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GrumpyMonkey last won the day on February 4

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  1. I think we'll have to agree to disagree then. Many of the apps I use on a regular basis (including the browser where I am writing this now) have mastered the art of presenting a simple interface with the ability to select font sizes, styles, colors, etc. Even the plain text editors I use are more advanced in this respect. I am not requesting clutter. I'm requesting power and control over my data. All of these things can be done in an elegant manner. I recommend the developers keep a few of Edward Tufte's books on hand for inspiration. The metadata request doesn't seem terribly burdensome or bloated. Again, other apps manage to do it. And, the inability to edit the metadata makes it impossible to do very simple things such as change the created date, change the author, or view the note history. All of these can be extremely useful, especially when you experience data loss and may not have access to your computer for days or weeks. I'll take streamlined, too. In fact, as I said, I think they did just fine making the app beautiful. But, having functionality and elegant simplicity are not mutually exclusive. I could list many, many apps (including competitors) who strike a very nice balance (in my opinion). But, fair enough. Let's agree to disagree. Let's say they streamline the app further and remove more features they deem unnecessary. OK. I'll support them. Just don't dump the app on users with no heads up. Instead of sending out marketing blurbs devoid of content ahead of a release, maybe let users know you're going to do X, Y, Z for "reasons." That'll give us time to prepare, even if we aren't too happy to be paying for an app that increasingly does less
  2. I agree. This nagging is probably a bug, but it comes about because Evernote designs the app to . I wish they'd rethink this, treat us like adults, and let us customize our experience the way we'd like. If I don't want the push notifications, I am not sure why Evernote thinks it is a good idea to nag me until I give in.
  3. I have decided to stop using Evernote in my classes; I really like it for the sharing options (more a potential benefit of the service than an actual one, because the emails won't even work properly, but that is something for another thread) and one of the main justifications for the premium subscription (in my case) was its classroom potential. This isn't the first time Evernote has removed a feature without notice (presentation mode), but I think it is the last time I am willing to let it affect my classes. If Evernote wants to make an app for professionals to rely upon, then they need to treat their users as professionals instead of infants who cannot handle complex user interfaces (actually, kids do well with pretty much any cluttered interface these days), and they need to be a lot more careful about meddling with peoples' workflows. I've been beating this drum for a few years, so many of my criticisms are nothing new. Why the decision to cut it out of classes now, when we have such a beautiful interface? It's simple. They shifted away from developing to increase the user base (the main focus now for eight years), asked us all to pay if we wanted to support development, and this is their first major release since the summer. It should be something that plants a flag in the ground and says this is how things are going to be at the newly slimmed down (they cut a bunch of staff and servers) company with a new focus. They're repeating the same mistakes again, though, by continuing to fiddle with the form rather than improving the function, and (yet again) unexpectedly removing features. Why they keep abandoning things without giving us a heads up is a mystery to me, but clearly (in this respect, at least) nothing has changed at the company, and it is business as usual. It's a shame, because they clearly did a lot of work, and all of that (for me) is wasted with a single surprise decision to remove a feature. When it just affects me, I suppose I have more patience for it (and, I can just decide not to update), but when it affects the classroom, it is a different story. I hope they get this stuff sorted, and I wish them well. Evernote is still a great app with tremendous potential. I am sure that it meets the needs of many individual users, I hope people really enjoy the new interface, and I am thrilled to see some good news for a change. I'll be sticking around as an individual user -- it does some things I really like, especially with searching. But, I'd say an update that makes me use the app less is probably not a huge success. Another unforced error, in my opinion. They spent time on that marketing blog post sent out a while back excitedly telling us about this app, but they didn't have the time (or interest), in telling us what features would (and wouldn't) be included. I guess they like surprises more than I do.
  4. LOL. Well, I've tried and failed to use Work Chat. Sometimes it is OK (when emailing notes, for whatever mysterious reason, fails). Sometimes not. It is never useful, though, at least in my situation. I admit that I don't really get why this was created. But, there may well be people out there who enjoy using it, so I think even those of us who have no love for the feature would be fine if they'd let us hide it away out of sight. I don't care if it is removed or not, as long as it isn't pushed on me, especially with nagging. I think a lot of the hate came from having this pushed at us by locking it into the UI and so forth. Anyhow, let's say the developers read my post and want to call me out on it -- fine, if they shouldn't be spending time fiddling around with the UI, what should they be doing? 1. Give me control over font size (with numbers, please, not "small" or "large") 2. Give me more sort options. One day, in another "exciting" update, they got rid of the sort options and dropped us down to three. Windows has a couple dozen, I think. Put that into iOS. Competitors have managed to do it, by the way, in an unobtrusive and effective manner (I count 10 options in one of them). 3. Give me control over the metadata (like we have in OSX). 4. Give us Context. We had it once, but then it disappeared in an "update." 5. Display clipped web pages correctly. 6. If I do a search, and it locates a note with the term inside of a PDF, open the PDF and highlight it for me. Don't make me run a whole new search on every PDF trying to track it down. 7. Allow me to display PDFs inline. 8. Is there a way to share a notebook publicly? If so, I just cannot find it. These are just a few things that occur to me right now. I am sure I could come up with more (besides the bug fixes). There is plenty of stuff out there to keep the developers busy, I think. Personally, search is one of the most important features for me, and when that is implemented in a clumsy manner (as it is now), that causes the most friction. Evernote still has one of the best searches on iOS, but there is room for improvement, in my opinion.
  5. Hi. The new version of the iOS app looks really nice. I thought the old version looked nice, though. And, the version before that was nice too. So, my advice would be to stop fiddling with how it looks, because I don't think this is the best use of the developers' time. I think you want to be evaluated on how well you have cleaned up the UI, and I wish I could spend time here gushing over the changes, but the truth is that I pay for the app because I want to use it for productivity and as a part of the classes that I teach (Evernote has some nice sharing features that make it quite useful for collaboration on research). Given a choice, I would much rather see current features improved, or new ones added. 1. Stop Removing Features I am more concerned about getting stuff done, and I expect features you put into the app to stick around. There are many requests I have had over the last few years, a few of which have been implemented, so I really appreciate that you listen to user feedback. However, I think in all of my years here, I have never heard any users request the removal of a feature. Sure, I don't want to see some stuff on the screen, and maybe I'll ask to have it moved, or ask for the option to customize the UI. But, every time you remove a feature (something that often happens) it throws a grenade into our workflows and makes us wonder why in the world we are using the app. 2. Presentation Mode I don't like presentation mode very much (my list of complaints / requests for improvement have been communicated many times in these forums ever since its introduction), BUT my students have been using it in class, and they have found it useful. Now, I guess they cannot give their presentations tomorrow in class if they have downloaded the app? This is the same old story (how many times do we have to go through this song and dance?) of Evernote failing to communicate changes. I don't agree with the change, I wish you'd stop nerfing the app, but if you are going to do it, give us a heads up. This isn't a feature request, by the way. Don't bother putting it back. It's the end of the semester, this is the last presentation, so you'll be too late anyhow. All you do when you make mistakes like this (removing features without notice or introducing major bugs) is create resentment, and there is no going back once you have done something like ruin someone's presentation. Instead of treating the app as a beta to be tossed out into the wild, or something you can fiddle around with whenever you feel like it, I suggest you think about this as a critical part of someone's workflow -- any unexpected changes will disrupt people's work and make the productivity app wildly UNproductive. 3. Rethink Your Strategy I'll go one step further and say that if you want users to take you seriously and keep paying for the app, it's time to listen to our feature requests, make some promises, and start delivering. The secret roadmap approach you've been following so far is fine in theory, but in practice you are tearing up the road as you go forward, so it results in a very unreliable experience for users. This is great for the beta released by some startup, but a truly awful strategy if you want people to buy into your vision. This advice is coming from a paying user, and one who has been around here a long time. I've tried really hard to keep using the app in my classes despite your best efforts to undermine my lessons, but I think it's about time to throw in the towel. I've got to submit my syllabi for classes in a few days, and I don't see the point in designing things to include an unreliable app. \ 4. Stop the Nagging First, there were the initial annoying messages about how to use the app, as if I am some idiot who cannot use his phone. This approach was adopted years ago and never seems to go away. Every time I have to reinstall the app on my phone, every time I get a new phone, every time you do a major update I have to suffer through the nagging. Please just stop. I am paying for a professional productivity app. I think it is time that you started treating us as professionals instead of incompetent noobs. Second, I now get this message every time I open the app -- a perfectly wonderful way to ruin all of the productivity improvements you have tried to make: "Stay up-to-date" [Not now] / [OK]. No. I don't want to do push notifications. And, your nagging isn't going to make me press OK. I was planning to use the app in class tomorrow (the same one where I expect students are in for an unwelcome surprise when they try to use presentation mode), but I think I'll use another device that is still running the old version of the app in order to avoid any unexpected nagging. The fact that I am avoiding the new app I consider to be a failure in the testing process. But, this is what happens with every update. Please test more, and when you do it, whenever you have the urge to add a nagging message, resist it. 5. Title? Where is the title of the note? Now, it is indistinguishable from the note. OK. It's an interesting design choice, and actually could work out, but since it is different than the body (you cannot add styles, for example), I'd say some indication of its status as the title would help.
  6. Hi. Thanks! Yes, I have been bugging them about this since 2012 (as I recall) and (to their credit) developers have talked directly with me about this (and other aspects of the app). Unfortunately, they are no longer with the company, but the ones who are there now have also been frank about having no plans to implement encryption like this. It's too bad, and I don't think I have ever heard a clear reason why not, but I don't expect one. After all, it is their app, and they make decisions based on a lot of factors, many of which are internal and are not (and probably should not be) shared with users. I hope they are making the best decisions for Evernote, because I'd like to see it succeed. As for the server / client-side operations, Evernote's greatest strength (and perhaps its greatest weakness) is that it employs its servers to make the user experience as smooth and fast as possible. This has the benefit of allowing a student with an ancient iPhone to work about as efficiently as I do on my brand new one -- even to get OCR as fast as I can on my desktop. But, it also means that when you are offline you run into a lot of headaches. PDFs can't be searched, new notes are not indexed, etc. There are tradeoffs. Evernote could choose to bring some stuff client-side to help do things like the OCR for PDFs, but that would require a much larger change than the one I have suggested (simply expanding on existing features / concepts). The fact is, though, that some of their competitors are set up in such a way that no functionality whatsoever is lost, even when everything is encrypted 100%. In fact, these are so secure that some don't even need to be synced through any cloud (exposing it to eyeballs) at all (apps relying on the client side instead of the cloud can take advantage of wifi, bluetooth, or ad hoc syncing directly from one device to another), so Evernote eally needs to start moving forward in this regard. Evernote doesn't have to do it exactly the same way, but the bar has moved, and for others it isn't a question anymore about whether to have robust encryption like this or not -- they've got it already and left Evernote far behind. Heck, there is a wonderful third-party app for Evernote ("Saferoom") that has proven encryption can be done inside Evernote as well. The existence of encryption options means that we don't have to speculate about technical barriers to encryption if Evernote adopts it -- other apps have proven that it can be done already with negligible impact on existing feature. Rather, we are talking about whether development choices are going to be made or not. So far, Evernote has decided not to go this route. What I want to make clear in my posts is that this is a decision, and not some impossible, moonshot feature request.
  7. Hi. It's all done in the local client. Naturally, as you wouldn't be letting Evernote's servers see the content in an encrypted notebook, for those files you'd be missing out on many of the extraordinary services Evernote offers. That would be one trade-off, similar to the ones we make now with local notebooks. So, why not just use the existing local notebooks feature? Syncing. In effect (in my opinion), the addition if an encrypted notebook feature wouldn't be a big deal to implement as a concept, because they've already established the framework with local notebooks -- the only change would be to encrypt that stuff, sync it (probably along with its search index), and decrypt it on your mobile device. That's the theory, anyhow. The point is that we already have existing features (the existing encryption options and local noyebooks) that involve similar tradeoffs, so it isn't such a huge leap.
  8. Hi. Turning on encryption in the app (DEVONthink) has no impact on the functionality that is in the app. For example, search works just as well with encryption on or off. My point is that other folks in the industry long ago solved the problems of syncing, encryption, and retaining functionality on mobile devices. It's not a technology issue, but a decision by Evernote not to include notebook-level encryption. It's fine, if that's what they want to do, but perhaps now, with this privacy blowback, they'll consider changing their minds. Why am I here? I want them to change their minds. Every app has its own unique strengths and weaknesses. I could go into a long list of pros and cons for my needs / use case, but the big one that stands out is that Evernote is available on every major platform while DEVONthink is only available on Apple stuff. Apple is fine for my personal use, because I can work around this limitation, but not so great for collaboration with students and colleagues. In an ideal world, I could use both apps, taking advantage of their respective strengths. But, without encryption, there is a lot that none of us can put into it. I'm responsible for maintaining the security / privacy of third-party data I handle (university, student, and colleagues) and students have their own data they don't want / shouldn't put on the cloud. With an encrypted notebook, a lot of problems would be solved. Without it? Well, Evernote is pretty limited. For me, voice technology, machine language, and all kinds of other gimmicks have never been especially appealing. What I want is something a bit more basic -- an "external brain" where I can store "everything," even sensitive stuff.
  9. I'll disagree here on a seemingly minor, but crucial point; namely, the idea that it is "unrealistic" to expect your data to be hidden from all human eyes at all times. While is true that human eyes in any "cloud" service (really, just putting your data into someone else's computer) can definitely see your data (there is no getting around that), *what* they see can either be encrypted or un-encrypted. The data can be encrypted using a key that only you have (zero-knowledge), one they have (the current scheme with Evernote on Google servers), or unencrypted (the old scheme on Evernote's servers). Only the zero-knowledge one offers protection without the need to rely on "trust," though (as pointed out already), those of us who have been around since 2008 know from the privacy policies and numerous discussions in the forums (even on a couple of podcast episodes, as I recall) that our data has always been accessible to Evernote employees. The fact is that there are major Evernote competitors with zero-knowledge encryption, so there is no need for anyone to force the square peg of a password service into the round hole of a note-taking / personal information manager. LastPass, for example, is a really great implementation, but I cannot think of anything within it that I find superior to Evernote in terms of note-taking, searching, or managing information. In fact, attachments are only attached with some trouble, and they are not especially useful once they are in there. Then again, I don't really care, because it is a password manager, not a viable alternative to Evernote. The only use I see here in this thread for it is to say that it is entirely possible to have 100% zero-knowledge encryption and a really high level of security on the cloud while still being able to do things like search your data. In some cases of actual Evernote competitors (ones built with some of the same use cases in mind), encryption is so smooth that you don't even know that everything you are doing (literally 100%) is held on someone else's servers, but encrypted, and unintelligible. I only know of one competitor who manages this feat with no loss of functionality whatsoever -- it is, therefore, possible to have encryption and search capabilities, but it is admittedly rare. It's not unrealistic at all to expect this level of privacy/security in general, though it is unrealistic to expect it from Evernote at the moment, because they have never promised such a thing beyond the encryption (zero-knowledge) of text blocks. What I hope to see someday is the expansion and improvement of Evernote's encryption so that we at least have 256-bit zero-knowledge encryption for designated notebooks. While those of us who desire this level of security / privacy wait for the day encrypted notebooks finally come to the app (a day which may never come--Evernote has actually said they are not interested in doing this, and that is why jefito was right earlier when he suggested that Evernote may not be suitable for us), the best workaround is to use PDFs that you encrypt and upload yourself (DTLow's recommended solution).
  10. Hi. Evernote does comply with EU regulations, and that is why they are able to operate there. See the privacy policy for more. They've never claimed, as far as I know, that Windows and Mac would be one experience. Did I miss something? Lots of users, including me, do work on the phone. My colleagues have written parts of books that way. I think Evernote's accessibility on every major platform is one of its distinguishing characteristics, and a huge draw for many folks. As you can see elsewhere in this thread, I am trying to call Evernote out for its shortcomings. However, we need to give credit where credit is due -- Evernote has done a lot (even if it not enough) to meet privacy expectations. There is a tradition to build on, if they choose to do so.
  11. Of course it wasn't a dart thrown at you professionals. I am sure there are plenty (mostly?) of staff with high levels of integrity out there. But, all it takes is that new guy over there who kept a hand-written log, just in case, to undermine everything. We're human. This stuff happens, even when it isn't nefarious. As for "rifling," that is what the human element of folks looking at our "anonymized" notes amounts to in my opinion. In fact, I will go a step further and say that no one at any company should ever be given so much power. It is, frankly speaking, an obscene level of surveillance capability (in the Foulcauldian sense of a Panopticon -- you don't even need to be watching to make it deviously effective). Not just in Evernote, but in any of these tech, cloud company things. We shouldn't have to "hope" or "trust" some unknown entity (how many of us know who is on the other end, and even if your best friend was hanging out there, would you want them to have this kind of access?). I actually don't think any of these companies are "evil." However, I do think that otherwise "good" people or "organizations" sometimes do really stupid, insensitive, immoral, or illegal things unintentionally, or in pursuit of a "higher" good. For example, I am sure that Microsoft had good intentions when it "rifled" through someone's Inbox in 2014 looking for a wrongdoer, when Harvard "rifled" through faculty inboxes looking for a wrongdoer, NSA staff "rifled" through treasure troves of surveillance data on love interests, the Ashley Madison hackers let all of us "rifle" through the private lives of others, or Evernote promised to secure our accounts against hackers but failed in 2013. In all of these cases, zero-knowledge encryption could have helped protect the end users and minimized the damage to the companies involved. But, I think some companies see more incentive in having access to the data rather than handing over the keys to users -- after all, massive companies like Facebook and Google were made possible by having control over our data. The thing that bugs me is that a solution already exists. It is there to be implemented at any time, and has been for many years. Why has Evernote stubbornly resisted offering better encryption than they started off with in 2008, nearly a decade ago? Sure, they upgraded the level of encryption, but it is still clumsy, unworkable on some platforms (last I checked), only applies to text, and doesn't scale (who is going to click to encrypt text blocks one at a time for tens of thousands of notes?). I think they have ML stuff in mind, and that is why they don't want to do it. What they may not realize is that I would be more likely to upload more data into the service if I could keep portions of it encrypted. It's a win-win for everyone, in my opinion. While they dither, their competitors have already implemented some fantastic encryption options. In 2008, they were about as safe / secure (unsafe / unsecure) as everyone else, but now they are way behind the curve, and if they are contemplating a Facebook or Google kind of manipulation of our data for our "benefit" while providing no better encryption options (encrypted notebooks), then I think they'll find people are a lot less willing to go along with the scheme these days, especially for an "external brain." Unfortunately, even if encryption is implemented, they might try to nerf it by making it only accessible on desktops, non searchable, or some other dis-incentive. I hope not, but I guess we'll have to wait and see. While they hang out in meetings mulling this over, I suggest they open up their phones and give a try to Apple Notes. That is some "sexy" encryption (almost effortless for the user), and if they could do it like that at the notebook level with searching, it'd be something really beautiful (and a step beyond most -- not all -- of their competitors).
  12. I don't consider email to be private, especially using Gmail, which is feeding Google's data mining Skynet thingy anyhow, so I assume some entities there, silicon and carbon based, know all of my Amazon order histories, and can therefore work even better than Amazon's Alexa/Hal experiment to spam me more effectively. However, I still don't think I want humans digging through my stuff. Not even ones as nice as you Gaz While you have actual experience and insight to offer, I can only counter with tinfoil hat paranoid delusions. It seems to me that the most amazing system of checks and balances complete with an infinite supply of incentives to maintain public trust are ultimately just words on paper, as the NSA discovered in 2013. I am sure Snowden broke some rules, and that his desk has been cleaned out, and he is not welcome back. But, the damage has been done. We are humans, after all, and the best solution, in my opinion, is to hand the keys over to users and give them control over their data. It is a strategy competitors have successfully employed. It is technically feasible (I have all my data encrypted, syncing nicely, and completely searchable, even on my phone). I prefer encryption to "trust." As a more concrete example of what I am talking about, if Snowden seems a bit larger than life (material for multiple movies), I'd suggest looking no further than where our data is currently housed at Google (Evernote moved our data there a couple of months ago). A Google engineer broke the rules and was fired back in 2010. Technically, then, everything worked as it was supposed to, except for the fact that he was able to stalk until caught. My point isn't that Google is evil, that the ex-Googler / current CEO is a Google plant here to suck up our data into G-Skynet thingy, or that "all your bases are belong to us." I'm merely suggesting that in 2017, when so many platforms are moving to zero-knowledge encryption, and Evernote invites us to keep everything, including sensitive data, inside the app, that they provide a level of security commensurate with an "external brain." This dodgy (opt-out was a terrible idea, as was the cryptic language next to the buried opt-out radio button) machine language, employee access to notes thing would probably not have blown up as much if encrypted notebooks existed. Or, at least, it would have given the privacy-minded an option. For me, it's simple: encrypted notebooks and selective sync. Those two features would make my Premium re-up a no-brainer. I'd keep dumping data into Evernote, and Evernote would have more information to power its To-do List version of Skynet (it needs a name to match Siri, Cortana, and Alexa; GLaDOS? -- it doesn't end in a vowel, but it does offer cake). It's a win-win for everyone.
  13. This is a problem faced by just about any company that handles our data, and I don't know many that have addressed it very well, except to offer some kind of "zero-knowledge" encryption that puts the encryption keys in the hands of the users. Some of Evernote's competitors do this to varying degrees, and I think this is the only way to ensure that the data is protected from unauthorized access (by employees or hackers who gain entry somehow). After all, even the NSA couldn't stop one of its employees from taking off with some of the most sensitive information that exists on the planet. We can hardly expect Evernote / Google (where Evernote lives) to do better. They won't claim they can stop unauthorized access, because that is impossible -- the best they can do is try their best to prevent it, and that isn't good enough for my data. Unfortunately, once your data is out, it is out. You'll get nothing more than an apology from Evernote (or any other company handling your data). And, you probably won't learn about it until months or years after the event. In my opinion, it is in everyone's best interest to have an encrypted notebook where you can keep sensitive data. If Evernote has a security incident of some kind (they have been hacked in the past), a lot of us will rest easier knowing that our sensitive data is protected. If I am able to store everything (including sensitive data) in Evernote, I am more likely to continue as a Premium member and to make more use of the service. Heck, if Evernote did that, I'd even be happy to opt into this machine learning thing, because I'd be comfortable feeding my not-so-sensitive data into it, though I'll never be comfortable having any employees rifling through it. Sorry. That's just not OK.
  14. Thanks. It seems pretty nice. However, it also seems to be reinventing the wheel on the Mac: DEVONthink (Mac and iOS) is a more established, secure (100% encryption available), stable, and robust alternative. Personally, I consider it the best alternative to Evernote for Apple users. Besides personal preference (iCloud over Dropbox, or maybe UI preferences), I cannot see how Together would be more appealing. Still, it's nice to see independent developers trying their hands at getting this notetaking / personal information manager thing right. Since this is an Evernote discussion board, I think it's worthwhile to mention some of Evernote's strengths, because people sometimes overlook what you get: available on every major platfrom (not only Apple stuff), support, great syncing, a refined and user-friendly UI, some collaboration features, OCR for images, OCR for PDFs, practically unlimited storage, the best (?) search out there on mobile (it adroitly handles advanced searches using Chinese / Japanese / Korean -- I don't know of anything else as good), etc., etc. I think your experience with alternative apps is likely to depend a lot on your use case -- in general, I'd say power users ought to keep in mind all the stuff Evernote has going for it before jumping into something else, because there is little (or nothing) available on every platform that does as well, and even single-platform competitors that have focused their efforts still cannot match it in some respects (search, for example).
  15. actually, i believe our content is now stored ENCRYPTED on GOOGLE'S SERVERS. Evernote's servers were retired. Of course, Google and Evernote hold the encryption keys, so that is a security measure to keep out unauthorized access by non-employees.