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About mtanne

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  1. True. The fundamental problem is a failure to see the abstraction between information organization and information representation. As @DTLow and @JMichaelTX and others have pointed out, the underlying implementation of any organizational mechanism is labeled objects. A Directory is set of labels to files, and if the structure of the labels allows only one parent, it is a TREE. If the structure allows more than one parent it is a GRAPH. Period. That's it. It's that simple. First year CS class teaches you this. Without an abstraction between the underlying implementation and the way information is presented, we all get stuck in this unresolvable vortex of ideas. WITH an abstraction, the implementation can focus on data integrity, back-up, performance, security (still an important matter - I don't want MY tagged notes showing up in YOUR tag search). And the presentation layer can be anything people need. You can change the UI without calling on the back-end developers, whose jobs are overwhelmed solving those much harder problems. Third parties can change the representation layer. So we can have folders, hierarchical folders, colored folders, tags, stacks, notebooks, nested notebooks, or whatever kind of representation works for all the people who, as you've rightly pointed out, think differently. I used to work in accessibility. Try thinking of all the problems we've discussed about Evernote, from the perspective of a blind user who's SOLE interface is to the have the title of each notebook read to them, and then either enter or move to the next, and you will appreciate that YES people have DIFFERENT NEEDS.
  2. Good points. An intentional stance that has note changed since 2008? There are four factors at play here. 1. Information Structure and Organization. gmail is an excellent example showing that "labels" and "folders" are one and the same. In fact, technically, any filesystem is simply a set of labels (tags) in a directory. The only difference is that tags allow multiple membership, which is a more flexible structure than a directory. I'd argue that EN users have a higher requirement for organizing active information than an email app, which is ultimately about Inbox Zero and an archive. This is the actual nature of the technical problem at the root of everyone's frustration. 2. User Stories / Usage Cases. Some people think in terms of folders. Some think in terms of tags. Some prefer search. Some problems (archival) favor folders and hierarchy. Some problems (research) favor jumping to a tag. Some (quick answers) favor a search. Take a simple example from Spotify, who has essentially solved this problem: Playlist: My Deep House Playlist - a list of songs I MUST have together in a specific order (they can also be in other playlists) Hierarchical Playlists: Electronic > House > Deep House; Electronic > DownTempo; Electronic > Dubstep; etc. Tag: Artist names, albums, genres are all forms of tags: Metalcore, punk, Prince, JustinBieber, Search: "Free bir..." 3. User Perception. The fact that this is an ongoing debate 10 years later, means customer expectations are NOT being met. Perhaps Evernote Team don't understand what the users are asking for. Perhaps they do understand but are dismissive. Perhaps no one with formal training in ontologies and information structure is even looking at the problem, so EVERYONE is confused both Evernote and Customers. But regardless, the fact that users aren't free to organize thousands of notes in a way that works for them, and the company and the users are talking past each other for 10 years running? Obviously a communication problem. Poor @engberg left alone to defend the company's position without reinforcements. 4. Technical Deficit. Evernote has been running a technical Deficit since the beginning. I'm a champion, and supporter and really WANT them to succeed. And they've managed to keep advancing the product so many of us rely on. But the reality of over-stretched technical teams, is long stand-up meetings with long lists of unresolved bugs. And the lists keep getting longer. If the technical deficit is never addressed, often by biting the bullet and focusing on refactoring ancient code, the problems compound, it shows up in quality, and it shows up in subscription renewals, and those paying customers are the lifeblood of the company. All it takes is a freshly funded Y-Combinator team who are super smart and super motivated to solve the problem in a cleaner way. Then when Sequoia backs that team, it will be able to hire the best engineers who've been slaving away to maintain the EN code base for a decade, and the rest is a story told a thousand times in Silicon Valley. So, hopefully, this one widely desired and poorly understood aspect of information organization can be resolved AND communicated sometime soon.
  3. Agreed. Technically as you've described a "pseudo notebook" is simply a label. In fact, technically, any folder hierarchy is simply a set of labels in a directory. The only difference is that labels/tags permit multiple membership. so in the end Tags is a much more flexible mechanism. You can "move" a whole set of notes to a different notebook by retagging them, OR have them show up in a different notebook by adding a new tag. Some people visualize best as folders others prefer to search for a tag. I do both. See ALL the notes in a category and know it's all of them (archival) Fastest path to my note on a topic. (targeted search) Gmail is an excellent and widely understood implementation of "folders as labels" that demonstrates these principles well, and has implemented search, folders and tagging quite effectively.
  4. Several ongoing editing bugs stem from one more fundamental problem I believe. Each has been discussed separately, but never fully resolved, so I'm making one post to draw attention to the bigger problem. Here are a few examples I've experienced for years: The "Quantum cursor" - cursor location after a paste is randomly above or below the inserted content Bullet list start/stop - item in a bullet list may include 0, 1 or 2 LF, sometimes you can end a list with 2 CR, sometimes it just keeps making more bullets Paste w/o formatting, sometimes you get the formatting of the line above, sometimes below removing formatting - sometimes it's impossible to remove formatting of a section of text, it's like tar stuck to your cursor, and every line it touches gets infected by it I've come to accept Evernote's core line editor is just 'quirky'. Apparently, so have others, since no one's screaming about it, and as basic as it is, release after release it just NEVER gets fixed. My Theory: The core line editor functionality isn't based on a solid, adequately formalized and characterized design. It was probably hacked as one of the first bits of code at the very beginning and it is long overdue refactoring. Normal issue when developing a complex codebase. e.g. Paste. Insert XYZ into the sequence of characters ABC\rDEF<cursor>GHI\n at the cursor. do you get ABC\rDEFXYZ<cursor>GHI\n or ABC\rDEF<cursor>XYZGHI\n. This is a problem addressed since the very earliest line editors from IBM ed, Edlin, Wordstar, WordPerfect, vi, Emacs, and implemented in the editor used by this very forum. The other issues listed, and several more not listed, suffer from the same lack of formal definition. Perhaps, when moving the cursor, we are inadvertently placing it before or after hidden format markers, and sometimes invalid or inadequately terminated formatting, leaving dangling bits: <b>this text is bold \r is this text still bold? If this is an accurate conclusion what the editor needs is a fomal definition: for all editing function: character entry, cut, copy, paste, delete, (including the more complex ones: image paste, table paste, Web clipping, etc.) cursor location, rules for CR and LF, formatting start/stop, does the end of the line include or not include the CF (e.g. in MSWord moving cursor to left margin guarantees you're selecting the entire line including LF or CR) Proper Bracket Matching on formatting markers. e.g. HTML editor or Web browser parses nested formatting: <li><b>text</b></li>. A helpful workaround would be "View Formatting" that exposed the underlying formatting structure so we could delete extraneous LF, CR, or unterminated formatting.
  5. There have always been quirks in the placement of the cursor, which seem to have improved or been resolved (for years, when you pasted text, the cursor wasn't necessarily at the end of the text afterward, so if you just started typing, you be typing in the wrong place, and checkbox lists were pretty wacky, often typing before the checkbox, or on the next line, or the previous line.) But there's a new bug: when you click somewhere to place the cursor, and begin to type, the text is entered at the previous cursor position. (Evernote 6.5, Mac OS 10.9.5) 1. Cursor is in position A (say, line 6, character 22) 2. Click to place cursor in position B (say, like 18, character 0) 3. Press a key to start typing (say, "Hello World") 4. The text "Hello World" will be entered at position A. The current workaround seems to be to click the cursor twice. (I'm betting, that the code that places text is referencing the previous cursor position, while the code displaying the cursor is referencing the current cursor position). So clicking twice, makes both the current cursor and the previous cursor the same. However this is a pretty fundamental bug - not being able to type where the cursor is.
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