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Kudos re 5.0.2 Mac

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#1 inkazar

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 01:17 AM

It took a couple of updates to iron some stuff out but speaking as a customer and as a person long involved in creating applications and managing tech projects, I just want to thank the Evernote Mac team.

As someone who comes from a more traditional structured-data mindset, once I got used to the new UI (which didn't take nearly as long as I thought it would upon first glance) ... as someone who still maintains deep nested folder hierarchies on my hard drive and almost never uses Spotlight ... as someone who still makes dozens of email folders when I could, after all, simply search for what I need to see, this version of Evernote has finally broken me free of spending so much time organizing things into neat hierarchies. I love the new search bar (among other new niceties). At first I was right-clicking to display the list of notebooks and tags in the sidebar, because I felt uncomfortable not seeing them ... and I'm already over doing that. The application itself has taught me how to use and understand it better, and that is a serious accomplishment.

I know some on this forum are not happy with some aspects. I also know as someone who, again, has been involved with tech not only as a user but as a tech professional for decades, that user experience models - the way we interact with our data - move inevitably forward. In general I've not been happy with the move into single-pane Mac applications, nor with the move away from highly structured data. But I would invite those who are unhappy to just keep using the app. It will grow on you. And it has moved to the kind of UI that you will find more and more and more in your apps, so my advice is to be willing to let your thinking and approach as users shift.

There was a time, admittedly for many years, when I railed against formatted email and evangelized the importance of plain-text-only email. I can say at this point that I love sending/receiving nicely formatted emails. Now with Evernote 5 (OK, with 5.0.2 now that forward/back has staged its reappearance) I can say that I don't care so much anymore about naming and maintaining dozens of notebooks, I am willing to let Evernote do the heavy lifting for me after adding a few tags when need be.

Great job and keep it up. Happy Holidays to all at Evernote.

Sincerely,

ilyse kazar

#2 PeterLondon

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 01:45 AM

inkazar - sound like EN 5 is fine for you as you basically don't now use notebooks, and you only use a few tags!

But for us heavy-lifters, EN 5 is a disaster. There is an endless list of essential functions (let alone "features") that have been removed.

For instance, I have over 1,500 tags, and I can't even re-arrange tags in the side bar. DUH! Having to switch to the tag window is a total pain, and as my tag names are so long - and can't see the full tag names in order to re-arrange them. The list is endless.

For some bizarre reason, the EN team seemed to want to dumb EN down, to basically just a text searchable database for folks with couple of notebooks and a few tags. So sad.

#3 inkazar

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 04:08 AM

I had not 1500, but several hundred tags. Among other changes in my habits as an information collector in general, and as an Evernote user in particular, I realized that the predominance of tags I had applied were completely extraneous because a general search on that word would turn up the note in a list anyhow. I am chipping away at narrowing my tags down to fairly high-level topics, with the topic list limited to those subjects that I might actually want to view a list of notes on. IOW I use tags more as categories and let Evernote find the finer-grained stuff. And I put almost everything in one notebook, yes, that I have actually named "Infotainucation".

I used to be quite elaborate with tags, even created tag prefixes such as "p-" to mean people. But why should I have been applying a "p-Abraham Lincoln" tag to notes when his name would be part of the note content and would come up in a search on Abraham Lincoln anyhow?? Instead he is now in my general Presidents tag group. If I clip a photo of him, I'll just type Abraham Lincoln into the note itself so it will turn up in a search on his name.

As for notebooks, other than my Infotainucation catch-all, I do have a 15 or 20 others.

I'm sorry if Evernote is no longer working for your purposes. I am only saying that those of us who are pre-programmed to create complex taxonomies and to religiously categorize our data might want to try, just try, adapting to a much less structured approach that relies upon powerful search features to find what we want when we want. I can report that I am already saving at least a half hour a day, just by relaxing my grip on the data I put into Evernote. It is almost always finding what I want in the new Related Notes section, it is helping me dril through notebooks and tags right there in the search bar, and I am tearing through tagging and filing the 20 or 30 items per day in my inbox in perhaps 1/3 the time compared to when I was using heavy tags and many more notebooks.

#4 GrumpyMonkey

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 04:36 AM

I had not 1500, but several hundred tags. Among other changes in my habits as an information collector in general, and as an Evernote user in particular, I realized that the predominance of tags I had applied were completely extraneous because a general search on that word would turn up the note in a list anyhow. I am chipping away at narrowing my tags down to fairly high-level topics, with the topic list limited to those subjects that I might actually want to view a list of notes on. IOW I use tags more as categories and let Evernote find the finer-grained stuff. And I put almost everything in one notebook, yes, that I have actually named "Infotainucation".

I used to be quite elaborate with tags, even created tag prefixes such as "p-" to mean people. But why should I have been applying a "p-Abraham Lincoln" tag to notes when his name would be part of the note content and would come up in a search on Abraham Lincoln anyhow?? Instead he is now in my general Presidents tag group. If I clip a photo of him, I'll just type Abraham Lincoln into the note itself so it will turn up in a search on his name.

As for notebooks, other than my Infotainucation catch-all, I do have a 15 or 20 others.

I'm sorry if Evernote is no longer working for your purposes. I am only saying that those of us who are pre-programmed to create complex taxonomies and to religiously categorize our data might want to try, just try, adapting to a much less structured approach that relies upon powerful search features to find what we want when we want. I can report that I am already saving at least a half hour a day, just by relaxing my grip on the data I put into Evernote. It is almost always finding what I want in the new Related Notes section, it is helping me dril through notebooks and tags right there in the search bar, and I am tearing through tagging and filing the 20 or 30 items per day in my inbox in perhaps 1/3 the time compared to when I was using heavy tags and many more notebooks.


I couldn't agree more. Here is my minimalist approach.
http://www.princeton...ganization.html

It's pretty much interface update proof, and I can handle almost any changes the developers throw at us :) I think it is a stressful situation if you have an overly complex organizational system that requires a carefully calibrated host of features to work. Sure, you should use what we have, but simple strategies are best in my experience.

#5 PeterLondon

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 01:51 PM

I think that inkazar's approach is spot-on for what she needs to do, and she has made some wise choices. And I appreciate Christopher's excellent webpage he points us to, again, that approach could be just right for some folks. Saying that, his approach is really sort-of tagging just by another name.

But it looks like you folks might not really need EN at all! You could really go with a "simple strategy" and just store docs on your Mac in a few folders and search with Spotlight (that looks inside docs). Or Dropbox.

But I need a different approach by the nature of what I do. I am storing large amounts of financial and technical data on EN, much of it unsearchable by keywords. So I must have a very systematic approach to tagging, and my EN accounts are accessed by multiple people.

What you guys seem to be saying is this: The EN team, will at any time, remove vital functions and features, and so you need to use EN without those functions and features so that when they remove them, it won't cause you any problems. And in any event, if you are using those functions and features, then you shouldn't be, because it shows your approach is too complex.

Sorry, but that is just daft!

#6 inkazar

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 02:48 PM

But it looks like you folks might not really need EN at all! You could really go with a "simple strategy" and just store docs on your Mac in a few folders and search with Spotlight (that looks inside docs). Or Dropbox.


Absolutely not. I make heavy use of the web clipper, and Send to Evernote services. You are clearly coming from a business-oriented "docs" frame of mind. Evernote is essentially a scrapbooking application.

But I need a different approach by the nature of what I do. I am storing large amounts of financial and technical data on EN, much of it unsearchable by keywords. So I must have a very systematic approach to tagging, and my EN accounts are accessed by multiple people.

What you guys seem to be saying is this: The EN team, will at any time, remove vital functions and features, and so you need to use EN without those functions and features so that when they remove them, it won't cause you any problems.


I guess because I use Evernote as a convenient way to store all kinds of things for everything from my work as an applications designer to community involvements to my general insatiable addiction to information, cool images, you name it ... rather than as the kind of document management system you seem to have been using it for, I don't know which features are missing. I've seen your dismay that you can't "rearrange" tags in the sidebar (I guess you refer to nesting tags?) but the feature is not missing, the UI has changed.

And such is the nature of commercial applications, whether cloud-based or not. The company designing the app must respond both to how the majority of its customers use the application and to changes in the development toolkit and UI standards for each of the various OS's as they themselves move forward into new UX paradigms.

If I myself had storage, retrieval and sharing needs such as you describe I would use a document management system on a file server, lots of MS technology there but it gets the job done ... and because it is a business-oriented document management system and not marketed as a "backup for your brain" scrapbook sort of application as is Evernote, the changes in upgrades would likely be gradual and not be as upsetting to your workflow. But ideally if this is mission-critical stuff and your application must look and work the same for a length of time that is under your (or your company's) control, custom applications are the only way to go, IMO.

I would wager that the percentage of EN customers using the tool to store financial documents in a highly structured fashion falls well below one percent. As someone else here has noted, sometimes each of us is caught in that small percentage of customers who feel screwed when a commercial title changes its feature set and/or UI. I am sorry that you and your team are struggling with the situation, but maybe it's time to start looking now to export your notes/docs to xml and have a database pro create a solid system for you that won't change until you specify the change.


And in any event, if you are using those functions and features, then you shouldn't be, because it shows your approach is too complex.


... or that the tool you chose for your complex needs may not have been the right one to begin with?

If I needed a way to store and organize business documents in categorized in a multi-dimensional way, easily retrievable by advanced search capabilities, with the ability to put documents in one or more groups and to nest and organize those groups, and tag the documents, and perhaps rely on further metadata about the documents ... and if I had to do all of that on a very low budget, I would have chosen Zotero.

On a medium budget something like Sharepoint (though I don't know if Sharepoint itself has tagging?? maybe one of the titles used by law firms to store/organize documents and apply metadata would be a better choice on this "medium" budget which admittedly could run into the thousands of dollars per year)

And again, if changes in a commercial title could sink your ship, you need to cough up the big bucks for custom development.

This has been my experience as a consultant to clients, in managing my own business, and as a scholar doing research, over several decades. Commercial applications will move according to *generalized* trends of user wish lists and platform/devkit evolution and are very likely to leave you frustrated if you have chosen to use a commercial app in a situation that will suffer if forced to adapt workflows and usage patterns.

good luck to you, my best hope is that as you and your team get more and more used to the new Evernote you have an easier time of it.

#7 GrumpyMonkey

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 03:07 PM

I think that inkazar's approach is spot-on for what she needs to do, and she has made some wise choices. And I appreciate Christopher's excellent webpage he points us to, again, that approach could be just right for some folks. Saying that, his approach is really sort-of tagging just by another name.

Others have said that as well about the tagging. I guess I don't see it that way, because on one hand it is a lot simpler, since it is only one action (you have to have a title, so spend the time making it useful, and on the Windows machine your first line automatically becomes the title) instead of two for tags (several more steps for each note if you are on mobile). If you have the time and energy, I'd certainly recommend tags in addition to my approach, because they provide a fine-grained organizing method.

But it looks like you folks might not really need EN at all! You could really go with a "simple strategy" and just store docs on your Mac in a few folders and search with Spotlight (that looks inside docs). Or Dropbox.

True! I could definitely use VoodooPad or a combination of Notational Velocity (OSX) + Notesy or SimpleNote (iOS). If I were just on OSX, I might do it, but I work across multiple clients. In addition, I also need to share things on occasion. So, Evernote solves two problems for me: it is the only application that can reliably and quickly search my notes (no Spotlight search of my files on iOS), and I can share with anyone (see my shared notebook in my signature).

But I need a different approach by the nature of what I do. I am storing large amounts of financial and technical data on EN, much of it unsearchable by keywords. So I must have a very systematic approach to tagging, and my EN accounts are accessed by multiple people.

Sounds great. This is a situation in which Evernote's notebooks and tags will come in handy.

What you guys seem to be saying is this: The EN team, will at any time, remove vital functions and features, and so you need to use EN without those functions and features so that when they remove them, it won't cause you any problems. And in any event, if you are using those functions and features, then you shouldn't be, because it shows your approach is too complex.

Evernote will not remove notebooks and tags. They might, however, change the UI, so if you absolutely must work with the software a certain way (arranging tags in the left sidebar), then Evernote might not be a good fit. With few exceptions (Notepad, for example), every application I have ever used has changed over time. That's just how stuff works in the industry. My recommendation is to do your best to simplify whatever system you use.

As a concrete example, please look into jbenson's tagging model. It obviates the need for nested tags, and that will remove one headache for you when you move from client to client.
http://www.princeton...ernote-tag.html

Obviously, if you have been hanging around on the forums, you will see that I continue to gripe about the removal of information from the Mac UI a couple of years ago, and I harangue the Evernote staff on a regular basis about the Vertical List View. I'm definitely cool with pushing the developers to do this or that, but that doesn't mean it is a "disaster." We've all got our "thing" that we want to see, but the app is what it is, and as much as possible, I recommend adapting your workflow to meet changes in the app.

#8 JMichael

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 03:18 PM

The discussion with GrumpyMonkey about the value of using Tags is an old one -- and I don't really care to repeat it here.

The beauty of Evernote is that it does permit a very flexible organizational scheme, from a bare-bones GM style (with one NB and no tags) to many NB and/or many Tags, and everywhere inbetween.

The main point concerning EN Ver 5 is that Evernote has severly harmed the ability to use and manage a significant number of NB and Tags. If you don't need many NB or Tags, then the new UI may appeal to you.

#9 GrumpyMonkey

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 03:29 PM

The main point concerning EN Ver 5 is that Evernote has severly harmed the ability to use and manage a significant number of NB and Tags. If you don't need many NB or Tags, then the new UI may appeal to you.


I see it more as requiring changes to your workflow. As you are probably aware, I preferred the previous system myself, prefer the current Windows one, and have made suggestions about this sidebar. I think it is important to make our opinions known, but at the end of the day, we have to work with what we've got, and I just don't see what we hav as a "disaster."





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