Friday, April 29, 2005

Evernote Nevermore

Okay, well I've been trying out Evernote for the past couple of days, and unfortunately, its not going to end up being my HOLY GRAIL personal info manager.

Why not?
  1. Its waay to hard to navigate within the application.
    I have to pick up my mouse constantly in order to move from note to note, or to navigate within a note, especially one that I've locked (prevented from being edited -- particularly useful for web clippings). When I'm reading stuff I've clipped, it gets really annoying not to be able to hit page down. Or if I'm scanning through the notes, its annoying not to be able to skip to the next one quickly.
  2. There's no index.
    I've only added about 20 different notes, and its already a pain to scroll through them. I'd like to see an index with all the titles of the notes, so that I can jump to the one I want quickly. What if I forget the category I put a note in?
  3. There's no place to put a title or specify keywords/tags.
    And its so annoying to have to manually check off the categories and subcategories at every point.
  4. Evernote isn't really portable.
    I go from my desktop at home to my laptop to Kane's laptop, and sometimes I travel, so what if I'm at an Internet kiosk and I just want to check something quickly? Its really not possible to do that with this application.

    Yes, they are going to add a "synchronize" feature that will be subscription based, but having to constantly synchronize is annoying! Who wants to keep backing up stuff and then making sure things sync between PDA and laptop and desktop etc.? We all have a million gadgets we use, why can't it just access one point instead of keep multiple copies of the same thing?
  5. I don't like how the options for each note are at the top of the note.
    What if you're in the middle of a note and want to add another category? Since scrolling to the top is so tedious, it ends up being a giant hassle. Meta data should exist outside of the note.

What do I like about it?
  1. I like how it takes a full clipping of a webpage, images and all.
    Its nice to have a personal copy and have it easily accessible, without lost image links or whatever.
  2. I like how its searchable.
    Right now something is wrong with my furl archive and I can't search it! So I've saved something like 2,000+ bookmarks and the only thing I can do is sort into categories.

    I don't know why I can't search, but I emailed furl to ask what's going on. They haven't responded. Well I guess that's what you get for using a free product!
  3. I like the handwriting recognition.
    I think being able to sit down and jot down notes with a tablet PC during a meeting would be awesome, and I like how it converts the handwritten text into typed text. In fact, that to me, is sort of a KILLER APP.

    Unfortunately, it won't convert images of previously written notes, so, it won't be possible to combine old paper-based notes through Evernote.

    Isn't the point to have everything in one place?
  4. Editable and insertable.
    I like how you can add notes wherever, and you can edit them, change them, modify them. Evernote is very nice in that way -- channeling Word I suppose.

Argh, so I am still on the hunt for the perfect information manager.

I tried to use Gmail for that -- someone on the web had an idea for using Gmail as your "brain", but you know, it just doesn't work all that well. Emails aren't editable, and sometimes you need to modify a though or append additional notes.

Of course, you can just reply to the email and create a "conversation" thread, but the comments still aren't INSIDE the original article/idea/note, so its not as useful.

Now I am going to try using a Wiki for one... Once I get it set up and going, I'll let you know how that goes.

So what am I really looking for?
  1. Encyclopedia for my thoughts and things I see on the web.
    I want to be able to jot down any thought that runs through my mind, insert notes from live meetings and add in clippings of interesting websites along with my notes.
  2. Content rich.
    I want to be able to put in links to other sites, references to other things, embed images, change the colors, add circles and graphics. Add links to songs, you know, just a rich content-filled document/BRAIN.
  3. Organized. Searchable.
    Since so many things are going into this giant BRAIN, I want to be able to search for things and actually FIND them. I want to be able to quickly mark off categories, tags, keywords, short notes to help me remember what the clipping/article was about and add my commentary.
  4. Easy to use. Quick.
    Make it EASY to to create an entry. Like with furl, if I can just click a button and BAM clip the entire article or website into a personal archive in an instant. I don't want to have to select the entire thing, or have to open another application or anything like that.
  5. Transportable. Accessible.
    I want to be able to access this BRAIN from anywhere. Sort of like webmail. I go to my friend's house often, I check my email, check my stuff. I go from my desktop to my laptop to my brother's machine, I need my information to be available, anytime, anywhere!

Does someone have a solution out there for me?

Or should I code it up myself?!