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Julian

(Archived) My thoughts on Evernote after a 5 year journey

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I signed up to this forum about 5 years ago and set up a free Evernote account about 3 years ago. In this time I've dropped in about every 6 months or so to see how things have progressed and I've watched, and sometimes even participated in, some fairly heated discussion on topics such as the removal of the tape interface and the issue of folders vs tags. I've also regularly updated my Evernote clients on Windows, iPad and iPhone and have had a play with every new release to see what's changed, it really has only been playing though because I still have fewer than 150 notes in the system and some of those are random test notes rather than content I want or need.

Some of the issues that kept me away from Evernote initially (the lack of folders and the removal of the tape) were a matter of me adapting my working practices to rely more on search plus gradual UI improvements by Evernote together with me tweaking and adjusting my UI setup to arrive at a working environment that I now like a lot.

The one thing that still kept me away from Evernote over the last couple of years or so has been the issue of rich text editing and in particular the sync issues where text formatting would often get badly scrambled when going between iOS clients and Windows clients - it was really bad for a while.

I've now made my most recent visit to the Evernote universe to spend some time playing with the latest stuff and all I can say is WOW! Apart from one tiny issue with sub headings on iOS vs Windows (which is so silly that it's almost comical and is easily fixed) all the font size issues on syncing with iOS seem to have gone away, the new PDF handling is really nice, everything seems very robust, and Evernote's UI judgements turned out to be very astute (at least in my opinion) because I find my current UI setup to be far, far nicer than the old tape - I could never imagine going back.

I will be signing up as a premium user in the next few days because Evernote really have done what it takes to earn my money, in fact if they offered multi-year discounts (like organisations such as CrashPlan do) then I would happily make a 5 year up-front commitment on fees if the price was right.

I do feel compelled to include one slightly negative and controversial point however. I'm afraid that I am one of those people who would like the option, on a per-notebook basis, to be able to set client-side encryption/decryption using a private key to be applied to all note content in the notebook before syncing. There's still enough non-critical content that I want to put into Evernote that I have no hesitation in signing up as a premium user but I would put even more into it if it had this feature.

I have a big database of scanned paperwork such as bank statement, utility bills, credit card statements, tax returns, etc. and, in tune with Evernote's "Remember everything." slogan, I would like to add these to my Evernote database as a seperate encrypted notebook (or maybe a stack of encrypted notebooks) where I could find what I needed by using the already meaningful filenames that I use for this archive, together with tagging and maybe multipe notebooks. I have never needed to do a search to find information in this dataset in the entire 18 years or so since I started scanning my personal paperwork as the data is so structured hence the lack of search on the note contents themselves wouldn't hurt me but the ability to access something if I needed it and only had access to my iPhone or iPad (or in a real emergency the web interface via someone else's PC) would be useful. And yes, I have seen all the other threads about this - I guess that I'll copy and paste some of the above to add my voice in the appropriate place.

Not withstanding the above, Evernote is definitely an integral part of my working environment now and will bring huge benefits in being able to access and work on stuff on the move, and all that on top of providing a really comfortable and effective interface even if I was only using it on my desktop PC.

Nice work Evernote.

- Julian

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I signed up to this forum about 5 years ago and set up a free Evernote account about 3 years ago. In this time I've dropped in about every 6 months or so to see how things have progressed and I've watched, and sometimes even participated in, some fairly heated discussion on topics such as the removal of the tape interface and the issue of folders vs tags. I've also regularly updated my Evernote clients on Windows, iPad and iPhone and have had a play with every new release to see what's changed, it really has only been playing though because I still have fewer than 150 notes in the system and some of those are random test notes rather than content I want or need.

Some of the issues that kept me away from Evernote initially (the lack of folders and the removal of the tape) were a matter of me adapting my working practices to rely more on search plus gradual UI improvements by Evernote together with me tweaking and adjusting my UI setup to arrive at a working environment that I now like a lot.

The one thing that still kept me away from Evernote over the last couple of years or so has been the issue of rich text editing and in particular the sync issues where text formatting would often get badly scrambled when going between iOS clients and Windows clients - it was really bad for a while.

I've now made my most recent visit to the Evernote universe to spend some time playing with the latest stuff and all I can say is WOW! Apart from one tiny issue with sub headings on iOS vs Windows (which is so silly that it's almost comical and is easily fixed) all the font size issues on syncing with iOS seem to have gone away, the new PDF handling is really nice, everything seems very robust, and Evernote's UI judgements turned out to be very astute (at least in my opinion) because I find my current UI setup to be far, far nicer than the old tape - I could never imagine going back.

I will be signing up as a premium user in the next few days because Evernote really have done what it takes to earn my money, in fact if they offered multi-year discounts (like organisations such as CrashPlan do) then I would happily make a 5 year up-front commitment on fees if the price was right.

I do feel compelled to include one slightly negative and controversial point however. I'm afraid that I am one of those people who would like the option, on a per-notebook basis, to be able to set client-side encryption/decryption using a private key to be applied to all note content in the notebook before syncing. There's still enough non-critical content that I want to put into Evernote that I have no hesitation in signing up as a premium user but I would put even more into it if it had this feature.

I have a big database of scanned paperwork such as bank statement, utility bills, credit card statements, tax returns, etc. and, in tune with Evernote's "Remember everything." slogan, I would like to add these to my Evernote database as a seperate encrypted notebook (or maybe a stack of encrypted notebooks) where I could find what I needed by using the already meaningful filenames that I use for this archive, together with tagging and maybe multipe notebooks. I have never needed to do a search to find information in this dataset in the entire 18 years or so since I started scanning my personal paperwork as the data is so structured hence the lack of search on the note contents themselves wouldn't hurt me but the ability to access something if I needed it and only had access to my iPhone or iPad (or in a real emergency the web interface via someone else's PC) would be useful. And yes, I have seen all the other threads about this - I guess that I'll copy and paste some of the above to add my voice in the appropriate place.

Not withstanding the above, Evernote is definitely an integral part of my working environment now and will bring huge benefits in being able to access and work on stuff on the move, and all that on top of providing a really comfortable and effective interface even if I was only using it on my desktop PC.

Nice work Evernote.

- Julian

Hi Julian. Great post and interesting insight from a longtime user. I think I am on my third year now (still a noob in comparison!). My own use of Evernote picked up considerably after I moved to a premium account in tandem with the purchase of ever more powerful ios devices. This is an exciting time!

I agree with you about the encrypted folders, and you'll see my voice in those threads as well. As a non-developer who is not especially well-versed in encryption issues, I do not know what kind of obstacles might exist, even if Evernote wanted to go down this route. I do hope they give it serious consideration, though, because it seems like every day there is a new and more spectacular data breach in the news. One of the most disappointing to me personally was what Dropbox did last year by opening up everyone's accounts for several hours in a seeming innocuous maintenance update. Ugh. Mistakes happen, but at least with the solution you suggested, nothing too terrible would result from it.

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Julian,

You waited five years to plop down $50!! I took one look at Evernote and without even understanding a fraction of it's potential I ponied up my money. If Evernote tripled it's premium fees I would still pay it gladly. I'm not sure how much better EN is now than last year or the year before but I'm sure it was worth $50 even then. I'm always amazed at how reluctant people are to pay software companies for the marvelous job that they do.

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Hey hey, Julian said he's now so pleased he'd buy a five-year subscription if it were offered!

The people I can't understand are those who say things like, "I would definitely upgrade to premium if you gave me [major new feature]. That's the only thing holding me back."

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The people I can't understand are those who say things like, "I would definitely upgrade to premium if you gave me [major new feature]. That's the only thing holding me back."

I see nothing wrong with that type of statement in general. When shopping for any product (HW, SW, or otherwise) I think a lot of people would make the decision to buy if the product had the specific feature they were looking for.

Having said that, IMO, if you find Evernote generally useful, and you do use it, then it is easily worth $5/month.

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Hey, we're happy that people like and use our products.

If we're really just missing *one* key feature for someone that would push them over the edge to turn them into a Premium user, that's awesome. We're in it for the long haul here, so odds are in their favor.

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FWIW, although I'd guess someday, EN will need to raise the cost of premium subscriptions, in the almost three years I've been a premium subscriber, they have not done so. HOWEVER...they've added or increased what a premium subscription provides. Kudos for that.

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Hey, we're happy that people like and use our products.

If we're really just missing *one* key feature for someone that would push them over the edge to turn them into a Premium user, that's awesome. We're in it for the long haul here, so odds are in their favor.

Working photo notes! (with photos right way up)

Working photo notes!

Nevermind, I'll probably just hand you the cash anyway.

But still fairy amazed that we can be discussing the potential features that crop up on here whilst ignoring that photo notes still don't work.

I mean I would love client side encryption for exactly the same reasons, but that is one hell of a lot more complicated than displaying a jpeg.

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Working photo notes! (with photos right way up)

Working photo notes!

Nevermind, I'll probably just hand you the cash anyway.

But still fairy amazed that we can be discussing the potential features that crop up on here whilst ignoring that photo notes still don't work.

I mean I would love client side encryption for exactly the same reasons, but that is one hell of a lot more complicated than displaying a jpeg.

You made this clear in the other thread that devolved into nothing helpful & was eventually locked. Please give it a rest. It's time to move on.

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Working photo notes! (with photos right way up)

Last I checked - photo notes *do* work just fine in Evernote. We just don't parse the EXIF metadata that some phones choose to add to them.

Filing a feature request for us to parse EXIF data would get you a lot more results than attacking us about an incorrect point.

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Working photo notes! (with photos right way up)

Last I checked - photo notes *do* work just fine in Evernote. We just don't parse the EXIF metadata that some phones choose to add to them.

Filing a feature request for us to parse EXIF data would get you a lot more results than attacking us about an incorrect point.

Well firstly, thank you for responding to me at all. I realise I may not have endeared myself so I appreciate it.

Secondly, I was not aware of a feature request mechanism and thirdly had thought Evernote were aware of the issue as raised by users. No one had mentioned it prior to the locking of my "going nowhere" thread. Do you just mean a thread entitled "feature request"?

Fourthly, reading EXIF orientation data is the only way to correctly display photos. Do you really want to put yourself in the position of disagreeing with an average user? Do you think an average user will regard a sideways image they have just taken upright on their phone as "correct display"? Regardless, whether it is deemed correct or not, the images are rotated unhelpfully from their viewfinder orientation.

Where you say "metadata that some phones choose to add" I would substitute "metadata that is essential for photo handling of all iOS, Android, Blackberry, Windows phone and Bada devices" to put this in its true light. Every mainstream photo viewer app handles this EXIF flag and it is obviously particular important when displaying the captures from mobile devices.

I again find it strange that you are apparently attempting to frame the standard mechanism for orientating mobile photography as some sort of proprietary optional extra that really need not concern a multi-million download mobile app that deals with photo notes!

In general, I'm extremely impressed with the whole Evernote service. I'm a user after all. But the slickness of the interface elsewhere just increases the shock when you end up staring at a bunch of images you've just taken..sideways!

Please Evernote, reconsider the importance of this on daily mobile user experience and company image.

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Secondly, I was not aware of a feature request mechanism and thirdly had thought Evernote were aware of the issue as raised by users. No one had mentioned it prior to the locking of my "going nowhere" thread. Do you just mean a thread entitled "feature request"?

Feature Requests comments are seen by the Evernote staff on this forum.

The other option is a direct message to Evernote using the Support Inquiry.

It is not obvious, but if you submit a Support Inquiry, there is an option to select "Feature Request"

Here is a screen grab of what it looks like. You can type up to 64,000 characters explaining the Feature Request you are interested in.

http://www.evernote....5a2daa709e90170

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Question for Evernote:

Is it better to submit a feature request by a Support Ticket rather than by a post in the Evernote User Group forums?

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Julian, thank you for taking the time to provide the new EN users, like myself, with your insight. I have to agree with you (and so many others) that the lack of client-side encryption is a negative for me as well. I think it is the biggest negative I've found. After reading the 100s of posts out there on this topic I still decided to convert to a premium account because I think it's worth the $50; however, I am very careful about what I give EN and their 3rd party service providers access to. Maybe I'm crazy but I thought I had seen something on Evernote's web site that one of the reasons for upgrading to a premium account was to be able to encrypt notes/notebooks. Obviously from reading all the other posts I was sadly mistaken. I see no "encryption" advantage to being a premium subscriber (maybe I've missed something). Too late now they already have my cash and I'm a subscriber of the premium kind :)

As a software developer I have decided to provide a solution to this client-side encryption mess. If anyone would like to join me, please let me know. I have several ideas that should work out-of-the-box. I'm not going to wait for EN to decide to add this feature because it will probably never come. For my important information (startup projects, inventions, ideas, etc) I don't need OCR and I don't need indexing so why can't I encrypt it? The answer is I can and I will even if EN doesn't provide me this feature I will have it.

Thank you in advance for your time and consideration.

P.S. I'm not knocking EN and I'm not trying to discourage anyone from using EN or paying them so please don't reply with negative comments. I am trying to help. :)

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