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Cyroxian

Incomprehensible note locks

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After using Evernote on Android for quite some while, suddenly one on my notes was decorated with a lock symbol. It was not possible to edit that note anymore. Now, some months later I have three such notes. There is no information whatsoever on what this lock means, why it is there, or what to do about it.

In the message list, there is a small triangle in the upper right corner, with an exclamation mark. Not information here neither. Obviously the app has detected some problem, but equally apparently it does not want to disclose it to the user. And, of course, nobody else than the user will ever do anything to correct the problem.

The last lock was actually activated while I was editing the note. I added a phrase, switched to another app to read some more, and when back in Evernote it was locked. No information about what has happened.

We users, really appreciate that companies like Evernote, and many more, try to make apps and home pages as user-friendly as possible, taking away all kinds of technical jargon, codes etc. But, when core information is hidden, the information I need to get out of this issue, it is just plain bad. Evernote is not at all alone. This is an illness of many modern applications. Still, it is very, very frustrating, having to spend a lot of searching on the Internet, trying to resolve the issue. If you find any answers, it is most speculations from other users trying to guess what the app already knows. And I have seen a lot of really bad and uninformed suggestions on how to solve different issues. Of course, I have search these forums for a solution, but all users seems equally puzzled as I am.

Since I am not yet paying for the app, I am not qualified to write any message to Evernote support, but I was informed that they are actively monitoring these forums. So, my hope is that this can be resolved in some way by writing here. If not, I need to switch to some other app to fulfill my need for simple notes, hosted on the web, instead of maybe upgrade to premium later. That would be a pity, of course. But, as a user you cannot have the app to randomly (as it appears to us) lock notes without providing any information at all on what, why, and how.

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Hi.  What device and version of Android are you using,  and do you have a strong wifi and/ or network connection when editing?  Have you tried viewing the same notes on a desktop,  and have you tried creating a new note and transferring the content of a 'locked' note by copy-and-paste to the new note?

Please note that Evernote (probably) won't respond directly to you here - we're a mainly user-supported group.  I haven;t had your experience with this issue,  but maybe someone who has can chime in with a fix.

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Hi,

Thanks for quick answer. I am using a Samsung Galaxy S7 (SM-G930F) running Android 8.0.

I cannot guarantee that I have had a strong network connection at all times. Have that created problems Before for some?

The notes are viewable, and editable, in the web version. I changed one note from the web. The app then added as a prefix the text "Anteckningskonflik", which is note conflict in Swedish. I changed the name of another note that was also "locked", and that updated the one in the app corretly. But it is still locked. The note with changed name now have another Icon in the upper right corner. It is a green triangle with an upward arrow. What does all these Icons mean? I cannot find a list in the help pages, and not through google either. But some people in the forum seems to be equally uninformed as I.

On the web, I can copy the internals of a note, and create a new one. The "locked" one can be deleted from the app, and disappears from the web too. But then suddenly it is back again. This is consistent with what I see other users experience around this, noted in these forums. All of those have the strange "lock" symbol in the note.

The problems that I see:

  1. The app encounters an error, adds a symbol that seems to be undocumented, to the note. The app knows what the problem is, but keep all information away from the user for some reason. This makes it impossible for the user to resolve the issue in a rational way. She or he can only resort to trial and error together with other users guessing around. This is a bug. But we cannot file it as such.
  2. There are different symbols appearing on notes in the notes list (I called it that), and sometime on the note itself (like the lock). Nobody here seems to know what they mean. The programmers did know, when they introduced them, but they are hard to find in the manual. This is a documentation problem, which cannot be reported by us.

I hope you can use this feedback to improve the Product and the user experience. It would not only help me, but several others too. An I cannot Always move to Another product, but you on the other side we really like to keep your users. That is why I write this.

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Editing notes on a mobile platform is occasionally frustrating.  Mobiles do not store notes by default - existing notes are downloaded from the server and retained in temporary local memory until the changes can be synced back to the server.  New notes can be created on the device,  but again are kept in temporary storage until they can be sent to the server.  The connection between mobile device and server can be variable in quality and interrupted at any time,  so the server may have some difficulty in recording the note accurately...  which is where the locked and conflicting notes can arise.  

One way around this may be to become a subscriber so as to be able to save notes to the local device with or without a reliable local connection.

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@gazumped Your reply surprises me. I've been using the living hell out of Evernote for Android with inherent connectivity problems on my phone (2 GB of RAM, Android 7). Affected were Both, mobile data and WiFi. Even with an insidious bug where lack of connectivity wouldn't be reported to the device (all indicators keep showing connection present). And with that junk of a phone I've never experienced an issue with data loss or note lockout. The app stores a new note perfectly safe for however long it needs until connectivity is restored. He'll, it will do so even through a phone reboot.

The only note loss possible is with using the Evernote widget. Which is a real trap, frankly speaking.

 

While we're at it, let me remind that Evernote web (at least the old one) is almost guaranteed to delete a note or partially delete note information when on quirky connection. Which also should NOT happen. But it does.

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2 hours ago, rimboma said:

The app stores a new note perfectly safe for however long it needs until connectivity is restored.

Might depend on the device and the Android version - I've never had a problem,  but I make notes in a good wifi area and (usually) on the Evernote beta.  Mind you - the other benefit of subscribing is you get better access to Support if things keep on falling over...

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12 hours ago, gazumped said:

the other benefit of subscribing is you get better access to Support if things keep on falling over...

No one is arguing against that :)

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Hi gazumped,

 

So, your suggestion to how to go about this bug, is that all clients that finds i pay you for another version of the product, even if they do not need it. I understand that you do not earn any money on people not paying for an upgrade, but that is part of your selected business model. Accepting that the product contains bug, and refuse to see it, is not consistent with how I would handle the community.

Support for me, is helping me when I cannot do something for some reason. But filing bug reports is not support. You helping me with a specific problem is, but not you getting the information.

But, I get the message. I do not complain. I do not regard Evernote to be a bad product in itself,  but maybe not the right choice for me. I need a simple but smooth experience, and to feel comfortable that problems will be dealt with eventually.

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???

@CyroxianHere at the forum, we are all users, except those explicitly tagged with a staff badge in their profile.

So maybe we should treat each other like this.

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2 hours ago, Cyroxian said:

But filing bug reports is not support.

..as @PinkElephant says - there's nobody here but us users,  so I'm not making any money out of anything here.  My point is that expecting Evernote to 'fix' a problem they don't have details about is like expecting your mechanic to fix bad brakes without you going into the garage. 

Evernote has to know what is going wrong with which devices before they can find and fix any issues in the software:  if you won't bother,  and the next guy doesn't... all you have is the comfort of complaining about delays in fixing something that the company doesn't even know about yet... some feedback is necessary to get things done!

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Oh, sorry guys-. I really got this wrong. Reading too quickly, and reading the text of persons taking things seriously, fooled me into thinking gazumped actually worked at Evernote, and that he answered to me. I know, I shouldn't assume, but I did. I am sorry for that. gazumped, please disregard the part that was aimed at Evernote. You do not have to cover for them, but nice that you actually did. There seem to be some dedicated users here.

And you are right when you say that they will not fix problems they do not know of. My point is that I cannot make them aware of this. I understand if they cannot afford giving support to non-paying customers. But, as being an old programmer, I know the value of getting feedback from the users and the apps. Maybe they have already built in instrumentation into the app, telling them that I have several locked notes, that I cannot unlock since I do not know why. Maybe they are already working on this. We cannot know.

But regardless of their instrumentation, they cannot know how users perceived the app. This is what I would like to tell them. I know why they hide "technical details". Users do not want to see it. They want working software. But when the user is expected to solve the problem without any information, just chatting with each other, it has gone too far. This is important for any developer to see. Developer want to make great software, we put a pride in it. And agile development is the kind in this complex world. And this requires the users to be involved. You are really involved, and I am sure they see a great value in you.

Now, Evernote apparently have selected to block input from non-paying customers. That is ok. And this forum gets useless for me. I don't expect them to fix anything for me. I am not paying. I just wanted to get through with the message about what is wrong. I think they want that feedback. I would have wanted it. Now I have non-working software, and have to move on.

Again, I do not complain. I provide feedback. In the wrong place. There is no place for me.

Thanks for taking your time in answering me.

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Just FYI: Us „regulars“ have pushed the issue of the Android client as far up the ladder as possible. Even me, and I do not own a single piece of Android-driven equipment ...

The „staff“ guys are completely aware of the situation. It is only they delivered in the past often software not sufficiently tested, so for one bug relieved, there were two more created. So they take there time making sure that the solutions will work.

With iOS, this worked pretty well. But it is easier, because the hardware is more consolidated, and usually iOS devices run updated, current software. My own iPhone 6S+ is running better with iOS 12 than it did with his native iOS 9. This means not only features, but speed and memory consumption as well.

Android is running on much more diverse hardware, and updating is not promoted by all hardware suppliers (with all the crapware loaded to the gadgets ...). So making sure a fix will work is much more difficult to assure. 

So far, so bad !

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I'm back here after being occupied with other things for a long time. And I am a paying user, so I will report the issue to Evernote support. Because I'm having the exact same problem as @Cyroxian.

Here is my experience: Starting on June 12, some notes will not sync. When I do a manual sync, Evernote pops up a notification that says, "Note upload failed," and lists a couple (not all) of the unsynced and unsyncable notes. I've synced very many times, and these same notes never sync. They have the red triangle in the corner of the entry in the note list with the exclamation point. When I try to access them again, they have the lock symbol, and cannot be edited. When I tap the lock symbol, a notice pops up: "This note is read-only. It was created in another app." I cannot comprehend why or how Evernote thinks is true.

Some of the unsyncable notes have links, some have images, some have text copied from a Website; some have various combinations of these. But other notes with this type of content sync properly. I duplicated one of these notes, but the duplicate can't be edited either, so now I have two copies of the same unsyncable note. I deleted another one, and it was moved to Trash, but it won't sync from there either, so that I have a note in Trash on my phone that is not in the Trash on the Web or in the Windows program. When I edit one of the notes in Windows and sync, this version syncs to the phone, and the phone's version gets "Note conflict" added to its title--but neither on the phone nor in Windows nor on the Web is there any Conflicting Changes notebook.

All this incomprehensible dysfunction leaves information in the Android app that I simply have to recreate/retype in the Windows program. I updated to the most recent version of the app (v. 8.11) on June 30, but the situation remains.

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I sent this issue to Evernote support on Saturday, and received a reply this morning. Here is part of what they said:

Quote

We are currently aware of this issue, and we're making strides to fix it as it's our top priority to resolve right now. We actually just released a beta build in the Google Play Store with a potential fix so that beta testers can try it out. If proven successful, we will then release this for all users.

So this seems very hopeful. I've also sent them an activity log, as they requested, in hopes that this may help.

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Dave-in-Decatur,

Thanks for all the information, and thanks for filing it as an issue. Nice to hear that the developers are on to it.

One thing that could improve (except bugs) is the information of what all these symbols mean. Exclamation marks, locks, and other. They are not listed anywhere, what I know. That might mitigate some harsh comments.

Then apparently you get more information from the payed for app than I. That makes it easier to see if it is a bug, or just me being an uninformed user. Most of us want to be good users, but are not given the information we need for that. This is not a bug, but could make good improvement to the value of the app. Clicking on the icon could easily tell me that it is a synch problem, or something else.

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1 hour ago, Cyroxian said:

Dave-in-Decatur,

Thanks for all the information, and thanks for filing it as an issue. Nice to hear that the developers are on to it.

One thing that could improve (except bugs) is the information of what all these symbols mean. Exclamation marks, locks, and other. They are not listed anywhere, what I know. That might mitigate some harsh comments.

Then apparently you get more information from the payed for app than I. That makes it easier to see if it is a bug, or just me being an uninformed user. Most of us want to be good users, but are not given the information we need for that. This is not a bug, but could make good improvement to the value of the app. Clicking on the icon could easily tell me that it is a synch problem, or something else.

I don't know that paying users get any more information about errors or malfunctions. Tapping on the lock symbol got me that bizarre notice about the note being created in another app--how would that even be possible? But I don't get any info about the red triangle; I presume you also get the notification about notes that don't sync when you attempt a sync?

At any rate, it's good to know that they are working on it. This did only start happening shortly after I updated to v. 8.10, so I have to think it is another problem introduced in that version. But I'm surprised that more people have not reported it here; this suggests that it must not be happening to everyone.

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Hi again,

I get no errors at all while syncing. That adds to the confusion about the symbols.

Clicking on the red triangle, just scrolls the list away. Very strange behaviour, but consistent over time. I have to scroll back several pages to try again. Same with slow click.

Clicking on the lock symbol within a note, just makes it disappear, just to come back next time I touch the note. No information disclosed.

That is why I think that things could improve. Don't just cease to work. Please, tell me something. I have similar problems with other modern applications. Skype for business often freeze or does not work, without any information to the user ar all. You get some crazy discussions in the call sometimes.

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I've been in dialog with Evernote support, and at their request sent them activity logs and a screen recording so it could be bumped up to the development team. From the most recent email to me (today), this is the central point:

While I don't have a time or date on when they would be resolved, do know they are working diligently on a resolution.

I wish I could provide you a solution in this ticket but it does look like this will need an update to resolve completely.

So the developers are working on it. I'm not surprised it would take an update to fix it. My fear is that it may not be common enough or predictable enough to be high on the priority list. It has not happened to me recently, but it was always random (or seemed so to me).

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20 minutes ago, Dave-in-Decatur said:

I've been in dialog with Evernote support, and at their request sent them activity logs and a screen recording so it could be bumped up to the development team. From the most recent email to me (today), this is the central point:

While I don't have a time or date on when they would be resolved, do know they are working diligently on a resolution.

I wish I could provide you a solution in this ticket but it does look like this will need an update to resolve completely.

So the developers are working on it. I'm not surprised it would take an update to fix it. My fear is that it may not be common enough or predictable enough to be high on the priority list. It has not happened to me recently, but it was always random (or seemed so to me).

Thanks for the update. After being burned badly twice this year with really bad bugs introduced in updates, I am holding off on updating due to this issue. For what it's worth, I haven't seen this issue on v. 8.9.1

I hope the reliability of Evernote updates improves enough so that I don't feel the need to scour forums for bug reports before installing an update.

For me, it's not always as simple as install / uninstall. I have large offline notebooks that need to be re-downloaded over many hours (and apparently many failures). This is not required when updating, but downgrading always requires an uninstall, which causes this headache.

I'll be watching this, so any updates are appreciated.

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Do we have any updates on this? My notes are locking all over the place now. The app has become unusable. Have been using evernote to manage my research for years but unless this is fixed fast I will be migrating to another app. 

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Has anyone figured out the conditions that trigger this bug? I feel as if there aren't enough posts here to indicate that all users have it, but that might not be true. Perhaps all do, but only notes with certain content do.

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34 minutes ago, martiusnauticus said:

Do we have any updates on this? My notes are locking all over the place now. The app has become unusable. Have been using evernote to manage my research for years but unless this is fixed fast I will be migrating to another app. 

Anything unusual about the notes? Something in common that might lead to a workaround idea?

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I couldn't see any common features among my several notes that couldn't be synced. But I also haven't experienced it recently, whereas others seem to be having it happen frequently. It does seem pretty random.

However, in an earlier post, I reported that tech support told me it's a high priority, and that they had a fix in beta. Let's hope there's more news soon.

 

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My best guess as to the pattern here, based on my experience, is that it is notes of a certain age that are locking. It might be that evernote is treating notes created by some older versions of itself as notes created by a totally foreign app. 

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1 hour ago, martiusnauticus said:

My best guess as to the pattern here, based on my experience, is that it is notes of a certain age that are locking. It might be that evernote is treating notes created by some older versions of itself as notes created by a totally foreign app. 

That's not a bad guess. In my case, though, one of the problem notes was created pretty recently; and other notes created about the same time as the various problem notes sync OK. It's very puzzling.

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I have a couple of notes that seem to be locked. The reason given for them being non-editable is:

"This note is read-only. It was created by in another app." 

I do not create Evernotes with other apps, at least not as far as I'm aware!

Screenshot_2019-08-12-11-20-10-494_com.evernote.png

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Hi.  Reported by others - seems to be an occasional issue with Evernote notes that were saved maybe over a bad connection;  the note is corrupted slightly,  so doesn't 'look' to Evernote like a valid note.  If you can copy the content into another note and re-sync the new one,  business should continue as usual.  That note may be editable on a desktop where it's not on the mobile.  No 'third party' software involved,  just a glitch.

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Please read through this thread:

With deepest respect, @gazumped, connection is not the issue (assuming that this problem is the same as the one in that thread). @mmmaak, are you getting popup notifications about note upload failing? I've reported this to Evernote, and they say they are working on it.

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I sit corrected...  🙂  And you may very well be right...

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Hey All,

Thanks for reaching out!

@mmmaak I'm going to merge this thread into the thread that @Dave-in-Decatur linked to in order to keep everything together.

That being said, I've reached out to our teams and they are currently working to address this issue.

I'll follow-up once I have more information!

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On 8/12/2019 at 11:40 PM, Dave-in-Decatur said:

Please read through this thread:

With deepest respect, @gazumped, connection is not the issue (assuming that this problem is the same as the one in that thread). @mmmaak, are you getting popup notifications about note upload failing? I've reported this to Evernote, and they say they are working on it.

Pop-ups? I get them in the "shade" that I drag down to view notifications. Not sure if that's the the right term 😅

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2 hours ago, mmmaak said:

Pop-ups? I get them in the "shade" that I drag down to view notifications. Not sure if that's the the right term 😅

Yes, that's what I meant. It does seem like it's the same issue.

@Shane D., thanks for the response. I just had it happen again yesterday, when I updated a note I had made a couple of years ago. Very frustrating. I copied everything from that note into a new one and it synced/uploaded just fine.

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1 hour ago, Dave-in-Decatur said:

Yes, that's what I meant. It does seem like it's the same issue.

@Shane D., thanks for the response. I just had it happen again yesterday, when I updated a note I had made a couple of years ago. Very frustrating. I copied everything from that note into a new one and it synced/uploaded just fine.

Yup, I think that's where I see them. Will remember to take a screenshot the next time it happens. 

By the way, how do you quote a member's name (in that little green box)? Can it be done on Android? 

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16 hours ago, mmmaak said:

By the way, how do you quote a member's name (in that little green box)? Can it be done on Android?

I do this forum on Windows, and there I type @ followed by the first letters of the name. A list of possible names pops up, and I keep typing till I get the one I want, or at least till it is close enough to select. I don't know if it can be done on Android.

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@DTLow
Yes it can.. (v e r y  s l o w l y - from my Samsung Note)

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Here's the "note upload failed" notification (FOE is my place of work).

Screenshot_20190815_102051.thumb.jpg.82e7f652bdfb862ee542852b3c04e8d8.jpg

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@Shane D.

You say the team is currently working on the issue. Which one of them? I see two. The problem that these lock appears, which is a technical problem is one. The problem that the app appears incomprehensible to users, which is a user design issue?, is the other.

Technical problems, bugs and so, are normally solved by the developers given some time. The user being shielded from useful information is trickier, since normally nobody wants to take such a decision. But it might have greater impact on how the product is perceived.

I hope you do not forget the UX issue.

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