His name is Evernote, and if it were legal in this country we would have slipped off to Vegas for a gaudy wedding by now. Since we can’t though, we’ll have to try to be happy just being close friends…
I had tried Evernote out about a year ago, using it mostly with my android phone. At the time I just didn’t see what the big deal was. I think the difference now may be the ubiquity of the service made possible through the (un?)holy trinity of the iPad, an improved version of the app for my android phone, and a suite of amazingly useful Chrome plugins that make the service truly useful and even, dare I say it — fun. Yes. I think I would go so far as to claim that it is fun. Really!
I haven’t been using it for that long, but already it is my second brain (the one that doesn’t drink too much and remembers every detail that it is exposed to). In simple terms, Evernote is just an easy way of keeping a series of lists and post it notes within easy reach for jotting ideas down or retrieving bits of info whenever you want. It’s real power is that it’s always there when you want it and it gets out of the way when you don’t.
I use it to keep track of everything from my running grocery list to what I should be doing at work on any given day. I’ve even used it to help me remember details of things I promised to do at my last rugby club meeting. The Google Chrome features really come in handy when you want to snip things from the web quickly and easily for future reference. I love how it easily assimilates multiple document types and has no trouble with stuff brought in from word, PDF, web content, pics, videos, whatever. You can even record voice notes if you want to. I have always felt like a bit of a d-bag whenever I’ve tried to do dictation though. That said, I could see where it would really come in handy if you needed to get something down while you’re driving.
One of my greatest qualities has always been that I find a lot of things interesting, and so I tend to spend a great deal of time (and bandwidth) each day learning about totally disparate topics and facts. One of my greatest failings is that I suffer from what can objectively be described as a truly, wretchedly, at times disgustingly feeble memory. Evernote really helps me retain and use all those little insights I have every day but that, until recently, have been relegated to the black oubliette of my memory.
Now instead of just drawing up a blank and vaguely alarming sense of having forgotten something that I thought was really important, I can just go back and see what it was. It’s really very cool and I would recommend it to anyone who suffers similarly from a bad case of CRS. I have no profit motive or anything like that in saying so. It’s just stupidly awesome, and like all the best things on the Internet — it’s also free ;o)