November 22, 2010

Evernote

While investigating note taking apps, many of the comments also discussed solutions for archiving the notes once taken. This led into my discovery of Evernote, which has free ipad and desktop apps, as well as a web interface. I signed up for a free account and decided to give the various apps a whirl.

The first thing I noticed while playing with the ipad version was how limited it was. You can't tag items, create new tags, or even new notebooks. I guess it's useful for retrieving information, not for creating or organizing it. That seems like a major drawback, as I'm generally not at my desk when I need to enter something. I also can't create anything but text notes. I can't create checklists at all, and editing a bulleted list from the iPad is restricted to appending plain text to the note. Again, limiting for no reason.

In another oversight, there is no simple way to install the web clipper into mobile Safari, even though it's just a Javascript bookmarklet. The only way is to install is to drag and drop it on my bookmark bar, something I clearly can't do on the iPad. I also can't long-press and copy the URL because of the way they have it coded. If only they bothered to try it, they would see how hard it was to use.

I figured all these problems would be alleviated with the desktop version. Yes, and no. While I was free to create and organize to my heart's content (as well as integrate with my web browser for collection), the interface is clunky, buggy, and just not very pleasant to use. I was easily able to create a new tag, but applying it was rather unintuitive. It took me several tries to get it to work. I also found a bug where the tag had the correct name, but when applied to a note it displayed as "new tag".

The biggest problem I have is that I really can't figure out what to do with it. I can store some personal notes in it, but I really can't use it for work as I can't trust uploading confidential info to a third-party. So what do I use it for?

I did clip a hotel reservation confirmation from my browser, which I imagine will come in handy when I get to my destination. Then again, so would having it in my Gmail inbox. Now it's just one more site in the cloud to forget where I put my stuff. And, if and when I do find it, I won't be able to organize the note so that I can find it again - unless I'm on my desktop.

Posted by pinkerton at November 22, 2010 8:07 AM | TrackBack