Let’s face it – webpages are sometimes so cluttered with banners, ads, etc. that they are just difficult to read. That’s where Clearly from Evernote comes in. This browser plug-in makes blog posts, articles, and webpages clean and easy to read by clearing away everything but the content. Clearly also provides the ability for you to highlight portions of the text, print the “clean” version, or save it to Evernote with one click for easy access later (whether you’re online or off).
My browser of choice is Google Chrome, and it has been for quite some time. I prefer it because it’s extremely fast, has a clean interface, and is customizable through numerous plug-ins and extensions.
My friend, Erik Mazzone (director of the North Carolina Bar Association’s Center for Practice Management) is also a Chrome fan. Herecently discussed some of the best Google Chrome extensions for attorneys, which included:
- AdBlock automatically erases all advertisements on web pages.
- Evernote Clearly and Evernote Web Clipper, which were discussed in my blog post last week.
- Pocket makes it simple to save an article to read later by just clicking a button.
- Buffer allows you to manage social media accounts so you post at the optimum times.
- Tweet The Page provides a simple and easy way to share a Web page or article.
- Hover Zoom allows you to auto-zoom an image to a larger size by hovering over it.
Source: “Web 2.0: Customizing Chrome” by Erik Mazzone, published in Law Practice Magazine.
The title of this blog post is a double entendre. Yes, it’s no secret that I have been a huge fan of Evernote and have used it for years, so as an App, it is amazing.
However, I have recently begun to use Evernote’s Clearly browser plug-in, and it clearly rocks! Busy attorneys will find the following features in Clearly particularly helpful:
- Distraction-free reading – Clearly provides a distraction-free view of your favorite web content by making the text cleaner and easier to read and removing ads, navigation and other distractions.
- Save to Evernote – Save content from the web directly into your Evernote account with one click, so that you can read or reference it later. Using Evernote’s Smart Filing feature, your content will automatically be tagged and saved to a related notebook.
- Listen with text-to-speech – If you have an Evernote Premium account, Clearly can read web content to you, and it highlights the word currently being read to make it easy to follow if you so desire.
Clearly offers a number of ways to customize your reading and web clipping experience, and it’s available for Chrome, Firefox, and Opera browsers. Best of all, it’s absolutely free! You can learn more about Clearly’s features (including its customization options) and watch a short tutorial video here.
Prior to using Clearly, I used Evernote’s Web Clipper plug-in, which provides similar clipping functionality, but frankly it would tend to be somewhat temperamental at times. I have found Clearly to be much more user-friendly, and it’s additional features make it a much better option for lawyers.
If you want to learn more about Evernote and how it can be used in your law practice, read some of our previous posts below:
I have now had the opportunity to use the Chrome Chrome CR-48 Notebook for a couple of days. I intend to contine putting it thought its paces in the coming days/weeks, but here are my thoughts to this point:
- The Chrome OS is lightening fast. It literally wakes from sleep mode and is ready to go before I get the lid fully open. Impressive.
- The CR-48’s size is virtually perfect. It is light and easy to transport. The screen size offers just the right amount of work space.
- Its rubbery skin is very appealing to the touch. It makes it easy to pick up the CR-48, and the grip feels secure when handling it.
- The battery life is outstanding. It appears that I will easily get over 7 hours (and perhaps as much as 8) on a single charge.
- The built-in Verison 3G data card is easy to activitate when needed and deactive the rest of the time.
- I like the thought behind which keys are included / excluded, as you have the ones you need and don’t miss the others.
- I was already using Chome as my web-browser of choice, so I enjoy the speed, features, and functionality it offers.
- Many of my complaints pertain to the keyboard, including:
- There is no "Command" key, so Mac users will have to adjust to not having that frequently used key.
- Many of the shortcuts are tied to the "Control" key, which is fine, but that key is not adjacent to the Space bar. Instead, it is located on the other side of the "Alt" key away from the spacebar, which is very awkward and not easy to reach.
- The keyboard is not backlit like my MacBook Pro‘s, so it is hard to see the individual keys when typing.
- Not all of the Chrome extensions that I use on my Mac are availalble or functional on the CR-48. For instance, such favorites as 1Password, Awesome Screenshot, etc. are not showing up and don’t appear to be usable at this time.
- There appears to only be a limited amount of space allowed for extensions beside the Omnibox, so it’s unclear what happens when you have more extensions than there is room for them to be shown.
- The touchpad recogizes some multi-touch gestures, such as two finger tap for right clicks and scrolling, but it doesn’t provide the ability to use three-finger swipes for moving forward/backward between webpages or pinch-zooming.
While listing those critiques, I am mindful of the fact that the CR-48 is not supposed to be a MacBook Pro, that they are intended for different purposes, and that the pricing on the two will most likely be drastically different. I will keep you updated on my thoughts as I continue to use the CR-48, and I welcome your comments, tips, questions, and suggestions as well.
Guess what arrived at my office today? One of Google‘s Cr-38 Chrome Notebook computers that I was able to acquire. I use the verb “acquire” because I can’t really divulge exactly how I came to have computer, especially if one were to hypothetically assume that Ebay may somehow have been involved.
I had been wanting one of these for a while so that I could give it a good workout, and now I glad to finally get my hands on one. I should point out that I do not intend to replace my MacBook Pro with the Chrome Notebook by any means. Instead, I want to see how this notebook can fit into my “arsenal” of computers, as I envision it being something in between my iPad and my MacBook Pro.
The features that made me to want a Chrome Notebook were:
- Tight web-integration :: Because I frequently give presentations about using cloud-based technology in my law practice, I am curious to see how far that concept can taken and if it is possible to work on a browser-based computer. Specifically, I want to see which SaaS programs work well, work acceptably, and/or don’t work at all.
- Built-in Verizon 3G data coverage :: I currently have (and use) a Verizon MiFi with my MacBook Pro and iPad when I away from my home or office networks, and I am pleased with the coverage and speed it provides. However, I don’t like having to carry the unit itself and keep it charged to be able to utilize it. The Chrome Notebook comes with two years free 3G coverage (at 100MB/month), so the price is right.
- Size / weight / speed factors :: The Chrome Notebook has 12.1-inch screen, built-in webcam, 16GB solid state hard drive, and weights a svelte 3.8 pounds. Better yet, it boots in approximately 10 seconds and wakes from sleep in about one second flat. All of which should enable me to spend even more time being productiveand less time waiting.
- Cutting edge innovation :: Much of the technology in this computer is cutting edge. Working completely within a browser and not having a separate “operating system”? Truly integrated web-based apps and extensions? I’ll admit it – this thing just sounds über-cool to me, and they are really rare.
I will post my initial reactions later this week, and I welcome your feedback, suggestions, and questions as well…