The Real Deal 209: Evernote (podcast)

This week: Tips and tricks for Evernote, and hard questions for Evernote CEO Phil Libin.

This week: A focus on Evernote! Listeners of this show know that I'm a fan of this service. It's a note-taking app and photo archive. It runs on Windows, Macs, iPads, iPhone, Android, and the Web, and syncs data across all those platforms. I use it to remember things, I take notes during interviews in it, and I even do most of my writing for CNET in Evernote. I use this app because it works for me, pure and simple, and because it rarely, if ever, stops me from doing what I want to do.

So after several suggestions from Real Deal listeners who have become sick to death of hearing me say how great this app is and who want me to finally get off the stick and just do a show on Evernote, that is what I am doing today. We'll talk about how to use this app, what it can and cannot do, and maybe even alternatives. Our special guest is Phil Libin, the CEO of Evernote.

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EPISODE 209: EVERNOTE

QUESTIONS
How are you going to stay in business? The core apps are all free, and unless you're uploading photos, you'll never reach the upload cap. I paid just because I like you, but that's not a business plan. I've used other apps that died because they went out of business. So before I put another piece of data into your business, convince me you're going to stick around.

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James, Everyone's Favorite Webmaster: There's really only one reason I don't use Evernote, and that is that I don't want Evernote to have the ability to "own" or use my documentation as they see fit, such as sharing it with evernote partners. If I store sensitive information with evernote, (such as medical or other personal details) I would not want these things to fly out of my hands in terms of being advertised on or something. If I remember correctly, any information you store with Evernote, gives evernote the consent to share your information with their partners if they want to.

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Glenn Davis also asks about "secure" notes? Something like encrypting "private" notes. So: What about security,or password-protecting notebooks or notes?

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John asks: How do they keep search engines from scanning our data? What happens to our data if they get bought?

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Chris Weatherford: I would love to see an option in Evernote to sync my files into Onenote or at least sync to my local computer. That way I could upload photos/scanned files to the web app and it would automatically sync to my Onenote. Seems like these two applications could make for a great marriage. Is local syncing something they will offer in the future?

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jkowall: I been working with them on trying to support OneNote 2010, the support people are kind of unresponsive there.

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Caleb: I'm a satisfied Motorola Droid owner planning to return to school. I was planning to purchase a laptop for note taking, etc., but the idea of saving some coin by using evernote in conjunction with some kind of Droid keyboard accessory would be great. Have either of you heard of such a thing, and if not, would any of the upcoming android tablets be likey to fit the bill? (Don't want an iPad).

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[Not aired] Mark C, CNN: How about an update from the Evernote folks about the errors in syncing across desktop client for OS X, and Android.

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tdaloisio: loving using @evernote for recipe's and other odds and ends. Any way for groups to interchange notes efficiently?

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brady I love having clients on every platform, but i am tired of the poor text editing. When will they compete with onenote on richness?

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war2d2: any Symbian S60 app in the works for Evernote?

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[Not aired] Michael K. (asim0v in the chat): As an avid cook and technology enthusiast, I have been moving from analog cookbooks to Evernote for recipes. Using Evernote on my Samsung Moment phone is fine, but finding a specific recipe or browsing through recipes is a nightmare! The problem is, the application only allows for viewing of notes in a stream by created or updated date. This is fine if it's a recent recipe I added but awful if I want to browse recipes using a specific tag (which I have meticulously added to my recipes). Is there any chance of an update to Evernote on Android that will provide better browsing of notes? The ability to edit notes to reflect alterations instead of just appending text would also be greatly appreciated!

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[Not aired] b-mon: Hi, I want to love Evernote, but I haven't quite been able to integrate it to my daily workflow. Aside from the image OCR capabilities, how would you compare it to gmail or google docs as a repository of notes and random information? E-mail is where I live, and e-mail is where I usually store and search for information. What are the benefits of using a *separate* system for storing and looking up information? ----------------------

[Not aired] Michael from Chicago: Many times I send a link to my Evernote account when I am traveling or just working from my email (and not using the web clipper). Will Evernote ever gain the ability to fetch the content (at least the text) from a link I send in and have that content stored in my Evernote account for later reading?

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[Not aired] Marc K, aka @technomensch: I guess I have you to blame for my starting to use Evernote. I had no plans on using it. I was getting sick of you constantly talking about it. But, when I decided to start my "Staying in Sync" Blog [PLUG], I decided that maybe, JUST MAYBE, I should give it a try. Well, you were right; again. I can't imagine not having it. Check this out as a killer combination:

Using either Dragon Speak for Email on the Blackberry or Vlingo, dictate note. Then copy and paste THAT into Evernote. Be nice if Evernote supported an API to either of those.

Anyway, i'm getting off-topic. Currently, if I want to see an existing note, the program first has to open the browser and THEN pull up a mobile version of the Evernote page that contains my notes. If I want to edit any of my notes, it has to be done in the BB browser, but I can create new notes through the native app. Can't the whole thing be a native app without having to rely on the BB browser? Until the 6.0 OS Webkit browser becomes available, as you can imagine, this whole process can quite time consuming.

Also, although I haven't really looked at the BB API, is there a way to add the functionality to import my existing Blackberry notes into Evernote (and maybe make it the default note program) instead of having to copy and paste each note individually? Thank in advance.

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TIPS
Sylvain Racicot, Montreal, Canada: One way I use Evernote is through Twitter. After a simple linking of my accounts on both services, anything I write in Twitter which contains "@myen" will automatically be added as an entry in my Evernote database. My main use for this is when I'm accessing Twitter on my phone and there's a message containing a link that I want to remember to open from my home computer, with full-screen and high-speed access. In that case, I'll start a "re-tweet", but change the "RT" with "d @myen" so that it will send a direct message to Evernote. I use this pretty much on a daily basis. Fast, easy, convenient and free!

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Mollie Nothnagel: I'm a big fan of the Evernote add-on for Firefox. You can clip web pages without leaving them. A tip: highlight only the part of the page you want to clip. Otherwise you'll end up with a bunch of superfluous links, ads and comments that you may not necessarily want to save.

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RogueTess: I ADORE Evernote! I'm a premium user and will buy stock in them the instant they go public.

I have notebooks for everything from Family Health and Travel Records (like passports) to more time-sensitive events like planning a Super Bowl party complete with menus and guest lists.

My latest favorite use involves syncing and storing certain notebooks locally on my iPhone so I don't have to access them through the web. Since I have embarked on a weird diet, I keep notebooks for the foods that I Can Eat or Can't Eat, as well a pictures of the packaging of Yucky Foods and Yummy Foods so I'll never accidentally buy that hideous BBQ vegan soy chip snack thing ever again.

I mostly create new notes by email to my Evernote email address. A simple "@car" #Prius in the subject line sends an iPhone photo of my license plate with the new tags on them into my Car notebook with the tag Prius. Mostly I don't even bother to tag because the search ability is so comprehensive.

My favorite use case story was when I was in a garage waiting room while my car was being smog checked and my daughter called me from the doctor's office needing the date of her last tetanus shot. I pulled up her immunization record that I'd scanned into the Health notebook in Evernote a few months before with the ScanSnap and BOOM, gave her the date. I didn't have to be at home and noone had to wait for info. Win!

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Robin Miller, Dublin, OH: You mentioned how fond you are of Evernote. It's a great application to be sure. I used it until I tried UltraRecall, which I feel does an even better job at capturing and preserving stuff from the web than Evernote. It also has been extremely useful in organizing the vast amounts of information that daily flow across our desks. You should check it out!

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Phil Libin: See the Evernote tips blog.

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COMMENTS
Scott: I just finished listening to your most recent road test episode. Someone emailed/called asking about backing up a Windows Home server. I just want to clarify something you said regarding JungleDisk. While it is true, that they discontinued their WHS plugin, the regular install works great (better in my opinion) on a WHS. The catch is that you need to Remote Desktop to the WHS and install it like you would a normal Windows app. When you install it, it runs as a Windows Service, so you don't need to worry about kicking it off. It's all scheduled. This approach is not supported by JD, but on their forums they'll say that people have had luck with it. From my experience, it works without any issues. I use it as a backup of my WHS shares. In my setup, I backup the computer images, but I also use GoodSync to do a file backup. It is that file backup that I also send to Amazon S3. The only downside is that S3 costs can get expensive if you are backing up media.

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Tom in Colorado: Just wanted to pass on a tidbit I discovered the other day. Turns out my local library system makes available Kill-A-Watt meters for checkout. Good for Garfield County, Colorado, anyways. Might be worth a check at your local branch. Here's to the library system!

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Charles from Texas: On your recent iPad episode you read an email where someone was complaining / asking about using their iPad in the kitchen to access a library of recipes. They said that, with no folders on the iPad, their "files" would be all over the place. Actually they didn't describe how they would get the files on the device in the first place. You two gave some options. I don't believe you mentioned Google Docs but that should work (assuming for now the only need is to read the files and not write since I hear that editing Google Docs is not currently working from the iPad). One of you mentioned cloud storage like DropBox but I want to reemphasize the latter because it has an iPhone/iPod/iPad app which is better than browsing the web site (at least on the smaller screen of the iPod) and nicely presents the files in the folder storage structure you create on your DropBox account. This allows you to organize your files any way you want.

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Paul from Cleveland: I can't believe you guys missed the *real* question that Kski asked! Which is NOT how to sync Outlook with Google Calendar, but how you sync Google Calendar with the iPod Touch! The answer is that you do NOT need to go through Outlook. Google allows you to access Google Calendar through Exchange on the iPod Touch. The setup is a little involved, but once it's set up, it works fantastic! Here's the link for more information.

PS. In regards to Rafe's comments about FM Transmitters in large cities with tons of radio stations, some FM Transmitters allow you to access frequencies lower than 88.1 (eg. 87.9 or 87.7, which US radio stations are not suppose to use) by turning on international mode (I know Griffin FM Transmitters, which I have, allow you to do this). I find that this gives me almost perfect signal in an otherwise congested FM spectrum. Also, I find you get what you paid for. ie. more expensive transmitters work better than cheaper ones.

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WRAP-UP
There is an official Evernote podcast. It's also on iTunes.

Next time: Tom's last Real Deal. We're planning a special episode. See it here next week. After that, Real Deal will be renamed to the CNET to the Rescue podcast -- but we'll have the same mission: Helping consumers get the most out of the technology they own. I'll be joined by a new co-host, CNET's Josh Lowensohn. We'll also be changing our timeslot, and moving to Wednesday at noon. But not until after Tom's last show, which will be next week, May 13, at 1pm.

Questions to realdeal@cnet.com.

 

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