Tech Tip – Scanning business cards make searching easier

#TechTip The Rolodex is so 80’s. Take a picture of business cards and upload them to a site that will store and make them searchable.

#TechTip The Rolodex is so 80’s. Take a picture of business cards and upload them to a site that will store and make them searchable.

Everything is searchable these days on the internet and on your Smartphone. shouldn’t your list of new contacts also be?

 It wasn’t that long ago I used to have a big book that I slid in all of the business cards I collected from networking functions.  They were great for seeing them as I flipped through the pages.  I did find though, after years of networking and collecting business cards in books and boxes, finding that one card I wanted was difficult.  Yes, I could see it easier by flipping through pages upon pages of cards in a book, but I still had to find it.  If I needed that card while I was out and about, then I was in trouble.  There was no way I was toting all those cards along with me every time I went out.  There had to be a better solution.  Fortunately, there is.  Lots of them.

Scanning your cards and uploading them to online databases is the easiest way to do so.  Evernote has always been my preferred go to for storing information for later retrieval.  Its ability to scan words, even in images makes searching really easy.  Using the camera feature built into Evernote, you can take a picture of the card and store it in a notebook just on cards.  When needed, simply search for a name, or even a keyword associated with that card (Something like “Mortgage” or “Legal” if you are looking for a Mortgage broker or Lawyer you once met)  Evernote will see the keywords on the card and make them searchable.

Shoeboxed is another service that takes your business cards, receipts and other documents and scans them for you.  You just send them over to them in the regular mail and they scan them for you and make them accessible online.  You can then take those scanned documents and sync them with your Evernote account or one of many other online storage spaces.

There are also a number of card scanner apps for your Smartphone that you can use.  They will scan a card, and take the relevant information from it to put in your contacts list.  There are almost too many to mention, but I have used CamScanner, which converts all your documents into pdf files.  Do a search in the App store for what

Evernote also makes another app called Hello.  While not a true card scanner, it allows you to enter information from a card, and have it pull information from the contacts LinkedIn profile and populate in a note on Evernote with all the details you need.  You can also take a picture of the card and attach it to the note.

These are just some of the different methods of using your Smartphone to throw out your old Rolodex and Business Card holders.  Do you have a preferred method of tracking your contacts?  Leave them in the comments below.

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What’s better: Apple or Android? The answer may surprise you!

There has been a lot of discussion over the past few years over what is a better smartphone: Apple or Android. There are loyal camps on both ends and a lot of vigorously defiant camps in between. (BlackBerry, Microsoft etc.) Some of the fanboys (and fangirls) on both sides will gladly talk at length over why their preferred system is better than all the rest.

So who is right? What is the best mobile solution out there?

The answer? It doesn’t matter.

Both Apple and Android are 2 software ecosystems for connecting you to the digital world. BlackBerry, Windows Phone and all the other operating systems are also excellent at keeping you connected.

You are probably thinking “WELL THAT DOESN’T HELP ME!!!” “WHAT A STUPID ANSWER! OF COURSE MY _____ PHONE IS BETTER THAN ALL THE REST!”

And I have an answer to that rebuttal: You’re right. Your ____ phone is better than all the rest….For you.

There has been too much attention placed on why one is better than the other; but in truth, it all comes down to the same thing I have told people for over 14 years working in the telecom industry. There no such thing as the best phone, there is only the best phone for you!

Lets look at it from a different perspective. What do you need a Smartphone for? Staying connected. Phone calls, Text messages, emails, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and the host of other connected solutions available. Really what does a smartphone do? It bridges the gap between your digital and personal worlds. Any one of the phones I have already mentioned can do that (Plus many more I haven’t even talked about yet) The thing is, everyone is different. Some people rely heavily on social media connectivity and need something that will work. Others just want secure email, while others just want it to work easily. Since everyone is different there is no way to make a blanket statement over what is the better Smartphone, especially in an industry that changes as rapidly as the telecom sector.

So what do you need to know to make the right decision?

Ultimately you need to find out what kind of user you are going to be. Do you need occasional connectivity or constant? Do you have specific applications that you rely on or will you be using more basic communication solutions? Whatever you decide you are, just know that your habits will change over time. What you think is the right solution for you now may not be the right solution for you in a years time. Change and adaptation is part of the technology ecosystem we live in.

There is one thing I will say that will separate ecosystems and hopefully make a decision easier. Platforms should be network and information agnostic. Your information should be accessible on all platforms. You should be able to switch ecosystems as easily as a pair of shoes and still maintain an adequate level of reliable communications. Anything that prevents you from doing that, or forces your information to only be locked to a single ecosystem should be reconsidered.

Open solutions are the only way to stay connected.