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October 2014
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March 2015

Searching Evernote Hello

I use a little "cheat sheet" to help me remember names and people I've met. (See my previous entry, "What's your name again?".) But as my beloved Namerick continues to languish as abandoned-ware, I've been searching for alternatives.

I thought that I had found it in Evernote Hello. It's smartly designed and actually somewhat fun to use. One of its key features, per the company, is to "build a history" of your interactions. That's exactly what I want to do!

Alas, Hello also appears to be abandoned by its maker as it hasn't been updated in over a year. This is particularly annoying to me because there's no hope that Evernote will fix its fatal flow: the Notes field is not searchable.

That's right, you can enter notes about a contact (such as, their husband's name or favorite food, or where you met them) but that info is locked up behind an iron wall that prevents you from using it to find that person again.

You can search every other Hello field, but not that one. It's crazy. Yes, I've opened an enhancement request with the company, but their response was generic, and the lack of updates to the app is pretty much my answer to that request.

I have, however, figured out a way to (sort of) work around the limitation. Hello saves its info to a special notebook in your Evernote account. (A notebook cleverly named "Hello".) So you can use the regular Evernote app to search this notebook! That's right, Evernote can find what Hello writes but cannot find itself. Go figure. You can even edit Hello records using Evernote, but you can't add new ones. For that, you must use the Hello app. (Well, you can add new notes using Evernote, but Hello will ignore them.)

Of course this leads to the question of why one should use Hello at all. Just use Evernote, create a notebook for your contacts, and go from there. You wouldn't get the flashy Hello visuals, but it would in many ways be more functional.


Upgrading to the new Insteon Hub 2

Smart Home has been selling their new INSTEON Hub v2 for just $40, so I couldn't resist upgrading my older hub. (Note that the new one is smaller and otherwise improved, but no longer supports X-10 devices, if that's important to you.)

When the new Hub arrived, I couldn't find any information about how to migrate from my old one. Worse yet, the iOS app would only associate with my old one, making the new one nothing more than a paperweight. I contacted Smart Home for help, but didn't get any reply.

Well, after some poking around in the slightly clumsy app, I discovered part of my answer. To add the new Hub 2, in the app, go to the "House Management" section of Settings. From there you can add the new Hub, which is quick and painless. (You'll need the Hub nearby as it involved scanning the QR Code on the bottom of the unit.)

There doesn't appear to be any way to migrate your devices from one hub to the other, though, so you'll have to re-add each device individually. Not a fun task, particularly for light bulbs that are inaccessible.

With the sad demise of Revolv, the INSTEON Hub is now the best choice for setting up quiet, simple, and easy home automation. It's not sophisticated enough for a DIY enthusiast, but for most, it's the way to go.