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Evernote for Mac, iPhone to make managing information overload easy

post #1 of 24
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Exclusive Preview: With the deluge of data hitting users in the modern age, managing piles of information has become increasingly important but also more difficult. Evernote is on its way to both the Mac and the iPhone, and promises to simplify the effort needed to catalog, tag and organize web clippings, text and handwritten notes, photos, emails, audio clippings, and more, making it easy to search and review all those bits later without having to think too hard about how to do it.

The service acts like an assistant that grabs everything you throw at it and then finds just what you're looking for when you demand it.

Capture, Tag and Catalog

Evernote started out as a Windows app, but in version 3.0, currently in private beta, it has become a web service along with a sharp looking native Mac OS X client app. A custom iPhone version is planned as well, although the web interface already provides some level of access to iPhone and iPod touch users. Using both the native client and the web interface, users can upload all kinds of data clippings into the system and retrieve items from their brain dumps with a quick search.

Users get started by setting up a private account. Items are loaded into different collections called notebooks; the client software syncs with the web service in the background. Individual notebooks are private by default, but can be made public for collaboration with other users. Items are organized by user-defined tags and are searchable by their indexed content.

What distinguishes Evernote from a simple online repository of photos (such as iPhoto or Flickr) or web bookmarks (such as Del.ici.ous) or document searching (such as Spotlight) is that the system analyzes everything that gets uploaded, scanning for recognizable text in pictures, performing handwritten recognition, and indexing all the text for later search. Evernote also provides tagging tools to allow users to associate their own labels on items, both individually and applied across multiple selections.

Entering Notes

There are a variety of ways to get content into Evernote. Using either a web browser or after installing the native Evernote client, users can create a basic new note using rich text formatting. The Evernote application also includes an easy to use checkbox tool for making to do lists. Descriptive tags can be assigned to the note by clicking in the Tag area of the note and simply typing words or phrases separated by commas. Each tag is turned into an oval object tag (below), similar to the email addressing field in Mail.



Using the Evernote client application, any Mac with an attached iSight camera can also be used to capture a snapshot note. Click the toolbar icon and a standard picture taker interface is presented. Snap a photo and picture is entered as a new note, with room for adding additional text and tags. If the picture contains any legible text, Evernote's servers will attempt to recognize it and attach the text to the snapshot entry as searchable metadata.

Text files, HTML, jpeg, gif, and png graphics (including photos from iPhoto or Photo Booth) can be dragged directly to Evernote's Dock icon to quickly create a new entry. The system currently doesn't import PDF files or other common documents such as Office files, but does provide tools that make it easy to grab a full or partial screen shot of those types of files. The application also installs a menu bar item (below) that makes it easy to import selected text or graphics from a document or web page, grab that screen shot as a picture, or perform a quick search.



Remembering the Web

From Safari 3, an entire web page or a selected portion of the page can be uploaded into Evernote using a bookmarklet. This uploads the graphics, links, and text into an Evernote online account directly. The Evernote client program syncs with the online account to present all of the captured items in each notebook, making the system akin to a smart multimedia mailbox.

Evernote also works via email. Any note or clipping can be emailed to another user as an attachment with a quick click on the Email Note icon in the toolbar. The contents of any email can similarly be forwarded to Evernote for later recall as well. The system creates a private email address you (or anyone you provide it to) can use to forward content into your Evernote account.

That private email address also makes it easy to freely upload photos taken with the iPhone (other phones can upload photos via fee-based MMS). Snap photos, send them to Evernote, and they are cataloged and scanned for any text automatically, making items easy to search for later. If the email address gets discovered by spammers, its easy to generate a fresh one. This simple photo workflow makes it easy to capture business cards, product labels, maps, menus, and other information with your mobile phone, and easily categorize and reference the information later, either from the phone, from the web on any public computer, or from the slick client software on a Mac.

The Interface

The new Mac client interface will be familiar to users of Mail. Toolbar buttons across the top make it easy to add, print, or mail notes. A view icon selects between list view (below top) and item thumbnail view (below bottom). As new items pour in, the thumbnail sorting features become useful; items can be sorted by name, date created, or date uploaded. Each sort style groups items under date or alphabetical subheadings. The easiest way to find items is using the search field, which provides instant results as you type in words. If the search matches text recognized within a graphic, the discovered text is highlighted.





Along the left side organizer panel is a listing of notebooks, which may be set up as private to the computer, kept in sync with the online service, or published publicly as a web page others can access. That setup is done using a simple sheet (below). An example of a publicly published notebook is available at Daven's public notebook: BrewPubs-SF.



On page 2 of 2: Easy Metadata Searching; The Web Interface; and The Evernote Overview.

Easy Metadata Searching

Underneath the notebook listing are sections featuring disclosure triangles that open to reveal lists of options. Tags presents a listing of all the tags assigned on all entries. Clicking a tag does an immediate search for the items matching that tag. In addition to manually adding a tag to an entry, you can also select multiple items and drag them to a tag to assign them all that tag. Attributes allows you to do a similar search based on creation or modification dates; any item that contains pictures, audio, or handwritten ink; or by the item's source (whether emailed in, clipped from email, a web page, a mobile, or the desktop application).

At the end of the attributes section is a list of to do items. Any time a checkbox is added to a note, the item is tagged as a to do. The Completed, Not Completed, and All to do tags make it easy to pull up any notes with checkboxes in a given state.

Collectively, the tag, attribute date, contains, source, and to do selections allow you to rapidly find items based on a variety of metadata matching. Multiple items can be selected at once, creating a complex query without any effort. The definition of the search is presented below the toolbar (below). Once set up, the search can be saved or dismissed. Saved searches are presented at the bottom of the organizer panel.




The Web Interface

The same features are presented online in the web version (below), although the client software offers the same kind of advantages that an email client has over a web email service. The beauty of the web version is that it's available anywhere on any public computer. It's even accessible from the iPhone, although it warns users that the mobile Safari is not yet among its recommended browsers (Safari 3, Firefox 2, and Internet Explorer 7).



The Evernote Overview

Evernote for Mac is still in private beta, but is expected to make its official debut in the coming months. The application provides a useful assortment of search tools, intuitively designed in an interface consistent with other Leopard savvy apps. It also makes use of Core Animation to present attractive live sorting of item thumbnails, resulting in an "advanced note visualization" the Windows version currently lacks.

As just a standalone app, Evernote would have limited practical functionality, but tied into its web service with text recognition features, public notebook publishing options, and the ability to call up collections from any web browser, the entire package makes a really cool product that's easy to use and highly productive. Even better, the program and web service is free, with a paid premium service version planed for the future.

If you find yourself searching through bookmarks, photo albums, email, and text documents looking for the stuff you intended to remember, Evernote could be just the tool you need to organize your information overflow. The company has posted a demonstration YouTube video that covers the basics visually.

post #2 of 24
It's possible that something like this is what I need. I've got a lot of notes in a Documents directory and it's not very pretty. However, it is accessible to a Windows computer too, or nearly any program for that matter.
post #3 of 24
Null.
Þ & þ are called "Thorn" & þey represent þe sound you've associated "th" wiþ since þe 13þ or 14þ century. I'm bringing it back.
<(=_=)> (>=_=)> <(=_=<) ^(=_=^) (^=_=)^ ^(=_=)^ +(=_=)+
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Þ & þ are called "Thorn" & þey represent þe sound you've associated "th" wiþ since þe 13þ or 14þ century. I'm bringing it back.
<(=_=)> (>=_=)> <(=_=<) ^(=_=^) (^=_=)^ ^(=_=)^ +(=_=)+
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post #4 of 24
post #5 of 24
I wonder how telling the Time Machine status indicator is. Their machine hasn't been backed up in over 10 days apparently. Apple goes and makes a backup mechanism so easy and painless and still, people aren't backing up?

I personally have my MacBook Pro backing up every night when I get home, I just plug in my external and off it goes.

Are people still not backing up after setting up Time Machine? And if not, why?
post #6 of 24
Hmmmm....

Sure looks (and sounds) a lot like Bento.
It's drk_one for a reason...
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It's drk_one for a reason...
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post #7 of 24
Um... shouldn't this article go in the "paid advertisement" portion of the screen?

seriously, how about at least some mention of any potential or existing competition? I know this is an apple fan-site (and I am a huge fan/stockholder), but I don't think advertising 3rd party software is the best use of it...
post #8 of 24
I agree with iCarbon. I visit appleInsider because their reporting tends to be fair. "Articles" like this sacrifice the journalistic integrity of the site. I don't want to have to start looking at articles and trying to determine if there's an advertising based agenda behind what is being reported.

Maybe start articles like this off with "the following article is part of a sponsorship et cetera" so that users know right off the bat that this article is sales based, not journalism based.
post #9 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by iCarbon View Post

Um... shouldn't this article go in the "paid advertisement" portion of the screen?

seriously, how about at least some mention of any potential or existing competition? I know this is an apple fan-site (and I am a huge fan/stockholder), but I don't think advertising 3rd party software is the best use of it...

Quote:
Originally Posted by pegarm View Post

I agree with iCarbon. I visit appleInsider because their reporting tends to be fair. "Articles" like this sacrifice the journalistic integrity of the site. I don't want to have to start looking at articles and trying to determine if there's an advertising based agenda behind what is being reported.

Maybe start articles like this off with "the following article is part of a sponsorship et cetera" so that users know right off the bat that this article is sales based, not journalism based.

Guys, it's a preview, not and advertisement. The product has not shipped and we decided it was one of the more useful upcoming Mac apps and decided to preview it. No one "paid" us to cover the product. We don't, and never have, accepted payment for writing particular articles.

It's a real shame that I have to repeatedly post this same kind of message every time we cover a new software product that isn't authored by Apple. Are we to assume that every AppleInsider reader uses only Apple-written software on their Macs? I find that really hard to believe. We're covering Evernote -- an upcoming Mac product -- in the same way that we would cover Photoshop CS5.

Obviously you two didn't find this information of any use. But hundreds of thousands of people read AppleInsider every day, and it may be useful to some of them.

Thanks,

K
EIC- AppleInsider.com
Questions and comments to : kasper@appleinsider.com
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EIC- AppleInsider.com
Questions and comments to : kasper@appleinsider.com
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post #10 of 24
And one more thing... When I started AppleInsider over a decade ago, we often wrote about third party applications because, frankly, Apple wasn't such a massive force at the time and there really wasn't a constant flow of news on a daily basis.

I remember one of our first in-house articles was a preview of Connectix SpeedDoubler -- remember that? So this is nothing new on our part. And we plan to continue to preview new and exciting Mac apps in the future. We clearly label them in the title as "Previews" as we did with the recent preview of DL2 (http://www.appleinsider.com/articles...brary_2_0.html), which also seemed to displease some readers for whatever reason. So if you don't want to read the previews, then don't. If you do, great.

Best,

K
EIC- AppleInsider.com
Questions and comments to : kasper@appleinsider.com
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Questions and comments to : kasper@appleinsider.com
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post #11 of 24
I've always appreciated the reviews and previews of different products by AI. I find them helpful and informative and sometimes amazingly detailed. This plus the daily news fix has made AI my personal favorite Apple news source.

On the topic of ads, however, h I'd rather have "sponsored" reviews than the pop-up ads that seem to circumvent the Safari and Firefox pop-up blockers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by drk_one View Post

Hmmmm....
Sure looks (and sounds) a lot like Bento.

This is not even in the same category as Bento--two completely different products with different purposes. The two app also look nothing like each other.

Bento = personal database (Mac)
Evernote = global note-taking, "external mind" (Mac/Mobile/Windows/Web)

Been using the Evernote 3 for Mac beta for a month now and quite like it. I have it installed on my work machine (Windows XP) and my home Mac. It's weaning me away from Google Notebook pretty quickly.
post #12 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kasper View Post

And one more thing...

post #13 of 24
The problem with Evernote, and other web based apps, is security. You always have to be careful NOT to put any sensitive or private information on Evernote, Gmail, Photoshop Express, etc. I know these types of programs have all sorts of privacy/security "promises", but information theft is on the rise, not to mention legal issues of copy write and "national security". If someone gets my information improperly (without my expressed permission) what guarantee do they offer? Will they pay legal fees, or pay for charges to stolen credit cards, bank accounts, proprietary materials, etc. etc. etc?

No, offline storage is much safer and more so under your control. If Evernote would ONLY work offline, on my systems, Mac, iPod, etc. I'd give it a look, otherwise thanks, but no thanks.
post #14 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kasper View Post

And one more thing... When I started AppleInsider over a decade ago, we often wrote about third party applications because, frankly, Apple wasn't such a massive force at the time and there really wasn't a constant flow of news on a daily basis.

I remember one of our first in-house articles was a preview of Connectix SpeedDoubler -- remember that? So this is nothing new on our part. And we plan to continue to preview new and exciting Mac apps in the future. We clearly label them in the title as "Previews" as we did with the recent preview of DL2 (http://www.appleinsider.com/articles...brary_2_0.html), which also seemed to displease some readers for whatever reason. So if you don't want to read the previews, then don't. If you do, great.

Best,

K

Hey, Kasper. The reason why people keep bringing this up is because, as the poster mentioned, why not bring into these "previews" at least a bloody mention of the competition for this kind of product, as is typically done in virtually any product review article I can ever remember reading. I look forward to the day not one of us feels a need to question the motivations behind these articles.

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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post #15 of 24
I would not normally bother to post anything about an article like this, but after seeing a couple other members get slammed, I feel the need... (at the risk of getting lumped in with those members!)

For perspective, I've been in this industry (and an Apple owner) for nearly 30 years, and have been reading AI for almost as long as you've been publishing it (sans account). I find it's grown to be the best source of it's kind for Apple news/rumors. And I have no problem with reviews being a part of the site. But as the others mentioned, I too found this article just didn't "feel" like an unbiased preview. As I was reading, it felt like the author must have some sort of tie to the company, or a friend that works there.

I think it's not an issue of the article's existence, but the tone in which it was written, although others may agree or disagree.

Quote:
...and then finds just what you're looking for when you demand it.

...making it easy to search and review all those bits later...

...buttons across the top make it easy to add, print, or mail notes.

Evernote could be just the tool you need to organize your information overflow.

Read carefully and you will see there are many more.

So I don't sound like just a griper, some ideas -> Perhaps calling it an Editorial would help (?), or maybe just having "Preview" in the actual title of the article. As I suspect most people do, I just glance at the prominent title lines and click, knowing that the vast majority of articles are going to be something I'm interested in reading.

I've been staring at the screen now, wondering if it's worth submitting this post for fear of a starting a big debate. But here ya go...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kasper View Post

And one more thing... When I started AppleInsider over a decade ago, we often wrote about third party applications because, frankly, Apple wasn't such a massive force at the time and there really wasn't a constant flow of news on a daily basis.

I remember one of our first in-house articles was a preview of Connectix SpeedDoubler -- remember that? So this is nothing new on our part. And we plan to continue to preview new and exciting Mac apps in the future. We clearly label them in the title as "Previews" as we did with the recent preview of DL2 (http://www.appleinsider.com/articles...brary_2_0.html), which also seemed to displease some readers for whatever reason. So if you don't want to read the previews, then don't. If you do, great.

Best,

K
No Matte == No Sale :-(
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No Matte == No Sale :-(
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post #16 of 24
Couldn't have written it better myself. I was thinking the exact same thing, but I get tired of telling people the same thing over and over and over again.

When a product like this is available that sits on a secure media server in your home or office then I will be happy to consider buying it - if it works well. Of course this doesn't fit the SAAS business model, so who knows if/when that will happen. It's a great idea, just take it out of the public cloud.

Quote:
Originally Posted by iJavaJoe View Post

The problem with Evernote, and other web based apps, is security. You always have to be careful NOT to put any sensitive or private information on Evernote, Gmail, Photoshop Express, etc. I know these types of programs have all sorts of privacy/security "promises", but information theft is on the rise, not to mention legal issues of copy write and "national security". If someone gets my information improperly (without my expressed permission) what guarantee do they offer? Will they pay legal fees, or pay for charges to stolen credit cards, bank accounts, proprietary materials, etc. etc. etc?

No, offline storage is much safer and more so under your control. If Evernote would ONLY work offline, on my systems, Mac, iPod, etc. I'd give it a look, otherwise thanks, but no thanks.
No Matte == No Sale :-(
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No Matte == No Sale :-(
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post #17 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blah64 View Post

I would not normally bother to post anything about an article like this, but after seeing a couple other members get slammed, I feel the need... (at the risk of getting lumped in with those members!)

For perspective, I've been in this industry (and an Apple owner) for nearly 30 years, and have been reading AI for almost as long as you've been publishing it (sans account). I find it's grown to be the best source of it's kind for Apple news/rumors. And I have no problem with reviews being a part of the site. But as the others mentioned, I too found this article just didn't "feel" like an unbiased preview. As I was reading, it felt like the author must have some sort of tie to the company, or a friend that works there.

I think it's not an issue of the article's existence, but the tone in which it was written, although others may agree or disagree.



Read carefully and you will see there are many more.

So I don't sound like just a griper, some ideas -> Perhaps calling it an Editorial would help (?), or maybe just having "Preview" in the actual title of the article. As I suspect most people do, I just glance at the prominent title lines and click, knowing that the vast majority of articles are going to be something I'm interested in reading.

I've been staring at the screen now, wondering if it's worth submitting this post for fear of a starting a big debate. But here ya go...

No, it's fine. I appreciate your feedback. I specifically asked my editor not to "review" the product, but rather to "preview" the product. It seems you guys would rather have a review than a preview, which is fine and understandable. However, it presents a bit of a complex going forward in that sometimes it's just not fair or fit to "review" an unfinished product. We'll figure it out though.

I also agree with the security concerns raised in the earlier post and must admit that this is one of the major reasons I have not yet thoroughly used the product to its advantages myself. But this rings true for all products with an online storage component.

Thanks again,

K
EIC- AppleInsider.com
Questions and comments to : kasper@appleinsider.com
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EIC- AppleInsider.com
Questions and comments to : kasper@appleinsider.com
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post #18 of 24
Damn, Kasper, when did you get so chatty?

I remember the days when you were more rumor than man...... a shadowy eminence grice, occasionally emerging from your secret bunker to issue a terse clarification.
They spoke of the sayings and doings of their commander, the grand duke, and told stories of his kindness and irascibility.
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They spoke of the sayings and doings of their commander, the grand duke, and told stories of his kindness and irascibility.
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post #19 of 24
I like the new Kasper.

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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post #20 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

I like the new Kasper.

I like the new one too -- just wanted to make it clear that I was mainly griping to start discussion, not out of some deep sense of betrayal -- I love what you guys do here, but I would like more clarity in the title that this a a preview of an app.
post #21 of 24
I dont see why a Preview of an app should contain mentions of other similar software. If it was a review, then that is absolutely necessary, since you cannot review an app in isolation, but rather, have to view it in terms of other software that do similar things. But the point of the preview is to note the existence of such an app, which might be useful to AI readers. I read this preview, downloaded Evernote, and am liking it so far, so I am really grateful to it!

Also, I cant see how you can get more clear that it is a preview, considering the first two words of the article are "Exclusive Preview".
post #22 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by addicted44 View Post

I dont see why a Preview of an app should contain mentions of other similar software. If it was a review, then that is absolutely necessary, since you cannot review an app in isolation, but rather, have to view it in terms of other software that do similar things. But the point of the preview is to note the existence of such an app, which might be useful to AI readers. I read this preview, downloaded Evernote, and am liking it so far, so I am really grateful to it!

Also, I cant see how you can get more clear that it is a preview, considering the first two words of the article are "Exclusive Preview".

I know, the more I think about it, the more it seems like a pretty complex issue. The thing is, I get about 20 letters/emails a day telling me about exclusive previews, special exclusive deals and once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. and it feels cheap when I see them on a news site. I understand the point and the need, I really do, but it feels like its not news, it feels like advertising. The problem is that it doesn't happen enough to merit its own section, but if it was in a separate section, then it wouldn't feel so much like spam.

argh, and now I'm realizing that I'm the leading edge of a hijacked thread!

lets talk about how cool this app is...

wait, I never actually made it past the first two paragraphs, I have no idea what this app does! (got all pissed at the slick sales-pitch tone)

what is this article about, anyway?
post #23 of 24
So, on the topic...

Surely it would be fairly simple to use QuickLook to drop images into Evernote?

That would be a decent interim solution, until they build import filters for Word, Excel etc...
post #24 of 24
One interesting thing you can do is set up EverNote with Jott, and send transcribed voice notes to yourself-

http://lifehacker.com/373815/jott-yo...evernote-bliss

I find it useful for note-taking (especially while driving), since I currently have a dumbphone and no PDA.
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