Cool Tech Alert: Evernote Smart Notebook by Moleskin

This hits all the right points: it’s techy and geeky and it involves a Moleskin. If you love to journal the old fashioned way, but want to keep track of your life digitally, this is your toy. The Evernote Smart Notebook is a paper notebook made by Moleskin, purveyors of some of the finest paper notebooks out there. After filling your page with scribbles, take a photo of it with Evernote’s new Page Camera feature, and the page is digitized and searchable. Use the included Page Stickers to give Evernote further clues about how you want the information treated within the app. These smart Stickers are essentially tagging tools – when  you capture a page with Evernote, the  Sticker icons become searchable, digital tags to help keep ideas organized and  digital and analog workspaces synced. Page Camera has automatic edge detection and image optimization to give you the best result.  The book contains specially formatted paper, designed specifically for use with Evernote. The paper lines are made up of dots for better image recovery within the app.

Using the Evernote app for iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch, you can customize what tags and notebooks you want to have automatically associated with your Smart Stickers when they are captured using the Page Camera feature.

 

Each Smart Sticker may have one notebook and up to six tags associated with it. You can see the image, make changes if necessary and then “accept” if you want to save into your Evernote account.

You can get a larger or small version, sized at 5 by 8.25″ or 3.5  by 5.5″ , 240 or 192 pages respectively, in traditional lined or graph paper styles. $24.95 and $29.95. The Page Camera feature currently works in iOS apps, but it is promised to be coming to Android.

If you don’t know what Evernote is, it is one of the best note taking and archiving applications out there, with web-based and local applications, as well as native mobile applications for most devices. There are applications that work with Evernote to make it cooler, like dictation services, and great OCR and audio tools so that you can really save and search most anything.

Check out the video below for an introduction. This is really so cool and a great bridge for people looking to get more digitally organized but not quite willing to give up pen and paper. As a bonus, each book comes with a free 3 month subscription to Evernote Premium. Nice!

Syncing with Simplenote

One of the benefits of online research is the ability to organize results in ways that vastly improve upon the old fashioned version of collecting scraps of paper, writing notes in the margins of books and using sticky pads. Most people have at least heard of Evernote, the universal notetaking application, and many have heard of the equally cool Springpad. These apps are undoubtedly very useful, but sometimes I don’t need all the bells and whistles they offer. Sometimes, I prefer using an app called Simplenote for my basic notetaking and information-bit-saving — it offers a simple text editor for notes accessible on the web at Simplenote or via mobile app. You can tag notes and search them by keyword. It is my go-to application for basic, text-based notetaking.

You can turn Simplenote into a web clipping and saving service with the use of a couple of Chrome extensions.  Syncpad for Simplenote allows you to create notes while browsing the web, and append URLs to the note. Syncpad Webnotes (Beta) allows you to create a visual “sticky note” on a desired web page that persistently appears when you revisit the page. Using both extensions, you can write a standard note related to a certain web page and attach a sticky note on the page at the place where your target information is located, with a bit more explanation about why you saved the site in the first place while on your desktop. And then you can access the note on your Android or iOS mobile device when you are out and about.

Kind of brilliant and simple – a set of tools for saving content without the complexity that comes with Evernote’s notebook system. I am not the only one who loves Simplenote – check out the other great add ons, downloads and tools created by developers who also love the bare-bones service. Start clipping and saving virtually with Simplenote!

GumNotes: Virtual Post-Its That Really Work

In the ever-present effort to get my digital life in order, I am always glancing at note-taking applications, hoping that they somehow can guide me through the process of organizing the vast quantities of content that I produce or that I am in the process of producing. Simple systems generally are good for me, but the problem I have is that most simple note editors require me to affirmatively go back, open and re-read the notes to get the reminder. I could really use a system that reminds me in an unobtrusive and timely fashion, of note content so that I can act when I am supposed to act on one of the brainy gems of wisdom that I jot down.

GumNotes might be the answer to this virtual problem. MakeUseOf author Ryan Dube outlines the nuts and bolts of this desktop application in his great article here.  GumNotes is a free download (link here). Install it and you can then pretty much annotate anything you need. Take a look at the supported apps:

Word, Excel, email, images, etc. Lots of places to gum your notes.

Once installed, the GumNotes icon sits in your system tray. Open a document, and if an idea comes to you (say, you want to conduct further research on a point or you have an idea for a future, related piece of content you may wish to explore), click the little icon. A window opens and you can write your note within. When you come back to that document (or even related documents, such as an email that attaches the document), GumNotes will pop open the window with your note, reminding you of your brilliance. Visit a web page and get some inspiration? Open GumNotes, jot down your idea and when you next visit the webpage, up comes your little GumNote to remind you. Add a GumNote to your desktop and it will show on your desktop, but only if you ask them to show, allowing you the ability to control whether your desk top looks pristine, or looks more like mine. Right click on the icon and see all your GumNotes in a window. Right click the pushpin at the bottom of a note and you can set a timer for it to pop back up. Create an unattached GumNote, add a tag or text that will act as a filter and any doc, email, or web page containing that filter or text will trigger the GumNote to open.

If you are working on a project with others, you can send your GumNotes to them so you can all bask in the benefits of your briliance. And, you can sync your notes with my top running note taking app SimpleNote. With the SimpleNote sync, you can now view your GumNotes on your iPhone, if you have SimpleNote running on it (*raises hand*). Sharing and syncing and reminders when you need them. Pretty sweet.

Check out the GumNotes vid below for the SimpleNote sync and a quick view of what GumNotes look like. And check it out – if you really love it (or really hate it) come on back and let me know.

Sound & Vision On Your iPad

I have been fascinated with the Smartpens from LiveScribe for some time now, but haven’t been able to justify the price tag for the level of use I anticipate. Now there is a way to gain that sort of functionality with your iPad so, for me, it may be time to revisit the merging of voice and printed notes.

If you are not familiar with the Smartpen’s function, it allows you to record a lecture or speech and take notes on special paper at the same time. After, you can access the audio portion of the lecture by tapping on a corresponding section of the page. Soundnote for iPad functionally does the same thing. Simply fire up the app, engage the audio and start taking notes in the document editor. The app tracks what you type and draw. During playback, tap a word and and SoundNote will jump right to the proper time in the audio.

You can use Soundnote to make sketches that are fully editable. Drag it around on the page. Redo a line or trash the whole image.  If you need to access another document or app, SoundNote will pause the recording. All you need to do is tap record again when you return. You can share text, drawings and audio by email and transfer them to your Mac or PC. Audio notes are recorded in standard M4A format and one hour of high quality audio is only 25MB. You can even upload the text as PDF and audio to Dropbox.

Not that I am suggesting attorneys (or law students) might be guilty of this, but Soundnote will protect you even if you happen to fall asleep during that conference presentation or lecture – if you tap on the last text you wrote before nodding off, Soundnote will keep playing the audio it recorded while you were snoozing.

All this for $4.99, which is a tiny fraction of the cost of a Smartpen.

Not bad. Not bad at all.

Zootool: When You Want To Corral Your Web

More content means more overwhelm. It really is true. Sometimes you are surfing aimlessly and see something you want to save for later. Sometimes you are engaged in pointed search and you see something off topic that you know you need in another matter. Or sometimes, you are researching and need to snip and collect the efforts for later assimilation and aggregation.

Delicious and Diigo are the main players in the social bookmarking realm. Evernote and OneNote are competitive products in the notetaking / notebooking realm (OneNote is an off-line tool, while Evernote is everywhere).  Zotero is the academic option, offering full citation and archival benefits.

If you are a visual learner, you might want to try out Zootool (link here). Unlike FFFFound, which is limited to web images, Zootool will allow you to snip and save pretty much everything but audio.

It offers a function similar to Delicious or Diigo, but with visual rather than pure text entries. You can organize content in packs (instead of folders or, as in Evernote, notebooks). The original URL is saved, and you can edit the identifying information and tag your content accordingly. There is URL shortening, and the ability to share with social networks (such as Twitter, Delicious and Friendfeed), and quick-blogging sites like Tumblr. There is a social aspect to the site, in that you can follow others and publish links to your other on-line outposts.

The result is your “zoo” – a series of visual “files”, with tags and links, organized by type accessed by tabs marked “all”, “images”, “videos”, “documents”, and “pages.”  If you click on the image, you can either download the doc, navigate to the page or pull the image or vid. You can further organize and identify your content in packs, titling the packs accordingly. The interface is easy and intuitive.

Zootool upports more than 30 video plattforms, Slideshare and Scribd Documents and employs a special reader for Wikipedia-articles and RSS feeds. Zootool can also accompany you on the got with a mobile version for the iPhone.

With any archiving, bookmarking service, one has to be concerned with backing up the informatinon. Zootool is web-only. I haven’t yet determined the best way to create a redundant system to protect against loss of saved snips, other than possibly saving everything over to Delicious.

Furthermore, with its visual bent, Zootool does appear to be aiming for artistic types or those primarily interested in images. Nonetheless, as a visual person, I find Zootool’s interface far easier to scan than Delicious. It could definitely serve a purpose, particularly with respect to combining your docs, video and image snips all in one place.

I have to chuckle, though, at the logo. Color scheme is similar to Evernote but, in place of an elephant, insert a rhinoceros.

Hat tip to John Hicks at The Hickensian.

iPhone Apps for Writers

PenA couple weeks ago, a writer friend who also has an iPhone asked me about apps for writers. I explained that, with more than 85,000 apps in the App Store, there are more than a few that fit the bill. Thought I would share with you the list I sent to her. These apps are not lawyer-specific, but certainly would help a writer of any ilk.

Wikipedia – encyclopedia by crowd consensus. Free. Or its more readable counterpart, Wikiamo.

Dictionary – word resource that includes both a dictionary and a thesaurus. Free.

Quickword – word processing app, Microsoft Word-friendly. $12.99

Evernote – note-taking app that works well for collecting research. Syncs with software on your desktop (free download) and on the Web (also free) so you can take your notes anywhere and add them into virtual notebooks. Can store notes in many forms, including pictures, digital drawings and voice recordings. Can’t say enough about how great this app is. Free.

Stanza – free ebook reader, with access to paid ebooks but better yet, access to Project Gutenburg online database of free ebooks of the classics. Free.

Goal Tender – simple goal setting and task app for organizing and getting things done. $2.99

Story Tracker Lite – tracks your writing submissions to various publications. Free.

SimpleMind – mindmapping (brainstorming) app. Free.

WriteRoom – a notetaking app that works much better than the one of the iPhone for writing. Can sync with a version that stays on your computer, so you can write while out and then sync it back into your computer. Loads of special features that make it great for writers. $4.99

Happy writing!

Evernote Won, But Not By Much

Following up on my earlier post about Lifehacker’s earlier post surveying readers regarding their preference in note-taking applications, I present here Lifehacker’s results. The ratio held true through the end of voting: the free Evernote bested the more expensive OneNote, but only by a slim margin. Check it here and check out both of these able applications – they really make organization a snap!
One Note Evernote

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‘Notes On The Ropes: OneNote versus Evernote

Lifehacker’s been dancing around it and so have I: which desktop notetaking app should win the big prize? OneNote and Evernote are the clear contenders here and I personally use both. Lifehacker has a poll going on over there and I am finding the results very interesting.

Lifehacker prefaces its poll with a quick little synopsis of the differences and similarities. To quote Adam Pash:

OneNote integrates like a dream with every corner of your Windows desktop…. Both apps are serious about syncing your notes with the web and other computers with the software installed. Evernote wins the mobile war with support for the iPhone, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, and Palm Pre; OneNote, on the other hand supports only Windows Mobile devices. Both can perform optical character recognition (or OCR) for translating your handwriting into searchable notes…. We could go on, but ultimately both tools have a lot in common with subtle differences (the tablet PC-owner niche loves OneNote).

I have always thought this particular war is the victim of price-bias: advantage to Evernote available at the unbeatable price – free. Evernote premium is a paid application but costs only about 1/2 of OneNote’s retail price. Consequently the results, at the time I looked, were a bit surprising to me in spread rather than lead, and that was even BEFORE I voted.

So, which application do you think I favor? Which application do you favor? Enquiring minds want to know.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

'Notes On The Ropes: OneNote versus Evernote

Lifehacker’s been dancing around it and so have I: which desktop notetaking app should win the big prize? OneNote and Evernote are the clear contenders here and I personally use both. Lifehacker has a poll going on over there and I am finding the results very interesting.

Lifehacker prefaces its poll with a quick little synopsis of the differences and similarities. To quote Adam Pash:

OneNote integrates like a dream with every corner of your Windows desktop…. Both apps are serious about syncing your notes with the web and other computers with the software installed. Evernote wins the mobile war with support for the iPhone, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, and Palm Pre; OneNote, on the other hand supports only Windows Mobile devices. Both can perform optical character recognition (or OCR) for translating your handwriting into searchable notes…. We could go on, but ultimately both tools have a lot in common with subtle differences (the tablet PC-owner niche loves OneNote).

I have always thought this particular war is the victim of price-bias: advantage to Evernote available at the unbeatable price – free. Evernote premium is a paid application but costs only about 1/2 of OneNote’s retail price. Consequently the results, at the time I looked, were a bit surprising to me in spread rather than lead, and that was even BEFORE I voted.

So, which application do you think I favor? Which application do you favor? Enquiring minds want to know.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]