Note to Self

Android’s “Note to Self” feature has become a life saver for me. I remember things when I’m walking to and from meetings, sitting on the train, or generally away from my desk. And rather than keep a notepad or moleskine and pen with me at all times, I’d begun to use the message voice action that’s packaged with Android.

The only cumbersome aspect of this feature is that it doesn’t let you specify the recipient of the note to self. After all, in Google’s world, your Google Account’s main email/gmail address is (and should be) your “self.”

“Maybe I can recreate the main email address tied to my HTC Evo,” I thought, “so that it’s a more specific ‘self'”. I tried to change it from don.citarella to don.citarella+mobile, but had no luck. Apparently, once you’ve associated a main address with an Android phone, the only way to remove/change it is to perform a factory reset.

So, while it’s not the cleanest/best solution, Gmail Filters do the trick.

  1. Add a forwarding address to your Gmail account and disable it. This should be the address where you ultimately want to receive your “Note to self”. In other words, it should be your real “self” and not just the “self” Google thinks you should be. Google will automatically add a pink notification to the top of your browser to remind you of this feature. And, in an ominous fashion, not unlike “The Ring,” the notification will die in seven days.
  2. Then, add a Filter that looks for the sender (which is, in fact, your Google “self”) and the subject line (“Note to self”). Click “Continue”.
  3. Mark the message as read and skip the inbox (archive it). Most importantly, forward the message and select your real “self” from the drop down menu.
  4. You will see all the recent “notes to self” in your inbox. In my case, it says I have 5 matching conversations. Click “Update Filter” and you’re done.

Test your new filter by sending yourself a note on your Android phone (see voice actions link, above). Hopefully, this should give you a better sense of self.

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