Confessions of an Evernote Convert

Sometimes, you see something in which the utility of it jumps out at your right away.  I remember the first time I saw a web browser back in the old days before “World-Wide Web” was even a household term.  I literally knew what I was looking at was revolutionary.  Still, even I could not have conceived what the WWW would turn into and how quickly it would take off.

Then, there are notes applications.  OK, so you can take notes.  What’s the big deal?  After all, one of the first applications for any computer was a text editor, which was needed for writing programs if nothing else.  I’ll admit it: I did not get it.

Lifehacker had Evernote articles, their commentors would push it at times, but it all seemed rather overblown to me.  Gina Trapani was (and probably still is) an Evernote enthusiast, but that did not phase me, either.

It still didn’t seem a big deal when I got a Windows Pocket PC.  After all, it would sync Notes from within Outlook.  So, whenever someone was foaming at the mouth when OneNote came out, I just didn’t get it.

And, in fact, things still had to change before I really cared.  But, OneNote was useful, and it did sync with my HTC Windows Phone.  I was able to keep notes on it and transfer them to my PC that had OneNote on it.  Pretty neat.  Still, what did this do that Outlook Notes didn’t?  Other than formatting, not much.  Strictly speaking, there were phone apps that could read Office documents, so even the formatting just was not compelling.

With Office 2010, though, Microsoft began putting out a version of OneNote that would work on the iPhone and sync using Windows Live Drive (which is now SkyDrive).  Finally, I could type up a shopping list, sync with the cloud and then cross items off the list as I bought them.  Maybe this wasn’t the biggest deal in the world, but it was finally useful beyond indexing and creating notebooks.

Still, I was used to putting things into Outlook’s Notes.  So, changing over to Linux gave me a realization that I wasn’t going to be able to continue this.  Worse, it still relied upon syncing via cable, and if something happened to interrupt sync’ing, the notes got all out of sync (literally).

I picked Evernote as a replacement because it is the most “OneNote-like”.  It does not have a Linux version, so I looked into NixNote/NeverNote (they changed the name from NeverNote, but the documentation still says this), which is a Linux frontend.  They are very similar, so it wasn’t too bad converting.

This morning, however, all of this ambivelance disappeared.  I wanted to take a picture of something and insert it into a note.  If there is an easy way to do this in OneNote, I’ve never seen it or had a practical reason to do it.  However, I opened up Evernote, went to the note I wanted to insert the image into, snapped a picture, and Evernote gracefully inserted it into the note.  It was easy.  It was intuitive.  It floored me.

It’s not very often I get to use something that is that easy to use.  The Evernote iPhone app does have some glitches, though.  I could not figure out how to delete a note, for example.  The organization is a little odd, as it defaults to showing by date, but if you search for a specific phrase (and usually I can remember the name of the note if nothing else), then it is sort of immaterial.