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drtimhill

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About drtimhill

  1. Does anyone else but me think the UI design in Evernote is truly abominable? -- Fonts are generally very small, which limits legibility. -- Color for fonts is low contrast, making it even harder to read. -- Confused mess of sliding windows and overlay screens with no coherent design cues, model, or rationale. For example: I know I have a note on an item, and I want to read it. So I do a search. Now, depending on where I am in the Ui I get a VERY different UI presentation of the search box. After entering a search term I get a list of matching items. Click on the note to view .. and... It appears in an overlay window. Not the main notes window .. an overlay. Why? What good is this to me? if the only way I can view notes is in this restricted window, what is the rest of the UI for? I cannot find ANY way to simply use a search to filter the main set of notes by the search (like the desktop versions). I guessing there is a way, but good luck finding it. Who thought this design was a good idea? What were they smoking at the time? As far as I am concerned, the entire iPad UI is an exercise in frustration and utter amazement at the total lack of intelligence in the UI design. To be blunt, I hate it. --Tim
  2. Evernote 6.0 on Mac OS X Yosemite 10.10.1 6.0 was working fine for me for a few days. Then I double-clicked to open a note in a new window. Result ... DISASTER. -- The window was empty and marked "Untitled" instead of the name of the note I opened. -- The note I HAD opened was renamed "Untitled" also. -- The contents of ALL NOTES has now vanished from the main evernote view .. all of them .. all notebooks. Restarting Evernote doesn't fix this. Nothing I do can restore the notes data. The note part (right hand window) remains totally blank, just showing the created and updated dates and then nothing. Fortunately my iPad shows the notes are still intact, so the note data is still there .. but Evernote on my Mac apparently cannot display it. Any ideas? --Tim
  3. Agreed, and having designed and implemented many hierarchy systems over the years it can be shown that any tag system can be transformed into a hierarchy system and vice versa. I think for me it boils down not to internals but to the manner in which containers and tags are presented to the user as an organizational metaphor, and one of those presentations is the concept of focus (or context, if you like). Most container models (the Finder or Explorer, Mail systems etc) that use folders use them as a metaphor for focus. When you choose a folder from a list, you see the contents of that folder. This focus is modal (persists until a new container is chosen), and provides an implicit scope for operations (Select All, for example, just selects all the items in that container). This model is useful as it allows users to focus only on the project/topic/area of interest and ignore other distractions. This is, after all, the best way to use Notebooks in EN and it is even recognized in the UI when the Search box auto-fills the current notebook as part of the search term. This is really the most useful aspect of folders or containers: clearly delineated persistent scope. Thus containers act as a "where" term in a search (metaphorically speaking). Tags of course excel at searching and helping categorize data, in a way that containers cannot (or should not). Firstly, users understand the metaphor of having multiple tags on an item whereas having an item in multiple containers can be confusing (even if its fine for techie types like me). Tags are easily understood as a classification, or "what type" metaphor. This is why I think tags and folders are complementary, rather than conflicting, features. When you you only have one, you can kinda-sorta bend the other to work as a poor-mans version, but it's never as good. As you note, you end up with funny looking tag names, or folders that should really be tags. Yuck. One final follow-up on your point about tag hierarchies. I do find the flat model of tags limiting. First, I don't like that you can organize tags into a hierachry in the UI but this has no meaning when it comes to search terms (and is confusing to the user imho). Second, while some tags are clearly global in scope ("Note", "Meeting" etc), others are not (I have a "Breakfast" tag for me recipe notebook, why does it show up as a possible tag in my Software Development notebook?). I would love EN to have global tags and per-notebook tags to help with this. As I've said, I really like many EN features, but I wish I had more ways to help manage the vast amount of data I'm accumulating there --TIm
  4. It's actually not quite like that, though you are correct that a hierarchy presents issues when it comes to synchronization. In fact, modern file systems are not as hierarchical as they might appear, and are much closer to databases in design. For example, on NTFS, HFS+ etc, files are really stored in a flat table. The folder hierarchy is distinct and simply contains references to the files within that table. (HFS+ uses this, for example, to maintain file links and aliases even when the file is moved around the hierarchy.) Most of the issues around a hierarchy involve identity and tree management during sync. Case in point: [A] You have a folder "Foo" with a dozen notes in it. You rename it "Bar", then back to "Foo", so you get back where you started. When you sync, EN doesn't really have to do anything. You start with the same folder "Foo", create a new folder "Bar" and move all the notes in "Foo" to "Bar". Then you delete the now empty "Foo" and rename "Bar" to "Foo". Now to a user, this looks just like [A], since you still have all your notes in the same folder "Foo". Trouble is, depending on how the application does its book-keeping, the new "Foo" folder may be identified as a different folder when you do a sync, and it's tricky to get this kind of corner case right. I never said folders were simple; I just said they were useful --TIm
  5. Devonthink has a terrible interface, an (apparently) terrible iOS app, terrible support for languages other than English, and no cross-platform capabilities. It is in need of some major work, in my opinion, and I find it to be (at the moment) a difficult app to fit into my workflow. But, it gets so much right, as you mentioned. In terms of organization, you can do just about anything with it, and the ability to index files that aren't even in the app is brilliant. I also really like their approach to security, and the recent upgrades they made to improve syncing (through Dropbox with other Macs) was a welcome improvement. If they could at least get the iOS app on its feet it would be a huge help. All of this is to say that some seemingly simple and obvious things (this is actually directed towards the title of the thread) are not so simple and obvious in practice. Devonthink has known for years now that its iOS app is awful and desperately needs work, but here we are in 2014 and it still isn't updated. Even the behemoths on the block, Microsoft and Google, can't even get their apps right (Google on iOS is anemic and Outlook is almost useless on the Mac or iOS without some support for PDFs). My guess is that there are all kinds of obstacles and tradeoffs that users don't see in the making of an app, so when we talk about adding notebook hierarchies to Evernote, I have to wonder what impact that would have on database performance, interfaces, etc. Nothing is ever as simple as it sounds. Anyhow, a wish list is great! I have got all kinds of suggestions and hopes for Evernote's service. I don't necessarily expect they will be implemented, because I am not the one doing the heavy lifting, but I still think it is good to make the case for changes. I completely agree, and as a 30-year veteran software developer/architect I'm very aware that every new feature has significant hidden costs. And of course the Evernote team will have to weigh every new feature using a cost/benefit analysis. Part of that analysis, of course, comes down to "how people want this feature", which was really what prompted my post .. to raise awareness that there are some people out there who would like better containers. And yes, DEVONthink has really serious shortcomings in it's overly-complex UI and abysmal iOS app. But it shines in other places. In fact it's interesting that DEVONthink and Evernote are almost complementary; where one is weak the other is strong and vice versa. --Tim
  6. I totally agree with this. For those who say "tags are better", you should really say "tags are better FOR ME", which is fine. Tags with for some people, folders work for others. By only supporting tags, EN basically supports only one type of user; how is this good??? Tags have two basic problems: -- They are not hierarchical. This makes tag organization for anything non-tricial very difficult. -- They are global. The global one is significant. I have a Food+Wine notebook for recipes. I also have a consulting notebook for software development. When i search by tag in the consulting notebook, why does EN prompt me for "Breakfast" as a tag? That's just idiotic, but is caused by tags being global. I'm really not impressed by people who say "EN doesn't need folders". I don't use tags in EN, but I don't post her saying "EN doesn't need tags". Different people have different needs/wants. So why don't I just abandon EN and use a different tool (e.g. DEVONthink) that does have folders? Because there is so much else to like about EN. But lack of folders is crippling it for my workflows. AFAIK, "EN doesn't need folders", you're misquoting/misinterpreting. First, EN doesn't have "folders". It has stacks & notebooks. If you meant to say "I'm really not impressed by people who say "EN doesn't need folders subnotebooks".", I'm pretty sure no one has ever said that so please quote where this has been posted. What has been said (countless times) is EN does not have sub-notebooks & there are two options. Either adapt to EN as it is now or, if sub-notebooks are a deal breaker, then you will need to find an app that better suits your needs. The fact that you haven't found a viable alternative speaks volumes. Don't you suppose if it were so easy to make an EN that lived on all the platforms & did all the things people are griping about what EN does not do (IE sub notebooks, better editor, etc) and given that EN now has over 100 million users that someone would have done it by now...??? I have yet to find an example (and many have been posted) where tags/notebooks/descriptive titles & keywords won't easily accomplish what people are trying to do with sub-notebooks. But the bottom line is that EN has chosen not to implement them & may never choose to do so. It may be simply a decision or (more likely) there's a valid tech reason. IOW, since EN lives on so many platforms, they may be trying to follow the KISS method. It's really easy to do Monday morning quarterbacking. I'll ignore the comment about "Monday morning quarterbacking" as ad hominem. In my post I said two basic things: I have found the lack of (hierarchical) folders to be a significant shortcoming for the way I prefer to work, and that I continue to use EN despite this as I like many of its other features. Should I not have posted this? If not, why not? As for your comments on notebooks/subnotebooks etc, I find this argument strange. Notebooks and folders are conceptually both containers, which are quite different from tags which are attributes of a note. Both have a role in any good structural hierarchy (and both can be abused). But when you only have one or the other, then you are forced into contortions to make up for the lack of the other; hence the discussions here about magic tag names to hide a hierarchy in the name, or conversely (in folder only systems) the use of unwieldy folder hierarchies to try to track metadata that really belongs in tags (e.g. an "Invoice" folder rather than an "Invoice" tag). I would characterize EN as having rich tags and weak containers. This fits with some workflows, but not others, including mine, which was why I posted a "wish" that EN had a more flexible container model. And let's be real here, EN has added stuff to the container side of things; multiple notebooks were added, then stacks, so someone in EN must see a need for stuff beyond tags. If you want a good example of a product that integrates folders and tags, look at DEVONthink, which supports both well, but has vastly inferior sync and device support compared to EN. My ideal product is one that has the organizational flexibility of DEVONthink and the sync/device support of EN. --Tim
  7. I totally agree with this. For those who say "tags are better", you should really say "tags are better FOR ME", which is fine. Tags with for some people, folders work for others. By only supporting tags, EN basically supports only one type of user; how is this good??? Tags have two basic problems: -- They are not hierarchical. This makes tag organization for anything non-tricial very difficult. -- They are global. The global one is significant. I have a Food+Wine notebook for recipes. I also have a consulting notebook for software development. When i search by tag in the consulting notebook, why does EN prompt me for "Breakfast" as a tag? That's just idiotic, but is caused by tags being global. I'm really not impressed by people who say "EN doesn't need folders". I don't use tags in EN, but I don't post her saying "EN doesn't need tags". Different people have different needs/wants. So why don't I just abandon EN and use a different tool (e.g. DEVONthink) that does have folders? Because there is so much else to like about EN. But lack of folders is crippling it for my workflows.
  8. 100% agree with this post. Evernote has great sync, but the basic note-taking features are crippled (in an app designed to take notes!!). I've begged for simple styles in the past -- nothing fancy, just a way to apply a bunch of formatting using a single click (I'm not even worried that it should remember the style). Do we get anything like that? Nope, we get Evernote pens, and t-shirts, and EN Food. This is a company that seems to have lost direction. The lack of editing and confused approach to tags has made me give up on EN. I'm dumping my Premium sub and moving to other tools that work professionally, even at the expense of losing some cross-device syncing.
  9. Same problem here after Mavericks upgrade .. it's really bugging me too, as just moving the window to lookup something suddenly loses your place .. hope this gets fixed soon.
  10. I really don't want to comment on the "resources" arguments here. I merely stated that I found the lack of a simple hierarchy limiting to my workflow. At the end of the day, EN will base all feature decisions on customer demand, so I said my 2c worth; as others chime in here with yays and nays EN get a sample of opinions (albeit somewhat biased since we are, after all, all EN users .. those that REALLY needed folders probably arent even here since they will have rejected EN as their notetaking solution). For those who are nays however; remember if you have more than one notebook then you are ALREADY using folders, arent you? --Tim
  11. I want to clarify what I consider a fundamental difference between folders and tags. Tags, in the current implementation, are GLOBAL to an account; a given tag is visible in all stacks and notebooks and can be used anywhere. This is in keeping with the basic concept of a tag being metadata attached to a note. In contrast, a folder is LOCAL to the notebook in which it is created. Again, this matches the paradigm of a folder being a container inside an outer container. Tags make sense when they have a global usage. A "bookmark" or "TODO" tag is generic and has a global "feel" to it; it makes sense. But what about "Breakfast"??? Is that global? This isnt an abstract example; I have a "Food+Wine" notebook with recipes and stuff in it for home, and other notebooks for work use. EN seems clumsy to me when I have to wade through ALL the tags to find ones relevant to a project i'm focused on. To my mind, therefore, the issue is one of focus; I dont like polluting a global tag namespace with lots of tags that are only applicable in one notebook. What I'm looking for is a way around this, and currently EN doesnt seem to offer anything other than discrete logon accounts (shudder). Hence my discussion regarding folders, though there are of course options, such as more flexible scoping of tags. --Tim
  12. ... And I'm not arguing against the current features, they are great. I'm just saying that, for me, a simple hierarchy WOULD help me get more organized. I'm not saying it has to be folders; it could be a richer tagging system (for example, scoping tags to a stack or notebook), or a true tag hierarchy. After all, if a hierarchy was bad, we wouldn't even have stacks and notebooks --Tim
  13. No, I think the EN assumption is "We've provided a different method of organization than folder trees". And that's the reason I use EN rather than other information storage systems. After having spent years frustrated by the attempts to graft the real world metaphor of a filing cabinet onto digital information, EN was almost a revelation. No more "Which of the several very logical folder choices did I put that note in?" , "Should I make a copies so I can put things it two different folders?" With tags, for the first time, I can actually find things. My larger point is that what you see as a lack of ability to organize, I (and apparently EN) see as a superior method of organization. You make the statement that if EN added folders, I wouldn't have to use them. True. However, if EN spends their finite development time and dollars on adding folders across all of the many platforms they support, that takes it away from something I might find useful and interesting. Best of luck. I completely agree with your defense of tags; as a way to locate items that might span different "buckets" they are excellent. My feeling, though, is that just as a folder system without tags is limiting (for the reasons you note), so a tag system without folders is equally limiting, though I take your point that EN has limited resources to devote to features. I tend to store a pretty large number of notes that span my personal and professional areas, and find notebooks+tags wont cut it (after 18+ months of tinkering). Out of curiosity, can you describe how you use the EN features to keep organized? Also, I wonder how much this is a "filtered" audience? I mean let's face it, this forum is for EN users, who have already decided they can do without folders (otherwise they went elsewhere). I spent some time talking to others at my office who use or used EN and 7 out of the 9 said folders would help them (and 4 more said they abandoned EN owing to lack of folders), so I'm not totally alone --Tim
  14. I've used a number of note takers/organizers over the years, and I really like a couple of things about Evernote: -- Pervasive sync across multiple platforms that works flawlessly ... +100 points. -- Extensive 3rd party eco-system, so pretty much any app has "Send to Evernote" inside it ... +100 points. Hooray! BUT, one thing I REALLY dislike is the lack of folder support .. -1000 points . I can simulate a folder hierarchy (badly) using a bizarre mix of notebooks, stacks, tags and note naming conventions, but it's like swimming upstream, and all the time it feels like EN is fighting me to make it as hard as possible. Consider this simple problem: I want a project with sub-sections for bookmarks, notes, and documents. In EN the only decent way I can do this is with a Notebook for the project and tags for each sub-section. But that gets messy; I keep having to use tricks to see the different categories, I have to remember to tag items, the tags show up in a global space outside of any notebook and so get mixed up with other tag schemes for other notebooks. It just doesn't work for me. So, I think EN still needs a better way to organize notes: -- Folders is one way; allow notebooks to have folders that actually contain notes; stacks DONT cut it here. -- A better tag system is another; Scope tags (optionally) to notebooks, so I can easily see which tags make sense. -- Allow tags to truly group (I can put one tag in another, but it's still really a global tag). Let's get real; I have a notebook with recipes in it. I have another with a dozen technical projects in it that are related. When I try to use tags its ridiculous to have "Breakfast" tags next to "Branch Analysis". It's cluttered and distracting. The EN assumption seems to be "Most users dont organize stuff, so make search really good". Great, I love it. But "Most users dont organize stuff so no need to support any way to organize it" is bad. And with EN pushing into the Business space where the "shoebox" model breaks down, I REALLY think its time to enhance the organizational abilities of EN. Just my 2c worth. --Tim P.S. Yes, I know there are lots of ways to work around this; but face it; they ARE mostly work-arounds, and cumbersome. And wouldn't EN be better if it HAD folders; you dont HAVE to use a feature if you dont want to, but you CANT use a feature if its not there!
  15. I like to keep offline versions of the Evernote user guides, and previously did that by storing the PDF versions of the EN User Guide(s). However, it strikes me as odd that these documents arent available AS NOTEBOOKS. Wouldnt it make sense for these to be made available in this format? Then people could access EN documentation as a nice shared, searchable, notebook. Anyone else think this is a good idea? --Tim
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