My daily readings 09/21/2010

  • tags: Note

  • tags: Note

      • Get info in quicky, get info out quick.

    • I had the same issue and found Evernote. It now fills the roles you mention (well, I would’t put music or photos in it as I use iTunes/Spotify and iPhoto/Flickr for those, but you could). So, perhaps I’ll just say what about Evernote makes it awesome for me, and what, in a new thing, could make me switch..

      I use and need a reasonably flat-form environment with tagging. I don’t care for folders, hierarchies, or whatever, because I’m too impatient and have a bad memory for structure. I just want to throw stuff in and have it use tags or similar to figure out my intent. When it’s time to get stuff out, I’d rather type in a query than go digging through folders, for instance (the Google vs Dmoz/ODP approach).

    • Lastly, and Evernote gets this very wrong.. I don’t want an information manager changing my info! Evernote’s rich text editor keeps screwing up my formatting and fonts.. even on “plain text” stuff. I wish they could just let me have a totally plain text view without any of the rich stuff.

      Oh, and make it sync somewhere – preferably through the file system so I can use Dropbox to sync it across computers myself. In fact, if you did that (and recommended users use Dropbox), then you solve the backup issue too and could use Dropbox’s affiliates thing 😉

    • Agreed re “get info in quick, get info out quick”. That’s been a driving principle behind my app, (
  • tags: Note

    • I’ve been switching between Simplenote, Notes Plus, and Penultimate. I like the sketching features of Notes Plus and Penultimate.
  • tags: Note

      • Similar to our position.

  • tags: Note

    • For a while I used Evernote as my main note taking app, but sadly it isn’t great at this. It is cross-platform, by virtue of being a web app, and it has never lost a jot of content. But sometimes I don’t have a network connection. At which point, fail. Evernote also has some weird design decisions. For example, when you click on a note, it doesn’t immediately open for editing; I can’t think of a single time where that was useful. You have to click an extra button to edit it. Bizarre. Plus it doesn’t do simple asterisk to outline translation on the fly, which, dang it, it should. It ought to have an outline mode, period.
    • Evernote has enough quirks that I don’t use it for everyday notes, though I do use it for longer term stuff.
    • It never fails to amaze me how much I learn by doodling notes about a problem, walking away for a couple days, emphatically not thinking about it, then coming back to it. The back of my brain apparently is really adept at making progress on a problem when I seed it and leave it alone. Having the original notes written down when I come back is key to making sure you don’t forget a bunch of details.
    • I disagree about Evernote. There are mobile clients for it that will upload the notes later when there is an available connection. The desktop clients work in the same way.

      Although personally I can’t use Evernote for all my note-taking needs because at Uni a lot of the notes are weird squiggly lines and formulas, evernote isn’t too friendly for writing down those.

    • Evernote will always sync the meta-info for your notes, but it will only cache the contents locally if you pay the monthly fee. That is, if you create a note on machine A, it will only get cached for offline viewing on machine B if you explicitly look at the note on machine B while you are online. Paying customers don’t have to worry about that; everything gets automatically cached on every machine where you run the app.

      Agree on the note taking, though. I tend to draw a lot of diagrams, and Evernote’s not a good solution for that. In fact, there is no good solution for that, as far as I know, besides pen and paper.

      • We can do it in iPad app for this kind of note taking

    • I’m surprised nobody has mentioned KeepNote. It’s an awesome tool and is cross-platform (at least for linux and windows).

      Combine it with dropbox FTW.

      • It seems a log of note taking app support dropbox.

    • Hey Chris,

      I love your rundown on these note taking apps. I’d also call your attention to Springpad (where I work) at Like Evernote, it is hosted in the cloud (and our iPhone app will be out soon) and helps you remember anything. But as opposed to being “dead data” that sits in your account, Springpad works especially well at capturing just the info you want to remember and automatically organizing and enhancing it. For example, when you see, hear or read about a new restaurant you want to try, you can easily save it in Springpad and it’ll automatically be stored in your restaurant folder, and enhanced with the restaurant’s business info, and links to Yelp and Open Table. You can also easily set alarms to email or text yourself reminders when you want to remember something. Would be great if you give it a whirl and let me know if you have any questions!

      • It seems springpadit tries to help users use the note they take.

    • I like Evernote as a place to put things that I would ordinarily have the urge to write on a sticky note. And since it can do word recognition in pictures, it’s a great place to scan and stash receipts, business cards, etc. Not the greatest for note-taking, as I said above.
    • I think that mind mapping in general is overhyped. It’s outlining, with a tree-shaped presentation. But it can be a good solution for real-time notes.
    • I discovered GSNotes years ago (actually called Golden Section Notes) and have never looked back. Oh, I’ve tried OneNote, Evernote, Keynote and a few others – I always ended up with GSNotes. The design is just stupid simple – export as plain text, html or PDF. I just usually use the main app – it’s portable on a USB key. It just works.
    • Another note-taking alternative is Springpad ( Not only does it enable easy rich text note-taking and bookmarking, it also makes it quick and easy to save things you typically find interesting…like restaurants, products, recipes, wines etc.

      Springpad is database driven. So, not only do we detect and structure the core data of what you’re capturing (recipe ingredients, restaurant address, product specs, business contact info, movie particulars, etc.), we also automatically organize it for you.

      And, we enhance what you’ve captured by integrating with popular web services to help you out when you’re ready to take action (links to Open Table for reservations, price comparison for products, local listings and showtimes for movies, etc.)

      (Disclosure – I’m a Springpad co-founder)

      • Auto organizer 

    • Coincidentally, I started doing this not long ago after seeing this:

      My 3G is more than sufficient to capture a notebook page. I usually import the pictures directly from my phone with Preview, annotate, then copy and paste to Evernote. I find if I print neatly enough, Evernote can recognize some of the text, but adding a few tags works fine.

      The more I use Evernote the more I like it. For one project I’m working on, I have handwritten notebook pages, snippets from PDF and Word docs, pictures, URLs, even a campus map, all in one place and searchable–sweet.

    • I’m a big Onenote user, I’ve tried thebrain, Evernote and even knowledgebase software, one of this things that helped me was putting the default save on my dropbox folder so that it’s the same friom whichever pc I open up. I use tablet pc’s a lot and the ability to continue where I left off whilst roaming is fantastic!
  • tags: Note mac notetaking productivity

  • tags: Monetization

    • I think there are a few takeaways here:

      * You have to charge from the very beginning. If you start a free service, and then try to establish a pay system afterward, your users will feel tricked and trapped and they will rebel loudly. Scribd seems to have been in a hurry to get adoption, so they made it free to host documents; as this guy said though, he much preferred hosting with Scribd over doing it manually on his university’s web server. That could have been Scribd’s value proposition, and a small yearly fee for that probably would have worked OK.

      * SaaS could get itself in trouble if there are too many incidents like this. I already hear from clients that are concerned about using online services; the most common questions are, “What if they change their terms?”, “What if they go away?”, and those are legitimate concerns. Many of my clients aren’t the most computer-interested people, so if they have concerns like that, then that means that stories like this have penetrated very deep into the consumer market.

    • > If you start a free service, and then try to establish a pay system afterward, your users will feel tricked and trapped and they will rebel loudly.

      If you lock behind a paywall things previously available for free, sure. And they’ll be right too.

      An other option is to add features which are only behind a new paywall. Issue then is providing additional services of value and a way for users to discover them.


    • The initial response was to flip out, but once people realized reddit wasn’t going to switch to a pay-only site the outrage died down. It might have only worked because reddit users/admins try so hard to foster a sense of community, but it seemed to me like reddit showed how to set up a pay service correctly, and people were just too jaded because of sites like Scribd to realize it.
    • It seems like Scribd would solve more problems if they let uploaders pay to give their readers free access. I’m not the Scribd user; the guy publishing with them is.
    • Scribd would rather increase the amount of content on it’s servers by making uploading easy and free. While the guy that publishes the article is really the Scribd user, he can publish elsewhere if the price makes it too much of a hassle. The viewer has less of a choice, if it’s only published on Scribd it’s either pay up or go without.

      I don’t agree with their choice (or methods) but it makes sense for them to do this.

    • Early Scribd broke the web by taking open format documents, putting them in a proprietary wrapper, and calling it a “service”.

      Middle Scribd fixed their own brokenness by moving to HTML 5 (which is sometimes more convenient than a PDF, and is certainly “open” and accessible).

      Late Scribd is again breaking the web by moving documents behind a paywall. Some qualities are just baked into a company’s DNA.

    • From the FAQ (this is crazy):

      Your documents will automatically be entered into the Archive after an initial period of time. You can recall a document from the Archive by opening the document’s properties, clicking the Archive Status tab, then clicking the Recall from Archive command. If a document’s properties page doesn’t have an Archive Status tab, then that document has not yet been placed into the Scribd Archive. To learn how to edit your documents’ properties, please see our Writer’s Guide.

      After a couple months your document will return to the Archive, and you can repeat this process to recall it again.

    • I can’t actually believe that they would go the paywall route. It honestly seemed a few months ago when they added HTML5 support that they were going in a really great direction and now I will avoid them like the plague.
    • I don’t care if they want to establish a paywall, that’s there perogative, what I don’t like is taking my content, which I uploaded under the belief I’d be able to host it there at no cost to end users (persumably subsidised by ads) and then charging my readers for it. I post my content (mostly slides from talks and such) for readers, I’d probably even pay to put my content there, it’s rather convenient.
    • I would flip that around on you: I think it is time that companies reach a point in their understanding of users’ reaction to the bait & switch.

      The value of your service to a user isn’t going to increase simply due to the passage of time or growth of your site. If they wouldn’t pay for it on day 1, the odds are they won’t pay for it after 2 years of using the service. If, in the process of trying to monetize your service, you “hold hostage” a portion of the value that the user has contributed to your site, they are going to be pissed.

      This has all happened many times now. I think companies trying this route in the first place will be easier to change than peoples’ reaction to it.

    • I would flip that around on you: I think it is time that companies reach a point in their understanding of users’ reaction to the bait & switch.

      i agree.

      The value of your service to a user isn’t going to increase simply due to the passage of time or growth of your site.

      i disagree. many users may not pay on the first day because they don’t see the value in it, or don’t understand how the site works. but being able to use it for free and coming to depend on it may put a higher value on it over time.

      how many users would pay $1 per month to access facebook now that all of their friends are on it and they use it every day? probably a lot. those users probably wouldn’t have signed up for an account in the first place if they had to enter a credit card number.

    • While I generally agree with your points, I don’t think they are particularly apt to this article. The guy isn’t saying Scribd owes him anything, he even states that he understands they never promised him a free service in perpetuity.

      But when you make a service available for free and take pride in that fact, harvest your users content, and then suddenly flip over to a paid service without even giving your users adequate notice or tools to opt out I can completely understand how users might feel cheated.

      Isn’t the company partly responsible for creating the sense of entitlement you’re talking about?

  • Once I realized they were doing this, I self-discovered that I could opt-out on the settings page (buried under “sharing”), but I don’t feel I got adequate notice of the change. Haven’t they learned 

    tags: Monetization

    • With the deep goodwill I’ve developed towards Scribd over the past year, I might be able to excuse that mistake (barely) as overzealous cluelessness. However, the other mistake simply isn’t excusable. With inadequate notice to account-holders, Scribd set up a new program where old files on Scribd (it’s unclear how old; their FAQ simply says the conversion happens after “an initial period of time on Scribd”) are automatically put behind a paywall where readers have to pay Scribd to access them. [Update: Evil Wylie reports that the files are archived after 2 months.]
    • Scribd’s paywall stunt instantly put Scribd on my shitlist because it vitiates the reason I chose to use Scribd in the first place. I don’t know that they ever promised me perpetual free access to the documents I post, but their value proposition always has been open access to the documents–freely shared with everyone and indexed in the search engines. The paywall destroys that value proposition. They’ve taken the documents that I wanted to freely share with the public (many of them public documents like court rulings and filings) and made them inaccessible. If my readers can’t freely get the documents I wanted to share with them, then what’s the point of using Scribd in the first place???

      I also feel like Scribd used me. With their implicit promise of open access, they got me to share a lot of high-interest documents and generate lots of link love, then they flipped the default (from free to paywall) as part of a cash grab. I could check out of Scribd, but then I would break a lot of links and it would take a lot of time. So now I feel trapped. It’s a terrible feeling.

      [Note: I always knew that Scribd could shut down and break the links, but I was willing to tak

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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