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Author Topic: evernote can actually work offline. Time to reconsider it, as it's damn powerful  (Read 7173 times)
urlwolf
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« on: August 28, 2011, 09:30:23 AM »

Many people here abandoned evernote when it went 'cloud'.
Well, I don't know how long this feature has been there, but evernote can actually work offline.

Just use 'add notebook' (or press insert on the leftmost panel), and check the box that says 'offline'.

You cannot make offline notebooks the default notebook, which is a pity.

And if you need to sync different computers, you can always put the evernote files on dropbox, wuala, etc. This removes part of the need for paying for evernote, although not all. From a review:


"I found that as a paid user the OCR process usually occurred in less than a minute or two. If I instead logged in using a non-Premium account, the OCR usually took no more than five minutes."

"Paying users also gain the ability to enable other people to both see and edit their notes on the web, making Evernote a powerful collaboration tool for groups to work together (that’s another article all by itself)."

For me this beats rightnote in features and convenience. If you add the rich ecosystem around evernote, we have a real winner. For example, this tool lets you use it as a todo/calendar that matches MLO for my usage.

Compared to rightnote:

  • tags actually are useful
  • good search that highlights the matches
  • keeps indentation
  • android support for little things
  • can geo tag notes
  • encryption
  • notes can be detached as windows
  • does ocr (!)
  • note previews
  • doodle note type

bad

  • ads (but can be hidden)
  • clipping in opera not as good
  • cannot do the virtual notes (versioning?) by exporting
  • no headings, no tree, not good for outlining
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IainB
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« Reply #1 on: August 28, 2011, 06:42:29 PM »

@urlwolf: - a very interesting post. Thankyou.   thumbs up
You might be interested in my experiences.
I had trialled EN (Evernote) a while back, and saw that it had got to the stage where it could "work offline" in the way you describe.
However, from what you say, I'm not sure that it is yet free of what I saw as the single greatest drawback to using it - namely, proprietary "lock-in" of your data to, and your dependence on, an offline service which you cannot control. Nor can you be assured that the Evernote company's service isn't going to let you down flat at some stage.

"Cloud": I love the idea of, and the potential flexibility of "cloud" technology, but am paranoid about MY data and my ability to access it - it forms an extensive knowledge base which I depend on having access to a lot of, for it to be able to effectively support me in my work. I do not see the cloud as providing a sufficiently reliable/certain service for my purposes - with the possible exception of Google, and unless you pay for it (e.g.Amazon S3).

My strategy: has got to the stage where I control everything via a local client-based PIM and other applications, using local data stores (all religiously backed up) - with some of the data stores being synced to Google docs or Windows Live Sky Drive.

To this end, I have trialled numerous PIMs over the last few years to see how well they work as a PIM and how they can be synced to the cloud, and used for collaboration - or where the "collaborator" is me from a different remote PC. I have to say that MS OneNotes - used in combination with cloud services as above - increasingly seems to be able to fit the bill in a uniquely useful way, and if I look at MY requirements and the features I might need, it knocks spots off anything else. All for the price of the client software (OneNote is apparently available standalone, but I got it bundled with MS Office).

Evernote: You quote from a review:
Quote
"I found that as a paid user the OCR process usually occurred in less than a minute or two. If I instead logged in using a non-Premium account, the OCR usually took no more than five minutes."

"Paying users also gain the ability to enable other people to both see and edit their notes on the web, making Evernote a powerful collaboration tool for groups to work together (that’s another article all by itself)."
By comparison, using OneNote:
  • OCR: Using OneNote purchased for a onetime cost, the user's images that are saved to OneNote are instantly OCRd and thus instantly text-searchable and text-copyable. So I can now photograph a lot of objects (e.g., physical boxes and even documents) which have data on them (effectively using my camera like a scanner) - and when I clip part or a whole of an image into OneNote, I experienced "immediate gratification" from that data being instantly available. That's hard to beat. There's no waiting for a delay that is artificially created or arising from a queue or inefficiency from a remote cloud-based service (whether free or paid for).
  • Collaboration: Instantly possible via Windows Live Sky Drive, with a 25GB (free) storage bucket.

OneNote + Outlook + Jello Dashboard: I have never been a great fan of Microsoft's, and I detest and avoid using MS Outlook except where I am obliged to use it on a client's workstation. However, I appreciate good technology and its potential use for me. OneNote looks to be a real winner, and, being able to run standalone, it does not necessitate the use of Outlook, but there are some features in OneNote that integrate with Outlook, which could improve your management of your information. So I am now trialling Outlook, and have found an Outlook add-in called Jello Dashboard that seems to enable an impressive alternative to the already impressive GTD tool that you can find in the shape of OneNote.

Where to from here?: This experience has led me to the point where I am seriously considering abandoning my use of InfoSelect - which PIM I have been a committed user of since 1997. There is still one thing I would like to check though, and that is the potential use of @mouser's CHS (Clipboard Help & Spell) as a PIM - if he can be persuaded to further develop it down that path. The reason I say this is that CHS has a relatively recently-enabled function called VF (Virtual Folders) which blew me away. VF, which gives you the potential ability to automate the dynamic allocation of tags to records, based on the data in the record. This is a very powerful feature that I have wanted for years and so far have only experienced working effectively in a DOS-based PIM called Lotus Agenda. (I have discussed been ranting on about this in separate posts on the forum, so will try to avoid doing so here.)
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urlwolf
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« Reply #2 on: August 28, 2011, 08:41:46 PM »

Hmm, interesting. Could you ellaborate on how to use Windows Live Sky Drive with onenote and multiple comps?
I abandoned onenote partly because of the vendor lockin. Your onenote files are incredibly locked down. with EN we are in a similar situation, but it's mostly html, so export is easier.
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CWuestefeld
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« Reply #3 on: August 29, 2011, 11:47:36 AM »

I think you read too much into EN's "OCR" feature. It is not OCR in the traditional sense, although what it does is probably even better for its intended purpose.

EN uses OCR only for searching, as opposed to turning an image into a canonical textual representation. It appears that this means that it can be far more liberal with its interpretation of the image, allowing for search hits on all likely solutions.

Imagine that based on the image, the OCR software can't decide whether the text is "them" or "thern". With EN, it'll match both (or such is my understanding), ensuring that a search will almost never miss its target -- although it may come up with false positives.

But the cost of this is that there may, internally, be multiple textual representations, so it's not possible to take the next step and extract the actual text.
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Dormouse
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« Reply #4 on: August 29, 2011, 03:19:48 PM »

Many people here abandoned evernote when it went 'cloud'.
Well, I don't know how long this feature has been there, but evernote can actually work offline.

I never abandoned it and there has always been a choice about whether you kept a notebook in the cloud version (a local version is always there anyway) or in an offline version. I do find the cloud ability very useful for a lot of things; not everything I have is confidential.
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Dormouse
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« Reply #5 on: August 29, 2011, 03:24:35 PM »

However, from what you say, I'm not sure that it is yet free of what I saw as the single greatest drawback to using it - namely, proprietary "lock-in" of your data to, and your dependence on, an offline service which you cannot control.

The data can be exported as one large or many separate notes. xml, mht or html.

And there's no dependence on the service any more than there is with any program resident on your computer.
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Dormouse
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« Reply #6 on: August 29, 2011, 03:34:50 PM »

OneNote + Outlook + Jello Dashboard

I also use OneNote. I find it's useful for a completely different range of things than Evernote, but is also fairly ponderous and limited in many ways. I tend to use it only for research into complex areas. Its value is increased if you spend a lot of time working with its Office colleagues (I avoid Outlook like the plague wherever I can, and only use Word when necessary to edit or review other people's documents).

I have used Jello Dashboard in the past and it does make Outlook a little more tolerable. But I just didn't find it nice enough or good enough to make me want to use Outlook.
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IainB
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« Reply #7 on: August 29, 2011, 08:52:48 PM »

Just to respond to some points from the thread above:
   thumbs up
Could you ellaborate on how to use Windows Live Sky Drive with onenote and multiple comps?
I abandoned onenote partly because of the vendor lockin. Your onenote files are incredibly locked down. with EN we are in a similar situation, but it's mostly html, so export is easier.
OneNote collaboration + Windows Sky Drive:

Lock-in:
There seem to be two main parts to typical lock-in in this case:
(a) lock-in to a proprietary format for your data (so it cannot be accessed easily by/for other applications).
The LCD (lowest common denominator) for data format, for automated migration of data out of the applications:
  • EN - is per @urlwolf's comment above; not sure how you could migrate all/any image text data though.
  • ON - XPS or PDF format (ON is just a collection of documented data, with embedded images; if you have used the ON OCR to capture all/any image text data, then that can be migrated too).

(b) lock-in to a solution approach:
  • EN wants to lock you in to a paid-for online solution, so it pushes you in that direction, and only provides a crippled client application- i.e., with reduced functionality - for offline use;
  • MS wants to lock you into their MS Office tools, but cannot, because ON is self-contained as a standalone product. So, the new ON 2010 functionality forces you into an upgrade in order to use the latest, integrated cloud solution and MS Office package.

After migration of data, I would suggest using a good reference management tool (e.g., I would probably use the brilliant Qiqqa) to access, index and use any migrated PDF output. I'm unsure what to do with XPS output, so I might avoid using that.

  thumbs up
I think you read too much into EN's "OCR" feature. It is not OCR in the traditional sense, although what it does is probably even better for its intended purpose.

EN uses OCR only for searching, as opposed to turning an image into a canonical textual representation. It appears that this means that it can be far more liberal with its interpretation of the image, allowing for search hits on all likely solutions.

Imagine that based on the image, the OCR software can't decide whether the text is "them" or "thern". With EN, it'll match both (or such is my understanding), ensuring that a search will almost never miss its target -- although it may come up with false positives.

But the cost of this is that there may, internally, be multiple textual representations, so it's not possible to take the next step and extract the actual text.
I presume that ON does the same as EN in making flexible text-searches of text in images, because it seems to be equally accurate. However, if you extract the OCR'd text from an image in ON, you get the usual sorts of errors. I still do that anyway (extract the OCR'd text) and then clean it up manually.
This might seem excessive to some people, but I am paranoid anyway, though more importantly I have a solid rationale for this. The rationale is that the object is only worth capturing in the first place because it contains text, so then the text has inherent value, so adding value to it by data editing/correction is cost-justifiable. This is a theoretical approach that I learned during a project I worked on in Thailand years ago, which resulted in capturing 20 million hardcopy land/property deeds as images, with the image - and the printed and handwritten text thereon - becoming the primary document. You couldn't afford to make any mistakes, and there was "no going back".

  thumbs up
I also use OneNote. I find it's useful for a completely different range of things than Evernote, but is also fairly ponderous and limited in many ways. I tend to use it only for research into complex areas. Its value is increased if you spend a lot of time working with its Office colleagues (I avoid Outlook like the plague wherever I can, and only use Word when necessary to edit or review other people's documents).

I have used Jello Dashboard in the past and it does make Outlook a little more tolerable. But I just didn't find it nice enough or good enough to make me want to use Outlook.
Yes, I tend to agree with most of what you say here, though I have not yet concluded the trial of Outlook+Jello, so I may yet change my mind, though I reserve the right not to change it.
"When given the choice between changing one's mind or proving one's point of view, most people get busy on the proof." (JK Galbraith)     Wink
« Last Edit: August 29, 2011, 09:05:34 PM by IainB » Logged
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