Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Thing 9 - Evernote

Dorothy Parker famously said that women and elephants never forget, but this woman certainly DOES forget, and on a regular basis – and that’s where the elephant comes in.

The incomparable Dorothy Parker - photo courtesy of Confetta on Flickr

That’s the idea, anyway. I’ve already had a brief flirtation with Evernote: after hearing good things about it, I downloaded it a few months ago, however I never really used it, and ended up deleting it once I discovered Diigo. Diigo is a bookmarking and note-making service, quite similar to Delicious. It’s very easy and simple to use, and you don’t need to download anything (except the optional Diigolet, a browser bookmarklet, which helps you quickly bookmark web pages and make notes – there is also a toolbar available). This means I can access Diigo from both home and work without having to download anything. I mainly use it for bookmarks, but also brief notes and to-do lists. Evernote does all this too, but it just seemed more complicated, and I never bothered.

I wrote at the beginning of 23 Things that I wanted to give Evernote another chance and investigate it properly. I reactivated my account, downloaded it to my computer and Android phone, and installed the Web Clipper to my Chrome browser. I don’t normally like things cluttering up my browser, but the little elephant doesn’t take up too much space.

I wasn’t permitted to download Evernote for Windows to my work computer, but was able to install the Firefox extension. In any case, it’s easy enough to use the online version and sync it later. For some reason, I was convinced that you couldn’t access it online and had to download it, which is one reason I abandoned it last time, as I thought I wouldn’t be able to use it at work. This will teach me to investigate things properly.

I decided to play around with Evernote by creating a notebook called cpd23. I saved the web page with the Thing 9 post, and was able to add notes and pictures so that I had everything to hand when it came to drafting my own Thing 9 post. I was impressed by how easy it was and how well everything worked, particularly how easy it was to click and drag images from the web to Evernote. This made it easier for me to write my post and is something I can repeat for future Things.


I tried using the Snapshot feature on Evernote for Android to take and upload a picture with my phone. Again this was very easy. I’m going to try out this feature some more this Saturday – I’m off to the Great British Beer Festival at Earl’s Court and will see if I can photograph some particularly appealing beers for future reference.

This time round, I feel like I’m getting the hang of Evernote and think it’s something I’ll continue to use in the future. I will still use Diigo as a bookmarking service – to me, Diigo is better for saving bookmarked web sites, while Evernote seems more suited to saving individual web pages with associated notes. Though I still find Diigo useful for quick notes, Evernote has more functionality and seems better suited to grouping notes of different kinds and bringing things together. As a compulsive list-maker, this is right up my street.

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