Tag Archive for: Evernote

This was the ‘droid I was looking for

10 Aug 2010
August 10, 2010

Samsung Intercept I received a new cell phone last week and with my Samsung Intercept I’ve joined the Android revolution. I have to say that this thing is nothing at all like my previous Windows Mobile 6.1 phone. Nope, not even close.

When I first powered it up late last week I was actually pretty overwhelmed. After 5 minutes I got frustrated and set it down for a bit. Since then, however, I’ve been in love – I just had to learn the “droid way” of doing things. With WinMo, those hardware buttons really aren’t all that critical. With Android? Oh you better know what they do and when they do it.

Yeah, I love this thing. The size is just right. The slider keyboard initially felt odd but after just an hour or so I’ve adapted and love all the keys readily available. The screen is easily readable and the processor seems plenty fast.

Random thoughts:

The Intercept’s buttons can be a little fussy. The back button doesn’t always seem to register and sometimes the home button seems to register too well and I end up in the task switcher (which is a nifty find, btw). With use and practice I’m finding just the right touch to mitigate both issues.

I love the built-in messaging app. With the ability to show all the history helps make it feel more like an IM conversation.

I’m bummed that there’s apparently no Skype option for non-Verizon androids. What’s up with that?!?

The Evernote Android app is beautiful — and rather disappointing. My dream of building check lists (deployment guides, for instance) on the desktop and using mobile to check off tasks as they happen remains unfulfilled. I can add to existing notes but not modify them. Phooey. Looks nice for data capture on the fly though…

The eWallet Android app is kind of disappointing as well. Oh, it works well and is quite useful, but currently the only sync is via USB cable to a PC running eWallet desktop. The fact that is read-only is a buzz kill. If it has to stay read-only I hope maybe they’ll consider a network sync – we already have a beta web sync that works just fine.

I’m in love with the Aldiko eBook reader. I first tried it last week and had issues with page size and margins. Read some stuff on the web that indicated I wasn’t alone and I uninstalled it. This past weekend I decided I’d try again – maybe I could manually set the width or margins or something. Much to my surprise the issue was gone after the reinstall! I haven’t checked to see if perhaps a new version was released; I’m just enjoying it. Looks like my ebook organizer Calibre will convert and sync directly to it. I look forward to trying that soon. (right now I’m re-reading the original Tarzan and loving it)

WordPress for Android is really cool and works very well. I love how easy it is to take a picture and write a little blog post around it. I’ve been experimenting with it over on my personal site.

The Samsung didn’t seem to come with the default calendar gadget – and a smart phone that doesn’t show upcoming events on the main screen is just goofy (imho). Fortunately, I found Smooth Calendar right away and really like it. Does just what I need.

Speaking of calendars… you know that google offers public calendars for things like sports schedules and holidays. I have a few connected to my calendar. I can’t seem to figure out how to get them to sync over though. I ended up finding the same calendar over a Yahoo, exporting it to iCalendar and then importing that into my calendar as a new one. Kludgy, but it worked.

All of the above gripes aside though, I really do love this phone and the Android OS. It sure didn’t take much to adapt to it and stuff just works so well.

If you have any great apps (or games, I need some fun!) to suggest please drop a comment. Thanks!

Back to OneNote

16 Sep 2009
September 16, 2009

OneNote image

It took me a couple months of indecision (first pondered in July) but this week I took the plunge.

A year ago I whimsically decided to abandon my reasonably fine and working OneNote based GTD (Getting Things Done) system and move to Evernote. I’m not entirely sure (anymore) what my motivation was, but I can theorize that it was based on the fact that I could Evernote on my Windows Mobile phone, Windows PCs and from a web site. That and I’m a total squirrel and waste too much time chasing new shiny things…

So now, one year later, I’ve moved back to OneNote. I am using my old system which was heavily influenced by the 7Breaths “GTD with OneNote” series of articles. I have a few bits to iron out, but after just two days I already feel back in control.

Why the switch? A few reasons really.

  1. I never used the Windows Mobile Evernote client. While I thought it was a wonderful idea, it turns out the support for checkboxes is useless.
  2. I never really got into the web interface (and I think there were checkbox issues there too?)
  3. My GTD “system” with Evernote just never gelled. I lost track of too many items (this is totally my own fault). I was a chagrined at how many forgotten items I turned up while migrating back!

As you can tell by points 1 & 2 I really like checkboxes!

I’ve stored my OneNote data files in my Dropbox account so I have access to them from all my machines (although only two actually have OneNote installed). So far this is proving to be a painless and simple way to keep everything in sync. I like it.

GtdagendaI should mention that I spent a month or so with the Gtdagenda site last winter when I first realized that my Evernote system wasn’t quite working.

Gtdagenda is a web based application aimed squarely at the GTD aficionados. Probably my favorite web based GTD app that I’ve played with over the past few years. However, it turns out I’m not quite ready for “web only” though – not for this sort of stuff. If I have to load the browser and site first? Well, I probably forgot what I was about to write or do…

The switch back to OneNote ought to hold me for a while. Or until my next urge to (once again) switch back to Linux… then I’ll be sad!

Going Back to OneNote?

02 Jul 2009
July 2, 2009

I’ve recently been pondering and/or reconsidering my decision to switch from OneNote to Evernote a year ago. It seemed like an easy choice at the time, but I’m not entirely convinced I’ve truly gained in a way that has made me feel more productive. Subjective, yes I know. Bear with me as I think out loud.

Evernote logoI’ll start with the mobile experience. One of the main reasons I decided to go with Evernote was the promise and potential of the Windows Mobile client. The WinMo OneNote client is… to be polite… pretty useless (did it improve with ON 2007 by chance?). At first glance the Evernote client seemed a huge improvement – and, early on, received frequent updates.

However, after a year it turns out I never use Evernote on my Windows Mobile phone. Why? Well for starters my dream of managing task lists and checkboxes remains unfulfilled. Can’t even see checkboxes from the WinMo client. Want to fake checkboxes? Well, you can’t edit an existing note from the mobile client either.

Long story short, no gain.

OnteNote picture What do I miss the most from OneNote? The free-form aspects of the pages. Everything doesn’t have to be trapped into a single “column” on the page. That capability worked very well for me and how I manage my own tasks and projects – side notes!

How about creating outlines? With OneNote you can hit tab and be in outline mode. Tab and shift-tab to indent and, for me, all very intuitive and easy to use. Evernote? (I had to revisit the Help for this next bit) Ctrl-Shift-B for a bullet list. Shift-M and Shift-Ctrl-M to indent and outdent. After a year I still hardly ever use outlines because I can’t seem to remember the hotkeys!

Want multiple columns of bullet lists in Evernote? Not gonna happen. Painless in OneNote.

Now, I use multiple computers and the free aspect of Evernote is very enticing. Setup a new machine, dump on Evernote, let it sync and “hey presto!” I’m good to go.

Conversely, I only own one license of OneNote so I have to make deliberate and thought-out choices about where I install it…. Now, I suppose I could get a little sketchy with my MSDN subscription and “liberate” an extra OneNote license for “development purposes”… then I’d have two. Otherwise I’m shelling out some serious coin to have ON on more than one machine. Not enticing and definitely a motivator to stick with Evernote.

(Thought: Dropbox would make syncing OneNote files a lot easier than it used to be, right?)

Don’t get me wrong here. I’m not bashing Evernote at all. It is a great product with tons of features. The built-in syncing alone is just about priceless and you get it with the free version! The OCR’ing of images is pretty interesting as well. Great for taking whiteboard pictures that are searchable.

Cutting to the chase:

I think the genesis of this post is the fact that after a year I find myself still missing OneNote… Now I just need to decide if that’s a strong enough motivation to switch back. Thoughts?

Evernote Updates – My New GTD System?

11 Sep 2008
September 11, 2008

image Checkboxes! When did Evernote’s web interface add support to add, remove and check/uncheck checkboxes? Was it the end of July release (who puts up a blog without search)? I sure wish I had noticed that sooner.

For me, that’s a total game changer. I’ve been happily using Evernote as a collection and research tool up to this point, but now… If I can work around the (somewhat minor) annoyance of no templates in the current version, this may become a critical piece of my GTD system.

The web interface is strong enough now that I also think I have the answer to my post from earlier this year, Linux Alternative for Evernote / OneNote? 

About that mobile experience…

I would like to see a little bit more for mobile capabilities though. The recent Windows Mobile facelift was nice for sure. But there’s no ability to update notes from mobile, neither the native client or the mobile web. At all.

Granted, I can’t do that from my current OneNote system either and at least with Evernote I can see my stuff (a step up). But yeah, some edit options would be a blessing and really push it over the top.

I tried running EN from the Opera Mobile beta, but didn’t get too far. Alas, no notes were shown.