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GrumpyMonkey

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GrumpyMonkey last won the day on December 13 2021

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  1. Hi. Just jumping in to beat my encryption drum in the hopes that the new owners will take a more charitable view of the features. I think PE and I have gone over this ground already, but of the sake of new users and new ownership, I'll restate my position. I use Evernote relatively little these days, mainly because of performance issues in my use case that remain to be resolved even after the transfer of ownership, and the other app I primarily rely on is DEVONthink. It only exists in the Appleverse, but if you work with iOS (iPads and iPhones) and OSX (Macs), you might want to take a look at it. If you are an Evernote developer, please give a think to some of the features, especially ones related to security. Long story short: (1) end-to-end zero-knowledge encryption of the entire database, (2) complete with robust search capabilities (using Finder on the Mac or the app's search), (3) OCR, and (4) no perceptible performance differences between tiny databases and ones of several hundred gigabytes. You can have both security (top-notch encryption) and performance. Even more impressive, you have flexibility--you can even do all your syncing without using the internet if you'd like (Bonjour). My hope, as I have expressed for fifteen years now, is that Evernote will implement some (or more) of these security features. Despite being a smaller company, DEVONthink has been accomplishing all of this for all those years and more. In other words, Evernote's situation is not the result of a technical limitation (something that can't be done, or can't be done well) but a choice not to up their game. Maybe the new owners will take security more seriously.
  2. Thanks for discussing the issue with me.I agree that many of the limits have been more clearly delineated over time, users have options besides this forum for requesting changes, and there don't appear to be any changes in the pipeline (even if there were, they wouldn't happen anytime soon), so all we can do here as users is operate within the limits or explore other options. In answer to the question about where to peg the limits, note size and number limits have been a pain point for me for over a decade now, and I suppose I have been hoping since the 50mb limit days that the limits would be removed entirely or greatly relaxed by now (see archived post below). Interestingly, limits that I have found to be inconsequential in my use case (the number of notebooks) have massively increased (are we at 10,000 now for teams?) over time while some limits that I have frequently bumped up against (100,000 for the number of notes) have remained unchanged. It will be interesting to see what happens under new ownership. Regardless of what happens, gaz and Pink Elephant have offered helpful advice.
  3. Why should users have to modify / degrade the quality of their content to compensate for Evernote’s design inadequacy? First, and most important—competing apps do not have this problem. Even the Google servers Evernote uses to host its service do a perfectly fine job handling this kind of data in other contexts, so I don’t see why Evernote should be uniquely unable to handle it. We have seen similar arguments about zero-knowledge encryption for the entire database, selecting multiple notes exceeding fifty, note count limits, etc. For all of these, just search around and you will find that competitors manage to do it (and have for nearly two decades in some cases), so it is not that it “can’t” be done well, but that it isn’t. Second, about this specific issue, I think file sizes larger than 200 MB will vary from person to person and from one field to another, so I am a little hesitant to reject a feature request with a suggestion that users are “holding it wrong” (a reference here to the infamous response by Apple to problems with the iPhone 4, though they actually gave advice on how to hold it better, suggested it was an industry-wide issue, and offered a free bumper case to “solve” the problem). What I can say from my own experience is that I regularly (every day) exceed 200MB with my PDF scans—it is a rather easy thing to do when you set the quality at a high level and don’t compress / optimize, which tends to ruin any fine details (critical for my work). And, my downloads of historical materials scanned and available on the Internet are also similar sizes, which suggests to me that thousands of scholars in my field are working with materials (marking them up, adding notes, searching them, etc.) that could not fit into Evernote. If you work with “large” files (by Evernote’s definition) you are not alone. However, in the end an app is what it is, and we have to work with what we have rather than what we could have or should have had. Wait? I have requested this limit to be raised for so long (a decade?) I forget. Once we got the limit raised from 100mb (?) to this new limit, but there has not been movement in a long while. A workaround? Several have been suggested. They have their pros and cons—your mileage may vary. A different app? The same answer to the workaround.
  4. I don’t think it is easy to make judgments about the needs other users have, especially when they bump against Evernote’s limits, because there are so many possibilities for workflows—the files may be scanned at a high quality, they may have a lot of pages, they may be in color, etc. There are lots of reasons why you might scan something and end up with a large file—1GB or more in some cases—and users shouldn’t need to twist their workflows into pretzels to compensate for Evernote’s design deficiencies. Obviously, I am one of those users who have spent years lobbying for this change At the end of the day, there are users who want to “remember everything,” but Evernote isn’t fulfilling this promise as long as it imposes limits like this. I love the app and want to see it succeed, but frankly speaking, it has competitors that have not been constrained by file size and file count limits for over a decade now, so it is not a matter of if such a feat can be accomplished by someone, or if users can successfully fit themselves into Evernote’s Procrustean bed, but rather a question of whether *Evernote* can or will step up to meet the challenge. I used to do stuff like split up files, extract text from them, and experiment with other cludgy workarounds. It worked OK at times, but in the end I just used apps that could handle large files without wasting my time with workarounds. Over time, that has meant less time spent in Evernote and more time with others that can meet this need.
  5. I think the tasks feature is pretty well-done (they seem to have put a lot of thought into streamlining the creation and management of tasks) and it seems to fit both Evernote and its user base. Reminders. Tasks. The return on investment for developing these kinds of features seems like it would be pretty nice for any app in this space. I always wondered why Evernote dragged its heels on this kind of stuff for so long. Personally, I long ago developed my own workflow (I suppose it is a mix of GTD and bullet journal) that does fine without tying me into any features or platforms. Whatever merits my manual system has, there is no doubt that these more automated workflows are terribly attractive, especially when dealing with complex projects. The nice thing about this feature in Evernote is that you probably wouldn't take much of a hit even if the data didn't port out at all--tasks being by their very nature short-lived (assuming you complete them), and so they become less and less relevant over time. If you were spending a lot of your time in Evernote, the tasks feature seems like it would be worth the effort to use. As for what plans will be available and the specifics about them, I haven't heard anything. Even if there was an announcement today, though, a lot could change between now and "then," so I suppose it would be best to take a wait-and-see approach.
  6. Indeed. This is a great example of the cost / benefit analysis folks ought to do when considering how to take this news about Evernote's acquisition. The problem with OCR is why I have long advocated (10+ years?) Evernote users do OCR on their own PDFs before putting them into Evernote. Unfortunately, I have not found a viable alternative for Evernote's wonderful handwriting and image OCR. You can get handwriting recognition to work great if you create a file on the iPad using certain apps, for example, but that is similar to the PDF problem of doing it yourself before putting it into Evernote. You *can*, but not everybody will actually want or be able to do it. I cannot do it with my physical paper notes, for example. This is one of those platform specific things that Evernote just does really well. Anyhow, as much as I miss the handwriting recognition and image OCR, I have tried to keep those "plus alpha" things, and I haven't built my workflow around them, because I know it would lock me into Evernote. For example, I create a plain text "index" for my handwritten notes (similar to the handwritten one you might make with bullet journal). There are workarounds, and I have built it into my daily reviews, so it is a minimal hassle for me, and (at least in my case) worth the extra effort to avoid lock-in.
  7. Hi. I think DEVONthink is the easiest for any workflow, assuming an Apple environment. OneNote is probably the easiest destination for Windows environments. If you are in a mixed environment, Dropbox + a note taking app (Byword for plain text, Apple Notes for some style) would probably cover most needs. Evernote easily exports everything in html (legacy), and this can be dumped into any other app, so you can choose whatever you like. There are other threads detailing things for interested users. Of course, this assumes you are not trying to keep Evernote-specific features in a non-Evernote environment. That would be an impossible migration, naturally. In general, as with so many things, the less complexity you have (for example, the fewer Evernote-specific features you rely on) the less friction and frustration you are likely to encounter. In my case, in order to escape EN bugs while developers worked on them, I used to port my things out a few times a year into VoodoPad (my trials and tribulations have been documented somewhere in these forums). It’s never been a big deal for me to move in or out of EN, because I constructed my workflow to be as portable as possible. I recommend doing that at the outset, whatever app you end up using. Of course, I miss out on some truly innovative and interesting workflows (in EN as well as DT) due to my self-imposed minimalism, but I also avoid irritation—for me there is no workflow worth getting trapped into a single app or ecosystem. One commitment that EN has maintained, at least in Legacy, is one to portability. It may not have all the bells and whistles folks would like, but “export” works and EN is able to be accessed by other apps looking to help you move out of EN into another home. As EN enters a new phase, maybe this advice will help current and new users. Try to pare down your workflow to the bare minimum (at least avoid bulding a workflow that heavily relies on non-“core” features). whatever the new owners do, if you have a simple workflow, you’ll be less likely to be adversely impacted by any sudden changes.
  8. Nothing unfair about it. Actually, I am looking for reasons to pay. I paid up until the latest version, but my workflow was broken, so there wasn’t much incentive left to pay. Note Selection I think being able to select more than fifty items at a time is a terribly low bar—Evernote used to be able to do it, and all of their competitors can, but somehow the new and improved version can’t. In my workflow, it turns out this is a deal-breaker. Maybe BS will address this. I am guessing they won’t, because I suspect there is some fundamental flaw with Evernote’s new architecture / Electron, but I will check in every once in a while to see if they figured it out. If they want to put an upper limit on it, make it 100,000 notes. That is the most we can have (I think), anyhow. it would be kind of funny if they got this sorted out right away— pthen I would have to wonder if there was some obstinate engineer with a bizarre obsession with a fifty-note limit. Second Brain Storage As for the “second brain” thing, storage obviously becomes an issue after a decade of use, but Evernote never has gotten this right, so it is a pain point rather than a deal breaker. Can’t really expect the new team to get something right that Evernote never could. I don’t think it has to be such a big problem, though. At least, not conceptually. Specifically, my second brain is too big for my desktop, especially my work one (the purchase seems to have been predicated on the idea that we would keep everything in GDrive). One solution for Evernote (assuming they see this as a problem)would simply be feature parity. Evernote has stuff you choose to sync and stuff you don’t on mobile, but not on the desktop. Introduce selective syncing like mobile and my problem would be solved. If we get down into the weeds, I can recall multiple cycles of rewrites / redesigns when solutions were considered, and some interesting experiments were considered (at one point, unlimited uploads), but ultimately Evernote never solved the issue. I could speculate about the reasons, but that’s probably not productive. Alternatives to Evernote? Yes, but… In response to the other comments, there are some really reliable, established competitors that are pretty impressive in their own ways. Some are fantastically reliable and offer solutions to this memory thing that comes with a “second brain.” And, there have always been pretty easy ways to get your data out of Evernote and into them—in my case, it only took a few minutes to get everything up and running in a new app after I experienced the current version of Evernote. No one is quite like Evernote, though, and that is why I have stuck around even after the app iterated away from my workflow. I still hold out hope that it will somehow find its way back to being a good fit for me. This new deal is probably not a sign that things are going well for the company, but it may be a good thing for me, and with some repositioning (that “second brain” vision?), maybe the app could attract users back to it in the future. I’d be happy to subscribe again if they app did what it said it would do (reliability) and met my expectations for straightforward features like selecting notes.
  9. In my case, I don’t remember being frustrated over any perceived lack of speed in development, lack of “new” features (besides encryption), or price points. What I do mind are bugs, data loss, data corruption, data security issues, and the sudden loss or deprecation of features. I have a pretty simple use case, even if my number of notes and some attachment sizes are unusually large. Yet, Evernote has somehow managed to code my workflow out of its current iteration. From the new owners, I’d like to see better reliability, better support for users who have a relatively large amount of data / number of notes, and better encryption. But, in the end, I’d need them to double down on a few of the core features. Not being able to select more than fifty notes at a time is a deal breaker (no price point is reasonable for me) and being limited by the hd storage on my computer is a major pain point (grudgingly pay). If the free tier for “abusers” like me disappeared without these two things, it’d be tough to hang on. Zero-knowledge encryption for some or all of our database would be a nice enhancement of the paltry encryption options that currently exist. I always liked the goal of Evernote as your second brain—I never needed it to be a replacement for Word or PowerPoint. I’d pay to see this get realized.
  10. I imagine @BurgersNFries would have something interesting to say here I suppose, as usual, I will be sticking around, while relying on other apps (primarily DEVONthink) to do the heavy lifting for me. Tomorrow is my Evernote birthday--I first signed up with my main account on 11/23 in 2008. I used another account for it a few months before that while I was kicking the tires on the app, but this would be when I first started investing in it (time and money). This isn't exactly the birthday present I had in mind. Libin used to say he wanted it to be around 100 years, but I think it has done pretty well to make it this far on its own. BS may be a great thing for Evernote, and they may not be, but speaking as a user whose needs are not being met by the current Evernote iteration, I expect I will probably be more satisfied with the new ownership. After all, if it is not meeting my needs now, things really could not get any worse, at least for my situation. I hope the employees will be taken care of, and that we will see them after the sale, because I have been pretty impressed with a lot of their work, even if the overall direction pursued by the product has drifted away from my 2008 use case.
  11. For my workflow (your mileage may vary) it feels like I have become trapped in a Benjamin Button developmental cycle, with the product somehow becoming less functional / mature over time. Maybe things will improve next year. 2022 is just around the corner! Considering the combination of a higher subscription fee and a decline in functionality (your mileage may vary), it seems unlikely that I'll renew my subscription. Earlier this year I reached a similar conclusion to gaz, so I am not even getting much use out of my current subscription.
  12. On iOS and Android, the environment when I am more likely to be pressed for time, it is not an option. On OSX, I have generally been able to avoid the home screen. A similar path to avoidance on mobile would be appreciated.
  13. For me it is just on iOS and Android that I encounter the issue. I am using Legacy on OSX, so I do not know how the home screen is progressing there, but I think it would make sense for them to unify the experience, so if it isn't now on Windows, it might be in the future! Then again, if the desktop doesn't have to have it, then I would like it to be removable / avoidable on mobile as well. Basically, anything that hijacks my screen is a mark against the app in my eyes--I want to see my notes, not the home screen, and definitely not a tutorial. I am sure that for plenty of people the home screen is the best thing since sliced bread. I think that way about multiple sort options, so I get it. But, I also don't like to be forced into a workflow that doesn't work well for me. Much like the sort views, why not set a default (the home screen) and let us customize our experience (not just customize the home screen we don't want, but have the app open up to the note view we were last using)? It seems like a no-brainer to me, but there is some kind of deeply entrenched desire to hijack my screen.
  14. i just found the announcement irritating. new plans? ok... click the link. what? i still don't know. i wonder why they didn't wait to send the email until they had something to say. weird. but, they got me to click, so success according to some internal metric?
  15. Yes. Good point about the backups. I recommend multiple ones, whenever possible. I have a TimeMachine at home and in the office. I don't think this will be foolproof, but it should avoid my main concern (some kind of problem at one location that affects my data), so perhaps it will protect against ransomware as well. And, of course, much of my data is in the cloud in various locations, including Evernote. The most important thing to remember might be that as long as any of us are connected to the Internet, we are vulnerable to some degree, and we need to think about spreading out our risk. As you said, it isn't easy to stay safe these days.
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