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A Year in the Making, Evernote Announces 4x Increase in Sync Speed

Evernote

“Second brain” service Evernote has taken heat in recent weeks, with users accusing the company of working overtime to add new features at the expense of usability and speed — and at least one of those problems has now been resolved.

Evernote announced Tuesday that its synchronization between devices and computers now works four times faster than it did previously, in no small part thanks to server-side upgrades that started last year.

“When we originally designed the architecture, we only had to support a few thousand, mostly single-device users, taking text notes for themselves,” explains Evernote CEO Phil Libin. “Now, we have tens of millions of users, most using multiple devices, storing and sharing notes, photos and documents.

“Our infrastructure has grown from a dozen servers to more than 700 in multiple data centers. Our original sync architecture has held up reasonably well throughout all this growth, but we knew it wouldn’t last forever,” Libin admits.

Over the last year, Evernote techs have “completely re-engineered” how the service syncs data between devices, migrating “every single note, resource and bit of metadata onto the sync platform” — but didn’t flip the switch until recently, after conducting exhaustive testing to make sure the transition would be seamless.

“Sync now often takes a couple of seconds to complete, and when you get a new phone or computer, downloading your notes will take much less time,” Libin adds. “If you have a small account, you might not notice that much of a difference. On the other hand, if your account is large, or you’ve been using Evernote for many years, or you share notebooks with other users, or your entire company uses Evernote Business, you’ll see massive improvements.”

Sounds like a good way to start 2014, which promises to bring even more changes to streamline Evernote. In the meantime, the company’s engineers have posted an extensive Tech Blog post detailing how the 4x increase in sync speed was accomplished, for those who enjoy the nuts and bolts of such things.

Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter

 

Mustbin Review

We’re big fans of Evernote, the “second brain” service where you can throw nearly any scrap of paper into the cloud until it’s needed again. For certain types of personal data, however, this approach often means that you’ll spend more time searching than accessing information. Mustbin is a free app geared toward life’s most precious data – credit cards, driver’s licenses, Social Security cards, and more. However, the developers have also empowered the app as a kind of digital jack-of-all-trades that can be used for sorting photos or even password-protected accounts into digital “bins.”

Mustbin differentiates itself from other services by guiding users through each process in an effort to stay better organized. All data is securely protected in the cloud with the company’s own flavor of “Bincryption,” an end-to-end AES-256 solution applied to every file generated by the app, as well as locally by a user-generated four-digit pin code. Built exclusively for iOS 7, Mustbin features a clean, easy-to-navigate UI. Each bin features three modes: A hand-holding Guide, Documents for quick access to everything inside a bin, and Actions for secure sharing with colleagues or loved ones along with “I Lost My Wallet,” a well-thought-out, step-by-step strategy for nearly any crisis.

So far, so good, but Mustbin tends to swing and miss with some of the little details. For example, adding wallet entries includes snapping a photo of the front and back of plastic cards, yet the app requires you to then manually enter the same information. Why is there no option to have credit card numbers and expiration dates automatically filled via optical character recognition (OCR)? There’s also no way to move entries between bins, short of redoing them. Although a Mustbin account can sync between multiple clients, for now the app is iPhone-only: there’s no web-based client for adding or editing entries, and iPad users will be forced to use the app in 2x mode — or not at all.

The bottom line. Mustbin may be a better way to get organized, but the service will need to expand further before it’s suitable as a true Evernote alternative.

Review Synopsis

Product: 

Company: 

Mustbin, Inc.

Contact: 

Price: 

Free

Requirements: 

iPhone or iPod touch running iOS 7.0 or later

Positives: 

Military-grade encryption of secure data. Better organization than competing services. Step-by-step guidance to stay better organized.

Negatives: 

No universal build for iPad, or even a web-based client. Wallet entries require manual entry of account numbers and other data. Some data types (particularly photos) seem like overkill for this kind of service.

Score: 
3.5 Good

Free Mustbin App Aims to Become Digital Repository for Vital Data

Mustbin

Evernote is a great service, but over the years it’s worked a little too hard to become a jack of all trades when it comes to saving scraps of data. A new app called Mustbin promises a return to the basics.

Mustbin announced the launch of its free iPhone app on Wednesday, which aims to capture and organize treasured moments and vital information into secure digital “bins” which can be privately shared with loved ones.

Mustbin uses patent-pending technology to act as a secure organizer by using the iPhone camera to capture nearly anything — notes, documents, cards, photos and more — and store them securely in the cloud with military-grade encryption.

“Most individuals have more and more vital information, often in paper form, spread across numerous physical locations,” remarked Brian Shin, Mustbin founder and Chairman. “Mustbin was designed around a central idea: How can individuals organize all their information and be prepared for when they need it?

“We are tremendously excited to deliver a beautiful mobile-first app experience that helps people securely capture all your most important information — both paper and digital,” Shin added. “It is as easy to use as the phone’s camera and incredibly powerful and flexible.”

In addition to secure sharing, Mustbin offers “Actions” to help users through life-changing scenarios, such as having your wallet stolen or even getting into a car accident. The app offers built-in Actions, but allows users to create their own, then share them through a private social network with friends, family or advisors.

Mustbin is a free app now available from the App Store and requires iOS 7.

Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter


Just 24 Hours After Launch, Mavericks Accounts for Around 8% of Mac Web Traffic

If Apple’s decision to make Mac OS X Mavericks free was rooted in a desire to speed up Mac OS adoption rates, it certainly appears to be working. As reported by MacRumors, research from analytics firm GoSquared shows that Apple’s latest Mac operating s…

AT&T Plans to Offer Stand-Alone $5-a-Day Data Plan for iPads

Using a Wi-Fi only iPad works well enough when you have an available connection, but sometimes emergencies strike and you find yourself wishing you had an LTE-enabled device. (Well, I do, anyway.) According to AllThingsD, AT&T’s seeking to make tho…

Apple Posts Commitment to Customer Privacy Statement

Apple logo silhouette

Over the last two weeks, the U.S. government’s PRISM program has garnered a lot of media attention, as well as denials from tech companies as to their involvement — including Apple.

Apple has posted a Commitment to Customer Privacy statement on its website in the wake of public outcry over the PRISM program, which shares customer data with U.S. government agencies.

When the media first approached Apple on June 6 about any potential involvement, Cupertino was quick to deny any direct access to its servers, which requires a court order before the company will release any such data. Apple is now making it clear exactly how many such requests it’s received, and how it’s handled them.

“From December 1, 2012 to May 31, 2013, Apple received between 4,000 and 5,000 requests from U.S. law enforcement for customer data,” the statement details. “Between 9,000 and 10,000 accounts or devices were specified in those requests, which came from federal, state and local authorities and included both criminal investigations and national security matters. The most common form of request comes from police investigating robberies and other crimes, searching for missing children, trying to locate a patient with Alzheimer’s disease, or hoping to prevent a suicide.”

The statement also details how Apple’s legal team “conducts an evaluation of each request” and will even reject those with “inconsistencies or inaccuracies.”

“Apple has always placed a priority on protecting our customers’ personal data, and we don’t collect or maintain a mountain of personal details about our customers in the first place,” the statement concludes. “There are certain categories of information which we do not provide to law enforcement or any other group because we choose not to retain it.”

Among the data Apple doesn’t hang onto are iMessage and FaceTime conversations, which Apple claims even it is unable to decrypt, as well as a customer’s location, their Map searches or Siri requests.

Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter

Intel Teases 4K Video Transfer, Display with Thunderbolt 2

Thunderbolt hasn’t quite lived up to expectations since its debut over two years ago, but that isn’t stopping Intel from preparing the next generation, which promises to fly faster than ever before.Intel’s Technology@Intel blog shared a peek at the upc…

Intel Teases 4K Video Transfer, Display with Thunderbolt 2

Thunderbolt hasn’t quite lived up to expectations since its debut over two years ago, but that isn’t stopping Intel from preparing the next generation, which promises to fly faster than ever before.Intel’s Technology@Intel blog shared a peek at the upc…

Bubble Browser for Evernote shows tags as bubbles

Bubble Browser, now available on the Mac App Store, is a new tool to assist in visualizing Evernote data. In particular, it excels at showing you tagged info, and presents larger bubbles corresponding to the frequency of use for a given tag. It’s …

AT&T to offer increased data plans for business

AT&T has announced that it’s rolling out new, large data plans meant for businesses. Starting on March 22, businesses will be able to sign up to data plans covering either 30, 40 or even 50 GB of data per month, which can be shared across a nu…

Research Firm Claims Apple Now Top U.S. Mobile Phone Vendor

Take that, Samsung: Based on its Q4 2012 data, a research firm has crowned Apple as the top mobile phone vendor in the United States for the first time ever — but its Korean rival isn’t far behind.Strategy Analytics announced Friday that Apple is now …

IDC Q4 Data Reveals iPad Still Tablet King, Even in Crowded Market

While Apple’s share of the tablet market has dropped in recent months, there seems to be little for Cupertino to worry about — the iPad is still the king with nearly 50 percent of the market, with Samsung a distant second.International Data Corporatio…

IDC Q4 Data Reveals iPad Still Tablet King, Even in Crowded Market

While Apple’s share of the tablet market has dropped in recent months, there seems to be little for Cupertino to worry about — the iPad is still the king with nearly 50 percent of the market, with Samsung a distant second.International Data Corporatio…

AT&T Expands FaceTime Over Cellular to All Tiered Data Users

Good news, FaceTime fans on AT&T — the carrier has caved in just a little bit more, allowing FaceTime over Cellular calls to pretty much every compatible device, assuming you’re not still on an unlimited plan.AT&T Consumer Blog announced Wedne…

Sorry IDC, Gartner Claims U.S. Mac Shipments Actually Grew 5 Percent in Q4

Last Thursday, data from IDC reportedly showed that Apple’s Mac shipments had shrunk by 0.2 percent. There’s just one problem with those numbers: Gartner doesn’t agree, and even claims Mac market share actually grew just a bit.AppleInsider is reporting…

Report: Apple in Talks to Integrate Foursquare Data with Maps

Now that an official Google Maps app for iOS has arrived, Apple is likely feeling the pressure to improve its own built-in app even more — and a new report this week claims they may get some help from Foursquare for doing just that.MacRumors is report…

ZipCloud Online Backup Review

Remember those Apple ads that said “There’s an app for that?” ZipCloud is an online backup service whose motto may as well be a variation on that theme. The basic service does exactly what you expect, backing your files up to their secure Amazon S…

ZipCloud Online Backup Review

Remember those Apple ads that said “There’s an app for that?” ZipCloud is an online backup service whose motto may as well be a variation on that theme. The basic service does exactly what you expect, backing your files up to their secure Amazon S…

Hands on with FreedomPop's free data for your iPad and iPod touch

FreedomPop’s free data pitch is aimed at the thrifty consumer: put down a refundable deposit on a USB dongle or MiFi-style router (iPod touch cases are also an option) and receive a monthly 500 MB bandwidth stipend for life. For free.

If it sounds…

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