Create Tags in Evernote – Not Because You Need Them, But In Case…

Michael Hyatt:

It is tempting to tag every note with a several tags. However, I broke myself of that habit once I realized that Evernote indexes every word in every note. So if you have a great quote on “purpose,” for example, you don’t need to tag the note with “purpose,” so long as the word appears in the note. This only adds more clutter. The key is to remember that less is more.

I don’t see a need for the tags in my workflow, but I use them to of caution. I add a few to each note in the event at a later date I want them. It’s easier to add them as the notes are created than to add them years down the road when you have a need for them.

I commend Michael for utilizing Evernote as effectively as he has. His articles pertaining to Evernote are note half bad. 


Tim Tebow, the Leadercast, and Auto-titles

Apple’s Notes app got me thinking: why is it Apple’s app insists on significant limitations? Evernote has tags, notebooks, and saved searches. Notes only has manual search. Because it seemed so ridiculously stifling and for no clear reason, I thought maybe—just maybe—Apple genuinely thinks this is a great way to manage all of your notes; in one lump sum with very little to help sift through them. Could it be possible that we nerds are just pretentious?

So, I challenged myself: for the next 30 days I would only use Evernote like it were Apple’s Notes app, and see just how ‘genius’ or ‘impossible’ it is to manage all notes without control and organization—full on search mode only.

Part 1 • Part 2 • this is Part 3 • Part 4 coming soon

So, Log of the Challenge: Evernote Like it Were Apple Notes – Part 3

At last weekend’s Chick-fil-A Leadercast I found ample opportunity to take notes during sessions with John Maxwell, Tim Tebow, Marcus Buckingham, and other great speakers waxing eloquently about leadership skills. Notetaking opportunities were through the roof, and I made some important discoveries of how Evernote handles this situation.

Evernote is a smart app. Notes from Apple, frankly, is not. Even though I’m doing my best to stifle Evernote to be like Notes, it keeps breaking the self-imposed rules.

I have chosen not to use the title field on my Evernote notes. Notes of iOS doesn’t use them, so for my test I don’t on Evernote. However, Evernote auto-generates a title for you in the event that it can identify where you are and why you’re there!

So I’m taking notes in Evernote at the CFA Leadercast, and Evernote figures this out because of the location services of the iPad? In iOS? Whatever the case since I was on WiFi in the building hosting the Leadercast, somehow, some way, Evernote knew.

It auto-generated the title for me on each of my notes:

The title is in the red. Evernote knew where I was!

Here I was taking notes of the interview with Urban Meyer and Tim Tebow (great interview, BTW). As you can see, Evernote titled the note automatically and smartly.

Click to enlarge

However, this was not especially helpful when I made multiple notes at the same place and event. I created a new one for each session at the Leadercast, and all of them got named the same thing.

Had I been using Notes, by Apple, this repetitive naming would not have happened. Each note would be uniquely titled based on the first line of text in the note. So, had it been the session for Meyer and Tebow, it would be named something like “Urban Meyer, Tim Tebow Interview – Session 2.”

Another handy set of features I couldn’t resist using at the Leadercast were the format controls in Evernote. I used bullet lists, numbered lists, section and sub section sizes, italics, bolds, etc. These were so applicable to the seminar talks that I simply couldn’t stick to my self-imposed rule that “Evernote ought not be used like it were feature-rich.” Notes doesn’t have those format controls, so to stick by the book, I ought not have used them in Evernote.

But I’m not sorry that I did, because it would have been a waste of time to add the formatting at another time of the future once I allowed myself access to the Evernote format bar once again.

The Take Away

Tim Tebow is a really great guy, and Evernote is more powerful than I would like for my self-imposed challenge.

Figuring Out Daedalus Touch

A view of the beginning of this blog post in Daedalus Touch

I have a hankering for beautiful apps. I know they can be had on Mac OS Lion, but usually they cost more than twice as much as those on the iOS App Store. This was one reason I chose the iPad over a new Macbook this past February. I knew that for the tasks I run on any given device the iPad 2 is able and economical.

A great case in point is Daedalus Touch. This is a slick text editor that I discovered over the Thanksgiving weekend during Black Friday sales (it was 66% off). It actually cost me less than my preferred Starbuck’s drink (a White Chocolate Mocha with half a shot of raspberry). Assuming Daedalus Touch did all it said it does, it would be some of the best $3 I spent this year.

Thus, a review to see whether it was worth forfeiting one hot beverage.

What is Daedalus Good For?

Daedalus aims to stand out from the rest of the crowd of mobile text editors with its gesture controls. I realize, for some, this is a bit gimmicky, but the gimmick rocks in Daedalus Touch (DT), for me. Most all gestures in the app for navigating my writings are a breeze.

And where the gestures come to life is in the unique metaphor DT uses to order the notes. Rather than bins, folders, notebooks, and the like, what we have in DT are stacks of sheets. A solitary note is called a sheet, as it appears to be in the visual interface. Sheets go together in stacks. The top navigation is called Stacks. Swipe through Stacks to watch them smoothly glide across the screen with your gliding finger. Open a stack with a reverse pinch of two fingers to reveal all the notes in each stack. The gesture controls are so responsive it’s as though they happen a split second before you make them.

These are Stacks in Daedalus Touch

Beyond these gestures for an elegant way of navigation, DT also has good settings for the look- and-feel of the app, as well as the “Best in class keyboards row,” as the developers put it on their website, “Quick access to otherwise hard to reach special characters. Intelligent insertion, [content wrapping], tabs, fwd delete, fully customizable.” —

A brief but sharp criticism of Evernote

I want to take a rabbit trail here to criticize the poor navigation controls of Evernote. Evernote’s notebook and tag organization is out of this world for all devices, but when it comes to gestures on iOS devices, it falls into a dark pit. Evernote’s use of gestures — one of the great strengths of i- devices — is practically nonexistent. Rather than swipes, pinches, and the like, which are a forté for the iPad and iPhone, most navigational functions are by way of oh-so disengaging single taps. And for the record, if Evernote’s use of gestures was up to snuff, I probably wouldn’t bother with other text editors. I’m still looking for the iOS text editor that does it all to my liking.

— Back to the Originally Scheduled Review

Another clever quirk about Daedalus Touch is the minimalistic search function. I must use the search function in my note apps at least once every time I use them for more than five minutes, so it’s important to me search works well in any app. I like to skip adding tags and the like to my notes, so it matters to me that the Search tool reads all of my notes and tells me wherever words are in use.

In DT, the search fluidly updates results as I continue to refine my search, so if I use just one word — let’s say, ‘John’, as an example — without even a need to hit the Enter key, Stacks of Sheets with ‘John’ in them are highlighted in yellow. and you may lengthen your query with a multiple word sequence. Let’s say in my case I write the whole search query of ‘John Adams.’ DT keeps up with me and narrows down the results in a snap. Only Sheets with ‘John Adams’ remain highlighted. This is Search from Heaven (i.e. to my liking).

But is it a Superior Writing App?

There really isn’t a writing app on for the iOS devices that beats Pages with a relatively complete set of tools. But as many writers have discovered with the iPad, it’s an excellent tool for writing free from the distraction of multiple apps running on your desktop and notebook devices. It’s liberating to write at great lengths with a clean and simple app on the iPad. So it doesn’t matter so much that it’s a simple and bare-bones app that lacks lots of formatting control. What matters is that DT is distraction-free, easy on the eyes, bug-free, syncs with Dropbox (if you’re into that), and capable of simple formatting techniques, like Markdown by John Gruber.

I didn't even mention the customizable row of keys added to the keyboard...

So I say download Daedalus Touch. I’m using to write e-pub content, write for my blog, and write scripts for Movieology. I don’t think I could be happier with the iOS version. Now, if there were a companion for the Mac desktop that would sync with my DT files, we would have it made!

Evernote Gets Upgraded to 2.0

Evernote is my favorite all-time note organizer. It is fully compatible on Macs and PCs, syncs you notes with the web (so you can get to it anywhere), is usable on smartphones, iPads, and iPods…. The only thing Evernote has been in need of lately was a regular update. It’s not been out that long, and there has been room for improvement. Well, yesterday, Evernote was updated, and the updates are great ones. Read about it here.

If you aren’t especially with your notes, ideas, PDFs, and random selection of images, then you should seriously look into Evernote. There isn’t much I give my full endorsement to, and this is one of the few. Seriously, if you need to get organized, Evernote is a great place to start.