Love, Hate and Evernote

I've been trialling Evernote. I appreciate it took me a while to hop on board this particular bandwagon. I, on the whole, don't use the iPhone much for keeping notes and would just use TextEdit on my Mac if I needed to or whatever else seemed appropriate at the time. I realised though that I have been scribbling notes all over the place of late and needed a much better way of keeping them organised. I needed something categorisable, searchable and multi-format too. So there has been some discussion of 'everything buckets' on some of the podcasts I listen to and having heard the discussions I decided that it would be appropriate to find a solution that would sync across my Mac and iThings. Evernote, with it's platform-promiscuity offered the best support for this requirement.

The first thing I discovered however was that the iPhone app, after syncing a file of any significant size (photos, PDFs), likes to crash. This is behaviour that persists for a while after syncing but eventually corrects itself. It's fairly mysterious and quite irritating. However, once up and running the add by e-mail and other input methods are actually very good. I have a few reservations about the interface; on each device while the functionality (when it doesn't crash) is great, the layout and user experience are lacking. There are entire swaths of screen space completely devoted to two buttons, it's wasteful and a little ugly. The sync command is hidden in menus on the iPhone and iPad versions is hidden in the settings menu when it really should be a sync icon on the primary interface. There are lots of small issues that grate a little in a world where we've learned the benefits of interface standardisation and the value of screen real estate.

So these little things annoyed me enough that I uninstalled Evernote completely this morning…

Then half way through the day at work something came to me and the obvious and appropriate solution was to throw it at Evernote. A bout of internal deliberation earlier and I realised that the general benefits provided outweigh the niggling little issues. Issues that can be solved if Evernote put their minds to it. It even has integration with Instapaper, which is one of the single most useful features that could ever have been included.

So if you're considering giving Evernote a try, please be forgiving of it's problems and give it a fair shot. Evernote Corporation however need to keep working on their offering, as there are flaws that a competitor could exploit currently. There are alternatives, but none with the same multi-platform support and syncing.

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