Monday Dec 21, 2009

The Ecstasy and Agony of Evernote

Evernote is an essential workhorse in my daily life.  I currently have 3,467 notes in my various Evernote notebooks, using an Evernote premium account.  I use the product multiple times every day for note-taking (I have a reputation as a prodigious note-taker), personal journal (almost daily), electronic filing (I rarely file paper any more) and as a general, all-around information repository.  I particularly like its architectural model using intelligent client applications synchronized with a server-side database.  This allows me to keep information in sync on my laptop and desktop machines (both Windows) as well as my iPhone

That is the “ecstasy” part.  The “agony” came when I installed the long-awaited new Windows client (version 3.5 beta) last week.  What I hoped would be a major improvement of the Windows client, was, instead, a deep disappointment. While I liked a few new features, such as the mixed view, the core note taking engine is still very primitive.  If anything, it was a step  backwards.

The two biggest problems are the very awkward and limited outlining capability and the complete lack of templates.  The new table feature is extremely basic.  I  submitted suggestions in all three areas several months ago, but apparently these seemingly basic functions for a product with “Note” in the name weren’t desirable enough to see the light of day.

It is very painful when I have to drop back to Microsoft OneNote to get access to a decent outlining editor, and then transfer the result to Evernote, rather than have a native capability for outlining.  For a guy who thinks in outlines, all I can say is, “Arrrgghh!”

Perhaps Evernote should open up their architecture so third parties could create plugins to provide functionality not available in the core product.  For example, the Thunderbird add-on “QuickText” provide very useful email message templating capability for a product that lacks such a feature.  Perhaps other plugin vendors could provide decent outlining and table functionality.

Here’s hoping that Evernote someday gets it right. Please!

Monday Feb 25, 2008

Thank Heaven for Trial Ware

I recently blogged a recommendation for EverNote note-taking software. It seemed like such a great little program to improve my efficiency in keeping notes on my computer.

An improvement, yes, but three features I needed proved problematic:

  1. The ability to easily create and maintain outlines within a note or document was very cumbersome.
  2. Templates were difficult to create and use, with severe restrictions on editing tools within cells in a template table.
  3. Tables were available only within templates and were difficult to create and use.

So, I expanded my search and was pleasantly surprised to learn that Microsoft OneNote had been significantly upgraded since the 2003 version, which I had tested and found lacking.

So, using a 60-day trial copy, I have really come to like OneNote. Templates are are breeze, tables are easy and the outliner is wonderful. Really worth the extra price for the way I use notes. I shouldn't have been so hasty to dismiss Microsoft in the first place.

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Friday Feb 15, 2008

EverNote - a Step Up in Note Taking

In an effort to improve my ability to take and retrieve notes on my computer, I have started using EverNote. It is quick and easy to use, but allows the sophistication of adding custom XML based templates so I can tailor it to my working style. A bit of new technology is always fun!

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Discovering Identity was founded on in May 2005 as a means of documenting my exploration of the field of Identity and Access Management. In February, 2010, I switched to hosting the blog at In March 2012, I began posting Oracle-related information in both places.

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