Going paperless: tips on how I use Evernote to “remember everything”

One of the first things that attracted me to Evernote as a tool for going paperless was its slogan, “Remember Everything.” I’d been trying to do just that for fifteen or sixteen years. Back in early 1996, I started keeping a diary. I was inspired to do so by my favorite writer, Isaac Asimov, who kept a diary from the time he turned 18 until his death at 72. Naturally, my diary was in the same style as his: a daily accounting of my social and writing activities. I never recorded anything that I wouldn’t want anyone else to see. At the time, I really had only one goal for keeping a diary: to have a record of when things in my life happened relative to one another. Over the years, it became a very useful reference for me. From 1996 through 2004 my diaries were all paper and that had some drawbacks:

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The first drawback was that they were not easy to search. They were handwritten in small print without any index or thought or organization. When I needed to go find something, it often took a while. The second drawback was that there was no backup. If something happened to the diaries, that was it. I once tried to go back and put them into electronic format, typing each entry into the computer but it turned out to be too much of a chore.

In 2005, I moved to electronic diaries in the form of blogs and other things. But it wasn’t until I discovered Evernote that I recognized the possibility of “remembering everything” the way that I wanted to. So here are some tips on how I use Evernote to remember everything that I think is worth remembering.

Tip #1: Think of everything as fitting on a timeline

Everything I do (and want to remember) happens at some point in time. When it happens is always important to me. I, therefore, try to be very consistent about how I use the Create Date field on my notes in Evernote. The Create Date of a Note–for me–is the date on which the event occurred, not necessarily when the note was created. Sometimes that means altering the create date. For instance, if I created a note this morning teo remind me that my little girl attempted to crawl forward for the first time yesterday, the create date of the note will be yesterday, not today.

And it doesn’t matter what notebooks the notes go into. They will all have a create date and if I wanted to, I could build a timeline of events showing everything that happened on a given day, week, month, etc. Of course, these events can be sliced and diced in different ways. They appear in different notebooks, for instance, or they are tagged differently. That makes it generally easy to find what I am looking for.

Those who have been following along will recall that last week’s post described how I organize my notes in Evernote. One of those notebooks was called a “Timeline” notebook. It is in this notebook that I record miscellaneous life events. For instance, I have a note I added yesterday that reads, “[Little Boy] has a new phrase, “Mommy/Daddy, I have a question…”” I have it tagged accordingly and when I want to know when my kids said certain works or phrases for the first time, I can easily look them up and see the progress of their evolution.

Tip #2: Capture things discretely

One problem with my paper diary was that everything was jumbled together in a single entry. Not so with Evernote. I have not taken the path of creating one note for each day. Rather, I create one note for each unique thing I want to record. Thus, there is a note reminding me of when my little boy first said the phrase, “Daddy, I have a question.” There is a separate note for what I had for dinner (captured using the Evernote Food app).  I have a note that contains the portion of the short story I wrote on that day. And more notes with my social networking activity.

By capturing these things discretely, I can more easily find the type of things that I am looking for and create unique timelines for those things. If I want to see just the short fiction I wrote last month, for instance, I can do a search in my Daily Fiction notebook for anything that has been created in the last month. That search string would look something like this:

notebook:"My Daily Fiction" created:month-1

Instead, if I wanted to see all of the places that I’ve been in the last month, I could do a search that would result in just that:

notebook:"Social networking" created:month-1 tag:foursquare

When all of these are combined together, I get a good picture of my life in a single timeline.

But, this seems like a lot of work, creating all of these notes, right? Well, that’s why I’ve included the next tip:

Tip #3: Automate note creation where possible using a tool like IFTTT

If you’ve never heard of IFTTT, you should check it out. It stands for If This Then That and it’s a web app that allow you to have data from one social networking application flow automatically to another application. You do not have to be technical to set it up and it works with Evernote! I currently use 5 “tasks” in IFTTT to automatically add routine notes to Evernote, and I’ll list them below as examples so that you can get an idea of how this tool work.

Sending the day’s weather to Evernote

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I use IFTTT’s “clock” widget to set up a “task” that sends my local forecast to Evernote each morning at 5am. That way I have a note each day that has the forecast for that day, along with everything else that I record.

Send Instagram photos to Evernote

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When I take a picture with Instagram on my iPhone, that picture will automatically get sent to a new note in Evernote. This allows me to have a little record of any pictures that I take throughout the day, kids smiling, sunsets, whatever. When you set up these tasks in IFTTT, you get a set of options so you can control what gets sent to the Evernote note. For instance, you can set it up to only send Instagram photos with a certain tag in the caption–or you can send all of the photos. You can also tell it what notebook to put the photo into and how to tag the note. There is a great deal of flexibility.

Send my blog posts to Evernote

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Whenever I add a post to my blog, that post will automatically get added to Evernote as well. This is useful to have a record of what I posted on a given day, in relation to everything else. After all, I try not to duplicate efforts. I don’t create a note saying, “Wrote a new Going Paperless post today.” There’s no need for that since the post itself will appear as a note (and be searchable, along with everything else).

Send my Foursquare check-in to Evernote

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I use Foursquare to keep track of where I have been. It’s a useful tool for capturing where you’ve been and you don’t have to share that information with anyone else, if you choose not to. I check-in to Foursquare when I go someplace and that check-in gets created as a note in Evernote (complete with a map!) via IFTTT. These are tagged as “Foursquare” so I can very easily pull up a list of where I’ve been and when I’ve been there.

Send my Tweets to Evernote

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I use Twitter throughout the day to keep in touch with friends and colleagues, and it seemed to me that there was some useful information in my tweets that was worth capturing.  So I setup a task in IFTTT to send each of my tweets to a note in Evernote so that I have a running log of those as well.

The key takeaway here is automation. I don’t have to spend time capturing these notes in Evernote. I go on with my normal everyday behavior and all of this data is captured and added to my “timeline” automatically.

Tip #4: Develop a process for “remembering everything”

Just like anything else, having a process or habit for capturing notes is an important way to ensure that it happens consistently. I’ve described my process for going paperless in 10 minutes/day. I have a process here, too, but it is one that has grown out of the habit of keeping a diary for as long as I have. I know what it is I want to capture and what I don’t particularly care about. Everyone will have a different set of things they want to remember and building the habit to remember to capture that information in the first place can be tricky sometimes, but if you keep at it (as I did) it works and it can be really useful. Here are some of the other types of information I capture (out of habit) as individual notes:

  • When I start reading a book or story, I create a note. Often times, I’ll go back to that note when I finish and add my thoughts. I can easily go back and look to see when I read a particular book or story and what I thought about it.
  • When I watch a movie or (much more rarely, a TV show) I’ll create a note. For movies, I’ll usually toss in an image of the movie poster, and just like books, I’ll sometimes go back and add thoughts or comments to the note.
  • When I cook an unusual meal, I’ll capture it in Evernote using Evernote Food.
  • When I see something I’d like to get, I’ll capture it in a note and tag it as “wish list”; when I actually get it, I’ll add a note indicated that I got it. Sometimes interesting to see how long it goes from wish list to in my hands.

So what good is all of this information?

When I’ve talked about this with friends, I often get the question, “what good is capturing all of this information?” For me, there are a number of things, but three things stand out as being particularly important:

  1. It helps me stay paperless. I no longer need my paper diaries, of course. But I also don’t need scraps of paper to remind me of something. If there’s some fact that I can’t conjure up in my brain (“When was the last time I took my little boy for a haircut?”) I can almost always search for it and find it. I can do this at home, on my iPad, on my iPhone, at my office, wherever I may be.
  2. It is one of my most important reference tools. I can find out when things happened, in what order, and see other information that happened around the same time. I am also a champion of personal analytics, about which I’ve written a couple of times (here and here and here) and being able to extract this data for that type of analysis has also proven useful.
  3. It provides a historical record for my kids. I think it would be cool to turn this data over to them when they are young adults and curious about what mom and dad did when we were younger. There would be a wealth of information for them to see, not only about us, but about them, too. I have notes, for instance, with pictures, of each of the art projects they’ve brought home from school. I have notes for when they said their first words–and can tell them if it was raining or snowing or hot and sunny when they said them. I think that would be a cool thing to see.

And yes, there is a lot of information that goes into Evernote. For those new to this column, I have written in an earlier tip how I protect and secure my Evernote data and I am satisfied with my methods there.

Being able to do all of this without the need for paper has made me feel much more clutter free, reduced my overall stress level, and provides some cool data that can be used in countless way. And it’s really not that hard to do at all, especially if you automate the process as much as possible.

45 thoughts on “Going paperless: tips on how I use Evernote to “remember everything”

  1. Hi Jamie,

    Thanks for this great article! Was so looking forward to it after your article last week. For me I think it will be very helpful for me to have a journal of my kids’ memories.

    You highlighted the IFTTT web app. I’ve considered using this app to automate my life and send things directly to Evernote. However, how safe is it using this service? Do they have access to my personal data in Evernote? Just a little concern…

    Thanks,

    Ben

    1. Thanks, Ben. When you connect to a service using IFTTT, you get a specific description of what data the service will and will not have access to. I believe they have access to CREATE a note, but they do not have access to your Evernote data UNLESS you have a task that goes FROM Evernote to another service. I think everyone needs to make their own call as to whether you are okay with an automated service having the access specified. For the 5 tasks I have created, I’ve seen no problems so far.

  2. Im curious – why is using Evernote food any better than just using Evernote itself?

    1. JaiLeer, for me, it’s just faster. Kind of like a pre-formatted template that saves me some data-entry time versus doing it directly through Evernote. Every little bit helps. :-)

  3. I have become a Jamie Todd Rubin fan recently. Your posts about Evernote bring new life into my Evernote and by chance also assisting my babysteps using Scrivener.
    Keep up the good work Jamie :-) Inspiration is priceless.

  4. Can’t figure out how to Sending the day’s weather to Evernote using IFTTT. IFTTT using the clock just wants to send the time to my new Evernote Note.

  5. Walt – try using the weather trigger instead of the clock.

    Jamie – thanks for the tips. You’ve really inspired me to use Evernote to “remember everything.”

  6. Thank you, Jamie. Great post, and like always a lot of useful information. I’ll check out Ifttt today. First thing I ‘ll try is a routine to get an Email whenever you are posting a new article on the subject “Evernote”! ;) Going to check out how to install such a routine right away …

    “So what good is all of this information?” – I find myself asking this question quite frequently. And when I find that there’s no answer that makes sense, I just delete the note. So I seem *not* to be trying to “remember everything” with Evernote. ;) This will certainly be different when you use Evernote as a diary, as you do. I do distinguish between notes and diary.

    For notes of any kind I use Evernote – in my case that’s mainly collecting material for my blog and for upcoming projects like renovate the house or trip planning. These are future aspects. Plus I am archiving manuals (QR-coded, for sure) :), tutorials, screenshots, recipes. Thats the “remember part”.

    But for my diary I use Momento app, which I like a lot (more so when they will finally bring out an iPad companion and cloud sync).

    1. Reinhard, I find myself deleting a lot of notes at times. I actually did use Momento a while back, but when I started using Evernote and realized that I could capture discrete elements as individual notes and be able to search for them that way (e.g. “what movies did I watch last year?” or “how often did I go out to dinner on days that it rained?”) it was a no-brainer for me. But then, I like asking questions like that and being surprised by the results. I am pretty certain I’m at one extreme in this regard. :-)

  7. @Jamie cc @Ben Great article, I’d like to start immediately. However, Ifttt seems to want to be able to read Evernote notebooks and notes: http://t.co/QPXCnsED

    Maybe there’s a workaround via e-mail to evernote, but then again I don’t know if it’s safe.

    1. Sara, if you are willing to give up some flexibility, there may indeed be a workaround via email. You could have your tasks send an email using the Email (not Gmail) widget as your action. The email address to which you’d send the email would be your Evernote email address, which in turn creates a note based on the email that you send to that address.

  8. Walt, Mitch, I’m also confused by the daily weather forecast. For me, using the clock as the trigger doesn’t allow me to send weather data. Using weather as the trigger doesn’t allow a trigger on a regular daily schedule and only allows sending current conditions rather than the day’s forecast.

    Jamie, great post, but how did you do this?

    1. Derek, Walt, Mitch, it turns out I screwed up the weather forecast part. I had used the clock trigger so that at 1:00am every morning, it would create a note link in Evernote with the URL link being the URL from weather.com for the previous day’s weather for my local area. I assumed that what this would do would be to pull in the rendered page as a note in Evernote, the way the Clipper works. When I actually went back and looked at my weather notes (I hadn’t bothered to look at them yet), what I discovered were notes that contained the URL I provided, but not the “clipped” page containing the day’s weather.

      So I am testing another solution now: I subscribed to weather.com daily forecast email. That email is sent once each day. I have set up an gmail trigger using IFTTT to look for the sender of that email and then create a note in Evernote with the email’s contents. I should know later this morning if that works. I’ll let you know.

    2. Guys, here is another alternative for pulling in the daily weather, perhaps not quite as perfect, but easier to set up:

      1. Choose Trigger Channel: Weather
      2. Choose a trigger: Sunrise
      3. Choose Action Channel: Evernote
      4. Choose an action: Create a note
      5. Leave the default settings for the Title and Body of the note

      This will get you a note created a sunrise local time each morning, with a note called “Sunrise at hh:mm” and a body that has the current temperature and current conditions and a link to the local forecast. Like I said, not perfect, but another alternative.

  9. @ JaiLeer & Jamie: I have been asking this myself for quite some time. Thanks for asking the question and thanks for making that clear. :)

  10. The sunrise trigger is exactly what I ended up doing this morning and it will work for the summer. In the winter here though, I’ll be up and away to work long before that trigger.

  11. Jamie,
    I dicovered your blog through the Evernote Facebook feed. I really appreciate your article. I use Evernote often and have for almost two years. I want to integrate more of my daily activity and you have shown me how I can do that.
    Thanks for the help.
    Blake

  12. This going paperless series has really fired up my imagination and with each post you seem to give me more and more to think about. Thank you so much for sharing your process–this information is priceless.

    Now if I can just convince my husband that I need that scanner you mentioned earlier.

  13. I loved the idea of the timeline and have been using it for the last few weeks. I wasn’t a four square user though, and though I’ve tried to get into the habit of using it I usually forget a check- in or two each day. Earlier this week I came across an app called PlaceMe and it’s working great for me. It keeps track of your movements and if you’re stopped at a location for more than 5 minutes it logs that location. You can optionally have it email you each day’s list to Evernote. This is working great for me so far. Since it’s automatic it’s more accurate for me. Some complaints that the constant GPS checking drains the battery but I charge often so haven’t noticed that.

  14. I was just wrestling around with the Evernote IFTTT weather recipe when I realized; I’ve been getting weather network emails in my inbox for years … Why not send them directly to Evernote? :)

    Thanks for the series Jamie!

  15. I felt like there’s more to Evernote than the way I’m using it. Saving the information about books and movies is a great idea that I would never have thought. I can always recall the plots of them but sometimes I can’t think of the name of it. This is a great way to recall it fast.

  16. Great article!!.. I’m still thinking that onenote is much better than evernote as a taking notes app, but evernote is very friendly and truly understands the needs and compatibilities of the todays world!!.. I’m still working on onenote but I’m really considering to change..

  17. Great article! I am enjoying the use of automated Evernote posts for Journal assembly over time.

    I have personal items in Evernote, however, and I’m not keen on giving a service like IFTTT my Evernote password. Here is how I worked around this problem:

    1) Set up an IFTTT recipe that forwards information from Foursquare, for example, to EMAIL. In the Subject, include any tags or notebook that needs to be automatically tagged over in Evernote. (I used “@Timeline #foursquare” for the “timeline” notebook, “foursquare” tag) In the recipe, add a unique hook phrase for this recipe (I used “forward from Foursquare”).

    2) Set up an autoforwarding Rule/Filter with your email program. I use Gmail, and I have it look for “forward from Foursquare” in the body. The action for the rule is both “skip Inbox” and “Forward to dmc…@m.evernote.com“, my secret Evernote account email address. (In order to get this address to appear in the pull-down menu of email addresses, you much verify it, having Gmail send a verification email to your Evernote account”.)

  18. PART II!

    The automatic email forwarding into Evernote is working great for services that are set up in IFTTT. However, there are some automatic emails that you’d want sent to your Evernote Journal notebook. For example, our local TV station, WRAL, sends a much better morning email for the weather forecast than does IFTTT’s Weather Channel recipe set.

    Setting up a forwarding filter to one’s secret Evernote email address is a no-brainer, however Gmail doesn’t allow one to include any alterations to the subject or body in the filter setup. I cannot add “WRAL Daily Weather @Timeline #weather” to the automated email, for example, so these automatically forwarded emails just get dumped into my default Evernote notebook with no tag.

    In order to get around this limitation of Gmail, one can add a Google Script that will automatically check the Gmail account every 2 hours for certain items, then act upon it. I set up a filter for Gmail to automatically tag the WRAL weather email as “journal-weather”, a temporary holding status for the WRAL email. The script looks for any emails tagged as “journal-weather”, forwards the email to Evernote into the Journal notebook, and tags it with “weather”. Then it removes the tag in Gmail so the email will not be acted upon again.

    1) Set up a temporary holding tag for these daily emails
    2) Set up a Filter that automatically tags these emails as the temporary holding tag
    3) Go to https://script.google.com and select Gmail.
    4) Replace all of the code Google gives you in the window with the code at the bottom of this post
    5) Replace my secret Evernote email address with yours, and edit the subject line information as needed (the + today + inserts today’s date into the subject line; before the tags which don’t appear in Evernote).
    6) Use Run | ForwardEmails as your test to see if this works
    7) Use Resources | Current Script’s Triggers… in the script editor to set up how often you want this script to run. (You’ll want to run “ForwardEmails”. I recommend Time-driven, Hour timer, Every 12hrs for daily emails like a weather email.

    Other uses of this could be a daily digest email from a news source, sports scores, financial numbers, etc.

    Good luck, and thanks JTR for this great series!

    //BEGIN CODE – DO NOT INCLUDE THIS LINE
    /**
    * Retrieves WRAL Weather email from ‘journal-weather’ tag and forwards it to Evernote Timeline Notebook
    */

    function forwardEmails() {

    //REPLACE EVERNOTE EMAIL ADDRESS WITH YOURS
    forwardThreads(“journal-weather”, “dmcc….@m.evernote.com”, “”);
    }

    function forwardThreads(label, addr, subjSuff) {

    var maxSubjLength = 250;

    var msgs, msg, i, j, subject, options, oldLabel, page;
    oldLabel = GmailApp.getUserLabelByName(label)
    var threads = oldLabel.getThreads()
    for (i=0; i < threads.length; i++) {
    msgs = threads[i].getMessages();
    for (j=0; j < msgs.length; j++) {
    msg = msgs[j];

    var today = new Date();
    var dd = today.getDate();
    var mm = today.getMonth()+1; //January is 0!

    var yyyy = today.getFullYear();
    if(dd<10){dd='0'+dd} if(mm<10){mm='0'+mm} today = mm+'/'+dd+'/'+yyyy;

    //SUBJECT LINE – THE FOLLOWING LINE IS THE SUBJECT THAT APPEARS ON THE EVERNOTE NOTE
    var newSubject = "WRAL weather for " + today + "@Timeline #weather";

    options = { htmlBody: msg.getBody(), attachments : msg.getAttachments() };
    GmailApp.sendEmail(addr, newSubject, msg.getBody(), options);
    }
    }

    while(!page || page.length == 100) {
    page = oldLabel.getThreads(0, 100);

    // Move the threads out of other label
    oldLabel.removeFromThreads(page);
    }
    }
    //END CODE – DO NOT INCLUDE THIS LINE

  19. Hi, love the article. I’m a daily Evernote user (over a year) and I love it. I take all my meeting notes on iPhone or iPad now and love how it all syncs. I was happy with all the standard stuff so this is all very exciting. Plan to have a go with the IFTTT thing for Twitter as a recently hooked Tweeter. And thanks to Dana for all that detail on gmail. Am a google addict so might look into that too if it’s not too complicated! Thank you!

    1. Linda, I think you’ll like feeding Gmail items automatically over to Evernote. Twitter is going to be a problem in a few months. IFTTT has already killed their links to Twitter, and as JTR wrote recently, one can still set up an IFTTT recipe to look at the RSS feed of your Twitter account. Bad news, though: Twitter is killing the RSS feeds on March 5, so we’re going to have to find another way to scrape Twitter posts…

  20. Hi Jamie,
    Thanks for article! It is really great! You explained the IFTTT web app so I tried to use this little app to automatically add source url (in a specific format) to a bunch of my notes. But I didn’t succeed. I got a folder on hdd which contains txt files named 1.txt, 2.txt, etc. All files are imported as notes to a notebook in Evernote. That works excellent. The thing I want to do is that all notes from imported files automatically have source url in format like “http://www.xyz.com/[filename of txt file without extension].pdf”. I created IFTTT recipe that creates a new Evernote link note when a new file is created in Dropbox public folder. That gives me exactly what I want in source url. On the other hand now the note doesn’t contain text from the specific txt file, than just link to dropbox public folder. Any ideas how could I solve this problem?
    Many thanks for help,
    Ivan

  21. Came across your blog when googling for tips on using Evenote. I’ve had it installed for some time on both my desktop and iPad. I journal almost daily — I vacillate between a simple journaling app and hand-written journals — and so your tips on that were particularly intriguing.

    The problem I’ve always struggled with in electronic journaling is app lock-in, and Evernote sounds the same. All its search and organization capabilities are wonderful if you don’t mind all your data locked up in it. But there will come the day when Evernote goes the way of WordPerfect, and wither all my data?

    The journaling app I use currently was chosen precisely because it can export to HTML, a format I consider fairly future-proof. It also has some nifty organizational and searching features, but I fear becoming overly reliant on them.

    Evernote still intrigues me, but I wonder if you could provide some comments viz. Future-proofing my data.

      1. Thanks, Jamie.

        At the moment, I’m mostly looking at Evernote through the lens of my journaling; Evernote may be overkill for that.

        As for storing data in the cloud, perhaps I’m being alarmist, but the whole Megaupload incident has raised some concerns for me as to legal ownership of any data residing on someone else’s servers. Seems the US government, at least, is arguing it may no longer belong to you. I currently store my data locally, accessible through an Internet-facing FTP server on my Linux machine.

        Evernote still sounds intriguing — and its export capabilities assuage my future-proofing fears — but perhaps more than I’m looking for at the moment.

      1. Thanks for the reply, Derek.

        I wasn’t trying to imply that Evernote was deliberately trying to lock up your data. But many of its more advanced features (e.g., the sophisticated search capabilities that Jamie finds so useful) do have that consequence. In a way, that’s inevitable. It’s nice to know my data can be exported.

        As with Jamie, one of my conceits is the ability to pass on my data to my progeny, though for me that is, at least at the moment, limited to my journaling. (The conceit, of course, lies in the expectation that they’ll actually want it :-) ).

        Given my past experiences with digital data loss, my future-proofing concerns actually extend so far as to liberating my journaling from technology completely: once a month or so I print out a harcopy of my journal, which I eventually have bound into a book to go on my shelf. But then I’ve always found a physical book somehow more personal and less sterile than a digital data file.

  22. You must be really scared when electricity blackouts occur, as your ability to memorize has become totally electronic…it’s a pity for your brain..:-)

  23. Greetings,

    Like others, I found your blog through a Facebook link, and like others, I’ve found it invaluable. I’m a disabled (former) sysadmin, and I suffer from retrograde and anteriograde amnesia and cognitive impairments as medication side-effects. I use Gmail, Google Calendar, Dropbox, and EverNote as my “brain backup,” and I felt that my system was pretty comprehensive for my needs. Your introducing me to IFTTT has taken my data-capture to a whole new level, particularly with weather, a hobby interest of mine. My biggest problem now is what to do with my shiny new 2013 Moleskine journal! I had always wanted to improve my PERL skills, and now that I have appropriate “problems” to solve with it, I’ve been frustrated by the lack of mental acuity for the job. Problem solved, or at least side-stepped, though I’d like more trigger parameters from weather.com (barometric pressure, etc.) via IFTTT.

    As an aside, I’ve been interested in Netgear Powerline products. I know you said you’re not really a network geek, but have you measured your throughput over the Powerline links? Netgear’s claim of 500 Mbps seems too good to be true. My need, like yours, a larger pipe to accommodate streaming video. Absent an IT end-user’s report of experience with powerline or coax solutions, I had been thinking of a separate 5 MHz wireless network dedicated to video and anticipated VOIP.

    Glad I found your blog.

    Best regards,
    Jeff

    1. Jeff, thanks for the kind words on the blog. I’m so glad to hear it has been useful for you.

      Regarding the NetGear devices: I haven’t done formal benchmarking on them. 2 of the devices I have are 500 Mbps, and two are 200 Mbps. What I can say is that, while certainly not as fast as direct ethernet to my cable modem, it is faster than WiFi over 802.11n. My max download speed by my cable provider is 100 Mbps (I make use of their “Ultimate” plan) so I couldn’t really test 500 Mbps on the devices unless it was pulling data from one computer to another across the LAN. What I can say is that over WiFi, it seems to me that it used to take about 40 minutes to completely download an HD movie and now that my iMac is connected to my network via the NetGear PowerLine device, it seems to take less than half that time.

      I was surprised with how easy the devices were to setup. Hope this helps.

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