Evernote “Use With Siri” iOS 11

I updated my iPad Pro and iPhone 7 Plus to iOS 11 today and noticed under Settings > Siri & Search > Evernote on the iPad this new “Use With Siri” option. I turned it on, tried a few things, but nothing worked. So I posted on the Evernote forum and DT Low gave me the secret mantra.

Hey Siri   Create a note in Evernote called Testing

Hey Siri    Find a note in Evernote

The first time I tried this on the iPad, Siri told me something like “I’m sorry (Dave, but I can’t do that) – you’ll need to open Evernote to continue.” So I let her do that and that’s where the experiment ended. But I tried again, invoking Siri from the lock screen, and TADA. It worked. Now I can create and search notes using Siri! I can die a happy man.
Except – the “Use With Siri” option doesn’t appear on the iPhone 7 Plus and I don’t know why.

evernote ios 11 use with siri

Update: Doh! To get it working on the iPhone I just had to update the Evernote app!

An Even BETTER Way To Get Audio Into Evernote on your iPhone

I do most of my best thinking behind the steering wheel after meetings and I’m always looking for ways to capture those ideas before I forget them.

I wrote a post a couple of years ago about using Siri to transcribe voice-to-text into an email that it would send to Evernote. That’s worked well for me but it has some limitations – mostly that if you’re trying to write a long note and you pause to think, Siri will assume you are finished and cut you off mid-sentence.

So I have a new system that I find works even better.

Dropvox is an iPhone app that will a) record your voice and b) automatically save the recording to Dropbox. There are other apps that will do a similar thing, but I like Dropvox for two reasons.

1) It has a HUGE RED BUTTON making it easy to press while driving.
2) It has a setting that will start recording as soon as the app opens, which means you don’t even have to press the button!

Screen Shot 2015-05-12 at 5.41.37 pm
Of course you can record notes into Evernote directly but it takes a few clicks and the in-app record button is the size of ant’s balls. This is more like an elephant.

So while driving I can activate Siri and simply say “Open Dropvox” (making sure I over-emphasise the “VOX” so it doesn’t open DropBOX by mistake) and, when it opens, I start recording my note. When I hit the huge red elephant-sized STOP button, Dropvox will automatically upload the file to Dropbox.

Now – here’s the magic.

On my Macbook I have a Hazel rule setup to grab new notes in the Dropvox folder under my main Dropbox folder, and open them in Evernote! So when I get back to the office after my meeting and open my Macbook, I’ll magically get my audio note open in Evernote a minute later (once Dropbox has synched).


A Decade Of Podcasting

Today is the tenth anniversary of my first podcast – G’Day World #1 in 2004.

It wasn’t only MY first podcast, it was a milestone in a number of ways:

  • It was the first podcast ever produced in Australia (AFAIK)
  • It was the first podcast produced over Skype (AFAIK)
  • It was the first podcast to include live guests (AFAIK – but that didn’t happen until a couple of weeks later when I interviewed my mate Buzz Bruggeman)
  • It was the first podcast on The Podcast Network, the world’s first podcast production business that I co-founded in Feb 2005.

Podcasting has come a long way since 2004. Back then I was predicting that it would become mainstream within a decade. Has it? I’m not sure how you measure “mainstream” – or even it that’s a worthy metric at all. It certainly hasn’t taken over the world. And I still meet people who have never listened to one and don’t really know what a podcast is.

But here are my thoughts on the matter.

  1. The most recent stats I’ve seen suggest there are about 225,000 active podcasts being produced (but I’ve no idea how they arrived at that number or how credible it is). That probably means there are millions of listeners at least.
  2. The advertising industry still isn’t on board. I produce one of the top podcasts in the world and I don’t have potential advertisers beating down my door. We did sell quite a bit of advertising in the early years, 2006 – 2008, but the GFC hit and that all disappeared – and hasn’t returned.
  3. The technology has improved a great deal. Back then it was pretty hard to FIND and SUBSCRIBE to podcasts. Even after Steve Jobs announced in May 2005 that the next version of iTunes would have a podcast directory (and sent me an email about it), it was still a clunky process to find a podcast, subscribe to it and get it onto your iPod. These days of course there are a bunch of iPhone and Android apps that make it simple and quick.
  4. The business model for podcasting is emerging as listener donations. On my Life Of Caesar and Napoleon Bonaparte podcasts, we get regular listener donations. Nowhere near enough yet to make a living out of it, but we hope to change that with our new series that starts in a couple of weeks. I prefer the donation or subscriber model to advertising as it gives us greater independence. We aren’t relying on sponsors to continue their support. If we get them, they will be cream. I know a couple of guys who make a living out of their podcasts, so I know it can be done. This wouldn’t have been possible 10 or even 5 years ago.
  5. While the models for listening and monetizing podcasts has evolved, the technical side of setting up and running a premium podcast hasn’t. There are certain services like LibSyn and Blubrry that provide some options, but their premium services are out of the price range for the average podcaster. If the small podcaster has a chance to get up and running and making money out of their show, we need better tools and guides. I’m currently writing such a guide that is based on my experience over the last year building the Caesar show. I hope to get it finished in the next month or so and think it will help a lot of podcaster take their shows to the next level. Disappointingly, ten years later, iTunes still doesn’t allow podcasters to charge for their shows, meaning we have to jump through way too many hoops to do that ourselves.
  6. In terms of marketing and delivering a podcast, iTunes is still the kingmaker. It accounts of about 90% of our downloads and I’m sure that pretty true for most podcasts. Why haven’t Google, Microsoft or Yahoo done more to promote podcasts? I don’t know.
  7. Has my decade of podcasting been a good thing? Yes. Not financially – but certainly it has in other ways. Most importantly, I wouldn’t have met my beautiful wife Chrissy if it wasn’t for podcasting (we met at Napoleon conference in Corsica in 2008) and we wouldn’t have our baby Fox. I’ve made many wonderful friends around the world who came from listening to my podcasts. I’ve made friends with other podcasters who did a show on TPN back in the day, including David Markham and my current co-host Ray Harris. I’ve interviewed guests from Noam Chomsky to Ray Kurzweil, from Leo Sayer to Jeffrey Katzenberg. It’s been a wonderful adventure.

I maintain today, as I did in this SMH article in 2008, that radio is boring. Every now and again I turn it on in the car and it bores me to tears. It’s still the homogenous shit it was ten years ago and that inspired me to create intelligent content. Yes, there are exceptions – the ABC in Australia, NPR in the United States, etc – but commercial radio is a wasteland of nonsense. Radio listenership in metro Australian cities are in decline but not by much (about 1% per year over the last five years). Will that change when podcasts are available built-in to cars, as Stitcher is promising?  Perhaps. We’ll have to wait and see what the second decade of podcasting delivers.

Review: Sandberg PowerBackup for iPod + iPhone

My iPhone 4S is constantly running low on battery, especially when I’m travelling (or when I spend all day in the cigar lounge), so I’ve been on the lookout for a portable battery pack – especially since my mate Grant was here from NZ a month ago and showed me his (battery pack, that is… get your mind out of the gutter).

Then I got an email from the folks at Sandberg promoting their “PowerBackup for iPod + iPhone” 420-05 unit. They were nice enough to send me a review unit and I’ve had a few days to test it.

Out of the box it had a 75% charge on the unit but I wanted to test  it fully charged, so I plugged it into my iPhone charger for a while.  According to the Sandberg site, charging time takes 2-3 hours by AC adapter or 4-5 hours by PC. Mine fully charged on the AC adapter in about two hours.

Then I let my iPhone 4S run down to 0% and jacked the Sandberg in. After two hours, the Sandberg unit was depleted and the  iPhone was sitting at 76% charged.

While it was charging, the iPhone was powered up (in sleep mode for most of the time), NOT in airport mode and with WIFI turned ON. I figured it might charge faster with everything turned off, but if I’m using this in a real-life situation, I typically want my phone on while it’s charging.

The Sandberg has four capacity LEDs, letting you know how much charge is in it, and another LED to let you know when they iPhone is charged. It also holds its charge very well. I recharged it after the experiment, and several days later it still has a full charge.

I also tried the Sandberg on my iPad 2 but it wouldn’t charge. It’s not advertised as compatible for iPad so I wasn’t surprised, but I just wanted to test it anyway.

Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find them for sale in Australia yet. According to the Sandberg site, the RRP on these units is  £21.99 (about $33 AUD) but you can find them on Amazon.co.uk for less.

Definitely gets a big thumbs up from me.


Top 6 iPhone Chess Apps

Top 6 iPhone Chess Apps


These days I’m using SOCIAL CHESS on the iPad to play turn-based games. I highly recommend it however you can’t export your games to .pgn, which is a shame for those of us that like to study our losses. 🙂


I have also been checking out CHESS PRO. It seems like a great training app for people who are new to chess.  It takes a slightly different approach to other training apps.

How does it work? It’s really simple: you just play! The coach shows you the moves a Grandmaster would pick. Not just one move, but the 4 best moves.

Comes in a free version as well as a $9.99 version.


UPDATE (September 2012)

This post gets a lot of traffic, so I thought I should update it to include the apps I am currently using on my iPhone and iPad as a lot as happened since 2009!

Here are my main chess apps:

iPad / iPhone


This is my main app for playing real-time games online. I’ve tried both the iPad HD version and the iPhone version and I’ve ended up using the iPhone version on my iPad, as it seems a little more advanced in terms of features and reliability than the iPad version. I can usually find someone to play against in a matter of seconds and the gameplay, at least on the iPhone version, is quite smooth. The apps themselves are free however to play online you need an ICC membership which costs about $5 / month.

Internet Chess Club iPhone app


On the iPad, I tend to still use Shredder (see below) to play and study, and Chess With Friends (see below) to play asynchronous games, however I’ve found another app that is better at allowing the importing of .pgn files for analysis, and that is:

t Chess Pro

t Chess Pro for iPad

t Chess Pro allows me to grab the emailed games from ICC, drop them into a .pgn file, and upload it to Dropbox. Then I can download that on my iPad and open it in t Chess for analysis.


ORIGINAL POST from 2009:

There are a huge number of chess applications for iPhone these days and, as I’m a bit of a chess nut, I’ve been trying to test them all out to find out which are the best chess apps for the iPhone or iPod Touch. There are apps suitable for beginners through to grandmasters as well as apps that will let you play a quiet game by yourself on a plane, through to games that let you play against other iPhone / iPod Touch owners online.

These are the ones I suggest you take a look at. Prices and ratings are from the Australian iTunes store.

Hard Core

If you’re an avid chess player, you probably already know about Fritz and Shredder from their PC apps which have been around for many years and are battle tested against world champions. You might not have heard that they now have iPhone versions.


The PC version of Fritz has beaten grand masters from Kasparov to Kramnik. Not enough ratings in the Aussie appstore for an average, but seems to be getting 4 and 5 stars so far, which isn’t surprising.

The Good:

  • Suitable for beginners through to very, very, very advanced players
  • Claims to have the strongest chess engine on the appstore
  • Game analysis
  • Allows you to send games to other players via email.

The Bad:

  • No online play.
  • At $8.99 it’s one of the more expensive chess apps.


Another chess app that’s been around on the PC for many years, Shredder claims to be “the most successful chess program ever”. It has an average rating in the iTunes store of 4.5 stars.

The Good:

  • Comes with 1000 in-built chess puzzles.
  • Game analysis.
  • Coach for beginners.
  • Huge opening book.
  • Send games via email.

The Bad:

  • $12.99, it ties for the most expensive chess app for iPhone currently.
  • No online play.

Best Free Apps

What options are out there for people who want a serious game but don’t want to fork out the big bucks?

Deep Green Chess Lite

Deep Green Chess Lite provides a solid game of chess for beginner or intermediate players. Average rating 3 stars.

The Good

  • The best interface of all of the apps tested, IMHO.

The Bad

  • Doesn’t resume or save your game if the app is closed down mid-game. Considering how often I receive calls on my iPhone, this is annoying. Might be better for Touch owners.


iChess allows for online play on FICS (freechess.org) servers as well as standard play against the AI or human opponents. Average appstore rating 2.5 stars.

The Good

  • It has the best of all worlds – online play AND AI play AND it’s free.
  • It resumes the game you are playing if you take a call mid-game.

The Bad

  • There have been reports of the AI making illegal moves.
  • The app has crashed on me a few times.

Best Online Play

Chess With Friends

I’ve been using CWF since it first came out and it’s a terrific asynchronous chess  experience. It will set up games for you with random players or allow you to invite friends via email. Average rating of 2.5 stars doesn’t do it justice.

The Good

  • It’s free!
  • Works over 3G, Edge & WiFi.
  • Also allows for local “pass the iPhone” games.

The Bad

  • Doesn’t have push notifications for when your opponent makes a move although I imagine with the release of OS3.0 that will be coming soon.

Cyber Chess

If you want real-time online play, then Cyber Chess might be your best option. It connects to both FICS (freechess.org) and ICC (Internet Chess Club) servers. Only one rating on the Aussie appstore, which is for 3 stars. Price $1.19.

The Good

  • Allows for real-time chess against human opponents.
  • Training mode.
  • Support multiple chess variants.

The Bad

  • Currently doesn’t support FICS tournaments.

What’s Missing

What I’d really like, but haven’t found yet, is a chess app that let’s me play against another human iPhone to iPhone on the same network. The same way that apps like Bump set up a private network, I’d love to play chess against the person sitting next to me in a cafe without having a real board. I’d love it if we could both whip out our iPhones and start a real-time game against each other. If anyone knows of an app that has that feature, please let me know in the comments section or on Twitter.