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Author Topic: Synology Note Station (runs on Synology NAS devices only)  (Read 2498 times)

IainB

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Synology Note Station (runs on Synology NAS devices only)
« on: May 24, 2015, 04:06:49 PM »
In the context of PIMs (Personal Information Managers) and Note-taking tools, and after reading an interesting discussion thread on OutlinerSoftware about this, I am just wondering whether DC Forum denizens might have some experience or information to offer on this subject.
Synology Note Station appears to be a proprietary multi-text and even multimedia (image, video and audio) scrapbooking and note-taking system which is locked-in to only run on Synology NAS devices.

The discussion thread at OutlinerSoftware is currently:
(Copied below sans embedded hyperlinks/images.)
Quote
Outliner Software: Synology Note Station
Posted by MadaboutDana
May 24, 2015 at 04:22 PM

Having recently acquired a new Synology server to replace our old, trusty but finally expired CubeStation, I’ve been very impressed by the Note Station module that can be installed on the exceptionally capable operating system behind all Synology servers (DSM 5.2 at the time of writing). It’s a really powerful multi-pane note-taking tool that allows you to share notebooks, enter rich-text notes (or indeed graphics, recordings and other attachments), and even offers a note-integrated task management facility.

The search function is still a little basic, but the rest of it is awesome. You can create ‘shelves’ for your notebooks, which basically nest them (rather like Ulysses: if you click on the ‘shelf’, it shows you all the contents of the embedded notebooks, or you can select individual notebooks to see their notes exclusively; it also has an ‘All Notes’ function). You can create tags. You can capture web page contents directly to notebooks using a nice web clipper extension for Chrome that is not unlike OneNote’s (so you can choose to save the simplified ‘article’ view instead of the full web page view). Oh, and you can import your Evernote notebooks, too (indeed, the whole thing is clearly inspired by Evernote). The search function is very fast, so the system appears to full-text index everything, but although you can constrain searches by date, notebook etc., search results simply list the notes containing the text you’re looking for - there are no highlights inside the notes, and no useful snippet previews of relevant sentences in the list of results. You can move from note to note (the search result shares the same left-hand navigation tree as the standard note management window), but you won’t see pretty highlights. Still, can’t have everything!

For to-do management, you can create to-dos from within notes. In this case, they will appear in a separate list when you click the ‘to-do’ icon in the navigation bar above the relevant note, so you can have any number of to-dos associated with a given note. Even better, they will also appear in a separate list of to-dos that also includes reminders, priorities and can be sorted by date. You can jump directly from a to-do in this list to the associated rich-text note (useful because the notes, again like OneNote, support checkboxes, complex tables and other such task management paraphernalia). This jump function doesn’t work, by the by, in the mobile app (yet), but the software appears to be evolving very rapidly.

Currently the whole thing runs through a web browser (although you can set up the server so it opens directly into notebooks for you, effectively treating a Chrome tab as an application). Best of all, there’s a very good app for iOS - called DS Note - that runs very nicely on iPad. I’m just checking out the iPhone version to see if it’s as nice as the iPad one. Ah, yes, it is. Very nicely done. It even shows web pages. Excellent!

One of the advantages of running stuff on your own Synology server is the company’s QuickConnect function, whereby you can set up a direct link to your server from anywhere at all, protected by HTTPS if you wish (always advisable). This is seriously useful. For me, it’s a no-brainer: this immediately supersedes Evernote, because it’s under my direct control and I can share stuff with colleagues (and friends and family) if I wish to. The sharing function is very powerful, and you can share entire notebooks with a couple of clicks, as well as individual notes.

Indeed, it even supports sharing through a fairly broad selection of social media. I’m looking forward to seeing how it all evolves, I must say.

I hope this is useful for others interested in collaborative note taking! For those alarmed at the thought of buying an entire server just to get access to an outliner/info management app, do bear in mind that Synology servers are incredibly capable machines that support all platforms, are compatible with e.g. Apple Time Machine and have their own built-in file version management system, and are available in many different guises, ranging from very modestly priced single-drive machines to huge rack-mounted monsters with multiple disk arrays. Our old CubeStation was a four-disk NAS, but this time we’ve opted for a two-disk NAS (a DiskStation) because we already synchronise most of our key work files to the Cloud. This machine will act as a secondary backup option plus a useful repository for other info. The two disks are held in an advanced RAID array called a Synology Hybrid configuration. No idea what that means, but one disk is mirrored to the other, which means that running a couple of Western Digital Red 3TB disks, we’re got about 2.7 TB of storage space. Oh, and the DiskStation itself can use OneDrive for Cloud backups, too, so if you’ve got an Office 365 subscription, you can use some of your 1TB of storage space for DiskStation backups. I think the word I’m searching for is ‘neat’. Or possibly ‘awesome’.

Cheers,
Bill
________________________________________

Posted by Franz Grieser
May 24, 2015 at 05:04 PM

Thanks Bill.
I just checked: Note Station is also available for my DS115j NAS. I’ll install it after my holidays. This could be the easiest way to replace Evernote as notetaker on Win/OSX/iOS.
Best wishes, Franz
________________________________________

Posted by MadaboutDana
May 24, 2015 at 07:22 PM

Ah, another Synology lover. Yes, although it’s still only at version 1.xxx, Note Station appears to be developing very rapidly now: the task management apps were only introduced with the last revision, but already come across as fairly mature (apart from the glaring omission of a note link from the task lists on iOS). In fact, I’m toying with the idea of moving my ever-mobile task management over to the DiskStation…
________________________________________

There are various references on DC Forum to Synology NAS ("Network Attached Storage"), but none seem to refer to Synology "Note Station" software running on the NAS - or at least, I couldn't find any reference, or might have missed it.

According to the Synology website Download centre for the Synology hardware ID of DS115 NAS:
Quote
Note Station helps you fully enjoy writing, viewing, managing, and sharing content-rich notes. It is very easy to create content with rich text editing, media embedding, attachments, and much more. Manage your notes by using tags and grouping notes into Notebooks. When you are ready, Note Station makes sharing your content via social networking platforms simple and quick. Create, share, and enjoy!
_______________________

The release notes at that download indicate that the product is at an early stage of its life-cycle (first released 2014-12-09), so there is likely to be more to come:
Quote
Release Notes for Note Station

Description:
Note Station helps you fully enjoy writing, viewing, managing, and sharing content-rich notes. It is very easy to create content with rich text editing, media embedding, attachments, and much more. Manage your notes by using tags and grouping notes into Notebooks. When you are ready, Note Station makes sharing your content via social networking platforms simple and quick. Create, share, and enjoy!

System Requirements
DSM 5.0 or onwards is required.
Version: 1.1-0205
(2015/05/12)

    Added to-do list feature. You can add tasks to notes or add them independently to the to-do list.
    Manage tasks by specifying a priority, due date, and reminder.
    Synology Web Clipper is now available on the Chrome Web Store. You can clip web content directly to Note Station.
    Export notebooks to a nsx file for backup or for importing to another Synology NAS.
    Export individual notes as HTML files so that users without Note Station can read them.
    You can archive seldomly used notebooks so that they will not be displayed in the notebook section or in search results.
    Enhanced Note Station file structure. A three-tier structure (Shelf, Notebook, and Note) provides greater flexibility for organizing Note Station.
    You can display notes in presentation mode.
    You can create new notes in a joined notebook if you were given modify permissions.
    You can share notes via the built-in DSM email application.
    You can change the default notebook.
    You can adjust the default note font size.
    Import notes from YinXiangBiJi.
    Better note version conflict handling.
    Todo badge number on Desktop icon.
________________________________________

Version: 1.0-0074
(2014/12/16)

Fixed Issues
    Enhanced the stability for importing notebooks from Evernote.
    Fixed an issue where deleted notes might still be accessible in tag views.
    Fixed an issue where deleting encrypted notes via the right-click menu might not work properly.
    The display order of notebooks in the tree view is now sorted by notebook name.
    Minor bug fixes.
________________________________________

Version: 1.0-0069
(2014/12/09)

    This is the initial release for the package.

The Note Station user discussion forum gives an idea of the sorts of issues some users have been experiencing with the product, which could seem typical of early adopters' experiences.

TaoPhoenix

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Re: Synology Note Station (runs on Synology NAS devices only)
« Reply #1 on: May 24, 2015, 06:09:09 PM »

"Synology Note Station appears to be a proprietary multi-text and even multimedia (image, video and audio) scrapbooking and note-taking system which is locked-in to only run on Synology NAS devices."

Can you help us with a basic note? I don't even know what a Synology NAS device is!


wraith808

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Re: Synology Note Station (runs on Synology NAS devices only)
« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2015, 07:42:06 PM »
Synology Network Attached Storage.  It's basically a drive with a bare bones CPU that you can get to as an OS and install things for consumption on the network that can access the 'server'.

If it's a synology package, it won't run on anything other than their OS on the box.  I have one, and use it for storage and for a sync service and a few varied other sundry things, and it works well.

synologypackagemanager.png

That's an image of the package manager running in their virtual OS.  It *is* proprietary.  I'll take a look at notestation to see if it's something I want to mess around with, but if it's in as unstable a state as the forums seem to indicate, I won't really want to play around with it.  Been down that road before.

UPDATE: I just checked in on the Synology Package Manager, and it's not there.  Sorry, I can't help you as I don't install packages that aren't in the package manager after a particularly bad experience (and the fact that this is my backup box).
« Last Edit: May 24, 2015, 07:58:56 PM by wraith808 »

IainB

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Re: Synology Note Station (runs on Synology NAS devices only)
« Reply #3 on: May 24, 2015, 08:27:56 PM »
@TaoPhoenix: Sorry, my bad. I meant to, but forgot to expand on what a NAS was until later in my post - Synology NAS ("Network Attached Storage"). More haste less speed.

@wraith808: Thanks for the feedback. It looks like it's early days for the Synology NAS Note Station software.
It look to be interesting software, but I'd be a bit wary about committing my Notes database(s) to a proprietary NAS hardware product.
Lock-in is an odd marketing strategy in this - arguably more enlightened - day and age. But then there's Microsoft.

wraith808

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Re: Synology Note Station (runs on Synology NAS devices only)
« Reply #4 on: May 24, 2015, 09:49:03 PM »
http://theosquest.co...n-first-impressions/

Bleh.. you have to log into the OS in order to use it.  Unless you use it on an idevice.  There are no desktop apps. 

IainB

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Re: Synology Note Station (runs on Synology NAS devices only)
« Reply #5 on: May 25, 2015, 03:58:46 AM »
^^ Good find. Thanks. That review didn't show up in my searches.
It means I can close this query.
I'll probably come back and look at Synology Note Station in another year's time. Lots of potential.