Review: Evernote-a Great Organization App

22 May

Have you seen Evernote? It’s an integrated, note-taker cum catch-all-database for text, photos, Web clips, etc. It uses a local application and/or a Web page panel. You can send stuff to an email address from your iPhone, other mobile device or computer. The stuff can be organized and tagged in its interface. Then synced via its own sync system via the Web.

There are other systems similar to this. On the Mac, there’s SoHo Notes, Yojimbo and others. I’ve used and purchased a few of these and every time they’ve let me down by lacking one feature or another, being really slow or having issues using .mac’s syncing service. Evernote doesn’t seem to suffer from any of this. The application is quick to load and responds quickly. The syncing works perfectly and the availability of your notes and information from a Web interface means you can get to it from any browser.

Up until now BareBone’s Yojimbo has been my note/storage app of choice, because of its elegance and encryption features. It is great to store passwords and other for-my-eyes-only information. Syncing has been mostly reliable and the tagging features are great if you use them. Also, it stores PDF’s in the app (even encrypts them if you want), and you can print PDF-to-Yojimbo in the print dialogue, which means you have a one-step option.

I moved to Yojimbo from SoHo Notes, which I found feature-rich, but slow.  Plus, I’ve not been impressed with Chronos Software’s upgrade policies or the reliability of syncing. Worth a look, but personally I don’t like it.  Sometimes applications have too many features!

So this takes us back to Evernote.  There are some really special features that no one else has.  Besides the syncing services, the system can also store images you take with your built-in iSight camera or iPhone.  No big deal, right?  Well, once you sync, the image can be translated to text, using advanced text-recognition operated in the cloud, and sent back to your system.  Need to do a quick OCR of a page of text–Evernote can do it and store it in your system!  Very cool, indeed.

Some features I’d like to see added are the aforementioned encryption, as Yojimbo has, and an import function so I could easily migrate away from another application.  It would also be nice to make notes embed-able, so I can share them without uploading to another service like Flickr or Scribd. Other than that, a fantastic application and service.

I’ve got 15 or so beta-invites available.  Just leave your email in the comments, or send me a tweet @psimac and I will send you one.  Works with MacOSX-10.5.x (Leopard) or WindowsXP or newer.

  • Andrew

    Hi Paul,

    Thanks for the great review.

    Evernote actually already does some of the things you mentioned. You can encrypt content right in the Mac client (Windows too). Just select a region of a note, CMD+click, and choose “Encrypt Selected Text.” You'll then be able to decrypt that content from any Mac or Windows client anytime (just don't forget your password).

    As for sharing, you can make any Evernote notebook public, which creates a public URL and RSS feed. Also, there's an embedable blog/Facebook widget to make sharing even easier. To get the widget, go to a public notebook and click on the “Get Widget” link.

    Thanks,
    Andrew

    Evernote

  • Thanks for the quick feedback to my article…very impressive! Thank you for the tip on encryption–i had no idea that feature was hidden there. I'd like to see a feature where I could encrypt a whole message, as well, albeit encrypting a line of text is nice.

    I'll check out the sharing feature–I don't think using Facebook is a slick solution. A feature like the sites I mentioned, or as Skitch has, would be a better solution in my opinion. Nevertheless, I'll try out what's available.

    Thanks again for the great product!

  • Andrew

    Hi Paul,

    Thanks for the great review.

    Evernote actually already does some of the things you mentioned. You can encrypt content right in the Mac client (Windows too). Just select a region of a note, CMD+click, and choose “Encrypt Selected Text.” You'll then be able to decrypt that content from any Mac or Windows client anytime (just don't forget your password).

    As for sharing, you can make any Evernote notebook public, which creates a public URL and RSS feed. Also, there's an embedable blog/Facebook widget to make sharing even easier. To get the widget, go to a public notebook and click on the “Get Widget” link.

    Thanks,
    Andrew

    Evernote

  • Thanks for the quick feedback to my article…very impressive! Thank you for the tip on encryption–i had no idea that feature was hidden there. I'd like to see a feature where I could encrypt a whole message, as well, albeit encrypting a line of text is nice.

    I'll check out the sharing feature–I don't think using Facebook is a slick solution. A feature like the sites I mentioned, or as Skitch has, would be a better solution in my opinion. Nevertheless, I'll try out what's available.

    Thanks again for the great product!