Skip

Evernote vs. ????
May 29, 2014 9:02 AM   Subscribe

Springpad to shut down. The venerable productivity app that served as a digital filing cabinet and personal organizer, has announced on its blog it will close its doors effective June 25.

Based out of Charlestown, MA, the company ran out of money after failing to secure a Series B round of funding. With 5 million users, its main competitors were Evernote and Pinterest. Though it had emerged as the top viable alternative to Evernote for digital productivity prominence, it was never able to parlay this into mainstream success.

Xconomy has an interview with co-founder Jeff Janer on the shutdown. Janer is candid about the company's mistakes, summing it up by saying, "We built a cool product, but we didn’t build a business."
posted by zooropa (122 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
"Our incredible journey."
posted by colie at 9:08 AM on May 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


Well, there's always Google Keep. I'm sure that'll be around forever.

I guess am old because I don't "get" Evernote or OneNote or the previously unheard of Springpad.
posted by entropicamericana at 9:19 AM on May 29, 2014 [4 favorites]


Yes, like Google Notebook!
posted by boo_radley at 9:24 AM on May 29, 2014 [6 favorites]


(I'm sorry, I refuse to do the "hamburger" thing. If that means I am misunderstood, so be it.)
posted by entropicamericana at 9:26 AM on May 29, 2014 [4 favorites]


"I guess am old because I don't "get" Evernote or OneNote or the previously unheard of Springpad."

So where do you keep your grocery shopping lists, and drafts for book review notes and MetaFilter posts, and recipes, and dream vacation to-dos, and meeting notes, and rules for card games that you never can remember, and images you use in planning your next Mardi Gras costume, all in a place accessible from your Windows machine at work or your Mac at home or the phone in your pocket or the tablet on your table?
posted by komara at 9:27 AM on May 29, 2014 [19 favorites]


This is too bad. Springpad had a pretty cool product, and for awhile I used it to supplement Evernote; clippings and reference material go to Evernote, personal notes I type in myself and need to find quickly and frequently go to Springpad (akin to ROM and RAM, respectively).

Eventually Springpad just seemed like overkill for what I needed, and I spent too long screwing around formatting and reorganizing things, so now I use Simplenote instead. If anyone is looking for a stripped-down replacement for Springpad, I can't recommend it enough.
posted by dialetheia at 9:28 AM on May 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


This is too bad. Springpad had a pretty cool product, and for awhile I used it to supplement Evernote; clippings and reference material go to Evernote, personal notes I type in myself and need to find quickly and frequently go to Springpad (akin to ROM and RAM, respectively).

The cool kids use Moleskine!
posted by KokuRyu at 9:31 AM on May 29, 2014 [11 favorites]


So where do you keep your grocery shopping lists, and drafts for book review notes and MetaFilter posts, and recipes, and dream vacation to-dos, and meeting notes, and rules for card games that you never can remember, and images you use in planning your next Mardi Gras costume, all in a place accessible from your Windows machine at work or your Mac at home or the phone in your pocket or the tablet on your table?

They're called text files. In Dropbox.

Drafts of MetaFilter posts? Seriously?
posted by entropicamericana at 9:32 AM on May 29, 2014 [18 favorites]


The cool kids use Moleskine!

But then I can't search everything easily or access from any device! I'm just too lazy for pen and paper.
posted by dialetheia at 9:32 AM on May 29, 2014


So where do you keep your grocery shopping lists, and drafts for book review notes and MetaFilter posts, and recipes, and dream vacation to-dos, and meeting notes, and rules for card games that you never can remember, and images you use in planning your next Mardi Gras costume, all in a place accessible from your Windows machine at work or your Mac at home or the phone in your pocket or the tablet on your table?

Gmail.
posted by Leon at 9:33 AM on May 29, 2014 [10 favorites]


Drafts of MetaFilter posts? Seriously?

Some people really care about quality.
posted by hellphish at 9:33 AM on May 29, 2014 [10 favorites]


Yeah, I just try and get things right on the frst try.
posted by cacofonie at 9:36 AM on May 29, 2014 [4 favorites]


I think you mean you "try to get things right on the first try."
posted by notyou at 9:38 AM on May 29, 2014 [35 favorites]


Springpad was just THE BEST. It kind of shocks me how little Evernote has improved over the years, although I guess when you're king of the mountain you have less incentive to keep things fresh.
posted by overeducated_alligator at 9:38 AM on May 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


What ever happened to responsible recycling --- back of an old envelope.
posted by sammyo at 9:39 AM on May 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


So where do you keep your grocery shopping lists, and drafts for book review notes and MetaFilter posts, and recipes, and dream vacation to-dos, and meeting notes, and rules for card games that you never can remember, and images you use in planning your next Mardi Gras costume, all in a place accessible from your Windows machine at work or your Mac at home or the phone in your pocket or the tablet on your table?

My own hosting, Sublime Text 2, and the Sublime Text SFTP plug-in.
posted by Shepherd at 9:41 AM on May 29, 2014 [12 favorites]


entropicamericana: "They're called text files. In Dropbox."

One of many reasons why I love the Simplenote ecosystem. Virtually every Simplenote client can store and sync notes as text files in Dropbox (or, really any synchronization system out there)...
posted by schmod at 9:42 AM on May 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


They're called text files. In Dropbox.

I'm not trying to evangelize to you here, I promise, but Evernote does have a bunch of key advantages over plain text files, especially for storing and organizing reference material. Just for example you can clip images, whose text can be OCR-searched; you can clip whole web sites including images for reference even if the site gets taken down later; you can store or link external files within your notes so it's all in once place; you can search the whole contents of all notes easily and quickly so you can find what you need.
posted by dialetheia at 9:44 AM on May 29, 2014 [3 favorites]


The most honest thing I can say about Evernote is that while I am a totally gung-ho pro user, it is a total shithole where anything I put into it just gets tagged and then never looked at. I don't know if it's the interface or what. Real fucking bummer. It's more of an information coffin than anything else. And yes I use the GTD system.
posted by phaedon at 9:44 AM on May 29, 2014 [17 favorites]


Plain text files have an advantage too, you don't get locked out of data when a company closes.
posted by entropicamericana at 9:45 AM on May 29, 2014 [23 favorites]


Poorman's askme time:

So where do you keep your...
posted by komara


No, where do you keep your *stuff*? Seriously, I'm listening and eager to find a solution. Evernote just didn't gain the traction it needed to stick with me so I'm still at a loss and using Dropbox as a poor solution that I know could be better.
posted by RolandOfEld at 9:46 AM on May 29, 2014


I should clarify that my "So where do you keep your [x]?" comment was just supposed to be something with which I could show entropicamericana the idea of what purpose programs like Springpad / Evernote serve. I honestly thought that perhaps he was not a terribly technologically-inclined person and I intended to pass on a vaguely humorous yet informative response. I didn't necessarily mean for it to be an open call for posting your personal solutions.

Speaking of which, it's obvious that entropicamericana is an adept technology user so I'm left to wonder what purpose the "grumble grumble I don't "get" this newfangled blippity-blop" comment was meant to serve. The follow-up "Drafts of MetaFilter posts? Seriously?" did help clarify that someone's just a Grumpy Gus today.

Cheer up, bud!
posted by komara at 9:48 AM on May 29, 2014 [4 favorites]


Evernote just didn't gain the traction it needed to stick with me

Can you expand on this a little? I've used most of these systems at one point or another but it would help to know what you didn't like about Evernote specifically, or whether you need it for long-term reference material or short-term e.g. lists and things.
posted by dialetheia at 9:53 AM on May 29, 2014


But then I can't search everything easily or access from any device!

I do find myself, when reading a book or a longer magazine article, searching inside my head for "Ctrl-F" in a vain effort to search for a particular word.

Anyway, I had been using Notepad, but have recently switched to Google Keep, while Gmail is where I store things like receipts for tax purposes.

Evernote and OneNote are too fussy.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:53 AM on May 29, 2014


I don't want to make this about all me, I just want to note my default MeFi posting mode is snark, I honestly don't know anything else.

I don't understand why people pay for services that offer few to zero benefits and can result in you losing or being locked out of your data at any point. That's all. I mean the OCR is nice, but seems like nearly everything else can be handled by a modern OS. If you enjoy these services, more power to you, I guess.
posted by entropicamericana at 9:56 AM on May 29, 2014 [3 favorites]


a total shithole where anything I put into it just gets tagged and then never looked at

I get this with all these services. I even get this with e-books on my iPad that I've paid for.

Reluctantly, I've gone back to buying books on paper, because then they sit there physically reminding me to read them, and for my notes on stuff I have a plastic box full of handwritten notes that I clean out twice a year.
posted by colie at 9:56 AM on May 29, 2014 [3 favorites]


Plain text files have an advantage too, you don't get locked out of data when a company closes.

Just for the record, I've used just about every one of these services and I've never lost or been locked out of any data ever. Export options abound, and my Evernote database is stored on my home computer, not just in the cloud.
posted by dialetheia at 9:57 AM on May 29, 2014 [4 favorites]


Plain text files have an advantage too, you don't get locked out of data when a company closes.

On Evernote you can (and are always encouraged) to backup/export your notes in either an HTML format or a Evernote's own format.

Evernote also has a great web clipper that allows content to be saved as is, pared down to the main text, to take a screenshot, bookmarked, or annotated.

Oh yeah, and Evernote doesn't have a war criminal sitting on its board of directors, unlike Dropbox.
posted by FJT at 9:57 AM on May 29, 2014 [9 favorites]


I admit that this follow-up comment is mostly fueled by early morning rage, iced coffee, and a general unwillingness to do any work, but Evernote is basically a "shitty operating system" with a permanent preview window (and of course, cloud services).

I mean, 5 years later and you still can't mark a note as fucking completed? Don't start with me about how I can create a tag called "Fucking Completed." If I want something so arbitrarily stupid, then really, making folders in Dropbox or on my own server and using my computer's operating system is the way to go. Evernote is a total lateral move.
posted by phaedon at 9:59 AM on May 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


.rtf works as well as .txt in this day and age. It also has the advantage of graphics and fonts and things like bold. ASCII is a nuisance, not a default.
posted by Slap*Happy at 10:00 AM on May 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


Lotus Agenda.

No, sorry, just being silly. Chandler.

[weeps for what might have been]
posted by Devonian at 10:05 AM on May 29, 2014 [5 favorites]


I have used Evernote for years and would dispute the idea that it hasn't improved much. They have done a remarkable job growing the mobile apps and web clippers as well as the core functionality of the base software. OCR-response time is amazingly fast. Issues I initially had about lack of formatting options eventually faded away once I understood how I was using it most, as a research tool, a cataloguing tool, and a "del.icio.us"-style repository (better because it captures most web pages fairly well).

I tried other options like Springpad and while I enjoyed the product, it wasn't as useful (for me). Like all tools, some fit better with some people than with others. But I have a lot of respect for Evernote, its open dialogues with its user base, its smart branding efforts with real-world products (which I couldn't care less about, but I respect the business acumen there).

Lastly, I will note that last fall I scanned (with a ScanSnap) a huge backlog of bills, paperwork, health documents, images and the like into PDFs in Evernote and got rid of a file cabinet. I don't "share" those docs off my computer, but now they are amazingly searchable. Other software couldn't pull it off with the same ease. Oh, and there is no proprietary format so if I ever need to, everything can be moved elsewhere, including web clippings.

I understand people get frustrated when something doesn't do the one thing they want it to, but that's why I use Reminders for reminders. I hope Evernote sees new competition, because it's a wide open market. But for now, I am happy with it and would recommend it - especially at the zero-price point (though I pay the annual fee because it's worth it to me). Except for email, it's the one tool I use more than any other.
posted by buffalo at 10:06 AM on May 29, 2014 [6 favorites]


Can you expand on this a little?

It's been well over a year or two since I tried Evernote so this reply is going to be nothing if not vague and handwavey about my experience but it just didn't seem to do all the wonderful things without a workflow, that I'm sure some people have, that was just about as much work as my manual dropbox file maintenance. Sure it was prettier but that was about it.

I do not dispute that if I'd have vested the proper amount of time to dive into, what I call, the lifehacker side of evernote and all the tips and tricks to make my grocery list available at my fingertips from anywhere on the planet that it would have been prettier and maybe slightly easier than using dropbox and a .txt file. But that's seemingly alot of work on the front end for only a, seemingly, marginal gain of pretty on the tail end.
posted by RolandOfEld at 10:08 AM on May 29, 2014


And on poor preview, kinda what phaedon said.

I also remember wanting to do a few things like that that seemed very obvious and running into roadblocks that were very nonsensical, like what was mentioned above. I just assumed it was me not understanding the OS.. I mean Evernote, haha, and moved away from it figuring that the issue was my familiarity, which is my fault, not something lacking/oddball in the software, which is more on the developer side of things.

Again, because doing the google to learn how to do X or Y or how to short-circuit Z isn't what I came to Evernote for, not at all.
posted by RolandOfEld at 10:13 AM on May 29, 2014


The venerable productivity app

"Venerable"?
posted by ethnomethodologist at 10:14 AM on May 29, 2014


Okay I know it's possible to do the things Evernote does in different ways, but you guys I have over 5000 notes in my evernote database, most of which include both images and text. Creating and organizing RTF files for each of those clippings and pasting text & images in would have been an ENORMOUS pain in the ass. With evernote, it's literally two keystrokes, and I can easily search the full contents of each note from any device. I wouldn't call that "few to zero benefits".

it just didn't seem to do all the wonderful things without a workflow

Which wonderful things, though? I guess my experience with Evernote is that it's fantastic for reference and less-good for lists that you need frequent access to, especially if you're trying to do both at once; the lists and things get buried in reference material, and it sounds like the lists were the part you wanted to use. If you just need plain-text lists, it's true, Evernote is going to be overkill. If you find yourself wanting to organize a bunch of complex information you clipped from the internet, Evernote will be much more useful.
posted by dialetheia at 10:15 AM on May 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


No, where do you keep your *stuff*?

I use dropbox and text when I want to be able to edit things from my phone.

But for notes, recopies, research progress, notes after a conversation, it all goes into my extra brain: OneNote. I know KokuRyu said its too fussy, but I love it. I am a filer so I love the Notebooks -> tabs -> pages sorting paradigm. 8 notebooks x 8 tabs x 10 pages is 640 different "thoughts" Each page is just a blank page I fill up with notes, pictures, links. I use a simplified tagging system to understand stuff later.

And my OneNote files are on dropbox too so all at work/at home / on the laptop / on the spare laptop. Considering I have used it for five years of research work and two years of grad school, I am surprised its only 0.5GB and
posted by shothotbot at 10:15 AM on May 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


consider my comment convivial cynicism, entropic.
posted by boo_radley at 10:15 AM on May 29, 2014


"We built a cool product, but we didn’t build a business."

So essentially, you built nothing. That boring stuff, what some people refer to as "the business" as if it were an alien in the basement, is the most essential part of entrepreneurship. You know, sales, finance, marketing, customer support, outreach... that boring stuff outside of design and development.

Until you get all of that right, you're just a bunch of people having a good time with some VC money up until the moment you are either bought or shuttered.
posted by jsavimbi at 10:16 AM on May 29, 2014 [4 favorites]


Man, I just started using Springpad. I used it to jot down movies I wanted to see to help with that Netflix indecision, and also to gather recipes in one spot to share with my partner. Evernote seems okay, but just didn't have as many features as Springpad. (Springpad would, for example, email me when a movie on my list appeared on Netflix.)

The recipe thing in particular is frustrating. A lot of my cooking is inspired by online recipes that I then adapt, and I wish there was a place to clip the recipe, add my own notes, and share it online with family.
posted by jess at 10:17 AM on May 29, 2014


entropicamericana: " Drafts of MetaFilter posts? Seriously?"

Yes.
posted by zarq at 10:17 AM on May 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


So essentially, you built nothing.

Argh, really? Nothing matters or is of benefit to the world unless it can be made profitable?
posted by overeducated_alligator at 10:18 AM on May 29, 2014 [19 favorites]


I love Evernote.

But this post makes me worry about future-proofing.

How is Evernote funded? Is it financially healthy? How easy would it be to duplicate the functionality?
posted by grobstein at 10:18 AM on May 29, 2014


"Venerable"?

I just call it 'judge evernote' to keep it simple.

But honestly, besides a homemade solution made from google, notepad, Dropbox, is there any app that can be a note repository and a scheduler? On ipad, iPhone, and mac??

Currently?

Anybody?
posted by hal_c_on at 10:19 AM on May 29, 2014


I don't know what your point is jsavimbi. I'm sure they were trying to build a business. Are you scolding them for failing? Also what is wrong with having a good time or being bought?
posted by bhnyc at 10:24 AM on May 29, 2014


A couple additional thoughts.

Springpad was trying (I think) to smarten the data you entered, make connections for you, a trend which a number of software/services companies are trying to do, Google being the biggest with Google Now. It's a neat trick, but not always as useful as you think it will be. Evernote keeps things pretty dumbed down. Quoting Roush's 2010 Xconomy review, "Evernote is great for geeks and serious info-hoarders while Springpad is better for shoppers, cooks, soccer moms, and other average folks doing everyday stuff." Maybe overstated, but not untrue.

Second, while relevant only to a certain subset, Evernote's recent foray into a business/collaboration offering is very significant and powerful, knocking on the door of major business software groups with a tool that small offices and organizations can use, all the while keeping personal and business 'notebooks' separate ... so if you leave the org, work stays with them, personal stuff goes with you. I have only dabbled in that side of Evernote, but the transition for existing users is transparent. Again, a sensible development path (IMHO).

I had high hopes for Springpad, but market, timing and user desire can play havok with even a great product.
posted by buffalo at 10:26 AM on May 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


So where do you keep your grocery shopping lists, and drafts for book review notes and MetaFilter posts, and recipes, and dream vacation to-dos, and meeting notes, and rules for card games that you never can remember, and images you use in planning your next Mardi Gras costume, all in a place accessible from your Windows machine at work or your Mac at home or the phone in your pocket or the tablet on your table?

Just toss everything on Dropbox, Hubic or Box. You'll be able to access your stuff from any computer and any mobile device. Problem solved!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:29 AM on May 29, 2014


Okay I know it's possible to do the things Evernote does in different ways, but you guys I have over 5000 notes in my evernote database, most of which include both images and text. Creating and organizing RTF files for each of those clippings and pasting text & images in would have been an ENORMOUS pain in the ass. With evernote, it's literally two keystrokes, and I can easily search the full contents of each note from any device. I wouldn't call that "few to zero benefits".

I tried and tried for about two years with Evernote, from about '10 to '12, and I think what failed for me was me-as-user as much as Evernote-as-tool.

In essence, I kept coming down the fact that

(a) there was much suckiness about Evernote as a way to build and maintain things like to-do lists, movies-to-watch, etc., when compared to the simplicity and straightforwardness of a notepad like Sublime Text 2, especially with a couple of plug-ins to generate to-do lists and SFTP to keep everything pinging off my own online storage;

(b) Evernote never *really* delivered a cross-platform solution that worked on Ubuntu, as much as there were various hacky attempts (NixNote, etc.);

(c) I realized that 99% of what I was storing was, frankly, bullshit, and that Evernote notes were rapidly becoming like my 200+ GB of music on my hard drive, or my three rooms of bookshelves of books I would never read again, or a Netflix queue of more movies than I would ever watch in my entire life.

If something is important, it's important enough to open up a text document, type it, cut-and-paste the relevant URL or image link, and save.

If it doesn't warrant that level of importance, it's probably just... cruft.

YMMV. There are probably people doing the equivalent of a 16-plate balancing act and using Evernote like a maestro to compile thesis notes and recipes and write a one-act play and such.

But for me, Evernote just turned into a sort of bullshit-accrual system where the very ease of taking notes and clipping was more of a problem than a solution, and I was spending more time curating and deleting and tagging and sorting than I was actually using this information for anything of value.

So I stopped using it, started being more strict with myself about closing tabs in Chrome and deciding if things were right-now important, worth-manual-labour-taking-a-note important, or... not actually that important at all.

I think I'm better off without Evernote.
posted by Shepherd at 10:30 AM on May 29, 2014 [12 favorites]


The recipe thing in particular is frustrating. A lot of my cooking is inspired by online recipes that I then adapt, and I wish there was a place to clip the recipe, add my own notes, and share it online with family.

I've been transitioning my recipes to Pepperplate over the past few months. It has a similar ease of recipe addition from online web sites
posted by Mahogne at 10:32 AM on May 29, 2014 [6 favorites]


I'm confused about all the Dropbox recommendations. To me, Dropbox has all the downsides of Evernote (see all the concern about losing data) with none of the upsides (search, ease of clipping, etc).

cut-and-paste the relevant URL or image link

This is the crux of it for me - Evernote stores the actual data, not a link to it. I have other systems for saving links; Evernote is for keeping e.g. "how to fix the windshield washer pump on my old car" posts from defunct forums that I can't count on to be there in the future.
posted by dialetheia at 10:33 AM on May 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


I really really like Plan To Eat for my recipe storage / shopping list / meal planning needs. Plus the couple who run are super-friendly.
posted by Ian A.T. at 10:34 AM on May 29, 2014 [3 favorites]


Are you scolding them for failing?

Absolutely not, it takes a lot of guts to start a company and stake your future on it. And these things fail all the time. What I'd take them to task for is essentially a line I read yesterday "$7 million invested in Charlestown company led to 5 new employees for Google." which does a lot more harm than good to the early-stage tech community.

Easy money attracts many people (most of whom do not belong on this side of the risk scale), dilutes the talent pool, is bad PR and the consequences of the "fuck it, Google'll will eventually buy us, don't worry about the business part" attitude takes its toll on the community. It's hard to build something with a purpose when most of your coworkers want to be "cool" and work at a startup and management spends most of its time calculating their personal payout in the even of a acquisition.

/rant
posted by jsavimbi at 10:35 AM on May 29, 2014


It's bizarre to me that I've never heard of springpad. I'm literally on the internet all day long. Plus it looks like a Pinterest clone except with more features.
However I try to get into these "productivity" things and find there is no information I need to save in formats like this.
posted by bleep at 10:38 AM on May 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


Post-It notes, people...Post-It notes...
posted by Billiken at 10:38 AM on May 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


What is it about Evernote and these sorts of services that makes people so annoyed and dismissive, anyway? No other web service seems to invite this wave of "I don't need it and I couldn't use it and I don't understand why people use it and therefore it's dumb and you should just use (post it notes) (text files) (etc)" commentary. Every single Evernote/Springpad-type thread we have turns out this way (I think last time it was CatchNotes). I don't understand it.
posted by dialetheia at 10:46 AM on May 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm confused about all the Dropbox recommendations. To me, Dropbox has all the downsides of Evernote (see all the concern about losing data) with none of the upsides (search, ease of clipping, etc).

I've never lost any data on Dropbox, can search it on my computer on mobile device, share folders or files, so I'm not seeing a downside.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:52 AM on May 29, 2014


Can you search the text and images inside each file on Dropbox? I didn't think you could, but I could be mistaken. I can only figure out how to search file names.

Likewise, I've never lost any data on any note service so I'm not seeing an upside to Dropbox, either.
posted by dialetheia at 10:55 AM on May 29, 2014


I want to have a two-tiered system of OmniFocus for front burner stuff, Evernote for reference/someday maybe.

I look at OmniFocus all the time, I NEVER look at Evernote. Data coffin indeed.
posted by Brainy at 10:56 AM on May 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


Evernote and Dropbox are fundamentally not the same thing.

Dropbox is about having an actual, ordinarily-functional directory that replicates across all of your PCs and also provides mobile access to the files on Android and IOS with better (if not perfect) caching of previously-opened files than any other app I've used.

(I don't think I've opened the Dropbox application, other than through its background syncing, or website on my desktops or laptop once in the past year, while using the Dropbox directories many times a day.)
posted by MattD at 10:58 AM on May 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


What is it about Evernote and these sorts of services that makes people so annoyed and dismissive, anyway? No other web service seems to invite this wave of "I don't need it and I couldn't use it and I don't understand why people use it and therefore it's dumb and you should just use (post it notes) (text files) (etc)" commentary.

Which people in this thread have said any of those things? Please be specific.

You may want to step back and carefully read some of the people in this thread's thoughts on why they find Evernote challenging or not relevant. Here's mine. If you want to discuss it like an adult, that would be awesome, but generating imaginary strawmen to get huffy with isn't doing you, or this discussion, any favours.
posted by Shepherd at 11:00 AM on May 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


"I guess am old because I don't "get" Evernote or OneNote or the previously unheard of Springpad."
Seconded. But that's one of the things I love about MeFi- I hear about stuff I never would have considered using. (Or maybe, never would have even heard of) So this is interesting to hear what people are using it for.
But then I just think, 'why would I do that?' Following the Lifehacker link to 'why people use it in the first place', I fail to find a compelling use in my life, and reading "It allows me to leverage it as a document management tool to incubate all my reference related material..." pretty much ensures I will stay away.

But thanks for the information. Pretty interesting what humans get up to these days.

No, where do you keep your *stuff*?
On IBM tab cards in my pocket, like I have for the last 40 years. (Current count- 18, plus one blank)
More data-rich items are on thumb drive. Guess I'm not a terribly technologically-inclined person.
posted by MtDewd at 11:01 AM on May 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


No other web service seems to invite this wave of "I don't need it and I couldn't use it and I don't understand why people use it and therefore it's dumb and you should just use (post it notes) (text files) (etc)" commentary.

Seriously? Can't tell if trolling or...

Which people in this thread have said any of those things? Please be specific.

Seconded, if it's my comments about my experiences with Evernote then I'm flabbergasted. I tried to make my thoughts as plain, albeit hazy, and as non-judgmental as possible.
posted by RolandOfEld at 11:06 AM on May 29, 2014


I'm confused about all the Dropbox recommendations.

I find Dropbox really useful as a backup storage place for photograph's from my phone's camera. But I find it incredibly annoying to use as a photo sharing service like my sister does.

I don't know why, but the Dropbox folder she has shared with me has mixed up all over her baby pictures with my own pictures. It's no big deal, but just confusing as hell.

Even if you don't like Facebook, or hate Google's photo sharing service, or you don't understand Flickr, there are ton of better options for sharing photos than bloody Dropbox.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:08 AM on May 29, 2014


Seconded, if it's my comments about my experiences with Evernote then I'm flabbergasted.

I am sorry for calling Evernote "fussy" and didn't mean to hurt anyone's feelings.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:09 AM on May 29, 2014 [6 favorites]


Evernote-shaming
posted by phaedon at 11:10 AM on May 29, 2014 [15 favorites]


Plain text files have an advantage too, you don't get locked out of data when a company closes.

Evernote's desktop client has a pretty good export option. It will export all your crap from its local database to either XML files or HTML.

From what I can tell, even if they pulled the plug on the service without warning tomorrow, you would still have access to all content except what you've added since the last time the desktop client resynced.

So basically, as long as you don't use mobile exclusively, you're pretty safe. Which is yet another Reason Why Mobile Sucks, kids off my lawn, PC4EVA, etc.
posted by Kadin2048 at 11:10 AM on May 29, 2014


I have carefully organised and neatly filed Evernote notebooks - bank PDFs with notes, Q&A lists and checklists. Then I have these giant freeform piles of Stuff shoved into a notebook to be searched for things. And the inbox where clippings go to fester and breed.

The tidy Evernote folders are shared with other people. So basically, Evernote is a digital version of my house with a clean living room, but for the love of cthulhu, don't open that drawer!

Springpad was pretty but clunky to use. Evernote is plain (I would pay extra to be able to put colours or pictures on the top of notebooks!) but it works very efficiently with keystrokes and integrates with other apps smoothly. I tried using Springpad several times but it was tedious for heavy use, and there were other better single purpose apps for most of it. Too swiss army, not enough knife.

My husband relies on dropbox and simplenote, but I had a bad experience with shared files from a colleague taking over diskspace abruptly and don't trust it to behave when sharing. I use that purely for backing up photographs now.
posted by viggorlijah at 11:10 AM on May 29, 2014 [3 favorites]


Evernote-shaming

Not Evernote-ist.
posted by wenestvedt at 11:11 AM on May 29, 2014


I tried using Springpad several times but it was tedious for heavy use, and there were other better single purpose apps for most of it

I'd love to know what those single purpose apps might be. I've been a heavy Springpad user for about a year, and am dreading life without it.
posted by /\/\/\/ at 11:14 AM on May 29, 2014


One of my biggest uses of Evernote is "clip-to-Evernote" (instead of print-to-PDF) of all my online bill payment confirmations every two weeks. Plus storage (one of numerous locations) of important paperwork that I run through my Doxie scanner.
posted by mrbill at 11:16 AM on May 29, 2014


Can you search the text and images inside each file on Dropbox?

No, you can not. While not needed by me (A lot of my stuff is in Indesign or Photoshop), I can see how it would be extremely useful to others.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:18 AM on May 29, 2014


I used springpad almost entirely for web clipping, so Evernote is the only easy replacement for me. Unfortunately, having tried Evernote before, I know that something about the interface discourages me from actually looking at it. Springpad allowed you to organize things in different visual ways that I found helpful. Since I had clippings, the standard view I used represented each clipping with a primary photo from the source, in a grid pattern. There was also the option to move them around freehand, as if using a corkboard. I know some Evernote extensions try to enhance the visual aspect of it, but I still haven't found one that's both easy to use and flexible.
posted by tofu_crouton at 11:24 AM on May 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


I've used Evernote for several years, mainly as a way to keep my school assignments available to me across all my devices. I create a Notebook Stack for each semester, and then a Notebook for each class. All my assignments and course materials are added as notes in the class notebooks. I've got PowerPoint presentations, Word docs, PDFs, e-mails, receipts, and original drafts of all my writing assignments in the class notebooks. I even scan in my handwritten notes from my math classes and import them into Evernote so they'll all be in one place. This means I can sit on the couch with the dogs and study, instead of being confined to my desk.

I've read some of the stuff on various sites about how power users set up GTD and tags and codes and whatnot in Everote, but all of that just seems too complicated. I also find Evernote to be too cumbersome for simple lists or just on the go note taking. For those things I use Listary and Notational Velocity as front ends to SimpleNote.

I also use Dropbox, but as someone mentioned above, I haven't actually accessed Dropbox directly in years. I have shortcut folders on my desktop that link to specific folders in Dropbox, and that's pretty much my entire interaction with the application.
posted by ralan at 11:26 AM on May 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


I use Evernote instead of Springpad but what I was replacing initially - recipes, Epicurious saves and several other webservices will let you clip them in. Mostly, I save to Pinterest now and you can add comments for your own changes. For lists, I use Things and make projects and throw stuff in for temporary lists like planning a party or buying gifts. For long-term repeatable lists, I use Evernote again but my husband uses a list app to do that instead that allow him to reset the checklist for use again.

I used Springpad for my kid's study notes so he could access them on his Kindle, but we're going back to PDFs and paper notes as a mix instead, although there are apps for that too. He just did not like Springpad's UI.

One gap is lists of books and movies. I know there are apps to do that, but right now I just save them and throw them into Evernote (so many metafilter threads clipped there for books to read). Really, I use my Amazon wishlist as my reading/shopping/watching list when I'm at the library or out. It's easier to price-check and I can search it. Amazon has a clipper to let you add non-Amazon items to its wishlist. It's scuzzy because it's Amazon, but it is efficient.
posted by viggorlijah at 11:27 AM on May 29, 2014


Can you search the text and images inside each file on Dropbox?

Yes, on your desktop/laptop.

On Windows your Dropbox folder will be on your hard disk, in your Documents, all synced up, which means Windows Search will index it, so you can just click in the search box in Windows Explorer and type some text and all documents will be searched for it (or use one of the special searches like "ext:pdf" for "only PDF files" or "system.filename:=phonebook.txt" for a particular file).

You may not have the Dropbox folder indexed automatically by Windows Search, but that's something you can configure easily.

I'm going to assume that Mac OSX will do the same thing - index the local copy of the Dropbox contents and let you search them.

I use OneDrive (SkyDrive) and OneNote, because it's well-integrated into Windows 8, but there isn't much in it to be honest - I just like Microsoft things. If you are going to use Office 365 or Office 2013 or Word for iPad or other Microsoft services, OneDrive probably wins out, I guess.
posted by alasdair at 11:37 AM on May 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


This thread inspired me to open up Evernote and give it another shot. I have a stack of journal articles to read so I thought saving the PDFs into Evernote might be a good way to keep them organized and accessible on my various devices. After uploading nine PDFs, though, a dialog box popped up telling me I had used up half of my monthly upload allowance, and I'd need to pay $5/mo. or $45/year to get a larger allowance.

So I made a "/Reference Papers/Biologics" folder in Dropbox and uploaded all the papers there instead. I can still access them on all of my devices, but for free. Searching within the PDFs would be potentially useful and if I could make a one time purchase to use Evernote I might consider it, but I hate subscription models. That's why I play Guild Wars 2 instead of WoW.
posted by Thoughtcrime at 11:38 AM on May 29, 2014


For journal articles, I really like Mendeley. It's free but not open-source, and I can access my literature database from anywhere, search inside, export citations easily, never run into upload limits, etc.
posted by dialetheia at 11:43 AM on May 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


If anyone can explain the Flipboard UI to me, it would be appreciate. I don't understand it.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:52 AM on May 29, 2014


Might sound crazy but onenote has been a godsend for a lot of notes/filing cabinets. You have a local copy and copy at onedrive. Together they work really well and a very unappreciated part of microsoft office. Handwriting is one thing one note does better than evernote/skitch and ocr is included even in images so you can search everything.
posted by radsqd at 11:59 AM on May 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


My notes go onto handmade sheets of papyrus, which are then rolled into tubes and stashed deep in a cave in the middle east. It's the only way to be sure.
posted by jeff-o-matic at 12:00 PM on May 29, 2014 [5 favorites]


Lined 8 x 11 paper for notes, drafts, printouts, info on money, holdings, etc. Stapled together, stuck in a physical file folder and filed in a filing cabinet, or bankers boxes.

Photos of marginalia, notes that someone else has = Iphoto.

Receipts, copies of my old tax returns, PDFs of papers, drafts of papers currently in process = my laptop, my desktop & the department server.

Cool and useful stuff that I'd like to keep tabs on from the web: cut and paste into Notepad or Stickies.

Seriously, every time I try to use the 'productivity' apps I wind up spending more time fussing with them than actually working.
posted by jrochest at 12:05 PM on May 29, 2014


Clearly is possibly the best Evernote thinger outside of Evernote itself. Evernote is my Memex and I love it so. I've tried many other, lower-tech alternatives but Evernote seems to have hit a sweet spot that folders and paper, text files, wikis, blogs, etc never struck.

I evaluated Springpad as an Evernote replacement and I think there were a few advantages to be had. If I were just starting out I probably would have gone that direction. I was way too tied into Evernote already and those advantages didn't outweigh the inertia.
posted by Fezboy! at 12:08 PM on May 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


So essentially, you built nothing.

Is it grumpy sysadmin day or something? Your exaggeration is meaningless, the guy knows exactly what they didn't build and what they built, and is explaining it, so what do you actually have to add? What have you built lately?
posted by aydeejones at 12:09 PM on May 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


(grumpy developer)
posted by aydeejones at 12:10 PM on May 29, 2014 [3 favorites]


Nth-ing Simplenote. Simplenote is what I switched to when Catch.com shut down last year, and it has been perfect for me.
posted by intermod at 12:15 PM on May 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


.rtf works as well as .txt in this day and age. It also has the advantage of graphics and fonts and things like bold. ASCII is a nuisance, not a default.

I usually use markdown primarily because I've ran into too many rtf implementations that worked just differently enough to be annoying. And on a reasonably modern computer, there's grep.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 12:25 PM on May 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


I wish there was a place to clip the recipe, add my own notes, and share it online with family

I use Pinboard to track lots of stuff, including recipes. It works well because in addition to the flexibility of tagging*, I can add notes for adjustments I made or copy the recipe into the bookmark wholesale to avoid those bastards at Cook's Illustrated who put the recipe behind a paywall before you actually get around to using it.

* Obviously I have a bit of a hoarding problem vis-a-vis bookmarks (I haven't actually cooked 648 recipes), but it's easy to find summer stuff by adding "grill" and it's easy to find specific stuff again using search.
posted by yerfatma at 12:26 PM on May 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


So where do you keep your grocery shopping lists, and drafts for book review notes and MetaFilter posts, and recipes, and dream vacation to-dos, and meeting notes, and rules for card games that you never can remember, and images you use in planning your next Mardi Gras costume, all in a place accessible from your Windows machine at work or your Mac at home or the phone in your pocket or the tablet on your table?

in my head - or on a piece of paper - or sometimes on my home computer

believe it or not, people were organized before the internet ever happened - i just wasn't one of them
posted by pyramid termite at 12:40 PM on May 29, 2014 [3 favorites]


I was aware of Springpad, but couldn't use it because I refuse to use ANYTHING that's 100% cloud based.

Actually, I should rephrase: I refuse to use any product that keeps my data in one and only one place. I need a local copy, if only for when I have no connectivity. Bonus: local copy means Spotlight can see it, too.

I'm also of the text tribe, and that's where all my typed notes go, but I use the hell out of Evernote for web research and the like. I email confirmations to it for travel records or expenses, and then dump coherent documents out of it as required. It's a solid product, but it's not a good note-taking platform FOR ME.

For that, I use a fork of Notational Velocity (nvALT) on my Mac, and Writeroom on my iOS devices. All text, always there, on all devices, all the time.
posted by uberchet at 12:48 PM on May 29, 2014


For journal articles, I really like Mendeley. It's free but not open-source, and I can access my literature database from anywhere, search inside, export citations easily, never run into upload limits, etc.

Now owned by the Big Bad Elsevier, if you care about such things.
posted by Leon at 12:51 PM on May 29, 2014


I got a copy of TWiki still installed at home with everything sorta-important gets shoved into.
posted by mikelieman at 12:55 PM on May 29, 2014


Grocery lists: keep a small whiteboard next to the kitchen door. Write things you need to get on the whiteboard in dry erase marker. When you leave to go to the store, take a picture of the whiteboard with your phone. When you get back, delete the picture. Lather, rinse, repeat.
posted by gimonca at 1:12 PM on May 29, 2014 [3 favorites]


I would have suggested the text-only Simplenote (even though it's very much different from what Evernote or Springpad are), but of late Automattic has practically abandoned it. They have also removed the paid tier. In the name of support all you get is "uh oh".."maybe it's the app or that 3rd party client" and the kind of answers that leads you to a point where you know that as a free user you would rather stop using that service.

I've moved to Dropbox + text files; and I also have ownCloud installed on my server.
posted by amar at 1:13 PM on May 29, 2014


believe it or not, people were organized before the internet ever happened - i just wasn't one of them

So if memory is the old way, I guess the "I don't use a note taking app" is the new "I don't own a TV" then.
posted by FJT at 1:41 PM on May 29, 2014 [7 favorites]


I think people used to use actual, physical organizers and diaries. I remember when I had an actual address book for actual mailing addresses and phone numbers. This was pre-email (or widely adopted email), pre-consumer internet, and would have been around 1995 when I was living in boonies Japan. People still used dedicated word processors. I think the first time I actually encountered the World Wide Web (aside from playing Nettrek on a Sun Spark station back at university) was at a library in Japan in around 1997.

Anyway, in the mid-90's I worked for a Mormon-run company, and everyone there was into Stephen R. Covey and "Life Planning." They all managed their lives with "Franklins."

Bloody expensive!
posted by KokuRyu at 1:47 PM on May 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


I keep all my notes as chiseled inscriptions on the marble obelisks in my backyard.
posted by Hairy Lobster at 1:49 PM on May 29, 2014 [5 favorites]


I put copies of train and plane tix, boarding passes, museum tix etc in Evernote. And I keep stuff relevant to work (I've tons of plates spinning there). Love it. However, I'd never heard of this Evernote alternative.
posted by sporknado at 2:15 PM on May 29, 2014


RolandOfEld: "No, where do you keep your *stuff*? Seriously, I'm listening and eager to find a solution. Evernote just didn't gain the traction it needed to stick with me so I'm still at a loss and using Dropbox as a poor solution that I know could be better."

I use Google Docs, of all things -- Google Drive now, I guess. I started using it because the college where I taught had non-conforming versions of PowerPoint even on rooms next door to each other so you could never be sure if a slideshow would run ... but they were always up-to-date on FireFox so I could always run slide decks from Google Docs. Easy to access on any computer with a browser and easy to use on my phone now. I have a folder I call "frequent" with lists and notes I reference or edit frequently.

I'm using Pinterest for visual bookmarking (like sewing patterns).

Manage large quantities of research kinda ad-hoc by project, haven't found anything that's natural enough to me to use for very large projects. Mostly I keep them on my primary computer and store things in a folder on the desktop for that project, and put a bit I want to be able to work on remotely on Drive or whatever.

I tried both Springpad and Evernote and they were just too fussy for me; neither one ever really clicked. But I'm also of the "one long document to organize things" school rather than "spread out your note cards and neatly arrange them" school. I think Springpad and Evernote both made my work too PIECEY for me to really get at it intellectually. Plaintext is often better for me for doing the work itself, even if it involves a little more hassle to get back to the resource I want to look at.

Devonian: "No, sorry, just being silly. Chandler. [weeps for what might have been]"

*Gives Devonian a sad North Shore nostalgia five.*

posted by Eyebrows McGee at 2:23 PM on May 29, 2014


Just saw a post on HN about a self-hosted Evernote clone called Laverna. Haven't really tried it yet, but looks interesting.
posted by honestcoyote at 2:50 PM on May 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


For work, I used to use text files synced to Dropbox and NoteTab Pro (because it would open up a series of files and keep them opened on tabs when I'd launch), but then I started using OneNote at work and it's just exactly perfect for how my brain works. Notebooks can contain sections, sections can contain pages, pasting in something from the web automatically adds the URL, images are retained, it's just all simple and tidy. And it syncs to my phone. And I can email a page to someone with one click. And I can save email to it with two clicks.

I tried using Evernote for home stuff and I found it ... vague? Something about the interface wasn't right for my brain. I have a ton of stuff in there and I never access it. It feels burdensome.

I still use Dropbox for photo backup, copies of my resume, scanned files, etc., that I'd want to access regularly, but OneNote basically has my entire work life inside it.
posted by clone boulevard at 3:00 PM on May 29, 2014


Vi and git work for me.
posted by humanfont at 3:43 PM on May 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


Evernote is the best thing that's ever happened to me. Try taking pictures in a text file. Try searching across multiple text files easily. Try having built in OCR recognition in images in notepad.exe, or built in synch across pretty much all platforms (sorry Linux) with no need to hit ctrl/cmd + S

My only gripe with Evernote is how they keep redoing the UI from scratch across all their platforms, it can become confusing and tedious, although they seem to have realized this is hurting them and have toned things down.

Best of all, I use Evernote every single day, and I've never come close to need to pay for the premium version, but if they forced me to I'd do it in an instant.
posted by furtive at 3:43 PM on May 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


Perhaps it's telling that in a post about Spingpad shutting down all the discussion is about Evernote.
posted by markr at 3:58 PM on May 29, 2014 [9 favorites]


Vi and git work for me.

I use punchcards and keep them in a Steelcase file cabinet. A locked file cabinet. Because, you know.
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 3:59 PM on May 29, 2014


Vi and git work for me.

You lost me at "and".
posted by gimonca at 4:05 PM on May 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


org-mode 4-EVAH
posted by Zed at 5:05 PM on May 29, 2014 [3 favorites]


Just discovered org-mode does drag-and-drop images. Which is very nice, and I can see using for private notes and in conjunction with markdown for doing webpages.
posted by sebastienbailard at 7:24 PM on May 29, 2014


bummer. I've tried a number of similar services and springpad was the only one that stuck for me. Echoing someone above, I use it mostly for visual design type brainstorming and organizing. Like a less frivolous pinterest, I guess.

I'm especially disappointed that they couldn't make a business out of it, because I totally would have paid for it. Unfortunately, they never gave me that opportunity.
posted by billyfleetwood at 8:52 PM on May 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


Unfortunately, they never gave me that opportunity.

This is the thing I'm surprised isn't coming up more, because it seems so utterly bizarre. I totally get the idea that an app like this might not be profitable. Not everything is going to succeed. But--Springpad doesn't actually seem to have made any attempt to monetize beyond advertisements, and those ads seem only to have ever appeared in a fairly limited context? The board consisted of a venture capitalist and two guys whose entire backgrounds seem to be related to sales and advertising. The founders seem to have come out of places that were "innovators" in mobile advertising. All of that put together seems like they built a really good service, but the service itself was, well, not the product. The product was the advertising model, which seems to have failed.

It's disappointing that in the absence of that product they seem to be disinterested in actually trying to produce and sell a useful application to the users of that application, but given their backgrounds, not surprising.
posted by Sequence at 9:14 PM on May 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


For actual research consder zotero. BYO DAV for storage and file sync. Auto OCR, search. Tags and folders. Sharing. Stores random cruft like webpages and images if you're into that.
posted by Ms Vegetable at 9:20 PM on May 29, 2014


I have ~100 notes in a couple Evernote notebooks, mostly notes for a novel in progress. I do wish they would improve the Linux client, and would allow (or make easier) colored text. Beyond that, it does everything I want and is especially careful about not allowing you to clobber notes when you are making changes from two separate clients simultaneously. I much prefer it to Dropbox as it doesn't seem to want to colonize my desk as Dropbox does (for instance, prompting me to save photos there whenever I connect a phone or camera.)
posted by newdaddy at 9:45 PM on May 29, 2014


I was shocked when after trying what must have been a half-dozen different solutions (Evernote, Backpack, TiddlyWiki and ToodleDo are the ones I can remember off the top of my head), OneNote turned out to be the one that "stuck".
posted by Lazlo Nibble at 9:49 PM on May 29, 2014


I have Evernote but can't seem to use it consistently. It's often too much and too cluttered. I mostly use Drafts for IOS and Dropbox, plus gtasks for lists and Fantastical 2 for appointments (usually created in Drafts first). Drafts is way better for me in terms of getting ideas down quickly, and recalling them later is intuitive for the way my brain works. Plus, anything can easily be exported or sent to another app, but everything that's created in it is saved locally. Just plain text but it's great at that and integrates well.
posted by krinklyfig at 10:35 PM on May 29, 2014


This week I've been going back to basics. Back to good old Toodledo for tasks after years with Omnifocus, any.do, Wunderlist, Asana and the like. Exporting Evernote stuff as PDFs and putting them into Box (thousands of notes, most no longer relevant). Firing up Zotero for proper articles. Tidying up my plain text notes with NValt. Considering OwnCloud.

Since before all these fancier tools sprang up I think I really was more productive and used what I saved.
posted by wingless_angel at 3:50 AM on May 30, 2014


I write things on post-it notes, then forget what I wrote. When I go back to them later, I've either finished the task or didn't really need to do it, then I throw the old notes away.

Images and notes go to Dropbox. I have two laptops and a desktop. Drop box is synchronized with both. I reuse my work files for various tasks, and sometimes will take an image I saved and stick it on Facebook or Reddit.

I also have a workflow set up using If This Then That (an online script thing) that looks something like this:

1. See something online, usually an article.

2. Post it on Facebook. Only five of my friends see it because I won't promote it. Still, I value their "likes" more than I want to admit.

3. The link is automatically posted on Pinboard, a $5, text-only website.

4. Everything on Pinboard that is clicked "read later" gets automatically stuck on my Pocket client on my phone

5. When I'm going to work I make my wife drive (we work at the same campus) because otherwise I have to deal with her vocal editorializing about my driving, or the dramatics of her silently but visibly gripping the vehicle handles and arm rests as if I were driving straight into the mouth of hell, when in fact it is just a roundabout in the Middle East. So I will read Pocket articles to her and myself during the commute. Pocket is also good for bathroom breaks. I'm probably gong to switch to Instapaper, however, because it does a better job of formatting web sites and I just paid three bucks for the Android client. Previously I was reading Instapaper on the Ipad, but since moving overseas I broke down and bought a cheap Chinese, Android cell phone.

Other than that, I don't really save much, because I never follow up on anything over time. It's a real personality failing, but I've resigned myself to never making more than $60k a year or having a career trajectory that doesn't resemble driving through Nebraska.

Sometimes I save articles directly to Instapaper using a bookmarklet, where they are sent to my Kindle. That's where I send the really long, really good stuff. Receipts and addresses are in my gmail inbox.

This inefficient, redundant, messy workflow emerged over a number of years. It is flawed, and reflects my compulsion to hoard things, never experience boredom, and dislike of methyplhenidate. Once in a while I will download my Facebook archives, and then never look at them. Lately I've been going to Familysearch.org and uploading pictures of my family, along with stories about them. Because the Mormons don't rely on VC funding rounds, and keep their servers in a granite vault under a mountain.

So my muddled point is that our ways of doing things are often a reflection of who we think we are, and parts of our personalities that may not be subject to fluid change. So when we harp on someone for doing things in a way that clashes with our ideology, sense of efficiency or personal habits, it feels to them like we are attacking their identity. Because we kind of are. Knowing this, I still chastised my student who didn't use dropbox after I told her about it and lost her final paper. Because, like you, I am kind of a self-righteous hypocrite.

I didn't write a draft of this note. But it's ok if you wrote a draft of yours and saved it in EverBoxPad. It's also ok if you didn't.

My apologies if this comes off as smug or cloying
posted by mecran01 at 5:42 AM on May 30, 2014 [6 favorites]


With cloud computing being as cheap as it is, you'd think someone would come out with a "personal cloud" where a virtual appliance image is automatically installed and patched, and communicates with various drop-box-like, evernote-like, gmail-like and hangouts-like client apps over https. (Backups happen when you turn on a "backup cloud" - an identical appliance that installs on a competing cloud host and automatically syncs data in realtime.) The tricky part would be connecting the clients automatically, but NameCoin may provide a solution, here.
posted by Slap*Happy at 5:46 AM on May 30, 2014 [2 favorites]


amar: "I would have suggested the text-only Simplenote (even though it's very much different from what Evernote or Springpad are), but of late Automattic has practically abandoned it. They have also removed the paid tier. In the name of support all you get is "uh oh".."maybe it's the app or that 3rd party client" and the kind of answers that leads you to a point where you know that as a free user you would rather stop using that service. "

The wonderful thing about SimpleNote is that virtually all SimpleNote clients don't actually require SimpleNote to run. Notational Velocity will happily store your SimpleNote notes in plain text files, and sync them with dropbox (or Google Drive, or whatever you choose).

There are good Notational Velocity clones available for literally every platform, and it's a much nicer interface than editing flat text files directly.
posted by schmod at 6:33 AM on May 30, 2014


By the time I found out about Notational Velocity I had moved on from Mac OS X. I'm likely weird in that I wanted to use it without a SimpleNote account.

I've used ResophNotes (Windows client) and nvPY before, and they worked well for the specific purpose of saving notes in plain text, though I can't vouch for how well they sync with the server. Like I said above. And it was great to have a way to quickly sift through a batch of text files without opening them individually.

(I've since moved on to SublimeText.)
posted by aroweofshale at 12:32 AM on May 31, 2014


org-mode 4-EVAH

The first time I was talking with a new friend about GTD, he said "Org-mode." I was baffled, until he insisted I come into his office and he gave me a demo. Blown away. I keep trying to switch, years now, but the problem is that I learned vi before emacs, and switching back and forth just messes with me too much.

I love love love it, but none of the "org mode for VI/VIM" clones are good enough.
posted by mrbill at 1:52 PM on June 1, 2014


I've never really learned emacs, so I can't do that, either. I respect org mode, though.

My sense is that David Allen's GTD is the modern org-cult version of the widespread Franklin Planner adoption 20 years ago.
posted by uberchet at 1:21 PM on June 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


Emacs is a Big Tent, with room even for evil heretics who will doubtless come to a bad end.
posted by Zed at 2:55 PM on June 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


Zed, THANK YOU. I may just be able to whip things into shape now. I'd tried viper and found it lacking, but had not tried evil.
posted by mrbill at 4:46 PM on June 11, 2014


« Older Tonight I Dine On Squirtle Soup   |   Ambassadors from Mars Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post