business. If you maintain a negative attitude, the opposite is likely to happen. People will not want to be around you, your staff will feel demotivated and customers will not want to buy from you. The result will be that the performance of your business will deteriorate.

With a positive approach you will feel in control and confident and you will perform at your best, whereas a negative approach will damage confidence, harm performance, paralyze your mental skills and may also impact your health.

Third you need a few sets of plans, even if each is only a few pages. A business plan, with an accompanying marketing outline, are important blueprints for success. They help you map out the major landmarks of the road ahead, define your success and break the journey into important metrics you can track your progress against.

I’m not one for a giant, robust plan nobody will access, but I do advocate a more modest go-to plan that can act as your basic instruction manual and hold you accountable to specific numbers. The reason I don’t support highly detailed plans is that I believe you need the flexibility to alter the course as necessary. Sometimes, large changes to the plan will be necessary.

Lastly, give no room for intimidation; majority of businesses tend to suffer due to fear of the big performers. You need to motivate yourself in order to succeed.

Water is key to poverty reduction and health

During World Water Day celebrations, it was humbling by the fact that over 663 million people on the planet still lived without access to safe drinking water; 2.4 billion people lacked access to basic sanitation services, such as toilets or latrines. With these challenges persisting around the world despite decades of hard work in the water and sanitation sectors, the key question we ask is are we at a point where we need to take a step back from current solutions and practices and do business differently?

The new Water Supply, Sanitation, and Hygiene Poverty Diagnostic (WASH PD) initiative suggests exactly that.

New findings from the WASH PD initiative (led by the World Bank Water Global Practice in collaboration with Poverty, Governance, and Health, Nutrition, and Population) for the first time advances our understanding in a systematic manner of the relationship between poverty and WASH at the country level. Our deep analysis of 18 countries—across six regions—provides us with new evidence of realities that must be acknowledged, and shows without a doubt that we must work together across sectors if we are to find solutions with sustained impacts on the ground.

Quick facts from around the world: 

  • In Mozambique, 90 percent of the poorest mothers lack access to antenatal care and 90 percent of underweight mothers only have access to unimproved sanitation
  • In Nigeria, 61 percent of the rural population lives more than 30 minutes away – and 34% lives more than 2 hours away – from a functioning water source
  • In Tajikistan, households in the Sugd Region report getting piped water 1 day per week
  • In Pakistan, despite improvements to nutritious food, reductions in open defecation and poverty, childhood stunting has stayed constant at 43 percent.  Construction of unimproved toilets and persistent water quality issues are not helping reduce this burden
  • In Indonesia, it is estimated that only 5 percent of urban wastewater is safely treated and disposed
  • In Tunisia, the richest 20 percent of households receive an estimated 27 percent of water subsidies, while the bottom 20 percent of households receive only 11 percent of the subsidies
  • In Ecuador, 93 percent of people in urban areas and 76 percent in rural areas has improved access to water services but still, 24 percent of the rural population drinks contaminated water

What we’re learning is telling:  Our initiative reveals critical gaps in policy, or between policy and implementation, which leads to poor service delivery. Working with Governance colleagues at the World Bank is stretching us beyond our water sector lens, and it is becoming abundantly clear that service delivery is many times hindered by inter-governmental fiscal and administrative systems and the interplay with politics. This may not come as a surprise to those who work with these issues on the ground, but now we have the numbers to prove it.

If we shift our focus from purely designing and implementing a project to the ‘service delivery problem’, the need for multi-sectoral thinking becomes apparent. For example, in Nigeria our analysis shows that nearly 30 percent of water points and water schemes fail within the first year. Forty-four percent of borehole construction projects are never started, and only 37 percent of borehole projects that get started are fully completed. The results are that 71 percent of Nigerian households in the lowest wealth quintile lack access to a protected water source. Read more