Bye Bye Old Friend

I’ve thrown in the towel with Evernote. It’s been a great ride and an incredible useful tool (and still will be to an extent) but it’s time for a change. I’m migrating to Google Keep. There are a few reasons for this.

I’m not going to delete Evernote altogether. I’ll still be using the iOS app for scanning documents as I think this is an incredibly awesome technology and has been the best thing about Evernote for the past year. But I’ve deleted all my documents from it. All my old university notes that were just rotting away. Never actually looked at but just sitting there gathering Internet dust. I’ve also deleted all the notes I took on Javascript, Logic Pro and Illustrator. I also had little tidbits from books. These are gone too. It was kind of scary doing this massive bulk delete but liberating too. I realized that I don’t actually need this information written down. It’s locked inside my brain. When I need this information I’ll act on it instinctively.

I like having a clean space. A blank canvas. It helps me think clear and work more efficiently. So what I’ll be doing now is writing all my quick notes — the things that I just have to get into words instantly — in Google Keep. I like Google Keep because it’s faster and has a better desktop interface than Evernote. I’ve always preferred using web apps for my notes and I believe note taking belongs in the browser. And Google will always make better web apps that its competition. I’ll also take all my work related notes in Google Keep, stuff that I’m scribing from a meeting, or some contact information. But this can never just sit still. The main page will get too cluttered if I don’t clean it regularly.

I’ll be deleting the note that’s been sitting stale at the bottom of the page. Just like I’d throw out the leftovers that have been in the fridge for too long. Keep also works better than Evernote in chrome. You type in the url (well it’s usually a suggestion that you click on) and boom you’re ready to take a note. Evernote always just felt like it took a few too many clicks to achieve what I wanted. I hated having to constantly sign in. I hated the typography and how sometimes notes didn’t sync properly to iOS. The error messages that created duplicate files were painful. I hated the recent update to the web app which meant you got this message every time you clicked on a hyperlink.

But there were some good times spent with Evernote too. Nothing can replace its combination of search and organization. Note stacks are a great feature. My MacBook Air and Evernote were a key reason as to why my school marks improved towards the tail end of my degree. It’s ability to quickly upload images (usually screeenshots) were also crucial to my usage of it. Nothing really does this screenshot job as well as Evernote so this will be hard to replace. Therefore, Google Keep only replaces some of what Evernote does but it does these specific things way better.

I like the way Google Keep stores links as a tab at the bottom of the note preview. Often all that I need from a note is to access the link, rather than actually go into the note itself. This UI removes a click and makes for a smoother overall experience. Google Keep syncing seems to be extremely good thus far. It’s instantaneous unlike the slow unlike Evernote which can often take it’s sweet time. Of course the search is great too, but would you expect Google to make a product with average search capabilities. I wouldn’t have thought so.

I can also label things such as “work notes” or “recipes” but I think I’ll just stick with dropping everything on the main page for now. But like I said I’ll be sorting and deleting stuff constantly to better wade through the words.

Long form

For anything that is a little longer form and needs some kind of folder storage I’ll be using iA Writer. That’s right, good old fashioned markdown and .txt files for notes that are more than a paragraph or two. I’ve been using iAWriter for a couple of years now, doing all my Medium work on it, and have always been a huge fan. I’ll just be spending more time on it now I guess. It will be where I’ll take detailed notes on a tutorial I’m doing. It will be where I’ll write up a report for work. These will all be stored in dropbox, which can sync directly to iA Writer and its iOS app.

I think it’s by far the best app to do big batches of writing with because of its minimalism. You just write and leave the editing for later. On my PC at work I was thinking that when I get a chance to write I’ll use notepad, save it as a .txt and upload to dropbox. From there it’s available on my phone and syncs straight to my MacBook. Hopefully this simple app switch up will lead to better a workflow and less stress.