Monday Sep 01, 2008

Evernote

Despite having half a dozen computing devices within reach at any time (Eric Schmidt was right in 1995 when he said "In the future your body will have 5 IP addresses; where you put them is your business"), I'm still a stickler for sticky notes, notebooks, scribbled thoughts on the back of tear-off calendar pages, and literally back of the envelope calculations. At one point I had two "work notebooks" (one new, one old), a collection of stickies on my home iMac, another set on my ancient TravelMac, and an assortment of things that seemed to accrete in the reporter's notebook I keep in my car's center console.

I crave simple. I still use vi for editing text files, and I send email without capital letters (this is because of a long-standing belief that "chording" on the keyboard contributes to carpal tunnel syndrome, so I attribute 28 years of healthy paws to my devolved typographical style. Thanks, pep). At the same time, I am constantly tearing items out of print materials or bookmarketing them for later blog ideas (not at all obvious from the lack of recent writing) and need to be able to sort out work ideas, the "honey do list", and a pun waiting for a blog to congeal around it.

Enter Evernote. It combines the text editor like functions that us habitual list makers crave, with a web clipping function, tagging for easier search and organization, and it has a variety of mobile interfaces. Voila. I can start an idea at home, finish it in the airport, edit it or review it on my (somewhat despised) iPhone, and even print off an old-fashioned hardcopy for the close-paren function of the habitual list maker: ticking things off when they're done.

In ten days it's become a top-five application along with Firefox, Thunderbird and OpenOffice.

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Hal Stern's thoughts on software, services, cloud computing, security, privacy, and data management

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