Note Taking and Syncing

Note Taking and Syncing

I have, since the day the iPhone came out, and I subsequently purchased one that same day, loathed all note taking options. Obviously the first iteration of iPhone OS iOS did not have third party apps or any ability to sync notes of any kind. It had a notes app and any notes one took there were forever siloed in that app. And any notes one took in any form on a Mac were also not able to be synced to one’s iPhone. There have been various web based solutions, none of them good.

With third party apps came note taking apps. I have never been happy with any of them. I’ve tried various services and apps, like them all a little for a time, found them frustrating and moved on. For a while, I used Evernote. And to some extent I liked it. But both the Mac app and the iOS app have been through various stages of bugginess. I have had trouble with sync between the apps, sometimes, notes simply, stubbornly refused to sync at all. Additionally, I found the interface for both confusing and cluttered.

The last straw for Evernote came when the app ate a very VERY important note. I was editing the note on my phone when the app crashed. When I returned to the app, the note was gone. My computer had been left on, connected to the internet in another location so it naturally synced the lack of note and that was that. I could never get that note back. I left Evernote.

For a time I used the built in Mac and iOS notes app, which strangely, uses an IMAP mailbox on your mail server to sync. I find this to also be buggy and unreliable, but it never offered to flat out eat any of my notes and the interface is much less cluttered. But in the end, it just was not powerful enough.

I moved on to Simplenote. It’s too simple, and syncing can again be a bit of a pain.

So in frustration, about a week ago, I complained on Twitter about the state of note taking and syncing.

I received several recommendations to try Evernote again, they’ve been through a major overhaul and are rock solid now. I was skeptical, but thought it could not hurt since I was simply not happy with any note syncing solution/app in any capacity.

And I’ve been using Evernote since February 1 and I’m impressed. The interface has been seriously cleaned up, note syncing is rock solid and instantaneous (so far… knock on wood), and it is doing almost exactly what I want a note app and note syncing to do:

  • Multiple Notebooks
  • Tags
  • Nice, Lion Mail style wide screen layout on the mac, very intuitive interface on the iPhone
  • Nice, simple and clean, WYSIWYG note editing (in the past I found the WYSIWYG note editor to be very buggy, that seems to be gone)
  • A lot less cluttery feeling.

In short, if you have not used Evernote in a while due to frustrations with syncing and the interface, give it another try, it has changed much for the better and so far, this is the happiest I have ever been with note taking and syncing.