Evernote – Initial Review

Evernote Logo

I started to use Evernote a little bit more over the Christmas break. It touts itself as the tool for you to “Remember Everything” and it doesn’t do a bad job of it. What I like best about it is that it has the potential to be used everywhere. My particular use case is that I tend to start my thoughts on my Windows Mobile device while in transit on the subway and save it as I exit the subway. If I have the time, I like to dabble a little bit more at work on my Macbook during the work day before heading home and completing it on the subway again. Sometimes I have ideas that give me restless nights so I like to try to write it down before I doze off and forget them at all.

Since my mobile device of choice is Windows Mobile, I use the WinMo version the most. By default, there are multiple note types that can create – text note, ink note and audio note. You can also initiate a web clipping but I haven’t had the need yet. For the most part, I use the text note the most to start my blogs but last night I used an ink note to doodle an idea that I had. Worked well but I haven’t yet edited it. The thing that frustrates me most about Evernote is also the thing that I like most about Evernote. The concept of being able to write any notes and then sync them to a web site is brilliant. My frustration stems from the times when I have to use it and have no access to internet like when I’m in the subway. In this case, it doesn’t work consistently. Creating a new note offline works flawlessly. Saving a new note gives you an error but it still queues it up and then uploads the note when you’re back online. In order to edit a note, you have to be online to download the note and invoke the edit command even though you may have a previous copy of the file. Saving an edited note offline just causes you to lose the note.

The desktop versions are underwhelming in general. I can’t say that anything really stands out. The cool thing that I like about the Mac version of Evenote is that it has the ability to create an iSight note. However there are quite a few things missing with it. For one, I can’t email a note using Entourage. It only supports the default Mac Mail application and there is no ink support for Macs  yet. The Windows version feels a lot fuller than the Mac version. There’s the ability to do Saved Searches, gives me a quick preview of my monthly data usage and the ability to create and view ink notes. This is espcially important when my Windows notebook is a tablet PC :D. Having the web version is a nice option when I’m working on my Ubuntu desktop. I wish they also had a non-AJAX version of the site so it would work better on my Nokia N810. The formatting of the site on my N810 is just unworkable as I found out.
As I use it more, the couple of features that would make Evernote even more powerful as a product would be the ability to share my notes with someone. As I’m using it more, one of the nice thing about this would have been the ability to share it with another Evernote user to update it. Another feature that would be useful in the future is the ability to archive it. While I can tag it, I can see the long flow of notes being overwhelming and cumbersome and I typically like to keep my notes and not delete them. The product has some flaws still but the ability to synchronize it to a central place is still quite useful to me at the moment. The key question is that will the flaws overwhelm its features to make this a long term product viable product in the future.
Update: Evernote has failed me again. I’m no longer as gung-ho about Evernote as I was when I started out. I lost another blog entry that I so dilligently wrote in the subway this morning.

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