I use Evernote and it totally rocks my world. I follow Bobby Travis’s approach to using Evernote to Get Things Done (GTD).

I have a Brother MFC-9970CDW, a wonderful multi-function color laser printer (aka a MFP or MFC). (Okay, so it’s hardware is a little cheap and the software was clearly designed by and for engineers, but hey… it gets the job done.) One of the nice things about the Brother is that it features a high-capacity sheet-fed duplex scanner that emails PDF documents to the addressee of your choice. A set of  “one touch” buttons on the control panel make it easy to send your documents to one of twenty email addresses.

Evernote allows you to email the documents of your choice to a unique email address associated with your account. You can specify the destination notebook and tags in the subject of the email, using the format “My note title @notebook #tag”.

Wouldn’t it be great to be able to have several buttons on the control panel, each corresponding to different notebooks and tags? For instance, it would be nice to scan something directly to my @Chris notebook with a tag such as #Receipts, #Taxes, #Bills, etc. You get the idea.

There’s only one problem: The Brother allows you to specify the email subject, but only globally. So, that’s not going to work. In fact, the only thing you can do on a message-by-message basis is specify the destination email address and the file type. So, how can we specify the notebook and tags with our one-touch buttons?

Easy. Add an intermediary script that receives the message, looks at a crafted “to” address, rewrites the message, and forwards it on to Evernote.

In short: Email to Chris+Receipts@en.chrisgagne.com -> perl script changes subject to “Scanned Item @Chris #Receipts” and removes the text of the body -> perl script forwards the email to myemailaddress@evernote.com.

Why am I using a sub-domain? It’s the easiest way to get flexibility on the “to” address without mucking with the rest of my @chrisgagne.com email.

So here’s a (really kludgy) script I wrote.

This should work for any Brother MFC that supports scanning to email addresses. For those who are searching for this solution, here’s a list of printers that Brother claims supports the “Scan to email server” function as of 6/1/2012. Your milage may vary.

  • DCPJ125
  • MFCJ220
  • MFC-J280w
  • MFC-J245w
  • MFC-J430w
  • MFC-J435w
  • MFC-J625dw
  • MFC-J825dw
  • MFC-J835dw
  • MFC-J5910dw
  • MFC-J6510dw
  • MFC-J6710dw
  • MFC-J6910dw
  • MFC-8890DW
  • MFC-8890CDW

Update: I recently received a couple of emails from a “Laura Schultz” at Cloudwards.net asking me to link to an article of theirs about notetaking apps. They sent the email to a non-public email address that was shared only with some alumni-networking events at my alma mater. They did not respond to requests for information about how they obtained the email address. Given this, I’d recommend against patronizing their site.