Sunday, September 11, 2011

Evernote Will Organize the Crap Outta Your Life

By Denis408
10 Sept 2011

Ten years ago, I used to carry a digital audio recorder. A dork? Yes, proudly! 

It was handy to have for recording meetings, notes, ideas, and my (then) babies' first sounds. 
Scan forward ten years to the present day, and the device I carry is mostly is a cell phone or two. Now with the advent of connected devices and cloud storage, Evernote is more relevant than ever.I've been using Evernote a lot lately, after a long hiatus (about a year) and am really impressed with the changes I see.

I love how seamlessly I can access my written, photographic, audio notes, and typed content from all kinds of different devices. I use both Mac and PC, desktop and laptop, iPhone and Android Nexus One phones, and even a Sony Google TV device. I can access my stuff on any/all of those devices. It is now a capture/notation device that spans work and home, across multiple platforms and the Web. 

What's It for?
In the past, I have used Evernote for journal entries and notes about my kids' achievements. I could/can share them with my wife, and later, when they're older, with the kids. I had also uploaded a couple of photos to Evernote from the phone app. -All good stuff, but it didn't keep me using the app.
Recently I decided to try it to make sense of notes from a slew of different projects at my job.
I created a new notebook for work, and made it my default notebook. 
Hardware-wise, for work, I use an iPhone, a Mac with a virtual machine running Windows. Then I created notes for each project I'm working on, and pasted in content from Word docs. 
Evernote running on PC, Mac, Android and iPhone

When last I used Evernote (as I understood it) it was a phone app, which had a web interface where you could log in to access your information. -Cool. This time when I got on the site, I noticed there is a downloadable windows app. The downloadable app for PC means I can add things to it even where there is no internet connection. When I visited the site on the Mac, a similar download was there for me to download.
This is great for me, because I can now access the same set of notes from iPhone, Android, the Web, the Mac, or the PC, and at home or at work.
Example of notes with a screenshot (of the Evernote web page) included.

Taking screenshots to enhance meeting notes is really cool! I usually use this to take screenshots of WebEx meetings to add detail to my notes.
It adds a lot when I review notes, to be able to look at a screenshot from the actual meeting. Users can also include video notes! That's pretty cool!

The Toolbar

Since Evernote can save audio files, some people like to use it to record song ideas. It is great for Journals and Notes, and you can tag any of the content to help in later searches. There is also the ability to share with others and/or collaborate on content.
Sync, Trunk, New Note, All Notes, Share, Print, Delete | Usage 
  • Sync: this is the same as Save in a conventional application. 
  • Trunk: this is the Evernote App store.
  • New Note: self-explanatory
  • All Notes: shows all your notes in one flat list.
  • Share: displays sharing options
  • Print: self-explanatory
  • Delete: self-explanatory

Tags are added and displayed in a sub-tab. This is helpful for your ability to search. Think about your keywords (tags) and use logical words that you're likely to use when you are later searching. Additionally, you can add a URL if you want to keep a reference for where you got a screenshot, or a logical link to hang onto.
Toolbar for Tagging
What Else Can It Do? -Plugins
I looked for, but didn't find a way to scan something into Evernote. Then I noticed something called "Trunk" at the top of the screen. Trunk is Evernote's iTunes Store (or Android Market). It has various add-ons that work with Evernote.
Scandrop to Cloud is an app that will scan right to the cloud, in this case, to Evernote from your scanner. (it also will scan to Amazon cloud or google docs... very cool!).
To test it out, I scanned a monster story that my sun drew. I was able to scan it and have it load directly into my Evernote notebook. Really cool! And then I was able to then merge the scanned pages into one file in Evernote.

I have to include a little disclaimer since I'm so-strongly advocating Evernote. I have nothing to do with the Evernote company, and am not being reimbursed in any way. I just feel like this software fits the "new model" of the way we live a lot better than the traditional tools (MS Word, etc.). 

Evernote's stated goal is "to give everyone the ability to easily capture any moment, idea, inspiration, or experience whenever they want using whichever device or platform they find most convenient, and then to make all of that information easy to find."

Closing Notes
I'm impressed with this app and the potential it shows as a platform and future expansion possibilities. I am also excited to play more with existing features like video and sharing. I definitely recommend Evernote as a tool for organizing your life.

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