Evernote – My Saturday with the Ceiling Fan, and How it Saved Me

December 1, 2012


Whenever I see one of you (readers of this blog) in person, the first thing you invariably ask about is Evernote. When this occurs, the conversation goes in one of three directions:

  1. You thank me for introducing you to such a useful app
  2. You are interested, but don’t fully understand what the app is for. As a result, you’ve probably installed it on your phone but it pretty much sits there, idle
  3. You don’t understand how the app is useful in any way

None of these views are wrong of course, just different ways of looking at things. Evernote isn’t like a photography app that performs a set task – it’s kind of up to you to decide what it’s useful for.  Some people use it primarily to store meeting notes, some use it for drawings, while others turn into digital hoarders shoving everything they can find into the application.

I’ve mentioned before the many ways that I personally use Evernote, but it’s cases like the example I’m about to provide that I find most useful.

A couple of months ago, we purchased a ceiling fan for our daughter’s bedroom. The remote control kit that was provided contained two parts; a receiver and a remote. In order for the two devices to speak to one another, the four “dip switches” need to be configured exactly the same on each device. If they don’t match the remote won’t work, rendering the whole thing pretty much useless.

For some reason, the remote for the ceiling fan stopped working earlier this week. This was especially frustrating because the original installation of the receiver into the top of the fan was an arduous task to say the least. If you’ve never experienced such joy, let me provide an illustration for you. It’s like holding a 20lbs rock over your head in one hand while trying to jam a web of wires into a thimble with the other. Needles to say, the thought of doing this over again that had me procrastinating like I’ve never procrastinated before. I mulled things over several times in my mind as the days rolled on this week, and I was finally able to narrow down the problem to two potential issues. It had to be either a fried receiver, or somehow the dip switches on the remote had changed and were no longer aligned to “talk” to the receiver; my three year old son being the likely suspect. I was able to find a document online that listed the 16 possible positions for these four dip switches on the remote, at which point I sat down and started working my way through the list.

So off I went, one by one –  0000…0001…0010…0100…0110…0101…0011…0111…1111…1110…1101…1011…1001…1010…1100…1000

I was starting to lose hope when all of a sudden the light turned on and function was restored to the fan. As it turns out, the receiver in the fan is set to 1010, because setting the remote to that “key” set things in motion again.

Evernote Use

Needless to say, I’m not entirely thrilled at the prospect of repeating this exercise in the future. It was a pain to have to sit down and walk my way through the 16 code list, each time using a tiny screwdriver to toggle the switches on the remote back and fourth. In an effort to avoid this time-sink in the future, I immediately thought to take a picture of the remote control while it was in full working order. This way, the next time it drops on the floor or my three year old decides to tinker with it, I’ll have a note that I can refer to immediately.

Sure, I could take a picture and store it elsewhere (iPhoto) or write a note and put it somewhere, but with Evernote I don’t have to keep track of where I jot things down. The next time the remote stops working Evernote will be the first place I look. Isn’t that better than spending a chunk of time trying to remember which drawer you put the note in, or where you saved it in your photo library?

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One Response to “Evernote – My Saturday with the Ceiling Fan, and How it Saved Me”

  1. Fredl Says:

    In the old days you would have written the code on the inside of the battery compartment lid immediately after the fan was installed.
    But what for would we have computers and smartphones and internet today 🙂


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