Evernote (Thanks for the memory)

While it’s a myth that we only use ten percent of our brain, sometimes it feels like I’ve only set aside that much for storing useful information. That’s one of the reasons I’ve come to love Evernote. Architects of all types are expected to have knowledge and experience that is broad and/or deep, depending on their role. Evernote, with the motto “Remember everything” is an invaluable tool to help capture and catalog information, and more importantly, make it available across a range of clients anywhere with internet access.

The heart of Evernote is the ability to create, store, organize and retrieve notes. A note can comprise text (with a rich array of formatting options) and images. Audio and ink notes can be created as well. Notes are stored in notebooks (which can be local-only, synchronized or even shared with other users). Notebooks can be grouped in stacks. Tags are used to organize notes within and across notebooks and provide a quick retrieval mechanism. There’s also the ability to conduct searches, both ad hoc and saved. Displayed notes can be sorted by time created, last update, title, notebook, etc.

Rather than maintaining favorites at home and at work and worrying about keeping them in synch, I’ve been able to grab and tag information (along with a link back to the source page) that is much more easily retrievable. Notes can come from web pages, emails, even screenshots. Once captured and uploaded, notes are available anywhere you can sign into your account. In addition to serving as my personal knowledge base, I’ve found it a handy tool for composing blog posts (the ability to link one note to another makes for a powerful research tool).

Evernote has a software+services architecture, with local repositories synched to a hosted master. It offers native clients for both Windows and OS X as well as a web interface. Plug-ins exist for several browsers and there’s one for Outlook. Mobile devices supported include iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Android, Android Tablet, Blackberry, Blackberry Playbook, Windows Phone 7, Palm Pre and Palm Pixi. You can even create notes by emailing an account hosted by Evernote.

Evernote offers both free and paid accounts.  The paid accounts provide more bandwidth per month (1GB vs 60MB) as well as extra premium features.   A wide variety of add-ons, utilities, etc. are available via the Trunk that further extend the service.

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