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Evernote Focus: New Features/New Users vs Fewer Bugs

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Evernote Focus:  New Features/New Users vs Fewer Bugs

 

Some of us have been complaining for over a year now that the Evernote development/release process has had a major change in focus/philosophy.  It has been quite clear to me that Evernote places much more value in getting out new releases than in fixing existing bugs and reducing the number of new bugs introduced with the release.

 

It would seem that Evernote is doing this order to get/keep the attention of the tech review/blogger community, and thereby continue to attract new users/customers.

 

Well, it looks like this flawed policy is finally being publicly recognized by this same community:

 

As Warner Crocker from GottaBeMobile.com wrote:

 

 

Simply put, the focus on adding new features and attracting more users takes precedence over making sure software is working correctly. I don’t think you can draw any other reasonable conclusion. I’m guessing this is a resource issue. Maybe I should say I’m hoping it is a resource issue. The alternative wouldn’t be that welcome to contemplate.

 

Beware Of Buggy Evernote, Which Seems To Have Privacy And Audio Issues

Evernote Bugs Indicative of Larger Issues in Mobile Tech

Evernote, the bug-ridden elephant | jasonkincaid.net

 

 

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I couldn't agree more... in fact doing releases on a 3-4 week cycle with very little documentation and lots of very old bugs tells me you don't have a tight SDLC and QA process.

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Wish I were a famous blogger and could get CEO attention when Evernote isn't working for me.

 

Phil Libin shouldn't have needed that blog (and the 200+ comments on Hacker News) to tell him his software is buggy. He could have read his own forums.  He could have listened to his own beta testers and read his own support tickets. 

 

It will be interesting to see if things improve in the near future, now that someone with some ability to generate buzz has called out the problem so directly.

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Due these types of problems, I backed out of the beta program. Now, when a public release is issued I sit on the sidelines for at least a couple months and let the dust settle (bug fixes). I watch the forum for feedback on the new release. There has been a large number of users wishing to go back to the Windows version 4.6 / 4.7 due to the problems with 5.

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Due these types of problems, I backed out of the beta program. Now, when a public release is issued I sit on the sidelines for at least a couple months and let the dust settle (bug fixes). I watch the forum for feedback on the new release. There has been a large number of users wishing to go back to the Windows version 4.6 / 4.7 due to the problems with 5.

 

You can go back via a website called FileHippo.  Search on Evernote, then click under "Older Versions" click on "View More."

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Due these types of problems, I backed out of the beta program. Now, when a public release is issued I sit on the sidelines for at least a couple months and let the dust settle (bug fixes). I watch the forum for feedback on the new release. There has been a large number of users wishing to go back to the Windows version 4.6 / 4.7 due to the problems with 5.

 

There have also been many EN Mac users wishing to go back to Ver 3 (there was no Ver 4) or refusing to move up to Ver 5.  I'm one of those, still running EN Mac Ver 3 on my main Mac.  In addition, there are also many EN Mac users who really don't like the Ver 5 UI, nor the loss of features. 

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Due these types of problems, I backed out of the beta program. Now, when a public release is issued I sit on the sidelines for at least a couple months and let the dust settle (bug fixes). I watch the forum for feedback on the new release. There has been a large number of users wishing to go back to the Windows version 4.6 / 4.7 due to the problems with 5.

I am all for relatively bug-free software and would consider being a beta tester IF:

  1. EN provides a separate Premium account (I'm already a Premium subscriber, but not willing to muck up my account with testing) to be used only for this purpose; obviously I could set up my own Free account likewise.
  2. I had access to the outstanding bugs list so I'm not reporting on bugs they already know about.
  3. I was given the release docs with use cases ("how it works & what to expect") or similar documentation
  4. EN sets up a forum specifically for Beta testers (sure you already have this, but seems above that you are saying to post results in the regular forums... not a good idea)

To make it worth my time, the above would be minimum requirements.

 

In addition I would have to see concrete evidence that Evernote is serious about fixing bugs and implementing a sound SDLC to minimize future bugs. 

 

So far I haven't seen much evidence that is the case.

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Phil Libin (Evernote CEO) posted this on the Evernote blog in response to Kincaid and the concerns he raised.

http://blog.evernote.com/blog/2014/01/04/on-software-quality/

If you want to change to the direct download version of the Mac app (the direct download version was mentioned at the end of his post), see my suggestions here for the process:

http://www.christopher-mayo.com/?p=135

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JMichael, thank you for the links on this revealing subject.
GrumpyMonkey, thank you for the link on Phil Libin's response.

Phil Libin's very first sentence mentions a blogger who noticed "a perceived decline in the quality of Evernote software".

And Phil concluded that the blogger was correct.

Libin's comments tell me a lot about this forum's effectiveness in offering user feedback to Evernote staff.

The term "spinning our wheels" comes to mind.
 

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Phil Libin (Evernote CEO) posted this on the Evernote blog in response to Kincaid and the concerns he raised.

http://blog.evernote.com/blog/2014/01/04/on-software-quality/

 

Wow!  Thanks for sharing this link, GM.

 

What a huge change in focus and philosophy:

 

I got the wrong sort of birthday present yesterday: a sincerely-written post by Jason Kincaid lamenting a perceived decline in the quality of Evernote software over the past few months. I could quibble with the specifics, but reading Jason’s article was a painful and frustrating experience because, in the big picture, he’s right. We’re going to fix this.

 

However, there comes a time in a booming startup’s life when it’s important to pause for a bit and look in rather than up. When it’s more important to improve existing features than to add new ones.

.

This is our central theme for 2014: constant improvement of the core promise of Evernote.

.

. . . over 90% of our resources will go towards improving our core experiences.

.

Our new philosophy is to find every spot in our products where we’ve been forced to make a trade-off between doing what’s simple and doing what’s powerful, then rethink it so that the simplest approach is also the most powerful.

NOTE:  Highlights and bolding were added to quote.

 

All I can say is, thanks Phil for finally seeing the light, for recognizing and understanding the quality issues we have been sincerely reporting to you here in these forums for well over a year.

 

I do really appreciate the mea culpa and look forward to a great improvement in quality, and in the redesign that provides BOTH ease of use and power.

 

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As an enthusiastic Evernote user I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand by stating that his wake-up call came in the form of a post from a high-profile blogger, he gives the impression that the ever-increasing amount of negative feedback from users in the form of posts on the Evernote blog and in this forum for several months or longer escaped his and his fellow Evernote executives' notice. 

 

Nevertheless, he has identified what I suspected to be the problem: he has a start-up mentality and it's time for him to recognize Evernote isn't a start-up anymore. We can criticize him for coming to this realization late, but who among us has never had difficulty adjusting our self-concept to accommodate changing circumstances in our lives? I am confident that if anyone is raising their hand to say yes, that person is full of it. We have to remember that Libin is human, too. The issue is not making mistakes. It's whether one can admit them and make corrections that is important.

 

So I'm willing to give Libin the benefit of the doubt for the time being, but not indefinitely. He needs to show results within a reasonable amount of time. I've said before that I don't think there is a reasonable alternative to Evernote on the market, and I still feel that way. There is still an alternative: stop using it. My life was just fine before Evernote and I can envision living happily post-Evernote.

 

I sell technology for a living and have seen the game change drastically over the years. The pace of change is so rapid that a company can go from hero to zero in nothing flat. Palm was once synonymous with handheld organizers, and now it's just a memory. Blackberry was synonymous with mobile email, and now it's barely clinging to life. The once almighty Microsoft juggernaut is now vulnerable. Apple owned the smartphone market lock stock and barrel at one time but now Google looks like the one to beat. I could go on but I think I've made my point.

 

I hope Libin is serious about change and that he is capable of executing for selfish reasons: because I really find Evernote useful. I'd like to have this product available to me for a long time to come. I hope he has truly woken up because becoming disconnected from the facts on the ground has been the downfall of many, many a CEO. 

 

For now though I choose to remain optimistic, but reserve the right to change that based on what actually happens over the next six to twelve months.

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Meant to mention one other thing that I'm surprised no one else has picked up on: blogger Jason Kincaid was upset because he nearly inadvertantly transmitted to Evernote support "a stray thought about *****" he entered into the application. Uhm... WHAT? If I had a stray thought about ***** I was convinced I had to write down (unlikely, but if I did) I wouldn't put it in Evernote, or any cloud app. I wouldn't put it in a computer, period.

 

Maybe Evernote's privacy safeguards need work, but nothing is foolproof. Even the best of companies can inadvertantly hire a dishonest employee, and even the best of technology can fail. If it's something that would be mortally embarrassing to me to have people see, it sure as hell doesn't go into Evernote. Not even an offline notebook.

 

And I can't imagine I'd ever have a "stray thought about *****" worth committing to Evernote. 

 

People gotta practice safe computing.

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OK, looks like the form censored my use of a word that makes it look like I said something more awful than I did. Read Jason Kincaid's blog post if you haven't already and you'll see I haven't gone all over-the-top potty mouthed or anything.

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OK, looks like the form censored my use of a word that makes it look like I said something more awful than I did. Read Jason Kincaid's blog post if you haven't already and you'll see I haven't gone all over-the-top potty mouthed or anything.

 

I know. I have had the same problem before, too :) May I suggest, "a stray thought about carnal pleasures" as a more forum-friendly circumlocution?

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Maybe he has so many and they are so varied he needs an external brain to track them?

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really? censoring the word "*****"  (starts with an 's' and rhymes with "flex")???  now that's over the line... :P   maybe they should restrict censorship to words that are bleeped out on The Daily Show... :D

 

Meanwhile we get treated with unedited Mumbai prostitution ads every week... go figure.

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Easy work-around:  put spaces between letters:  s e x

 

Thanks but I'm pretty sure I won't be bringing up the topic again in this forum.

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Did anybody catch this quote:

 

All of our apps will be getting significant improvements and simplifications to the user experience starting in the next few weeks.

 

Isn't that what we were supposed to be getting in version 5???

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I'm really happy that Evernote has finally woken up to the problems in their software, or at least given it lip service.

 

I used to vent my anger/frustration by writing in these forums, asking, begging, Evernote to please fix their known bugs with issues such as plain text entry, line spacing, synchronization, and so on.  It didn't work.  Users agreed with me, but nothing ever made it through to Evernote corporate.  Instead, they made random new products (Evernote Food?!) instead of paying attention to their core product.  Much gnashing of teeth ensued.

 

It took an embarrassing article by a high profile blogger to shine the spotlight in their face, but it was worth it!

 

Really hope that Evernote follows through on their promises, even after this wave of bad publicity has died down.  The spotlight will have to continue to be shined brightly on them.  Let's hope more influential authors and other professionals who use Evernote can write their bad experiences to their audience.

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I posted to Libin's blog but apparently it didn't make it past the monitor so I'll post it here:

 

I really appreciate hearing this commitment from the top honcho himself.  Bugs and security issues have and continue to be my main concern about Evernote.  Those and the "all hat, no cattle" approach to the EN Scansnap scanner led to my decision to buy the generic iX500 Fujitsu recently rather than the EESS version.

I do want to make a point to Phil Libin and the EN support and development staff however which is this:  Your users are not stupid or ignorant.  Listen to them.  It shouldn't take the kind of negative publicity of a well-read blogger to wake you up to issues with EN.  They are posted every day in the forums.  You have the best market research right there without having to spend a single dime.

I'm a new user, but already have 3 or 4 posts begging EN to implement a sound SDLC and a supported Beta testing approach with nary a comment from EN staff.  I see many talented IT folks posting detailed information.  Please consider it all seriously, and most of all, ACT ON IT.
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I posted to Libin's blog but apparently it didn't make it past the monitor so I'll post it here:

I really appreciate hearing this commitment from the top honcho himself. Bugs and security issues have and continue to be my main concern about Evernote. Those and the "all hat, no cattle" approach to the EN Scansnap scanner led to my decision to buy the generic iX500 Fujitsu recently rather than the EESS version.I do want to make a point to Phil Libin and the EN support and development staff however which is this: Your users are not stupid or ignorant. Listen to them. It shouldn't take the kind of negative publicity of a well-read blogger to wake you up to issues with EN. They are posted every day in the forums. You have the best market research right there without having to spend a single dime.I'm a new user, but already have 3 or 4 posts begging EN to implement a sound SDLC and a supported Beta testing approach with nary a comment from EN staff. I see many talented IT folks posting detailed information. Please consider it all seriously, and most of all, ACT ON IT.

Hi. They have been listening and acting. It didn't take a high profile blog post to change Evernote's focus. As Phil said in his blog post:

"This isn’t something we just decided yesterday. We kicked off a company-wide effort to improve quality a couple of months ago."

The negative blog post by Kincaid probably led Phil to post a rebuttal, but the process of addressing these issues was already well under way. There have been comments about this new emphasis on improving / fixing existing features for some time now on the forums (Jack's posts about editing come to mind).

As for the beta program, it exists and has some of the aspects you were asking to see (I recommend using a free account and you can post responses in the beta forum, which is restricted to beta testers). Feel free to apply anytime to join us in improving the apps as a beta tester.

Longtime users will have seen many posts about bugs by me and others as well as improvements to the apps in response. I get frustrated as well, and I have plenty of posts on the forums expressing my frustration. We are not being ignored in favor of bloggers, though. Developers have commented in many threads. We appreciate when they join discussions, but this is a user forum, so there will be many more users than developers posting. Obviously, the apps could use a lot of improvement, and they are a work in progress. No one doubts that. But, we should also keep in mind that these are professionals at the top of the heap, and trust that they know what they are doing, even when they mistakenly refuse to follow brilliant suggestions that I make. Of course, we need to post our experiences (good and bad), but I wouldn't expect frequent responses on the forums. After all, we want to make sure they keep working on the apps instead of chatting with us! :)

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really? censoring the word "*****"  (starts with an 's' and rhymes with "flex")???  now that's over the line... :P   maybe they should restrict censorship to words that are bleeped out on The Daily Show... :D

 

The email notifications about discussions isn't so crudely censored. I was shocked and horrified to see in my inbox from Evernote not only the word ***, but also ****, ****, **** and even ************ without any warning. At least in these forums I know I'm safe, who knows what damage may have been done to my sensitive mind?

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really? censoring the word "*****"  (starts with an 's' and rhymes with "flex")???  now that's over the line... :P   maybe they should restrict censorship to words that are bleeped out on The Daily Show... :D

 

The email notifications about discussions isn't so crudely censored. I was shocked and horrified to see in my inbox from Evernote not only the word ***, but also ****, ****, **** and even ************ without any warning. At least in these forums I know I'm safe, who knows what damage may have been done to my sensitive mind?

 

 

***** *** ************ *****. ********* *** * ** *****************************. **** ****** ** ****** ***********; **** ****** ***. **** - ****, **** *****. (**** ****** ** ****** *****.) *************! *****??? *****. ************************!!!!!!!

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I posted to Libin's blog but apparently it didn't make it past the monitor so I'll post it here:

I really appreciate hearing this commitment from the top honcho himself. Bugs and security issues have and continue to be my main concern about Evernote. Those and the "all hat, no cattle" approach to the EN Scansnap scanner led to my decision to buy the generic iX500 Fujitsu recently rather than the EESS version.I do want to make a point to Phil Libin and the EN support and development staff however which is this: Your users are not stupid or ignorant. Listen to them. It shouldn't take the kind of negative publicity of a well-read blogger to wake you up to issues with EN. They are posted every day in the forums. You have the best market research right there without having to spend a single dime.I'm a new user, but already have 3 or 4 posts begging EN to implement a sound SDLC and a supported Beta testing approach with nary a comment from EN staff. I see many talented IT folks posting detailed information. Please consider it all seriously, and most of all, ACT ON IT.

Hi. They have been listening and acting. It didn't take a high profile blog post to change Evernote's focus. As Phil said in his blog post:

"This isn’t something we just decided yesterday. We kicked off a company-wide effort to improve quality a couple of months ago."

The negative blog post by Kincaid probably led Phil to post a rebuttal, but the process of addressing these issues was already well under way. There have been comments about this new emphasis on improving / fixing existing features for some time now on the forums (Jack's posts about editing come to mind).

As for the beta program, it exists and has some of the aspects you were asking to see (I recommend using a free account and you can post responses in the beta forum, which is restricted to beta testers). Feel free to apply anytime to join us in improving the apps as a beta tester.

Longtime users will have seen many posts about bugs by me and others as well as improvements to the apps in response. I get frustrated as well, and I have plenty of posts on the forums expressing my frustration. We are not being ignored in favor of bloggers, though. Developers have commented in many threads. We appreciate when they join discussions, but this is a user forum, so there will be many more users than developers posting. Obviously, the apps could use a lot of improvement, and they are a work in progress. No one doubts that. But, we should also keep in mind that these are professionals at the top of the heap, and trust that they know what they are doing, even when they mistakenly refuse to follow brilliant suggestions that I make. Of course, we need to post our experiences (good and bad), but I wouldn't expect frequent responses on the forums. After all, we want to make sure they keep working on the apps instead of chatting with us! :)

 

 

Excellent points, GrumpyMonkey. It's easy to assume the worst, but not always reasonable. I had the same reaction as many: that Libin snubbed the bulk of his customers, like me. Just because Libin doesn't mention these forums or other types of customer feedback doesn't mean we have had no impact, though. 

 

I go back and forth about this. "I love Evernote!" "I hate Evernote!" When I step back and take a balanced view, I think Evernote is more than worthwhile enough that I can put up with the headaches it can occasionally cause. And I think it is a good policy in general to give people the benefit of the doubt. Libin seems to have correctly identified the problems from a big picture perspective and I am optimistic that he can execute. Rather than expecting the worst I am hopeful that what they'll come up with will rock.

 

Dang. This Evernote thing is addictive.  :)

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Hi. They have been listening and acting. It didn't take a high profile blog post to change Evernote's focus. As Phil said in his blog post:

"This isn’t something we just decided yesterday. We kicked off a company-wide effort to improve quality a couple of months ago."

 

 

They may be listening (sort of - Phil's post clearly acknowledges that bug fixes and support have not been priorities over "making more stuff") and acting (in mysterious behind-the-scenes ways), but sgarcata is not alone in the sentiment that "users don't feel heard" by EN corporate.

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Hi. They have been listening and acting. It didn't take a high profile blog post to change Evernote's focus. As Phil said in his blog post:

"This isn’t something we just decided yesterday. We kicked off a company-wide effort to improve quality a couple of months ago."

 

 

That's a nice speech GM, defending Evernote.

 

However, actions speak louder than words.

 

The clear facts are that starting about 18 months ago, many more bugs starting cropping up in Evernote with each new release.  Prior to this many of us, including me, always auto-updated to the latest version, including Betas.  Pretty much the ONLY new bugs in a Beta or new release where bugs in the new features that were released.  The existing/prior features continued to work without any problem.

 

But then that changed radically.  Many new bugs were introduced with each update. Some of these even prevented the app from working and/or resulted in loss of data.

 

Many of us started reporting this change and asked Evernote to be more careful with new releases, to make sure they properly tested the new version before the General release.   But we were pretty much ignored for the next year or so.

 

But I really don't want to get into a debate about history at this point.  If Evernote holds true to Phil Libin's words in his blog, then I really don't care WHY the change in focus was made as long as it is a real and lasting changed, and we can once again rely on each new version of Evernote on all platforms to be properly tested and debugged PRIOR to release.

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That's a nice speech GM, defending Evernote.

Thanks. But, I was just pointing out what Phil said, mentioning the actions that have been taken by Evernote staff who have been listening and responding to our reports, and explaining the testing process (what I know about it, anyhow). You know all of this already, but some other users may not.

 

The clear facts are that starting about 18 months ago, many more bugs starting cropping up in Evernote with each new release...  But we were pretty much ignored for the next year or so.

I have seen no such facts. As far as I know, Evernote doesn't release those numbers and we don't have access to them. More importantly, I don't know what a bug count would tell you. The invisible cursor on the Mac version (it has been missing for some time now) and a data loss issue hardly seem equivalent to me. As for being ignored, I am sure we can find several posts from developers in direct response to you. In fact, I distinctly remember Jack providing data showing that instances of reports to customer service were decreasing--that seems to be a metric they follow, and it is one that may indicate a higher level of satisfaction than you are suggesting. No, we don't have enough data in our hands to actually say for sure that this is the case, but we also don't know the number of bugs have been increasing.

I will grant that the releases have sometimes been disappointing. In particular, as I have mentioned on these forums, I have suffered some data loss even on public releases. I expect that Evernote is working hard to make sure this doesn't happen any more, and I would urge everyone to backup their data (no matter what apps you use). I am frustrated as well (anyone who regularly reads these forums will know something about my trials and tribulations), but it isn't all doom and gloom here. When we evaluate the app, we shouldn't magnify the weaknesses in the service and minimize the very real strengths.

 

But I really don't want to get into a debate about history at this point. If Evernote holds true to Phil Libin's words in his blog, then I really don't care WHY the change in focus was made as long as it is a real and lasting changed, and we can once again rely on each new version of Evernote on all platforms to be properly tested and debugged PRIOR to release.

OK, except that it is important "why" a change in focus was made, because it speaks to the importance of these forums. We report things here, Evernote developers read the reports, and things get fixed. That is how it has worked for years, right? This is the first time (in my memory) that Phil has written a blog post outlining plans for the upcoming year, so that is a big deal, but I think the context for the post matters. It didn't spontaneously emerge from a birthday crisis, but was a carefully thought out plan that had already been set in motion, and I think we have been seeing some of the improvements already (the iOS app, for example, has markedly improved since its release a few months ago).

In other words, Evernote is holding true to Phil's words. The Mac version is quite nice these days. Sure, it still has an invisible cursor and other relatively minor bugs. I won't deny that it has issues to be ironed out. But, it isn't the dire situation you are suggesting. Go ahead. Give it a try :)

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OK, except that it is important "why" a change in focus was made, because it speaks to the importance of these forums. We report things here, Evernote developers read the reports, and things get fixed. That is how it has worked for years, right? This is the first time (in my memory) that Phil has written a blog post outlining plans for the upcoming year, so that is a big deal, but I think the context for the post matters. It didn't spontaneously emerge from a birthday crisis, but was a carefully thought out plan that had already been set in motion, and I think we have been seeing some of the improvements already (the iOS app, for example, has markedly improved since its release a few months ago).

In other words, Evernote is holding true to Phil's words. The Mac version is quite nice these days. Sure, it still has an invisible cursor and other relatively minor bugs. I won't deny that it has issues to be ironed out. But, it isn't the dire situation you are suggesting. Go ahead. Give it a try :)

 

 

It may be important to you as to WHY a change in focus was made, but I doubt we will be able to resolve this question. 

I don't have any bug counts, but I do have a very good memory of the many times I and others have posted complaints about the many new bugs that started about 18 months ago, and know that nothing really changed until the last few days.  Actually, nothing has changed yet, only a promise to change.

 

You should be the first to admit how little these forums actually influence Evernote decisions:

  • There are a number of complaints that you have loudly, and repeatedly made that still have NOT been resolved.
  • Many, many times Phil LIbin has stated that they build/design Evernote for themselves, NOT for their customers.

I could go on, BUT I don't really care as to WHY, because we can never truly know WHY.

 

All I care about now is ACTIONS.  I am willing to give Evernote the benefit of doubt as to the motivation of the change in focus.

IF Evernote follows through on Phil Libin's promise, I will be a very, very happy Evernote user.

 

Enough said.  :-)

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It may be important to you as to WHY a change in focus was made, but I doubt we will be able to resolve this question.

So true. We'll never know for sure. We can speculate based on the available information, and all we have in our hands right now is what we have gleaned from forum posts, Phil's blog posts, statements by Phil at events, etc. Overall, everyone seems consistent to me, and the Evernote staff truly have been working hard to focus on getting the apps working as they should. The apps have undoubtedly improved. They are far from perfect, but they are getting better. Regarding the iOS app (the one that started this kerfuffle), I think it is clearly better than the day it was released thanks to reporting here and response by the developers to fix problems (look back on my posts back then and you'll see some pretty harsh criticism that I think the team has responded to). I am convinced that this is, in fact, a process that has been going on for a while now. I appreciate that they have taken the extra step of making it a publicly declared goal, though.

 

You should be the first to admit how little these forums actually influence Evernote decisions:

  • There are a number of complaints that you have loudly, and repeatedly made that still have NOT been resolved.
  • Many, many times Phil LIbin has stated that they build/design Evernote for themselves, NOT for their customers.
On the contrary. I do think the forums matter, or I wouldn't spend my time here! It is true that things I have reported for some time remain unresolved to this day. The invisible cursor thing is a case in point. However, Evernote developers have acknowledged the bug and claim to be working on it. Indeed, I would prefer to see them just get it fixed, because actions do speak louder than words, but I also know that these things take time. In all of my interactions with developers (in person, online, etc.) they have impressed me with their intelligence, capability, and dedication. They want to see the app work just as much as we do (if not more, because their livelihoods depend on it). I certainly do not feel ignored, even if they don't seem to be agreeing with all of my suggestions for improvement :)

As for the second point, you know that isn't true about Phil's attitude, or we still wouldn't be seeing these (infuriating) popups telling us about Evernote features (I just re-learned today upon re-installing the app and trying to get work done that I can search in documents as a Premium member--ugh). That would be an example of a suggestion I made (get rid of the popups) that gets rejected (but not ignored).

Honestly speaking, I think what Phil is saying is another version of the old saying: I'm not just the president, but I am a customer too. To give context, he used to do work on software that he didn't use, and one of the reasons he started Evernote is that he wanted to work on something he could use. That's a good thing, right? Of course, the problem is that Phil and I clearly have radically different use cases. I think he knows this, and the teams are trying to make it as useful for as many use cases as possible. They don't always hit the mark, to be sure, but I wouldn't say that they are ignoring their customers.

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GM, I'm moving on.  I'm more interested in tracking Evernote's progress from here to see whether or not they really have made a change in focus, and will make 2014 the year of debugging Evernote:
 

This is our central theme for 2014: constant improvement of the core promise of Evernote

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About time that EN (and Mr Phil Libin) have decided to tackle bugs problem that we've been all experiencing for months and some for years!

 

Like many people here have mentioned it's a pity that he took a high profiler blogger to have CEO Phil Libin to acknowledge this problem even if this problem started to be addressed a few months ago at Evernote Headquarter. And this is another problem with EN: communication. Doing things in the back scene and speak about it months after when myriad of people are reporting bugs after bugs it's just not the right way to communicate with your core users. Maybe rather than vouch are frustration through EN Forums, EN Support Desk etc. we should write to high Profile Bloggers and flood them with emails and complains so they will write a blog about problem in EN and start a buzz on the net.

 

I remember when EN IOS7 came out and I proud Mr Libin was talking about it on various TV Media (I recall one in particular on Bloomberg TV). The iTunes reviews on EN had 2 stars and falling and this was 2 weeks after the release of EN IOS7. But on Bloomberg TV Mr Libin was telling that users received the new update very well and EN had good feedback about it. I was thinking "Really!?! Did he even checked out the iTunes Apps Store rating!?!". And thinking that the CEO himself was completely out of touch with the reality of its main product/service. Even worse it might not even use it on a daily basis because if he did it will certainly notice all the crashes and bugs. The EN house was on fire and it has been for quite some time now and he was saying "all is alright and users are happy". I would like to see this year more Mr Libin at EN Headquarter rather than on TV or various online Media talking about Green socks and bag packs that will change our life.

 

I LOVE Evernote. Truly I LOVE it. I have been using it for more than 3 years or so now. I have 30.000+ notes and the size of my .exb file (the file that store all your EN data)  has size of 30Go. I have been a premium users from the beginning since I joined EN and since a few months now I am a EN Business user too. That said about my commitment and love for EN.

 

EN is good today at putting in information and data that we get from various places. In fact that it what EN have been constant since the beginning to my point of view: sending data in (by using the chrome extension or the dedicate email EN or the Outlook extension etc.) to my EN account. Nothing to say there.

 

Now when it comes to find this info, retrieve it as fast as it gets into EN well this is another story. This is where most of the crashes lags and bugs are brought to light. And this is a problem since EN exists. EN had never pay attention enough to how quick and fast you find and get out the data you put in. No matter which client you use (and believe me I have tested them all) it is slow and buggy to say the least. Why do I have to go on Airplane Mode on my iPad in order to open EN so it does not crash and get an almost truly good experience using it!?! How come they still did not figure out that the constant calling for EN to synch (could it be on  IOS, Mac, Windows) damage the performance of using it!? For those using EN on IOS just try it. If you do have a premium account of course and have most of your data offline just switch your iPad or iPhone to Airplane Mode and open EN and you will see by yourself it is the way EN should work. It is not perfect but compare to when EN is online and communicating with the EN server for synching it's definitely much more better! And that's just one example here.

 

What is EN for me? It is a kind of  "Google" for my personal info and data. it is where I put all this things I might need at any given time could be for a meeting or project or just to remember and not forget. When I do a search on Google I don't have to wait 5 or 10mn to get a result of my search. Mr Libin and his team should definitely fix crashes and bugs but also do not forget that EN is a productivity tool. And it is been a long time that EN is slowing me down rather than speeding me up and helping me do more stuff in my life.

 

Every time I see an EN update (Mac, Windows, IOS etc.) I pause and wonder "Ok. They fix this and that but how many new bugs they are bringing in on this release?". For let's say 5 bugs fixed they could be 20+ more added. "Upgrading" EN was always a "Downgrade" of the product and a constant stress for me. I had to ponder the pros and cons sometimes for days. Then go in the EN forum and read people reaction. It was time consuming . So I resolve to stop updating  EN. I simply stop doing it to be honest. I started to find workaround for the bugs I had on the current version I was using. At least I was used to these bugs and worked my way around them. For me it was more productive to stick with my current bugs rather than have new ones.

 

What about getting us addict to new features (some of them core ones) and pulling them out for no reason on the next release (the one I have in mind is the "Hide/Show Tags"  that was on EN v4 which has a long tread in EN forum)? How productive is that? You start to implement the new features in your workflow to have it taking out for no reason. As much as I love new stuff I just started to stay away to EN new features and only use the one that I know EN will never pull out.

 

But let's be positive here and I am happy to read Mr Libin tackling quality for 2014 and putting the right amount of resources to get a robust and stable EN. I was getting tired to get bragged by colleagues in my work office about EN (my colleagues know how much I love and rely on EN). Hopefully they will stop call it "EverBugs, EverLags, EverSlow, EverCrash " or "Does the Green Elephant is getting slower?? This company sure did picked the right Logo!".

 

Looking forward to 2014 Mr Libin. We hope you'll put things back in order so we can all forget about all this mess and just enjoy EN.

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On the contrary. I do think the forums matter, or I wouldn't spend my time here!

 

I believe the forums matter to users who help others; and those who receive help from other users.

But it is obviously not an effective means of communicating with Evernote.

 

If a tree falls in the forest...

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The problem I see is not that they have flaws in the program, but how they handle it.

There is a EN Google+ group that has 1700 German speaking users and plenty of them say that the German customer support has only the answer to reinstall EN and when this doesn't work there is no further answer.

 

Why even having such a support when this support is not answering the tickets as it should.

 

I know they might answer some, but the first answer is always reinstall and not real help.

 

I wish this problem would been taken care of, so I don't have to copy the answers from there to here and the answers or no answers back to that group.

 

And they can't ask here as German is not a language that is not allowed in this forum here.

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really? censoring the word "*****"  (starts with an 's' and rhymes with "flex")???  now that's over the line... :P   maybe they should restrict censorship to words that are bleeped out on The Daily Show... :D

 

Meanwhile we get treated with unedited Mumbai prostitution ads every week... go figure.

 

hahahahaha, so true.

 

BTW the filter is (for now) circumvented with spaces.  At least for words like s e x.

 

The mumbai spam also has daily webinars here starting around 10pm pacific on creative alternative spellings within the genre that are censor compliant yet get the message across.

If you miss a presentation, they're archived for years here:

https://www.google.ca/search?q=%22mumbai%22+site:evernote.com

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On the contrary. I do think the forums matter.

 

Disagree.  It provides free tech support for Evernote, but I see about 5% usefulness in feature/bug fixing.

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On the contrary. I do think the forums matter.

 Disagree.  It provides free tech support for Evernote, but I see about 5% usefulness in feature/bug fixing.

I don't know how you arrive at that number. Apps change and bugs get fixed all the time here. Where did the note counts on the Mac come from? User requests. How did iOS gain the customizable snippet view? User requests. How did they solve search inconsistencies? User feedback.

Does the service work exactly as I think it should. No. However, developers are listening. They may not agree with us, and might decide not to do X or Y, but they are at least considering the suggestions / bug fixes.

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Guest mrossk
It seems that something is changing (to positive!).
 

After having the next nearly data loss on android (also see this thread) something seems to have changed at Evernote:

 

I have tested a full weekend to make a problem reproducable that occours since a few years from time to time on android and destroys notes. So I again made a support ticket, gave them a (private) example note and wrote them step by step how to reproduce the problem. But now the big surprise:

 

The support has NOT told me to reinstall Evernote (as they ever do) but they have really followed all steps to reproduce the bug and were extremly thankful to me that I have given them a way to reproduce this problem. They even immediately gave me a few free months of premium membership. Wow. This was the first time that my work has been valued.

 

They also told me that they will go through my older support tickets to file the bugs that I have already described to them.

 

It seems that Phil Libin is making it true to use 2014 to fix the bugs that are in the system.

 

Marcel.

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I don't know how you arrive at that number.

It's subjective not scientific to be sure.

It comes from working every day in a company which receives bug and feature requests, and seeing the processing and turnaround time of those into bug fixes, customer communication and customer deployments.

For software which runs entire companies, an order of magnitude (maybe several) more complicated than Evernote, but with far leaner development and support resources than Evernote uses, and developed over the same time frame.

Seeing what I see, I just don't see the traction/sync between the forum and the product to justify a quantitative cause and effect beyond the scoring I gave off the cuff. Even if it's double that, it doesn't get things much further. That's a customer perspective scoring which has many factors under Evernote's control. It may well be higher from Evernote's perspective.

There'd have to be more feedback and transparency on Evernote's part to bring those perspectives into more alignment.

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Yup.

More over it's even lurks in the product:

C:\Program Files\Evernote\Evernote\EvernoteIERes\scripts\third_party\jquery-1.7.2.min.js

But not in the everyman accessible way.

On my Wiki, it's pretty simple to just wrap some text in tags and now you can display the same content in tabs/tab pane, or roll-up and expand sections of text, drop in date pickers, UI widgets etc.

Take text, and make it both pretty and more usable.

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