Farewell to Evernote

I’ve spent several days responding to HeartBleed by changing all of my login passwords. It’s a frustrating process: for every site that easily accepts my pw, others insist on cabalistic combinations of letters, numbers, symbols, and then say that my best efforts are Weak and Pathetic.

Evernote said that it accepted my change, but now it rejects that and tells me that I changed my pw 9 days ago. I know I’m entering the correct string because I copy it from 1Password. And when I try to get into Customer Support or Chat to discuss the matter, the site insists on my logging in, and of course that is the central problem.

Tonight I found that I could get in via my iPad version of Evernote. I reviewed all of the notes saved there and found that I could trash 80% of them. Most were about apps that I had decided not to use. As for the 20% I’d like to keep, I discovered once more my principal vexation with Evernote: it won’t export in some simple format, like rtf or html, that another program can read. (I did get it to send me an e-mail of a mostly text item; I would prefer direct export in a standard format.)

I may be able to copy and paste text and links into SimpleNote. If that works, I will kill off Evernote and never use it again. I have all kinds of ways to take notes, but the two apps I use most often are Pocket and SimpleNote. Actually, the best note-taker I have is Scrivener, but I can’t always fire it up, especially on an iPad or Chromebook (groan).

I’m wondering if other folks out there have had better luck with Evernote. To me it’s always been way too proprietary and locked-down. And designed more for business users than scholars and writers. Can’t easily drag-and-drop a web link to it, as in DTP or Scrivener. Can’t export stuff out of it. Yes, it organizes nicely, makes presentations, and allows rich-text writing. But so do DTP and S. Time for me to say farewell. :unamused:

I share your concerns about export from Evernote. And yet… there are few other free or moderately-priced, index-able repositories capable of handling relatively large quantities of research material that a writer can access from just about any software platform. (I write ‘few’ not because I know of any others, but because experience has taught me that there are usually exceptions to any absolute statement of this kind.)

Having very briefly looked into export possibilities, although I’ve actually tried none, I’ve noticed that they all cost money - ranging from a subscription to CloudHQ at one end of the scale, to purchase of Reinvented Software’s Together, which has an Evernote note-importer, at the other. There may well be others, especially for Windows (the Pro version of Rightnote comes to mind).

I wish that DevonThink had successfully achieved a greater degree of universality. It’s quite surprising that (as far as I know, and your experience seems to confirm this) no one appears to have built a simple, low-cost Evernote note exporter for the Mac.

But I’ve come round to thinking that perhaps the Finder with its new Mavericks features, including tags, ways of filing what you want it to “contain”, using Hazel, and other ways of accessing the hard disk remotely, is the way to go. At least, that’s what I’m currently using, but I’d really like to know of better alternatives.

Hugh, thanks for mentioning DevonThink. Just on a whim, I opened DevonNote and found that under File: Import there’s a command: Notes from Evernote.

It opened my Evernote application, listed all the Notebooks, and imported all 12 of the surviving notes. They appear in DN in a little green elephant folder. All are in RTF and URLs provide access back to the original Evernote item. The PDFs appear as icons, with links to the Evernote sources.

Obviously I need to return to DevonNote and use it more often. Or else use DTPro as a place to store notes, since it displays more file types, like PDF, JPG, and HTML. So does Scrivener, but I like the DT Sorter as a first place to drop notes from web-based research. (PS: DTPro will import from Evernote, too, as well as many other apps.)

My login problem with Evernote is strange, since both the Mac and iPad apps work, but I can’t get in via Evernote Web. Maybe I’ll call the customer service line to get help. Thanks for reminding me that I must use the Devon apps more often. And I agree with you, it’s a shame they’re not more widely known.

Evernote can export, for free, to HTML: select the note (or notes), then choose File -> Export notes…
I just double checked, and it still works - it exports to a folder of your naming, with an HTML file for each note and an associated folder (with the same name) for each note that has attachments (e.g. images, PDFs, etc). It is one of “Evernote’s Three Laws of Data Protection”.

Rather than abandoning Evernote, I’m moving in the opposite direction: using it more and more and abandoning DevonThink Pro. There are a few key reasons: namely speed, accessibility, flexibility. Much as I used to love DTP, I fire it up less than once a week now. I am finding that my ageing MBP simply can’t sustain DTP anymore. It takes an age to load, is ponderous and unresponsive when open, and crashes too often. In contrast, Evernote is fast and stable.

The second reason is accessibility. I use my portable devices a lot, and find it helpful to be able to access anything in Evernote on any of them. Meeting with a colleague? I have notes at hand. Think of something when on the bus? Notes at hand. Think of something on my computer? Notes at hand. I used to use Simplenote for some of this, but it’s simple text only - no images, no rich text, no PDFs. Only the basics. So Evernote matches it on accessibility and wins on everything beyond that. I have rarely used Simplenote in the last 2 years and only keep it now for the odd occasions when syncing with Scrivener is desirable.

Finally, I still find the flexibility of Evernote surprising. I frequently capture sections of websites into Evernote - especially when I’m researching a lecture or an article. It’s only only a two key effort: ` to launch Evernote Clipper and then Return to save (although I frequently now add tags at this stage). The fact that I can save images, text, PDF, docs, all to Evernote are bonuses. If I see a sign / price tag / book / anything I want to remember, snap a photo with my phone and it’s on Evernote (text decoded) when I get home. I can take photos of my bills and they are saved ready for my tax return (I don’t need a shoe box anymore!). The more I learn about Evernote, the more I use it (and I hhaven’t even mentioned the range of other apps that work with it - from scanners, to notebooks).

There are some things I don’t like about Evernote (e.g. it’s PDF engine is frustrating to use with text) but overall I’m learning to rely on it more and more. It may even replace my todo lists.

It won’t, however, replace Scrivener (although, finally, I am beginning to see the attraction of Scrivener linking to Evernote).

UPDATE: I had a memory of writing about this somewhere. Found it in this thread. My use of Evernote has increased quite dramatically since I made that post at the beginning of the year. At that stage I was saving around 40-50 notes each month. This month I’ve already saved over 100. For comparison: 2 years ago it was about 10 (beyond that, it was less than 5).

Nom, thanks for that excellent detailed note.

You’ve convinced me that a choice of software is a matter of
job + work habits + life stye + hardware + budget
and no doubt many other factors.

I wanted to use Evernote because it runs on my Chromebook
but that’s where I am blocked at present because of the log-in problem.

I’ll persevere and if successful, use EN when it’s the best available tool.
I still like exporting its items to DTP, which runs fine on my '08 iMac.

Nom, yes, thanks for this. (And glad to be of inadvertent use to you, druid - you’ve also been of inadvertent use to me, because despite using DT for some years, I was ignorant of the Evernote import function.)

I suppose the thing I don’t like about Evernote’s own export is that it’s in HTML. If I put in pdf’s, I’d like pdf’s back out again. However, maybe over time Evernote will adapt to its users’ wishes. It certainly has the resources. It was a landmark step several years back when it raised $6m.; did I read not long ago that it had then raised $70m.? Of course, no small developer can match that. If Evernote does adapt to consumer demands, it will be the only game in town in its field, and I can foresee my own use of it increasing sharply.

More on the subject of portable Devon than Evernote… I use DTP very heavily, have never tried Evernote because DTP does everything I need it to, and have never had any performance issues with DTP on my MacBook Pro or its predecessors, so I’m not really equipped to comment on this discussion. But for mobile access to stored stuff, I believe that DTP has a portable companion called DEVONthink To Go, which runs on an iPad and iPhone. Might that be an alternative approach to the notes-everywhere scenario? Although not on a Chromebook, obviously. And I don’t know if it is any good.

I’m also a heavy user of DTPro - but sadly the DT To Go is pretty raw. Even the developers have in effect admitted as much and version 2 is apparently being written from scratch. I have no problem getting things in and out of DTPro - using the web-clipper and note-taker on a Mac, and with notes on my i-Pad written in Draft and sent to folders indexed by DTPro - and then dragging out if/when needed to Scrivener.

Curio has Evernote integration (as in, you log in and you can refresh it while you’re working). Drag a note from the Evernote list out onto the workspace right next to whatever it was you were doing . . .

If you haven’t tried Curio they have a 25-day demo period and it’s on sale now for a hundred bucks.

I just keep using it more and more. It’s odd, in a way, but if you think visually as well as verbally it can be ever so useful.


P.S. Ah yes, http://www.zengobi.com

Yes, that was what I was trying to imply in my earlier post above. But ‘pretty raw’ is an acceptably polite formulation, and as Dr D says, work is being done. It’s unfortunate for DT that meanwhile the world, in the form of Evernote, is moving on.

And, yes, the Evernote integration with Curio is very neat - the latest version of Curio, a complete rebuild, being a wonderful tool for playing with the ideas behind a story before picking them up with Scrivener.

Just to clarify, everything you put in, you get back again (including PDFs). The HTML export files replicate the “look” of an Evernote note, but all the files associated with each note get put in a sub-folder with the same title as the note, and the file names of the attachments remain unchanged. e.g. A file called “FY2014 Q3 Payments Statements.pdf” when imported into Evernote is still called “FY2014 Q3 Payments Statements.pdf” when exported back out.

Not claiming that Evernote is for everyone—I still think DTP is an excellent app (and I’ve been curious about Curio for years)—it’s just that EN meets my evolving needs better than DTP now does.

I seem to recall that Hugh persuaded me to buy Curio 7, but alas, I never took time to work with it much. So I upgraded to version 8 and see that it’s just as complex as ever, but it has evolved into more of a note-taking and planning tool instead of presentations. Will try to persevere, this time. :unamused:

Thinking of Curio as an outliner where every sub-document is a whiteboard tamed it for me. I think I got that idea from Ted Goranson’s discussion of an early version of it in his old ATPO column.

I find it very useful for mainly visual macro-macro planning, but the mind-map auto-placement makes it a tad too rigid for more detailed work.

The Mac Calendar integration is great for letting me know just how far the execution is behind the conception in all of that macro-planning …


Indeed. :cry:

Realizing this is not a curio forum, but there seams to be a dearth of information on how to organize Curio, do you have any images of sample documents showing how you organize it ?

I checked out ATPM and find that it stopped publishing in 2012. What happened?
A blog called Macademise has several articles, with examples, of Curio as outliner.

I’m not sure what happened, but now Ted has his own site/blog:

blog.tedgoranson.com/filmsfolded … _back.html

For my money I think he’s one of the most interesting people on the net (well, the bits I understand - see those glyphs on the left of the screen - and on the right hand side change the contents from By Date' to By Outline’).

The reasons for closing shop were posted in the last issue.

A dignified valedictory typical of ATPM (and typical of what little I know of Michael Tsai, who I assume is the Michael Tsai of C-Command Software).

About Curio, it really is, as Dr Dog says, a virtual whiteboard done well. You want to keep in mind the appearance of that airfield in Nebraska from which your protagonist starts his search for his daughter? Research a still with Curio, and post the photograph and a map on Curio. You want graphically to draw the emotional relationships between the three brothers who are your antagonists? Sketch the relationships out and post the sketch on Curio. You want to summarise how you intend that your Act 2 mid-scene turns? Outline it on Curio.