Redundant Publishing with Evernote and Postach.io

Andy's Notes

The Internet is always on. Except when it isn’t. Except when you really need it.

OK. The Internet isn’t quite like water. It isn’t absolutely necessary for survival. But we’ve come to rely on it so much that we really miss it on the occasions when it’s not there. Over the last week, I’ve come to the amazing realization that Murphy’s law applies to the Internet – it is when you are about to hit the Publish button, or when you are right at your deadline, that your Internet will go out.

There are actually multiple points of failure, at least with my relation to the Internet. First there is the basic connection. I’m lucky because I have a work connection (that’s really fast) and a home connection (that’s really fast). So if things are down at one place, I can usually go to the other for those times when I really need to be connected.

The second point of failure is the places where I do my publishing. I’ve had several hosting “companies” over the years. I put “companies” in quotes because sometimes it has been university servers that hosted my sites. In my line of work, we have had lots of hosting companies that we have dealt with. Web hosting can be a lucrative enterprise, but it’s got to be stressful when customers are asking “where’s my site?”

So those points of failure happen. Not really that often on the whole, but 99.9% uptime still leaves a good portion of time when things are screwy.

So here’s two examples. I was recently working on some online documentation. As can happen with writing, you can get into a “groove”. When you get in a groove, you forget things, like remembering to save. This happened while writing documentation and when I went to save there was no Internet connection at the time. A few wrong moves later and I lost all of my work. I thought to myself “when will I learn”.

The second example is spurring me on to write this post. Right at the moment I can’t get to my host to write in WordPress. Bummer. I hope those Hippies are getting somewhere. I’m very grateful that they work as hard as they do. As I’m writing this I’m getting messages that they’ll be back up soon.

However, I’m realizing that writing offline and then posting is something desirable to me. I did it years ago with Microsoft’s Live Writer.  These days, I write in Evernote. Constantly. When I say write, sometimes it’s “clipping”, as in clipping websites (blog posts, product reviews, wish list items). But I find myself formulating what I want to write in Evernote more and more. I want to publish to the web from Evernote. It does do it, kind of, by “sharing” notes. But the notes all have the Evernote branding and I’d like a little more control over the look and feel of the posts. You know, like I have with my own blog.

So what if I could publish my posts to a “Notes Blog” automatically. Type up my words in Evernote, make it live somehow and have my note synched to the web host.

Well, it’s here. It’s called Postach.io. It’s early days still, so I’m trying to temper my enthusiasm, but I’m excited nonetheless. Here’s how it works. You need to be using Evernote, which is another tool with a passionate following. Evernote is the place where I put all kinds of stuff. The short description is that you have notebooks and you can tag stuff and get organized. It has replaced Delicious for me because it saves the actual webpage frozen in time and it will save the link so you can return to it. Also Delicious has been a bit of a mess lately.

Once you’re using Evernote, you then need to establish an account at Postach.io. You then link your Evernote account to Postach.io and when you want to publish you write your note, save it in your notebook labeled Postach.io (or you can change it to another notebook if you like), and finally you give it a tag of “published” (you can change the tag you use as well). It’s a new paradigm of publishing. You move your notes into a shared area and then Postach.io does the rest. They have some very nice and simple themes that make it all look good.

In the past I have shared Evernote notes in the standard way here and here. But now I can post them in more of a blog setting so they look like this and this.

You can also get an RSS feed, so automatically publishing to a WordPress blog is a cinch (can you say FeedWordPress?). Which is where you get the redundancy part. Commenting is supported through Disqus which I need to look into further. There also automatic Tweeting and Facebooking, so there’s even more ways to get your message out.

So here’s to the experimentation. Hey, and look, my hosting “company” is back online!

So now this post is available at this site and my postach.io site.

2 Comments

  1. You’re giving me ideas. I’m not very organized or routine at evernoting; mine is more like that desk drawer you use to keep a desktop tidy.

    The feed part is intriguing. I use a WordPress.com blog to use when mine is down and set up feedwordpress on cogdogblog to pull in posts by tag– does pistachio feed by tags too?

  2. Hi Andy, hi Alan —

    I’m connected to the Postschio team. They’re very open to hearing about ideas. No feed by tag yet — there is more tag-based “stuff” coming, including possibly some aggregator stuff of their own.

    Cross-posting to WP is a possibility, too, although of course feeds work today.

    Andy — Disqus works on WP as well: it’s yet another external service, but in some ways makes comments more portable (I switched my link blog from Tumblr to Postachio but kept the domain, so Disqus “just worked”).

    Lots of edtech folks kicking the tires on Postachio – happy to make a direct intro if either of you want to chat further.

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