What’s The Best Note-Taking App of All?

Hey. Want to know a secret?

My memory sucks.

It’s always been laughable… but it’s gotten a lot worse. And I blame it on technology.

Well, OK, that’s not really fair— because it’s not really “blame”. In fact, I kinda asked for it.

Ever since I started taking notes on a Handspring Visor (then a Palm Vx, an m505, a Visor Prism, a Newton 2100, a Tungsten T…), I’ve been building a massive collection of data and documents that were “born digital”— that have never, will never, and in some cases can never be printed out.

And, shockingly, I can’t remember half of it.

Why do I need a notetaking app?


It’s great to carry a notebook everywhere you go, for when inspiration strikes. (I have an embarrassingly large collection.) But, more and more, having all that “hard copy” just means retyping it later. And you can’t quickly find the page you’re looking for, or grab a passage quickly. You can’t rearrange without crossing out or rewriting. You can’t lay out a dozen pages at once.

The Web era is one of connection, cross-reference, and accessibility. If you’re using a traditional notebook, you miss out on all of it.

Enter the next generation of note-taking tools. Today’s software does even more to ensure that you can safely forget anything, but remember everything. They’re networked…assistive…free-wheeling…self-organizing…the list goes on.

And, ironically, not one of them has everything it takes to be the “killer app”.

But they all come damn close.

In this series, we’ll take a look at the best software currently available for writing, organizing, sharing and accessing notes. But because this is Appculture, we’re not just interested in the software-as-tool. We want to figure out what role design, philosophy and usability plays in crafting the perfect “outboard brain”. And the answer is sure to surprise you.

sketchWe’ll be looking at five of the highest-profile examples: Evernote, Springpad, Simplenote, Dropbox-with-Sync, and Google Notebook.

“But wait,” you might be saying, “What about YojimboDevonThink? Penultimate? Tinderbox?”

Sure, there are a ton of iOS-specific (or platform-agnostic) notetaking apps out there. Some of them let you write in your own handwriting, or assemble and sift through dense collections with ease. But what good is a great app if you can’t access it RIGHT NOW, from across the room or across the world? What good is an app that only runs on one device you own?

Thought so.

So for the moment, we’ll be looking at the specific benefits and failures of the five network-ready apps. Stay tuned for our all-encompassing review of the first— and most high-profile—candidate: Evernote.

 


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  1. Evernote: The Best Note Taking App? | App Culture - [...] (this is part 2 in a series on What’s the Best Note-Taking App of All?) [...]

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