Friday, October 21, 2011

Electronic Note Taking

When you visit any website, Amazon, a blog, a journal, any website, you might want to take notes on what you find there.  I take notes on information relating to my novels and short stories, my business, recipes, and other matters.  In the past I have recommended Microsoft One Note and have used it extensively.  The time has come to make a new recommendation.

First, let me explain why I have moved away from Microsoft One Note. Microsoft has put One Note in the place where Apple computers once lived:  in the land of non-compatibility.  In the past, if you wanted to play a certain game or use a certain app on a Mac, you couldn’t.   But Apple has gained wisdom while Microsoft’s petty attitude of superiority is costing it a loyal customer.  Simply consider one Apple app:  ITunes.  You can use it on a Mac or on a PC or on your smartphone.  Now consider the equivalent Microsoft app:  Windows Media Player.  You can use it on a PC or on your smartphone, but only if it is a Windows smartphone.  Get the picture?

The same thing holds true for One Note.  You can use it on a PC or on a Windows smartphone or an IPhone, but not on an Android phone, and certainly not Blackberry or Palm.  What if you want to use a PC, an Android phone, and an Ipad?  Say goodbye to One Note and hello to EvernoteEvernote works on almost every smartphone, tablet, and with Mac, PC, Android, Blackberry, and Palm. 

What are the functional differences between One Note and Evernote?  I set up Evernote on my Windows 7 PC and imported my notes from One Note.  All my notes from all my folders imported into a single notebook in Evernote.  However they were tagged with the name of their folder (Recipes, Cabin, Journal, etc.) so it was a simple matter to set up Evernote notebooks with those names and move the notes to the appropriate notebook. 

I used One Note mainly for saving web clippings.  I copied an article of interest to me and pasted it into Evernote.  It worked as seamlessly as One Note and looked better.  Like Amazon’s Kindle, Evernote give you an email address to let you send notes directly to Evernote.  I haven’t tried it, but it sounds like a good idea.  I can then forward an interesting email to that email address and have it saved in Evernote.  Cool.  Evernote stores your notes online, so you can access them from any computer.  Finally, Evernote is free for a basic account, which is all I and most people need.  If you want the Premium Account it only costs $5 month or $45/year. 

What else can you do with Evernote?  You can share your note by emailing it or posting it on Twitter or Facebook.  I emailed one to myself to test it and I received the body of the note in the body of the email.  I haven’t yet tried posting to Twitter or Facebook, but I expect it will work as seamlessly.

Is there any reason to continue using One Note?  I haven’t found one.  If you have, please let me know.

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