Jot This Down: Springpad

Still looking for the perfect note taking tool? Have you tried Springpad (link here)?

Back a few months ago, I featured visual web snipping tool Zootool (link here) here in the Studio. In the comments to that post (since lost during my change over to Disqus), Jeff Janer of Springpad urged me to try their competing product. I immediately looked into it and, while I haven’t made a complete switch, I can see some very compelling reasons why this app has a privileged place in the somewhat overcrowded field of electronic notebooks and organizers.

First of all, Springpad is free. Second of all, it is web-based, but also is accessible from your Apple or Android-powered phone. You can access it from pretty much anywhere. Of course, you can make text notes. But you can also add events (syncs with Google Calendar), photos, voice notes, products by barcode or image, businesses, events, recipes — pretty much anything you can snip, copy, type, say, snap and paste. Of course, it syncs immediately across your devices / platforms. You can even email information to Springpad and the app will stow it away in the proper receptacle for you.

You can set up alerts to be sent to you via email or SMS. Anything you might want to know about can be arranged to alert you, whether it is an event or a price drop on a product you are interested in buying. And for the buying alerts, Springpad is working with some retailers and you might even get a Springpad-only coupon for the desired item.

With the web clipper button in your browser, if you can find it, you can clip it. The tool will suggest different categories or filters, so that the information gets appropriately slotted. But what makes Springpad special here is that the clipper is smart. It uses semantic technology to figure out what you are clipping and, therefore, interested in and makes related suggestions. Same goes for adding content via the mobile apps. Clip a movie and get local movie times. Clip a recipe and get prompted to add a shopping list. If Evernote is a filing cabinet, Springpad is a virtual assistant presenting added info you may not have thought of or were going to do next yourself. And this is where Springpad shines – it does some of the “thinking” for you. Springpad does more than simply hold your vast collection of information only accessible via rudimentary organization or search. Springpad is the perfect tool for people who want to get organized but can’t handle the process or can’t be bothered to set up their own organizational system.

I like the OneNote-like aspect of creating notebooks with tabbed pages. Springpad notebooks also offer templates, or apps as they call them in Springpad-land.  The apps help you actually accomplish goals with the information you save. You can add a wine notebook (sponsored by social wunderkind Gary Vee), a meal planner, a movie tracker, a travel checklist, a blog post planner, even a cleaning supply inventory. Again, Springpad works in conjunction with other “experts”, so, for example, the meal planner template or app results in a recipe list created with the help of Epicurious and Allrecipes.

In many ways, Springpad obviates the need for several separate apps. Springpad can: save notes a la Evernote; save bookmarks a la Delicious; save tasks a la Remember The Milk; and, create grocery checklists a la Grocery IQ. So, put a checkmark in Springpad’s plus column next to its ability to simplify and shorten your retinue of day to day applications necessary for staying on top of your game.

While I am not sure of the particular utility of this feature, you can integrate your Springpad information with your social networks. In other words, if you clipped something particularly interesting to a demographic broader than yourself, you can put your saved info into your Facebook or Twitter stream and “alert the media” so to speak. You also can tap the community built right into Springpad itself – yet another on-line venue to get social over information sharing.

Check out the quick overview of Springpad here, and see if you like its outline:

Springpad has been busy. It recently released an Android app and now, to my great joy, it has released a shiny new iPad app! There are lots of enhancements in the iPad and new iPhone app – hit the jump (link here) to read more on the details.

There is always some bad news, isn’t there? If you use Windows Mobile, Blackberry or Palm’s WebOS, you are out of luck. But with the rapid development Springpad has been pouring into its product over the past several months, I fully anticipate seeing an option on all viable platforms in the near future.

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.

‘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.

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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]