Archive for the ‘Tools’ Category

The joys of Evernote – user review

February 22, 2009

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If you’re like me, you appreciate an independent third-party review of a product or service before making a purchase. And if you’re like me, migrating from Google Notebook, rest easy knowing that once you’ve deciphered the Google Notebook Atom import process – even available with the free version – you’re going to be pretty stinking happy.

This is my second go with Evernote. I dabbled with the application three or four years ago, prior to it’s ability to synchronize across multiple workstations. It was a pretty cool little note taking app back then, easy to learn and use, but I abandoned it in favor of Google Notebook. Google Notebook offered the one feature the old Evernote lacked, a centralized repository for notes. Now, with the new cloud synchronization, Evernote is everything I wanted. I have five computers synchronized, and you can access your information from anywhere with an internet connection by logging into the Evernote website.

I’ve got to admit, I’m a pretty basic Evernote user. I don’t synchronize with a mobile device. My guess is if I were a mobile device fanatic, there is a whole world of Evernote features I would have another bundle of praise. Maybe someday.

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As for the migration from Google Notebook to Evernote, there is a handy little walkthrough that takes you step by step from Google Notebook export to Evernote import. One of the terriffic shortcomings I discovered with Google Notebook was the inability to easily access early entries.

With Google Notebook, tagging items or entries was – for me – not second nature. I had thousands of notes that were not indexed. With Evernote, I was very diligent right from the start. And here’s the bummer. When I imported all my Google Notebooks, they are just as unindexed as they were before. So, I’m back in the tagging hole. That was a disappointment, and I’ve noticed that my tagging since has not been as diligent. I hope to regain my form.

evernote_popupEvernote makes tagging easy. With every note entered, a tag dialogue pop up appears. It’s not terribly conspicuous, nor does it linger until you act.

If you don’t tag, you can always add tags later (which is the process I’m staggering through in the evenings while the television is on). Be careful with your taxonomy, it can get away from you. One tip: if you are tagging at a time after adding the entry to your overall index, use the pop up dialogue box, rather than the comma separated entry field. The comma separated field doesn’t auto-complete tags – so you can have a very similar tag , for instance “list” and “lists” without any indication of the duplication. It’s not a big whoop, but a bit of annoyance. So when tagging, use the “ctrl+shift+t” key combination to open the tag dialogue box.

At this point, Evernote does not have a spellchecker, so if you’re whipping off a quick note for later, such as a note for a blog post, be sure to check the spelling independently to save yourself any undue misspelling embarrassment.

One last thing, and this may be user-error, but I have not found (and to be fair I haven’t really looked), the setting for requiring login at startup. Why is this important to me? Well, I love me the Evernote so much, I have installed it on my machine at the Day Job. I’d really like to set Evernote to keep non-Pete eyes from digging through my notes if they fired up my machine. I’ll check into that.

After using Evernote for four months, I made the switch to the paid version. I upgraded when I imported my Google Notebooks to be sure I had enough space. For $45 a year, I think it’s a great deal for a terriffic app – even if I never come close to using my monthly alotment.

So, feel comfortable using Evernote. The free version is wildly feature rich and offers a remarkable amount of space to collect your thoughts, ideas, inspirations, annoyances, and just about anything else you want to keep nearby.