Saturday, 4 July 2009

Note-taking on the Cloud

In the "old" days, things were pretty simple; the Palm handled contacts, calendar, tasks and notes well, allowing me to carry everything with me but still sync them with my PC.

Of course, things are more advanced these days: Multiple computers, at home and at work, the iPhone providing near continuous Internet connectivity, web based services and richer software applications. But despite this, I'm still struggling to get perfect syncing across all platforms. Here's where things are for me today:

  • Contacts: Google Contacts synced with the iPhone, but no Outlook/Exchange integration.
  • Calendar: Google Calendar synced with the iPhone, but primary calendar only.
  • Tasks: Still using Outlook/Exchange for this. No sync.
  • Notes: Some notes in Outlook, some notes in OneNote, a few notes on the iPhone. Nothing syncs.

The last one is particularly disappointing as note synchronisation shouldn't be difficult. I tried using Google Notebook for a while until Google got bored and dropped it.

It was then I tried Evernote. There is a free version, provided you don't exceed a certain number of notes per month and there are clients for Windows, Mac OS X and the iPhone. There's also a web interface for when I'm in Linux or on a public machine.

My preference in terms of note taking functionality and power is OneNote. The only downside to this application is that notes are basically locked to the client PC, or synced to the corporate SharePoint server at best.

In comparison with OneNote, Evernote has fewer features, and an interface that is less rich. The Mac and Windows versions both have different levels of functionality (the Mac has a nicer set of views IMHO). But in it's favour, any notes I make, on any of my devices, now sync with the cloud.

Evernote is therefore my de facto notes application. For now.

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