eskapism.com - personal website of Stefan Kovachev

Synchronization: Notes

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Categories: apple, apps, web
April 20, 2010

One of my goals when choosing a handheld device was the ability to have all my information with me at all times. That included my contacts, notes, events and tasks. Also I wanted to be able to edit these lists of data from anywhere I have an internet connection.  I have been searching for apps that provide solutions to my requirements. This is the first of a series of articles which will cover the synchronization of information between my desktop computer, the web and my mobile device.

For notes synchronization I have chosen the most popular tool – Evernote. And not only because of its popularity but of its killer desktop version. It’s best feature is actually the possibility to crop a screenshot directly after using the print screen button. That way you can add page segments directly to your notes with one push of a button.

The desktop client of Evernote syncs directly with their server. The bandwidth provided for the free account is more than enough for the casual user (unless you start uploading massive pictures). Another feature or perk that comes when using Evernote is that there are apps or plugins for almost every platform.

I wanted a way to add notes when I am not at my computer and I have it – Evernote has a very good web interface with all the functionality of its desktop counterpart. Additionally there are a number of browser extensions for e.g. Firefox that enable you to quickly add notes to your account. My personal favorite is the Evernote Web Clipper.

The Evernote app for the iPhone is actually not that good. I organize my data in different notebooks and the app does not provide a way to select one and search / scroll through it. You can search or scroll only through all notes – not very usable. I decided to use the Awesome Note app which does provide this functionality. With it however I cannot add voice notes but that is an option that I hardly ever use. There are some synchronization issues when using Awesome Note with Evernote – the notebooks imported from the app include a prefix in their names. And the ones in on the Evernote server without that prefix are not synced. The solution is to add the prefix to all notebooks.

Should you ever want to share your notes between a number of devices – Evernote is the best way to go. There are a number of other services or applications , but the tools that Evernote provides exist for all major platforms and are perfectly synced between each other.