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Note addicts, roll the tape

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Let's ignore for a moment the fact that you should really only use one app for taking notes. You should resist trying out every new thing that comes out.

Okay, you can't resist either?

Well, here is a new one that looks pretty promising. There is now a public beta available for Evernote. The basic idea is that your notes are arranged on a rolling chronological tape. A timeline appears on the right side of the screen that allows you to navigate through dates. The tape can be filtered to show only notes that match certain categories. You can create your own categories, and there are also a number of automatic categories (based on type of note and other criteria).

In addition to simply typing notes in, you can drag/drop or copy/paste from other apps. For example, you can drag selected text from your web browser and the note will retain images, formatting, links, etc. Images did come through from Firefox, but only clips created from IE added a link to the source URL.

There are also a couple of templates for other types of notes: to-do lists, expenses, and shopping lists. Apparently new templates will be available in the future from the company but unfortunately there is no way to create your own templates. The template notes allow you to create lists within the body of the note and each list item has some additional fields based on the type of template. This is a promising feature that will hopefully be expanded in the future.

Other cool things would only come into play if you have a TabletPC or use some other pen input device. Ink notes include handwriting recognition (based on the company's ritePen software), which would probably be cool, especially if this part is included in a Palm version.

I always like a fresh approach, and this is certainly different than the tree-based notes tools that breed like rabbits (note that you can create a simple tree of categories in Evernote, but the tree is not the dominant model).

Some features aren't available in the beta, and the forthcoming multi-device sync seems especially desirable. For now, I'll just play around with it here and there. It isn't compelling enough for me to switch apps yet again at this point, but I'm definitely going to be keeping an eye on this one.

Posted by murt at 2:50 PM

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