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Eric Baird

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About Eric Baird

  1. Well, I'm sure the brains at Evernote can figure out how to make color Titles across all platforms. Well, since declaring the colour of a bit of text that you want to print to a screen area is not exactly rocket science, and since Evernote isn't exactly targeting one-bit b/w displays, the only way that I can think of that this would be a difficult and platform-dependent thing to implement, would be if the native Evernote clients don't actually draw the NoteList from Evernote's own code, but but instead populate and manipulate a third-party "Outline List" widget that then draws the list. That, hypothetically, might mean that the developers have had to use different third-party "Outline List" widgets for different platforms, and the widgets might not have the same features, and might not make it easy to dig down to deep functions, like setting the colour of a single entry. Dunno, just guessing. it might explain, though, why screenshots of the Mac version show the Notes List as having user-definable font size, while the Windows version doesn't have that feature. If the native apps used Evernote's own code to draw the panel directly, the same upper-level redraw routines should be running on both platforms, and there'd be no obvious reason why font size was only selectable on the mac version. If that's not the reason, then ... I'm at a loss as to what the problem is, or why it should be difficult drawing coloured text on a colour-screen OS.
  2. Yep, basic colour-coding based on a short and manageable list of selected tags and their assigned colours would do it for me. All the other stuff is about future-proofing and extensibility, and looking toward the next generation of organiser software that combines EvernoteyStuff with diary/scheduler management. Right now there's probably not a heck of a lot of point in applying icons or "exotic" formatting to tags while we're using the column list view (IMO), but at some future date, either Evernote or a third party will want to try applying alternative views (including "Diary" views) to an Evernote-style database, so that instead of using two mobile organiser systems (say, Evernote and CalenGoo), we can do it all from a single database (perhaps with alternative front-ends, perhaps not). If that future is going to be based on an Evernote database (rather than on Google Calendar or some other cloud service), then Evernote need to start planning right now on how the features that people demand from a scheduler are going to be implementable on top of an Evernote database. Defining CSS as the storage format for user-selected display styles seems to me to be a good future-proofed approach, even if the "conventional" Evernote clients are only going to be using the colour info. Icons and advanced styling come in handy when you're looking at a six-month or one-year diary compacted onto a single smartphone page, and there's no room for legible text. Re: the "hidden" notebook - I don't suppose that it even needs to be hidden if users don't mind seeing an additional "system" notebook cluttering up their list. If we're only dealing with a small number of selected tags, you might not even need the tag colours to be synced, you might have an Evernote app on your home machine highlighting things like "Home DIY", and have the copy on your work phone highlighting only things like business meetings. But the advantage of standardising is that it stops the Evernote community fragmenting, and the advantage of synching is that it encourages standardisation. I guess we'd need to put some thought into whether colour schemes need to be synchable, and whether other system settings should have device-specific variants in the same system folder. It might be nice to have every device's preferences backed up centrally, and a system folder/notebook might be a useful way to do that.
  3. Colour-coding-by-category seemed to work rather well on DateBk(5?) scheduler for the colour Palm organisers. This'd be essentially the same system as the Palm, except that the listing of tags to be assigned colours would also represent the ranking in case of any conflicts, so you'd need a way to move entries up and down the list to change their priority. That's about the only difference. I'm having trouble recalling using any piece of PC diary software that didn't have a colour-coding or highlighting system (didn't even Lotus Organiser do it?). Color coding in the "listing" pane also seemed to be used on every email program that I recall using for the last few years.
  4. Okay ... so, if there are two problems here: (1) not making the database format more complex (introducing incompatilities), and (2) ensuring that data entered on one platform is available on all the others, then ... ... I suppose that the obvious way to support setting title colours (and perhaps other title attributes) is by leveraging the existing tagging system. You could have one additional global "display" dialogue box "Display Tagged Entries As ..." that lets you choose, say, eight different tags, and set a display colour (and maybe a style) for each. So you could decide to show every entry tagged "Hospital" in blue, everything tagged "*" in red, or in bold, or in red-and-bold, or whatever. The order of an entry in the list would decide which rule gets priority in case of a conflict, so you'd need some way to bump an individual colour rule up or down the list. The advantage of doing it this way is that if you used to have a lot of important "Hospital" entries because you broke your leg, and it's finally healed, and you have no more hospital appointments and no more need to see those entries highlighted, you could delete and repurpose that "display parameters" slot for some other tag without having to delete any tags or lose any information from the notes library. It's purely a display function. If you have an existing library of thousands of notes that are already categorised and tagged, the system could use your existing categorisation system. If you use "*" for priority, then that could be shown red, but if you use something else, like number rankings or other symbols, then those could be associated with the colour-coding instead. And if a version of Evernote doesn't support the colour-coding, then that's okay, because no actual information is missing on that platform: it's all right there in the tags. Even better, for the web version of Evernote, you could have the selected eight (or ten, or sixteen, or whatever) tags automatically inserted into the webpage code as HTML class names (like class="ENTag_*" or class="ENTag_Hospital" ), and control the way that those tagged entries are displayed via standard CSS stylesheet commands. So for the web version, the browser would be doing most of the work. Now, for storage and syncing of the new display formatting commands across platforms ... I'd guess that Evernote probably already has some sort of "hidden folder" for storing notes that isn't usually displayed or searched ... if not, it should be given one. The new formatting information then gets saved as a conventional textfile note within the hidden folder, so that whenever you change display settings on one machine, they change and are stored on all machines, even if a machine runs an old version of Evernote that doesn't understand what they are. If the system ever get extended to support tag category icons (implemented on the web version as custom bullet icons, again, via the stylesheet), then the icon graphics (default and/or user-defined) could live in the folder, too, and be synced across all machines. For the format for storing the colour-coding info ... no need to invent anything new, just save it as a stylesheet CSS block or fragment. That means that super-duper-uber-users can hack it and play with new layout styles, and find what works and what doesn't. If some of their ideas are good (say, background colour highlights, or custom outlines), they can be adopted as options on the mainstream version. For instance, you could use the CSS "display:none" option to "stealth" all entries with a particular tag. It wouldn't be secure, but it also wouldn't require any extra code, other than the ability to somehow edit in that piece of CSS text. Perhaps have an "Advanced" button for users who know CSS to manually edit the display styles. If certain devices have particular display challenges, that hidden folder might also be a nice place to put device-specific stylesheet info -- for instance, you might want the font size to be smaller on a Galaxy Mini. For the "OS-native" versions of Evernote, the software could read and write the key pieces of supported stylesheet info (say, easy things like font colour), even if it wasn't using CSS to display the list. I think this could be fun.
  5. IMO, it's disrespectful to assume that someone who would like colour doesn't know how to use tags. A lot of people find it easier to pick out an item visually at a glance if it has colour-coding or some other sort of visual cue to make it stand out, for instance: Mary had a little lamb, its *priority fleece was white as snow. Mary had a little lamb, its *priority fleece was white as snow. Now, sure, you can sort by tag, but then you lose other aspects of the overview that might be important. *priority a as fleece had its lamb, little Mary snow. was white Some people want their entries sorted by creation date or some other attribute, but want to be able to scan though and pick out certain subcategories of entry without visually analysing a sea of text. A lot of people who design user-interfaces or road signs would strongly disagree. Lawyers who still work with paper and use highlighter pens or coloured markers don't do it because they think it makes their documents look "prettier", they do it because it makes key points jump off the page more reliably that drawing an asterix next to a piece of black text using a black pen.
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