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DEVONthink and Evernote

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DEVONthink (DT) and Evernote (EN)

 

I made the below post in the "Power User..." thread, but I think it is better to continue the discussion here, in its own thread.

 

First, let me say that DT is currently available ONLY for Mac and iOS users.

 

Like ScottLougheed posted, I doubt that DT can, or will, completely replace Evernote.  But for Mac users, it offers many advantages and features in a PIM tool that we have been requesting from Evernote for years.

 

IMO, DT offers at least 3 big advantages:

  1. Security:  It is much more secure since none of the data has to be put in the Cloud.  And even if you choose to sync it using Dropbox, DT offers the "best consumer-level security option available: zero-knowledge 256-bit encryption" [quote from GM]
  2. Scalability:  It is very scalable to large databases.  Lack of scalability is one of Evernotes major issues right now.  See DEVONthink — Second Impression and some Tips
  3. Customizability:  DT is highly customizable.  It seems that they have taken the opposite approach of Evernote, offering the user a wide array of preferences and customizations.

OTOH, Evernote offers ease of use, sync across almost all platforms, and the best web clipper, bar none.

 

So, hopefully here we can learn more about DT, and how to strike the right balance between Evernote and DT.

 

 

DevonThink Pro now available for 50% off ($40) at MacUpdate.com

 

DevonThink is a very good alternative to Evernote for Mac and iOS users.  There is currently no Windows version, although it can be published for viewing by Windows users and other users who don't have it installed.

It has been mentioned here and in other threads numerous times.

 

I haven't used it much yet -- just bought it.  At $40 it's a one-time payment for less than a one-year subscription to Evernote Premium.  It is also available as a free trial.

 

There are several versions available, a good demo/video, and information available at their web site.

 

DEVONthink Pro

Document management reinvented

DEVONthink Pro is your trusted supplementary brain. It's the one store for all your documents that also helps you keep them organized and presents you with the just right data you need for your work.

  • Keep your important data organized
  • Let artificial intelligence help you file your data
  • Research, write, create using power tools
  • Capture interesting data without interrupting your work
  • Integrate and automate your workflow

 

 

 

Here's a great post by GrumpyMonkey, with a link to his DT Getting Starting blog, which is excellent:

 

DEVONthink is pretty amazing. I've written about it a little on my blog.
http://www.christopher-mayo.com/?p=2237

Is it an Evernote replacement? Maybe. But, only if you work exclusively on Macs and mobile isn't all that important for you. The mobile app is adequate (for my needs), and a new version is on the way (no delivery date yet), but I think it is fair to say that Evernote dominates the multi-platform, mobile space right now. DT does not exist on Windows and is extremely unlikely to ever make its way there.

 

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JM,

I think you should also take a look at EagleFiler, by C-Command Software:  https://c-command.com (Mac based only)

 

EagleFiler can do all that DT and EN can do, without the cloud, with the Encryption, can upload to any cloud of your choice for mobile use, etc.  EF has been a life saver for me in going completely paperless.  I can tell you are excited about DT, which is a nice product.  However, I have found EF to be quite a bit simpler, easy to use, with great tools.  The EF web clipper is fantastic as well.

 

Good Luck!

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JM,

I think you should also take a look at EagleFiler, by C-Command Software:  https://c-command.com (Mac based only)

 

EagleFiler can do all that DT and EN can do, without the cloud, with the Encryption, can upload to any cloud of your choice for mobile use, etc.  EF has been a life saver for me in going completely paperless.  I can tell you are excited about DT, which is a nice product.  However, I have found EF to be quite a bit simpler, easy to use, with great tools.  The EF web clipper is fantastic as well.

 

Good Luck!

EF looks interesting and certainly shares some similarities with DT (Just as Evernote does). However, as far as I can tell there is none of the Artificial Intelligence in EF that DT has, which has become critical to my workflow. While EF is a bit less expensive and includes PDFPen OCR, PDFPen has routinely performed with less accuracy than ABBYY OCR that is included with DEVONThink Pro Office, which I use. 

 

EF looks like a great alternative for some people who aren't in need of some of the more complexity-inducing features in DEVONThink. Unfortunately I need those complexity-inducing features. 

 

Ah, and upon closer inspection, it looks as though EF doesn't support "Indexing" (the term DEVONThink uses for referencing files in place in the original file system). My DEVONThink Pro Office content are a mix of imported and indexed items. Not having the option to "index" files in place is a deal breaker for me. 

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EF is a great app. But, there is no iOS version yet, is there? That is a deal breaker for me. Glad to see it is out there, and I like it well enough, but it doesn't fit my use case.

I also think DT is far more powerful, but that might just be my experience with the two apps. The web clipping stuff for EF seemed fine, but I've been very pleased wih DT's, and I feel like it has everything I need. Then, there is the amazing DEVONagent app, which is really the bee's knees.

Neither DT nor EF are available for non Apple systems, though. If we're going to compare and contrast EN with these two apps, we ought to be clear that these apps are so capable because they only operate in limited environments. If you can live exclusively in the Appleverse, you'll be able to make use of them.

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I just ran across this thread about DT that I'm posting here for reference:

 

sharing evernote to devonthink

I should point out that while importing your evernote content to DT is straightforward (in DT File>Import>...:

https://www.evernote.com/l/ABlB8E5iXltLTqn73Vdf1Hg4p6YYEiXCdU0

 

it is not easy to index Evernote content in DT:

http://forum.devontechnologies.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=19968

 

But honestly, I would HATE it if my Evernote content was indexed by DT. The import feature is great, and worked well as I moved a segment of my Evernote stuff to DT in a one time operation. But the reason I use both Evernote and DT is because they do different things better. If my Evernote stuff was indexed by DT, it would likely just clutter things up and make things difficult to find and keep track of. 

 

So, it isn't really ideal to try and share content between evernote and DT, indeed you should just commit you content to one or the other depending on which serves your needs best. 

 

The stuff I have in Evernote is there because Evernote handles that stuff perfectly, and most of it is shared stuff. I wouldn't want it cluttering up my meticulously organized DT nor would I ever really have a need to access my Evernote stuff though DT.

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EF does "Index" your files:  http://c-command.com/eaglefiler/help/search-everything

It works quite well.

I am not sure what the other artificial intelligence advantages are that you mention, but EF works great for my needs, without the continued headaches seen with EN.

I guess I am lucky in that I don't need to access my files remotely all the time, and have the other needs you have.  I like my simple life!  It is quite nice!

 

 

 

JM,

I think you should also take a look at EagleFiler, by C-Command Software:  https://c-command.com (Mac based only)

 

EagleFiler can do all that DT and EN can do, without the cloud, with the Encryption, can upload to any cloud of your choice for mobile use, etc.  EF has been a life saver for me in going completely paperless.  I can tell you are excited about DT, which is a nice product.  However, I have found EF to be quite a bit simpler, easy to use, with great tools.  The EF web clipper is fantastic as well.

 

Good Luck!

EF looks interesting and certainly shares some similarities with DT (Just as Evernote does). However, as far as I can tell there is none of the Artificial Intelligence in EF that DT has, which has become critical to my workflow. While EF is a bit less expensive and includes PDFPen OCR, PDFPen has routinely performed with less accuracy than ABBYY OCR that is included with DEVONThink Pro Office, which I use. 

 

EF looks like a great alternative for some people who aren't in need of some of the more complexity-inducing features in DEVONThink. Unfortunately I need those complexity-inducing features. 

 

Ah, and upon closer inspection, it looks as though EF doesn't support "Indexing" (the term DEVONThink uses for referencing files in place in the original file system). My DEVONThink Pro Office content are a mix of imported and indexed items. Not having the option to "index" files in place is a deal breaker for me. 

 

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EF does "Index" your files:  http://c-command.com/eaglefiler/help/search-everything

It works quite well.

I am not sure what the other artificial intelligence advantages are that you mention, but EF works great for my needs, without the continued headaches seen with EN.

I guess I am lucky in that I don't need to access my files remotely all the time, and have the other needs you have.  I like my simple life!  It is quite nice!

 

 

 

JM,

I think you should also take a look at EagleFiler, by C-Command Software:  https://c-command.com (Mac based only)

 

EagleFiler can do all that DT and EN can do, without the cloud, with the Encryption, can upload to any cloud of your choice for mobile use, etc.  EF has been a life saver for me in going completely paperless.  I can tell you are excited about DT, which is a nice product.  However, I have found EF to be quite a bit simpler, easy to use, with great tools.  The EF web clipper is fantastic as well.

 

Good Luck!

EF looks interesting and certainly shares some similarities with DT (Just as Evernote does). However, as far as I can tell there is none of the Artificial Intelligence in EF that DT has, which has become critical to my workflow. While EF is a bit less expensive and includes PDFPen OCR, PDFPen has routinely performed with less accuracy than ABBYY OCR that is included with DEVONThink Pro Office, which I use. 

 

EF looks like a great alternative for some people who aren't in need of some of the more complexity-inducing features in DEVONThink. Unfortunately I need those complexity-inducing features. 

 

Ah, and upon closer inspection, it looks as though EF doesn't support "Indexing" (the term DEVONThink uses for referencing files in place in the original file system). My DEVONThink Pro Office content are a mix of imported and indexed items. Not having the option to "index" files in place is a deal breaker for me. 

 

 

Just a note that while it does "index" the files in that it maintains an index, from what you've linked to there I understand that the files it indexes are in the EF Library, specifically, and must reside within that library file on the hard disk.  In other words, it "indexes" in the true sense of the word, but it doesn't appear to allow you to reference a file in an arbitrary directory on your computer. DT allows you to reference a directory on your computer's hard drive, which it treats as if it were part of its own database or library. This means you can store your files in any directory you want, such as if you need to leave them in a shared Dropbox folder (or any Dropbox folder!), but still use DT to search, categorize, retrieve, and use the AI to organize or figure out where to put new files. 

 

Anyway, EF looks like a great application. 

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Does DT have True AI?

 

I'm still trying to answer that question.

See Artificial Intelligence (AI).

 

Here's what DevonTechnologies has to say:

 

Artificial intelligence included

 

Named after the Devonian period, the DEVONtechnology marks the departure into a new age of data processing.

 

All our commercial applications are based on our unique proprietary artificial intelligence (AI) technology, named DEVONtechnology. This technology together with a rock-solid database foundation allow our applications to manage large numbers of documents or knowledge bits while analyzing them at the same time.

 

The development of the DEVONtechnology is at the forefront of the "battle" between two competing information processing technology concepts. We are working hard on unifying both the top-down and the bottom-up AI concepts by imitating high-level functions and simulating the basic functionality of natural systems. This leads to highly functional, fast and efficient AI systems that can be used in a great variety of information processing contexts.

 

Clearly, they claim AI.  It all sounds good, but I'm still not sure.

 

Real artificial intelligence is effectively thinking for itself. It can go beyond the built-in programming. It can evolve. AI can learn for itself

 

 

Your thoughts?

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Whether it is truly AI or not is certainly an interesting question to pursue and is something worth exploring. However, I am largely uninterested in the name and much more interested in whether and how it fits into my workflow and enhances my productivity. So, whether it is really Artificial Intelligence, or whether it's a clever name for "word association" is irrelevant to me if it makes me work better, which it does!

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@ScottLougheed:

 

I agree that in the final analysis the important thing is how it is deployed in the product, and how useful/helpful it is to us.

 

But I also think it is important to properly classify and name technologies, so that we can have good clear communications amongst ourselves as well as others, and learn more about products that have some type of automated processing that helps our own intelligence.

 

But for now, I'd be very interested in how you have found the DT "Artificial Intelligence (AI)" (so named by DT) useful in your workflow.  Some examples would be great!  

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I primarily do social scientific research (if you're tuned into such things, we could say, broadly, I do some brand of Environmental Sociology/"Science and Technology in Society"). I have, and continue to, accumulate a very extensive library of digitized academic books and electronic journal articles. The breadth of the subject matter covered by this collection exceeds what any single manuscript or project would cover. That being said, there is considerable overlap. 

 

I use "classify" (the top portion of the "See Also & Classify" pane) for helping me decide into which group/tag a new addition to my collection should be deposited. Sometimes it's the top suggestion, often its not (but this might me more indicative of a shortcoming of my organizational scheme than of the predictive capacity of the program). 

 

I use "See also" primarily when I am consulting the literature for a new project or manuscript. In general I know the canonical texts for a given area and retrieve those first either through browsing or search (e.g., "Beck 1992" or simply "Beck" will bring up texts authored by Ulrich Beck, Or "Governmentality" will return Mitchell Dean's seminal elaboration on Foucault's theory of Governmentality usually as top results). However, it can be a bit laborious to locate in my rather large database, related materials. "see also" brings related content right up front, and you can get into a bit of a "rabbit hole" of sorts (which, in this case, is a good thing), as you locate a new article, use the "see also" on that to find another article or three, and use "see also", and so on. 

 

So, used in conjunction with groups and tags, see also can surface a lot of relevant content quickly and without much manual intervention. It can often surface material that I might not have thought to consult, either because it had been a long time since I last read the article/book, or because I hadn't read it yet (I hate to admit I have a few too many articles I've nabbed but not read in their entirety), or because they are one section in a larger book or edited volume the title of which is not indicative of the diverse contents, and so on. Moreover, it can surface reading notes on articles as well, which I also store in DT. So instead of re-reading entire articles, I can often consult the reading notes I have (and those contain a link to the original PDF if I need to consult that). 

 

So that's one way I use the see also and classify. In general I find it very effective for this use case. It's capabilities are not necessarily easily reproduced, not even, say, by an elaborate search language. Indeed, the DT system is much more familiar with the contents of every single article and book in my database than I am and can identify links between articles that I couldn't think to search for. Basically it helps me find more related content to read, and it does a remarkably good job of it. 

 

Another way I use it is for some elements of the teaching I do. For example, a course I was a teaching assistant for required students to write three iterations of a complex essay. I put each iteration in their own folder (Essay 1, essay 2, essay 3). When it came to mark the 2nd or 3rd essays, DT would automatically surface the previous draft (or two drafts) in the "see also" so rather than having to locate it manually to consult and examine the extent of the students' revisions, I could just access it from the See Also pane. This might seem trivial, but the 30 seconds per essay it saves is significant when you have to do it for 40 essays on two different occasions (e.g., the second and third submissions). 

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@ScottLougheed:

 

Thanks for taking the time to provide such a thoughtful, detailed discussion about your use of DT.

I found it very helpful, and I'm sure others will as well.

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I suppose since this is an Evernote forum I might be smart to relate this back to Evernote. Continuing from my descriptions above, it might be worth inquiring, can this be reasonably approximated by Evernote? And if Evernote could reasonably approximate this functionality in these use cases, would it then still be a suitable option. 

 

Evernote cannot index files outside of its database. Most of the literature I describe in the first use case is "indexed" (in the DEVONThink use of the term). That is, it resides in an arbitrary folder on my computer's hard drive (in this case, my personal literature collection in Dropbox, or a shared folder with my collaborators in Dropbox). Because 1) some of this literature is in a shared folder, and 2) I periodically like to access my own literature from other devices such as my iPad, it is fairly important to me that the files can live wherever I want them to. This is especially critical for the shared files, since I cannot impose organizational schemes and software on my collaborators. It would not 1) be reasonable to ask them to use Evernote,as would be required if I wanted to keep those files in Evernote and then share them with my collaborators; 2) it would be immensely inefficient to duplicate the contents of that shared folder in another program (not to mention a waste of space). 

 

Evernote has "context" but it: 1) may suggest outside sources if you've configured it as such, and those sources are not appropriate for the work I do; 2) presents a small number of related notes or other content but the relationship does not seem to be as strong as the relationships identified in DT, which also presents a larger number of suggestions (and ranks them so you can see how related they are); 3) Does not offer any automated facilitation of organization. It relies on the user's own recollection of their taxonomical scheme and cannot make any suggestions to facilitate that process. If the user's organizational scheme in DEVONThink is reasonably carefully constructed (and you follow a couple of minor suggestion from DT's documentation), the Classify feature really speeds things up and I rarely have to think too hard about what belongs where. 

 

In addition to academic literature, I have a growing amount of research data that contains potentially identifying and proprietary information on somewhat sensitive subject matter. I cannot store these on third-party servers , let alone third-party servers in another country, for various legal and common sense reasons. I appreciate being able to apply the same retrieval and organizational techniques facilitated by See Also & Classify on those research data for preliminary analysis prior to dumping them into my qualitative data analysis software, and for long-term storage after analysis. Even if Evernote were to be able to perform the "AI" functionality in the same way that DT does, the less robust database integrity and the more-or-less non-optional cloud storage would preclude my use of it in this case. This is also true of my second example related to teaching. It would be unwise to place student's data in a cloud service. Sure, the students probably worked on it in a dropbox or OneDrive folder, but in that instance they would be losing their own data if something went awry. I'm not interested in broadcasting tens of students work and personal information in one fell swoop should there be a glitch or hack!

 

So again, Evernote gets some stuff, but for these more complex tasks, Evernote either lacks the functionality, doesn't comply with the rules of my institution or the law, or both. 

 

But what does Evernote do very well? Sharing with other Evernote users. This is where DEVONThink doesn't perform so well, and indeed I don't think it even attempts to. DEVONThink allows me to use DT on files and my collaborators are none-the-wisers. This is okay for some stuff, but not for all.

 

My partner and I keep all our household documentation (insurance forms, car and veterinary receipts, recipes, records of wines we enjoyed, events we might be planning, etc) in Evernote. Evernote does an amazing job here because we can add things and be assured that the other has them too. Clipping on mobile and desktop is great for recipes and event planning. The mobile apps make scanning items with our phone and tossing them into EN a breeze. We also almost always do most of our retrieval of recipes and many other documents on our mobile devices rather than desktop. Here again, EN wins out.

 

EN and DT also share some elements that, when combined with EN's unique advantages make it especially suited to some use-cases. Tags are effective so our Cooking notebook is well-organized and it is easy to retrieve meals or use tags as criteria for searching. Cooking also gets all of our wine notes, easily excluded using tags (-tag:wine) or easily retrieved (tag:wine). It also makes the images of wine labels searchable, which DT does not do in quite the slick way (I could convert it to a PDF using DT but I find DT is better at converting scanned text to text, rather than images which happen to contain text, but again, the sharing in DT is lacking anyway). 

 

It seems ironic to me, however, that while Evernote is increasingly pushing into work/enterprise, it is precisely those elements of my life that I've extracted from Evernote for various reasons (data integrity and security being critical, but just the start!). Evernote has proven itself immensely useful for exactly the type of thing Libin has in mind as he attempts to "shift from a consumer tool also used by businesses into one with workers in mind". For me, Evernote has shifted from being a work tool in which I also manage my household, to simply a household management tool. 

DEVONThink is the tool that fuels my work (and some aspects of my personal) productivity, but is less good for many of the household management tasks Evernote continues to excel at. 

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the more-or-less non-optional cloud storage ... I'm not interested in broadcasting tens of students work and personal information in one fell swoop should there be a glitch or hack!

 

My partner and I keep all our household documentation (insurance forms, car and veterinary receipts, recipes, records of wines we enjoyed, events we might be planning, etc) in Evernote. 

 

See, that's the part that gets me. I'm not comfortable putting insurance forms, receipts, etc. in Evernote for the reason above, so I'm finding myself increasingly forced to look into other solutions like devonthink as I attempt to become more organized.

 

I guess I'm surprised that you have security concerns that apply to student work, but not your own financial documents? Is the sharing functionality really useful enough trade-off for that risk?

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the more-or-less non-optional cloud storage ... I'm not interested in broadcasting tens of students work and personal information in one fell swoop should there be a glitch or hack!

My partner and I keep all our household documentation (insurance forms, car and veterinary receipts, recipes, records of wines we enjoyed, events we might be planning, etc) in Evernote.

See, that's the part that gets me. I'm not comfortable putting insurance forms, receipts, etc. in Evernote for the reason above, so I'm finding myself increasingly forced to look into other solutions like devonthink as I attempt to become more organized.

I guess I'm surprised that you have security concerns that apply to student work, but not your own financial documents? Is the sharing functionality really useful enough trade-off for that risk?

Student, university, and faculty data is not mine, and that is precisely why I am more careful with it. But, as you said, there isn't much appeal in putting my own private papers onto an unsecured cloud. One reason I am so keen on DEVONthink is the wifi sync, which is about as secure as we are going to get. VoodooPad also has this, but it scales up poorly, and is suffering from years of neglect. I don't expect Evernote will get wifi data transfer. It's going to be tough to argue that it is a safe place for sensitive data until they offer secure notebooks, though.

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the more-or-less non-optional cloud storage ... I'm not interested in broadcasting tens of students work and personal information in one fell swoop should there be a glitch or hack!

 

My partner and I keep all our household documentation (insurance forms, car and veterinary receipts, recipes, records of wines we enjoyed, events we might be planning, etc) in Evernote. 

 

See, that's the part that gets me. I'm not comfortable putting insurance forms, receipts, etc. in Evernote for the reason above, so I'm finding myself increasingly forced to look into other solutions like devonthink as I attempt to become more organized.

 

I guess I'm surprised that you have security concerns that apply to student work, but not your own financial documents? Is the sharing functionality really useful enough trade-off for that risk?

 

I don't see my insurance as being the same as financial information. My financial records do not go in Evernote. Sure, insurance contains personal info, but not in the same level of detail nor the same potential impact as detailed financial info. (Ironically, all of my banking and investments are stored on a cloud operated by my financial institutions, so... hard to know precisely how much more secure they are there!).

Also, I am willing to take the heat for losing my own data. I refuse to put other people's data at risk. 

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Devonthink versus EagleFiler: I'd like to endorse ScottLougheed's discussion. I am a very heavy user of EagleFiler for my academic life, but I am considering switching to Devonthink Pro. The discussion betweeen JM and SL about their relative merits fits my experience. EagleFiler is more straightforward, very robust, very very fast in searching. But DT has some sophisticated features that EF does not attempt, including the "AI" aspects. Another thing missing from EF, that I happen to need, is the ability to work inside of PDF documents. In EagleFiler, the smallest unit of analysis is an entire document, while Devonthink (I hope) has the ability to do quite a bit of highlighting, excerpting, cross-referencing,  and extracting portions of a large PDF. 

 

Neither is particularly good at using across multiple computers or people. But in other respects, both are way beyond Evernote for organizing and searching multiple large documents. EF for sure, and I gather DT, have very responsive developers. 

 

Here is the discussion that I am reacting to: 

 

EagleFiler can do all that DT and EN can do, without the cloud, with the Encryption, can upload to any cloud of your choice for mobile use, etc.  EF has been a life saver for me in going completely paperless.  I can tell you are excited about DT, which is a nice product.  However, I have found EF to be quite a bit simpler, easy to use, with great tools.  The EF web clipper is fantastic as well.

 

Good Luck!

EF looks interesting and certainly shares some similarities with DT (Just as Evernote does). However, as far as I can tell there is none of the Artificial Intelligence in EF that DT has, which has become critical to my workflow. While EF is a bit less expensive and includes PDFPen OCR, PDFPen has routinely performed with less accuracy than ABBYY OCR that is included with DEVONThink Pro Office, which I use. 

 

EF looks like a great alternative for some people who aren't in need of some of the more complexity-inducing features in DEVONThink. Unfortunately I need those complexity-inducing features. 

 

Ah, and upon closer inspection, it looks as though EF doesn't support "Indexing" (the term DEVONThink uses for referencing files in place in the original file system). My DEVONThink Pro Office content are a mix of imported and indexed items. Not having the option to "index" files in place is a deal breaker for me.

 

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hi. tldr; i think dt is a dream product for academics (i am a historian) that takes a different approach than evernote to tackling problems of information collection, management, and productivity.

syncing

----------------

dt syncs across computers without any problem via wifi, local drive (thumb drive, etc.), dropbox, etc. personally, i sync via local drive these days (thumb drive). i've had colleagues who use dropbox and are quite pleased with it.

is it as seamless as en on its good days? no. is it cross-platform compatible like en? not really (you can be compatible with indexing, but that is a longer discussion). the ios app is kludgy, but it works, and it is quite secure (wifi sync).

sophistication

---------------------

i think dt does a brilliant job managing information. amazingly, you can link to individual pdf pages. wow. you can create a personal wiki with plain text files and no markup at all (file names are automatically turned into links). no one else does this. the searching is rock solid and quite user friendly. the ai is unique, a huge time saver, and great at discovering associated content. the user interface is a little difficult to master for some (me), but that is probably because it is packed with potential, and it takes a while to explore it all. evernote is relatively simple and easy to use, but there is much less flexibility --- a doctor will be using the same interface as an elementary school student, and their databases will look roughly identical.

company

----------------------

the dt developers? extremely responsive. however, it is a small operation, so it takes them a long time for r+d --a new version of the ios app has been years in the making, while evernote has pushed out major rewrites / overhauls several times in the last few years. when evernote throws its massive resources at a problem, it gets it solved a lot more quickly. need an app for pebble? ok. problem with the apple appstore app? pull it, make a fix, and re-upload it in a few days. few other developers seem to get such a quick response from apple, even assuming they can fix things quickly.

products

--------------------

en is a pioneering service that targets a huge swath of people, so it is pretty much appropriate in some way or another for everyone. but, it does a poor job of catering to the needs of "power" users who might need more security (doctors, teachers, lawyers) or productivity features (business people). it also has had problems with scalability and so forth. it is innovative and fast moving (a great thing), but perhaps not so willing to spend time on less attention-grabbing stuff like encryption, debugging, or "options," which en generally prefers to remove rather than add.

en seems to have a high tolerance for bugs in updates / overhauls, so new releases in the fall (timed with its yearly conference and apple's new operating system updates) can wreak havoc. en also seems unenthusiastic about support these days (it used to be better, in my opinion, because the company prioritized it) -- users at dt often get replies from the president or lead developer. en sometimes does a poor job of communicating changes with its users -- one day you might lose the ability to make public notebooks, the other one you might lose sorting options or have newly annoying iterations of the hated popup (a problem for years now, in my opinion). you just don't know, because the environment is rapidly changing. for some folks, the changes are refreshing and welcome, but for others it can be exhausting and dreaded (some folks are still running app versions one or two behind the current one). in contrast, dt has a steady, incremental, and careful approach to innovation -- it's not terribly flashy, but it performs some incredible feats. this suits some people, but others, who might be waiting for that new version of the ios app, for example, are unsatisfied.

there's no reason you have to pick one or the other. in fact, i used to use evernote as my main app and index its content with devonthink. the dt app and the en service are quite different philosophies and approaches to tackling similar problems with data management. they're both exciting and innovative in their own ways. i'd recommend experimenting with them to find the workflow that best fits your use case.

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In addition to the great post that GM has made highlighting some of the differences and similarities, I'd like to also through out a few important differences. One of Evernote's major advantages is the simplicity and seamlessness of how it synchronizes. Much of this is made possible by virtue of the fact that it largely removes control of the files from the file system into its own database and makes files more-or-less inaccessible outside of Evernote (this is much less of an issue on the Mac compared to iOS, but it still does add some significant clumsiness to editing attachments on the Mac). This is not necessarily a problem for some things or certain workflows (I annotate a lot of PDFs for research, so the "attachment" thing is annoying, but I rarely make changes to PDFs of recipes so in this case Evernote works great), but it does significantly reduce flexibility, and I find the "attachment" approach to be a bit clumsy for very important or large numbers of documents. 

 

DEVONthink on the other hand does have the ability to manage your files in a database, but also the ability to reference those files in the file system. It also doesn't really rely on the "attachment" approach and offers true native support for files (as an academic, I'm sure PDFs are your bread and butter). I actually recently wrote about an academic workflow involving DEVONthink and links to PDF pages here:

Summarizing Academic Literature with OmniOutliner and DEVONthink

 

This COULD be done in Evernote, either as the source of your Pdfs, the destination for your notes, or both, though it handles PDFs less well and the links are not page-specific, and it doesn't handle outlines as well as OmniOutliner. So this workflow could be roughly reproduced using Evernote in either the reading or the outlining role. 

 

As someone who has transitioned from using solely Evernote to a combination of DEVONthink (personal and work) and Evernote (Personal only), I've been meaning to write a bit about that, perhaps by the end of the week. 

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hi. tldr; i think dt is a dream product for academics (i am a historian) that takes a different approach than evernote to tackling problems of information collection, management, and productivity.

, , ,

 

Hi GM.  

 

First, let me say thanks for a great post.  Your comparison of DevonThink (DT) and Evernote (EN) is very useful.

It really makes me think what a great product it would be to combine the two approaches -- all the power and sophistication of DT with the EN universal sync & availability on all platforms.

 

I couldn't help but notice that you seem to have taken your self-described "minimalist" approach to the max in this post.

I noticed that you have not used any capitals (even for acronyms) or formatting -- all just plain text, even using a bunch of dashes ("----") below a section header rather than bolding or underlining the header.  I'm just wondering when the punctuation will go.   :P

 

I'm just curious as to what has led you to this approach?  Do you think it helps the reader, or do you just don't want to be bothered with the formatting?

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In addition to the great post that GM has made highlighting some of the differences and similarities, I'd like to also through out a few important differences. 

. . .

As someone who has transitioned from using solely Evernote to a combination of DEVONthink (personal and work) and Evernote (Personal only), I've been meaning to write a bit about that, perhaps by the end of the week. 

 

Scott, thanks for another great post.  Lots of great insight there.

 

I look forward to your new article.  Please post a link to it here when published.

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hi. tldr; i think dt is a dream product for academics (i am a historian) that takes a different approach than evernote to tackling problems of information collection, management, and productivity.

, , ,

 

Hi GM.  

 

First, let me say thanks for a great post.  Your comparison of DevonThink (DT) and Evernote (EN) is very useful.

It really makes me think what a great product it would be to combine the two approaches -- all the power and sophistication of DT with the EN universal sync & availability on all platforms.

 

I couldn't help but notice that you seem to have taken your self-described "minimalist" approach to the max in this post.

I noticed that you have not used any capitals (even for acronyms) or formatting -- all just plain text, even using a bunch of dashes ("----") below a section header rather than bolding or underlining the header.  I'm just wondering when the punctuation will go.   :P

 

I'm just curious as to what has led you to this approach?  Do you think it helps the reader, or do you just don't want to be bothered with the formatting?

lazy.

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In addition to the great post that GM has made highlighting some of the differences and similarities, I'd like to also through out a few important differences. 

. . .

As someone who has transitioned from using solely Evernote to a combination of DEVONthink (personal and work) and Evernote (Personal only), I've been meaning to write a bit about that, perhaps by the end of the week. 

 

Scott, thanks for another great post.  Lots of great insight there.

 

I look forward to your new article.  Please post a link to it here when published.

 

Cheers!

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In addition to the great post that GM has made highlighting some of the differences and similarities, I'd like to also through out a few important differences. 

. . .

As someone who has transitioned from using solely Evernote to a combination of DEVONthink (personal and work) and Evernote (Personal only), I've been meaning to write a bit about that, perhaps by the end of the week. 

 

Scott, thanks for another great post.  Lots of great insight there.

 

I look forward to your new article.  Please post a link to it here when published.

 

JMichael,

As per, here's the link to part 1 of a set of two posts in which I rather haphazardly make contrasts between Evernote and DEVONthink, based on thoughts off the top of my head. It's a bit "back of the napkin", but the point is to highlight how the two applications (or an application and a service) can work together to serve the breadth of an individual's set of needs. 

Evernote and DEVONthink Part I

 

Part two coming next week. 

Thank for your interest and I hope this helps people understand better where Evernote can sit in their workflow, even if they use another "similar" (though I argue not at all similar) application. 

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Hi, 

I just wanted to ask a question about the integration of devonthink and evernote.

I use both of them, devonthink is a way to organize and search across different sources (imported items, indexed folders and even evernote notes). I use evernote for clipping thins from the browser and for scanning things. This is really the key feature for me because evernote allows to search through handwritten documents and make them searchable (even if it is not completely accurate, it allows to find some key words).

This is a feature that devonthink doesn't have, I would like to know if you can suggest me a way to keep handwritten evernote notes that I import in devonthink searchable, that would be a killer feature for me.

I saw that some of the people who were writing posts were quite experts about the two platforms so I was wondering if they maybe found a solution for this issue.

 

Simone

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Salmone, the feature you're describing does in fact existing Devonthink - but only in the "Pro Office" variant. It's the "Scanning and OCR" feature.

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Hi Zxaos,

I own the pro office version, but it allows to OCR only "typewrite" texts, not handwritten ones.

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It also supports hand printing, but you're right that cursive won't get recognized. It seems like it's a limitation of the underlying OCR engine ( http://www.abbyy.com/finereader/). Unfortunately, from my understanding the way evernote OCRs writing is not exportable (it seems to store the OCR data in some other index instead of adding it back to the image like devonthink does). 

 

Until aabbyy updates its software to allow handwriting recognition or evernote exports it, your only other option would be to pass the handwritten things through an external OCR program that supports handwriting before brining them into devonthink.

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Hi Zxaos, I did try to use devonthink OCR (Abbyy) for handwritten images, but it's not only cursive (In my experience evernote can't recognize cursive either) but I saw that it is not working with capital letters neither. It's working great with typewritten text but I think it's not really supposed to catch handwriting.

Evernote does a fine job with capital handritten words and that can be useful because in documents written in cursive I can write some words (in capital letters) that work like a tagging system.

 

If only there was a way to transfer this infos to devonthink it would be awesome.

 

 

I looked at some other software, but I couldn't find anything that really convinced me about handwriting OCR

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Hi Zxaos, I did try to use devonthink OCR (Abbyy) for handwritten images, but it's not only cursive (In my experience evernote can't recognize cursive either) but I saw that it is not working with capital letters neither. It's working great with typewritten text but I think it's not really supposed to catch handwriting.

Evernote does a fine job with capital handritten words and that can be useful because in documents written in cursive I can write some words (in capital letters) that work like a tagging system.

If only there was a way to transfer this infos to devonthink it would be awesome.

I looked at some other software, but I couldn't find anything that really convinced me about handwriting OCR

i've found evernote to be pretty good with handwriting, but there are some things you can do to tweak the process.

http://www.christopher-mayo.com/?p=876

evernote stores ocr'd text within the note, so it is exportable as html, importable into devonthink, and searchable there. however, evernote records possibilities for each note, not a single version of the text -- inevitably, there are false positives.

http://blog.evernote.com/tech/2013/07/18/how-evernotes-image-recognition-works/

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Yes I think that evernote does a good job, i'm not even sure that a software which allows accurate cursive handwriting OCR, actually exists.. maybe it will come.  By the way evernote really does the the job in a good way if the handwriting is done accurately.

 

 

I tried importing evernote notes in devonthink through "<Import<evernote notes" and in this way the images aren't searchable anymore (it seems that data are lost in the importing process or that devonthink isn't capable of read them).

 

I'll try with html export as you were suggesting.

I wrote to devonthink support to ask if they know something about it anyway, I'll post what they tell me, in case someone else is interested in this cross platform possibility too.

 

I think that with ocr images datas communicating well between the two softwares and if there was a possibility to index evernote notes instead of having to import them; using the two software together would be really great

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Yes I think that evernote does a good job, i'm not even sure that a software which allows accurate cursive handwriting OCR, actually exists.. maybe it will come.  By the way evernote really does the the job in a good way if the handwriting is done accurately.

 

 

I tried importing evernote notes in devonthink through "<Import<evernote notes" and in this way the images aren't searchable anymore (it seems that data are lost in the importing process or that devonthink isn't capable of read them).

 

I'll try with html export as you were suggesting.

I wrote to devonthink support to ask if they know something about it anyway, I'll post what they tell me, in case someone else is interested in this cross platform possibility too.

 

I think that with ocr images datas communicating well between the two softwares and if there was a possibility to index evernote notes instead of having to import them; using the two software together would be really great

 

I used to index my Evernote notes, so it shouldn't be a problem. Just point DT to the Evernote folder in your Library and see what happens.

 

As for the image ocr data, it ought to be contained somewhere in the exported file, but I suppose if it was .html when it arrived in DT, then DT might not index the content of it, thinking that the code is irrelevant. That's my guess, but I haven't messed with it myself. DT support folks are pretty tech savvy, and the people on the forums are helpful / knowledgable, so I think you can reach a solution.

 

I don't have a whole lot of experience, but Evernote seems to be one the best applications out there for handwriting recognition, especially when dealing with multiple languages. It's far from perfect, but I think it does take a nice approach (indexing possibilities) and I don't see anyone else pushing the envelope on this. 

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I've been thinking about Devonthink lately, not as a replacement for Evernote, but to index it and let the AI make some connections. Does anyone have an opinion on the standard $49 Devonthink and how well the AI works? I have about 15,000 notes in Evernote and I don't use it for anything other than capturing words I want to remember and snippets off sites for writing inspiration. Is the Devonagent search or application itself *that* mind-blowing? Please discuss

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I've been thinking about Devonthink lately, not as a replacement for Evernote, but to index it and let the AI make some connections. Does anyone have an opinion on the standard $49 Devonthink and how well the AI works? I have about 15,000 notes in Evernote and I don't use it for anything other than capturing words I want to remember and snippets off sites for writing inspiration. Is the Devonagent search or application itself *that* mind-blowing? Please discuss

I'm trying to set up a similar workflow too, I like how evernote quickly capture things from webpages and I love the way it turns handwritten scans to searchable text; I strongly prefer devonthink for organizing things, searching and creating contents. 

 

The main problems about their interaction in my opinion are:

 

indexing evernote notes doesn't work well, you can index the evernote folder in your library but you will loose all notes name (replaced with some AE2234JBDJKFL kind of name) and loose tags and organization you may already have in your evernote notes.

 

You can import them in devonthink anyway and this is working fine, it will import tags and keep a different group for every evernote notebook. You will loose the possibility to search handwritten notes by the way. 

 

I wrote to devonthink developers and they told me that indexing evernote notes is quite complicated because evernote often changes his library structure. About the possibility of importing also images with searchable text (the ocr that evernote does on images) they can work on it, maybe in a future release.

 

There is still the problem that having to import notes to preserve tags and organization you will find yourself with twice of the disk space taken by each note because you'll have the evernote library and devonthink imported notes mirrored.

 

So, I think the interaction is not completely bad (Ok importing notes and tags) but needs improvement (no searchable text in images imported, indexing not working very well).

 

By the way devonthink developers told me that evernote is their competitor, so they are not really trying to make people keep using it; I answered them that I use both the services and in my opinion they are different and I use them in different ways. I really hope interaction between them will be enhanced in the future.

 

 

I can't help you about the devonthink standard edition, i use devonthink office pro, the main difference I think is that standard edition won't scan and OCR. Surely there are other differences but I don't remember exactly about them.

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Thanks for taking the time to type out your experience. I try not to keep any pics in Evernote so OCR isn't a problem. I'm not sure if it even matters to me that the note titles and tag structure are kept intact; I could be wrong about that though! What I'm most interested in is the ability of Devonthink's AI to group related information from different notes in ways that I'm not seeing in Evernote alone. Basically, I'm looking to get more out of the things I've collected in Evernote, is Devonthink amazing for this, or is it more of a novelty at this point?

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Thanks for taking the time to type out your experience. I try not to keep any pics in Evernote so OCR isn't a problem. I'm not sure if it even matters to me that the note titles and tag structure are kept intact; I could be wrong about that though! What I'm most interested in is the ability of Devonthink's AI to group related information from different notes in ways that I'm not seeing in Evernote alone. Basically, I'm looking to get more out of the things I've collected in Evernote, is Devonthink amazing for this, or is it more of a novelty at this point?

i'd say it is pretty amazing. in evernote, i have long recommended having only one notebook, no tags, and simply relying on informative titles with saved searches.

http://www.christopher-mayo.com/?p=367

it worked well, but the titling did take a bit of time, and it was often necessary to "weed the garden" in order to keep it all running smoothly.

in devonthink, i have several hundred "groups" (folders at first glance, though actually tags in terms of functionality) and i still title a few things, but the vast majority of my stuff enters the app straight through the "inbox" without any name change, and then is easily handled through the sorting and classification ai. i can file away dozens of things in just a minute or two. if i am working on something, the ai's suggestions for related materials are spot on, and i can easily pull together all of the stuff into one place using "replicants." the best part for me is that everything is "indexed," so nothing is actually inside devonthink. it is all synced securely (encrypted) to the cloud, and every file is available to any other app that needs it.

http://www.christopher-mayo.com/?cat=40

if this sounds a little complicated, that's because it is. it is an open system that allows for a huge range of workflows and use cases, because it can be tailored to your situation. in contrast, evernote is a relatively closed system that allows for a lot less variety. the strength here is that the tools they do have are often the best available out there. search is handled great, syncing gets better every year, and the basic elements of evernote can be picked up in just a few minutes. they are both amazing apps in their own ways, but they are also competitors, and i can certainly see why devonthink would see little value in working through the cloud and evernote's ai to tie the two together.

in fact, one key philosophical difference is that evernote is built around a cloud model while devonthink is built around a desktop one. devonthink can make use of the cloud (encrypted syncing via dropbox), but that isn't necessary, especially if you are only working with osx. of course, evernote can just reside on the desktop, but it is very limited (local folders). devonthink also syncs to ios. here again the philosophy is different. it doesn't use the cloud, so it can be more cumbersome than evernote (manual syncing), but it syncs more securely (bluetooth or wifi), and with more flexibility,

at this point, evernote and devonthink don't play well together, and unless you are willing to invest a lot of effort (indexing and re-indexing), you'll either need to run them independently of one another (maybe sensitive stuff in dt and other stuff in en) or choose one over the other.

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@grumpymonkey That speaks to a ton of what I was thinking about, thanks. I read your minimalist approach to Evernote article in what seems like years ago and it influenced my workflow. Looks like Devon think has a 150 hour trial, I think I'll jump on that. Cheers

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New Mac user here. In summary, it seems Evernote excels at aspects such as Capture and Sync, while Devonthink Pro Office excels at extractable text OCR (although client-side - isn't it a bit too heavy on the ram/system resources?) and - mainly - Organization. Everyone in the thread should be quite thoroughly well-informed at this point in time as to whether the steep learning curve and the impact on ram that Devon's client-side OCR and sync impose are worth the automated organizing prowess of the AI. Any decisive recommendations as to which to commit to, as of Dec 18th [Devon Office vs Evernote Premium] ?  [Appologies in advance for any possible display of ignorance...I only just got started in all this]

[I've read all the articles mentioned, including ScottLougheed's ones. But there are also negative reviews out there for Devon, e.g. http://dailymacview.com/2014/01/21/switching-to-evernote-from-devonthink-but-why/ (he follows it up with a article where he goes back to Devon, but then comprehensively dismisses it again in the comments section, saying , they're "just not keeping up" or something of that sort).

Thanks in advance.

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On 2015年12月18日 at 0:40 AM, Evernote User Md said:

New Mac user here. In summary, it seems Evernote excels at aspects such as Capture and Sync, while Devonthink Pro Office excels at extractable text OCR (although client-side - isn't it a bit too heavy on the ram/system resources?) and - mainly - Organization. Everyone in the thread should be quite thoroughly well-informed at this point in time as to whether the steep learning curve and the impact on ram that Devon's client-side OCR and sync impose are worth the automated organizing prowess of the AI. Any decisive recommendations as to which to commit to, as of Dec 18th [Devon Office vs Evernote Premium] ?  [Appologies in advance for any possible display of ignorance...I only just got started in all this]

[I've read all the articles mentioned, including ScottLougheed's ones. But there are also negative reviews out there for Devon, e.g. http://dailymacview.com/2014/01/21/switching-to-evernote-from-devonthink-but-why/ (he follows it up with a article where he goes back to Devon, but then comprehensively dismisses it again in the comments section, saying , they're "just not keeping up" or something of that sort).

Thanks in advance.

i don't use the devonthink ocr myself (i use adobe pro), but i've never heard of it, or any other devonthink process, taking up too much ram. i'm on a macbook now, and i've used it before with a mac mini and macbook pro. your mileage may vary, of course, but with a free trial, i think you'll get it sorted fairly quickly for yourself. personally, i think devonthink excels at capture, sync, and organization. it's simply a different kind of capture and sync process that may not fit your particular workflow. for example, you can play at being neo (from the matrix) scouring the web and collecting hundreds or thousands of pages off the web automatically, and with the push of a button, having them sorted automatically. That's an amazing capture process!

http://www.christopher-mayo.com/?p=2237

evernote does a lot on the server side (out of your control), so you usually won't need to think about ram. sync is less pretty much automatic without any thought (or control) by the user. people who like to have fine-grained control over how their data is handled might prefer devonthink, and people who just want to get stuff done without worrying about exactly how that happens might prefer evernote. there are other distinctions that can ( and have) been made, of course, but this is one way of looking at it. in the end, both are free to try, so give them a spin and see what you think :)

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DevonThinkProOffice: Personal Review

So...No Offense to anyone (Seriously)...but I just wasted $210 and 2 weeks of my life on the Devon trio (DevonThink Office, D.Agent,D.Sphere) and I'm very much regretting it. It's my fault of course, I wasted the trial period due to being busy elsewhere then hastily spent my money being impressed by what I saw on paper. I know DTPO isn't a replacement for Evernote, but that's what they're trying to be, which is why comparing them sheds light on DTPO's priorities for future feature set. My personal usage-based feedback on DTPO (Devonthink Pro Office)(the topic of this thread) - 

Cons:

Indexing didn't carry over my folder structure preferences into DTPO even after I imported those indexed docs in completely. I deleted the DB, then imported again from scratch; only then did See Also & Classify actually start being useful. I'm guessing that folder structure preferences only carry over when you import everything, not index, which is a deal-breaker because it forces you to live inside Devonthink. 

iOS version absolutely sucks - U can barely enter anything in. DT2G is just a ugly sub-par reader app.  and the bait-and-switch-style-promised DT2G has been overdue for so many years (at least 3 - their current manual still has 2013 as release date as of Jan 2016 ) that I doubt it'll ever come out.

An obvious-but-not-to-be-underestimated one: Cross-platform Presence sucks. Windows/Android/Web/Linux, yeah but iOS too? Main point: Accessibility sucks. That's a deal breaker for a PIM/'Paperless Office"

UI is by far the ugliest I've ever seen on a Apple device. Ugly enough to be a deal-breaker. Wanting an attractive UI for what I stare at all day is not a sin but a prerequisite, esp for Apple products.

Integration with most mainstream products and with things like IFTTT suck, when compared to the rich open Evernote ecosystem 

Note-taking/New Document tools suck - I doubt anyone actually cares about 'sheets' and plain vs rich notes... Another deal-breaker for a "paperless office".

Memory Performance really sucks - 'smart' features (auto group/auto classify/see also & classify) & import for multiple doc's always get me an everlasting beachball and a sharp drop in free ram; so does OCR. (this could, of course, be due to size of library, I have 45GB in one database...I didn't create multiple db's to share the load because that would exclude me from running on all my stuff at once the aforementioned 'smart' features and search, which are the only saving grace of this product).

Can't read many doc. formats (.mobi etc.), which renders search and 'smart' features non-comprehensive.

The Applescript is far more complicated than Evernote's.

Almost all its features can be done by and even outmatched by other more-easily-accessible tools (that look far prettier)- Spotlight for Search (including search inside documents...Preview does this too), Tags, Smart Folders,sync; Evernote for all these + item links, though not smart folders.

Steep learning curve.

Not all of us use Mail or Outlook or Unix mailbox based Mac clients, so email integration worse than Evernote for those of us. Dragging mail into sorter doesn't satisfactorily get everything in.

Your own storage, your own ram, your own processor whereas Evernote offers features heavy on these server-side for free,bundled with itself.

There are more cons too that I presently cant recall, but you get the picture.

Pro's:

The only useful features I couldn't find elsewhere :  

 1.search highlights the matching text inside each pdf for all relevant pdf's and actually displays that exact spot, lets you browse them with "next/previous highlight" buttons (last I checked, neither Evernote nor Spotlight does this; Preview does but not for a gazillion documents at once). Also, Merge Highlights.

2.Help with organizing what you put in:

2.a. See Also and Classify. (But Evernote Context is on See Also's heels, and also shows related things from outside your notes.) (Auto group and Auto Classify haven't worked well for me yet...maybe with more structure in my db over time but not yet).

2.b. Scripts like "convert keywords to tags"...auto-tagging.

3. You can get a local hyperlink for anything and everything inside DTPO, down to selected text inside some pdf (if you want to go through the trouble of getting Excerptor, I dont ) Useful to paste into OmniFocus notes, Calendar etc.

4. Integration with DevonAgent, which I actually like

I must emphasize again - no offense intended towards anyone - this is just my honest feedback on a product I expected much from and am sorely disappointed with. Feel free to ignore or take heed. I hope this is useful for the undecideds (in case there are any still lurking). And I sincerely apologize for any mistake I might undoubtedly have made in this post.

 

Oh, and back to my original question of Evernote vs DevonThink (more like Evernote only vs EN+DTPO): there is no contest.If you like collecting books and stuff, and/or have a large collection of them that you want to sort through,DTPO might come in handy as an option.

 

Evernote, despite its innumerable shortcomings, remains the only reliable cross-platform product in its category as far as I can see after an extensive search. Please feel free to guide me to a better alternative other than SimpleNote, OneNote & DTPO. For now : EN is far simpler and FAR  better at every front except for a couple of auto-organize commands,compared to DTPO. 

Hands down: Evernote wins.

 

 

 

 

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In my opinion evernote and devonthink are not really meant to do the same thing although devonthink employees stated in a mail that evernote is their competitor.

In my experience Evernote is better in terms of clipping thing from the web and ocr on images (handwritten ones)

Devonthink is better because you can index things and also it is possible to open them in any application you want (no property format and no export needed). Let's say that you have a big pdf library on an external hard drive, in evernote you would be forced to import everything and take your hd space away; in devonthink you can index them and even if your external hd is unplugged you can search a document to see if it is there.

I don't understand what you meant about the indexing not preserving folder structure; I indexed an external hard drive and all the folders where kept in devonthink exactly as they where in the hd.

A good thing is that you can import all evernote notes in devonthink (or choose a specific notebook) and they keep tags and notebook structure, it would be fantastic if it was possible to index them (and you can indeed but it is a clunky process)

I think that the key is what you need to do with the software, what are you exactly searching for?

A fantastic software that I tried is Curio. But really it depends on what are you going to use it for.

 

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i think a lot of the complaints above are a little too specific to address in the evernote forum, and it wouldn't really be appropriate to do so. i'd recommend posting it in the devonthink forums to see what they have to say.

regarding some of the broad points of comparison, dt is not cross platform, it is not cloud-based (uses your hardware to do stuff, not theirs), it doesn't index everything (neither does evernote, but there seems to be a plugin for mobi support in dt), and it doesn't have the integrations. i think it looks great and works wonderfully, but your mileage may vary, and it is probably best to try before you buy. evernote does some things better, dt does other ones better, and you'll want to choose the one that best fits your situation.

 

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16 hours ago, salmone said:

I don't understand what you meant about the indexing not preserving folder structure; I indexed an external hard drive and all the folders where kept in devonthink exactly as they where in the hd.

 

I meant that the See Also & Classify feature for some reason only suggests to me groups that I've imported or created. Indexed groups dont show up in my "suggested folders" section of the drawer - which is wierd because I just noticed it seems to work fine according to one of GM's posts above. Might just be me, I might give it another go. 

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Holy *****, I just realized Indexed files ->Get info-> Exclude from Classification is checked on indexed files and folders by default.  Sorry about that. This is a big deal for me lol. Is there any way to change that default rule? Cant see it in preferences.

Since I paid $$ already, I'd like to keep discovering solutions to my above post like this. But GM is right; I need to stop here and continue only in DTPO forums. I'll tinker some more then post a better version of the above to the DTPO forums. 

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45 minutes ago, Evernote User Md said:

Holy *****, I just realized Indexed files ->Get info-> Exclude from Classification is checked on indexed files and folders by default.  Sorry about that. This is a big deal for me lol. Is there any way to change that default rule? Cant see it in preferences.

Since I paid $$ already, I'd like to keep discovering solutions to my above post like this. But GM is right; I need to stop here and continue only in DTPO forums. I'll tinker some more then post a better version of the above to the DTPO forums. 

Glad to see you have found a solution to the problem. I'm sure the folks on the DT forums can give you more specific, detailed information about how to deal with the app. Fortunately, as with the forums here, they have a helpful community.

 

 

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Thought I'd give the trial version of DTPO a whirl.  Someone referred to Evernote as the "Roach Motel" of data systems.  Lots of ways to get data in, virtually impossible for data to escape.  I didn't understand then.  Boy do I understand now.  

I just crossed the 30-hour mark using the DTPO native EN import feature.  Neither EN nor DTPO report on OSX being hung (not responding) and there are pop-ups from both apps, so I guess I'll let it run until morning.  

The other night I tried importing and thought it hung after many hours of spinning beachball.  When I rebooted and restarted DTPO it reported several thousand "orphaned" files.  I trashed that dB and started over 30-hours ago.  So I committed to letting it finish this time.  Trouble is, I can't tell the difference between what almost finished and what hung forever looks like. 

I might be the first person in history to use up his 150-hour trial period at DTPO just importing his EN data.  4300 records, BTW.  

___________________________

This is one of the [many] reasons I dumped the Apple native Podcast player.  You couldn't export your OPML list to any other system.  EN has almost got the same thing going on here.  I'll never use a system that won't let you import and export your own material and move it to another system.  I moved to Overcast.FM for that reason.  Great player, BTW  

Thinking is, EN has engineered it so that you can't really escape one you get entrapped in their Roach Motel.  Or maybe it's the Evernote Hotel California.  

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1 hour ago, rhkennerly said:

Someone referred to Evernote as the "Roach Motel" of data systems.  Lots of ways to get data in, virtually impossible for data to escape.

I strongly disagree with this characterisation.  There are several ways to export your Notes from Evernote:

  1. Export as HTML files.
  2. Use AppleScript to pull from EN Mac
    1. enter into other apps, like DevonThink, AppleNotes, OmniFocus,
    2. virtually any app that supports AppleScript.  
    3. Veritrope.com provides a number of these scripts.
    4. Output as CSV files
    5. Output as MS Word files
    6. Enter into SQL database
    7. Enter into FileMakerPro database
    8. etc
  3. Use the Evernote Importer provided by 3rd party apps
  4. Copy/Paste (slow, but it works.  Could be automated by tools like Keyboard Maestro )

For the record, here is the information for each Note that you can pull from Evernote using AppleScript:

EN Mac Note Properties.pdf

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Except that's not exactly accurate.  You essentially lose any work you did on annotation If you used the EN web clipper, sketch, or PDF native EN annotations.  The mark-up is delivers as seperated individual documents with no way to reintegrate your work but by reproducing it by hand. 

So if you have a large trove of technical or academic PDFs you've painstakingly annotated, you'll be disappointed.

Also, you lose any OCR produced by Scanable or the Business card scanner, but you do get the pix.  Of course, you can have DT OCR your cards again, but you still lost all the hand correcting you did on the original EN OCR & annotations or notes. 

I'm sure I agreed to this in EN small print.  Reminds me of a suit I was brought in on once.  The company contracted data services but asserted merely that "you own the software, we own the data."  When the contract wasn't renewed the company demanded their data.  

After a few weeks the data service company delivered 580+ boxes of paper, filled with their printed "data." 

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it is true that some things don't easily move out of evernote. for example, there are things like saved searches and reminders that are peculiar to evernote's service. because of the way ocr is done for images, even if you got it, the data might not be entirely useful outside of the app (see evernote's tech blog for details). it seems inevitable to me that any app is going to have similar blind spots.

 

sure, evernote could do a lot better with portability, but i think what they do have is adequate, and roughly equivalent to what other services offer. onenote has its own quirks as well. there isn't exactly much incentive for any app developer to focus resources on getting people out of it. 

 

in a sense, then, most apps are "roach motels." it's not necessarily by design, but it is a result of how apps are created and used. whenever i use an app, i think ahead to a pssoible / probable exit and build my usage around being able to get as much as possible out of the app. in general, with evernote, this meant i ocr'd my own stuff, worked mainly with plain text, didn't bother with tags, etc. i was able to move my data (thousands of notes) in and out of evernote in just a few minutes. i certainly didn't take full advantage of the great features evernote offered, but i did keep my stuff portable. i figure that this is more or less the user's responsibility.

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Interesting.  Intentionally crippling oneself to account for the platform's shortcomings.  

I couldn't have gotten this far without the tags to pull all the data together.  But I certainly wouldn't have saved & marked up several dozen PDFs in EN if they'd advertised that it you'd essentially lose you work if you exported. 

But it's my fault.  It's been clear for some time that EN was never going to progress to the kind of data driven research & report writing tool like DT has become.  But I kept hoping.  If nothing else, I expected the 3rd party developers to press for more scope.  After all, the field for Notetaking & input apps for EN is a crowded development arena.

Unfortunately, DT is still quite primative in it's iOS front end & cloud syncing. The inability to sync on the fly via wifi, or cell as a last resort is almost a deal breaker.  My mobile field office is an ifon, an iPad & a Bluetooth keyboard in a daypack with some Zoom mics for the ifon (one for interviews, one for video).  

On more than one occasion we've completed shipboard forensics & interviews & then managed to lose the whole kit over the side.  I'm alway glad I synced up topside before we disembarked.  

I just did realize what a dream report writing from notes was in DT until a college demonstrated. 

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2 hours ago, rhkennerly said:

Interesting.  Intentionally crippling oneself to account for the platform's shortcomings.  

I couldn't have gotten this far without the tags to pull all the data together.  But I certainly wouldn't have saved & marked up several dozen PDFs in EN if they'd advertised that it you'd essentially lose you work if you exported. 

But it's my fault.  It's been clear for some time that EN was never going to progress to the kind of data driven research & report writing tool like DT has become.  But I kept hoping.  If nothing else, I expected the 3rd party developers to press for more scope.  After all, the field for Notetaking & input apps for EN is a crowded development arena.

Unfortunately, DT is still quite primative in it's iOS front end & cloud syncing. The inability to sync on the fly via wifi, or cell as a last resort is almost a deal breaker.  My mobile field office is an ifon, an iPad & a Bluetooth keyboard in a daypack with some Zoom mics for the ifon (one for interviews, one for video).  

On more than one occasion we've completed shipboard forensics & interviews & then managed to lose the whole kit over the side.  I'm alway glad I synced up topside before we disembarked.  

I just did realize what a dream report writing from notes was in DT until a college demonstrated. 

Evernote's sync features are definitely implemented really well, and because Evernote's focus has been on mobile for a while now, it is generally going outperform its competitors in this respect. I suspect anyone who works primarily with mobile devices will find few superior alternatives to Evernote, if any. 

The problem for me with Evernote is security. It sounds to me like you might be dealing with personal data (medical records?) and one thing to consider is that Evernote is not HIPAA compliant in the US. Evernote inadequately secures it, and using the app to handle sensitive data would be a disservice to the people whose data you are collecting and it might be exposing you to legal risks as well. I am not accusing you of that (I don't know the details of your work), but I am saying that security is something you may want to think about when deciding which app to use. The lack of robust encryption options in Evernote is certainly a major factor that influences how I use it. One thing that DT provides that is lacking in Evernote is an encrypted cloud solution as well as secure syncing (bluetooth and wifi) through mobile devices (avoiding the cloud). Again, I wouldn't call either application primitive. They provide different solutions to the problem of managing information -- these approaches come with different strengths and weaknesses.

Evernote could address the security issues but has chosen (by its own admission) not to do so. DT is addressing the weaknesses in their mobile app, but that is still a work in progress, and we don't know when that will become available. 

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5 hours ago, rhkennerly said:

But I certainly wouldn't have saved & marked up several dozen PDFs in EN if they'd advertised that it you'd essentially lose you work if you exported.

That's funny.  I just annotated a PDF in Evernote, using EN annotation tools, saved, and then exported (save as) the PDF.

When I open the PDF in the Finder, I see all my EN annotations.  So I didn't lose anything.

Running EN Mac 6.4 on Yosemite (10.10.5).

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16 hours ago, GrumpyMonkey said:

didn't bother with tags

That seems too extreme.  I use tags extensively, but I also structure my titles with dates and keywords (belt and suspenders man :))

I'm satisfied that I can free my data from Evernote if necessary, with only a little pain.  I don't foresee that happening, but it's something I look out for.

I know you're not satisfied with EN encryption.  One of my concerns is about being locked into Evernote if I use their Encryption.  I haven't given it too much thought but right now my preference is to favour external encryption.  For example, even if EN offered PDF encryption, I'd probably continue to encrypt them externally.

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6 hours ago, DTLow said:

That seems too extreme.  I use tags extensively, but I also structure my titles with dates and keywords (belt and suspenders man :))

I'm satisfied that I can free my data from Evernote if necessary, with only a little pain.  I don't foresee that happening, but it's something I look out for.

I know you're not satisfied with EN encryption.  One of my concerns is about being locked into Evernote if I use their Encryption.  I haven't given it too much thought but right now my preference is to favour external encryption.  For example, even if EN offered PDF encryption, I'd probably continue to encrypt them externally.

i use tags on the mac (i've been experimenting a couple of years now with a combination of hazel, houdahspot, tags, and smart folders), and i'm pretty pleased with them, but they are very portable and easier to manage than the ones in evernote. for many years, tags on mobile were impossible, so i ruled out that feature pretty much from the beginning. if i were immersed in evernote now (ignoring the security issues), i might be using them. maybe. maybe not. 

i'm looking for encrypted notebooks -- a blob of encrypted data that no one but me could open up and see. if it ever came to exporting things, they wouldn't carry that encryption with them. in practice, it would be something like file vault (whole-disk encryption on the mac), spideroak, or devonthink. the encryption just happens in the background and you don't have to think about it.

i'm not interested in encryption of text blocks or individual files. that doesn't scale well. 

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14 hours ago, JMichaelTX said:

That's funny.  I just annotated a PDF in Evernote, using EN annotation tools, saved, and then exported (save as) the PDF.

When I open the PDF in the Finder, I see all my EN annotations.  So I didn't lose anything.

Running EN Mac 6.4 on Yosemite (10.10.5).

I was using the native DT > EN import.  I've deleted the DT db and will try the scripts you recommended.  I've had some initial problems exporting from en to html, but it was just a bad file or two.  I've just finished the export and I'm headed over to get the script.  I'll report back.  I hope you're right.  

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17 hours ago, GrumpyMonkey said:

The problem for me with Evernote is security. It sounds to me like you might be dealing with personal data (medical records?) and one thing to consider is that Evernote is not HIPAA compliant in the US. Evernote inadequately secures it, and using the app to handle sensitive data would be a disservice to the people whose data you are collecting and it might be exposing you to legal risks as well. I am not accusing you of that (I don't know the details of your work), but I am saying that security is something you may want to think about when deciding which app to use.

Not really HIPPA, but it could be a consideration occasionally.  Actually, classified material is more of a concern, but we handle that on a completely different system and usually you can talk about an issue without actually breaching security.  Mostly what I have is access.  I'm retired Naval Intelligence so I have the clearances to go most places.  I work within a constellation of retired military folks who freelance investigation and fact finding for both the Navy and Contractors.  It usually doesn't have to do with dead bodies, although there have been some spectacular equipment failures from time to time.  Mostly investigating claims from the fleet that xxx of gear isn't working as specified and Contractors saying it's a training or installation issue.  My biggest hazard is usually asbestos (I also travel with a little RC pick-up with a video camera and light mounted in the back--aboard ship that how we inspected long runs of conduit and cables or pulled a spool of twine so we could pull a new cable).  

That's where the interviews and videos come into play.  As well as Taylor-esqe shipboard studies, assessments of knowledge, etc.  Mostly I end up say, "listen, jackass, it works fine if you flip this switch from standby to on.  You've prepped this piece 4 times for me and you've missed it every time.  That's the reason the Navy gives you a checklist."  Then his LPO rips his collar off and I get a windy ride home.  

While I've been mildly unhappy with EN for awhile, it wasn't until we sat down to write-up a 6-month investigation where I had 500+ notes to organize and quote that I looked over and saw another investigator using DT and Scrivener.  That's the combination for organizing and turning out a long, complicated report (research article, Thesis, Dissertation--novel, etc.).  

I think what I've decided on is, if I can get this script to import all of my EN notes.  Then I'm going to pare down my EN files to just phone contacts and the stuff I just gathered.  Like I say, my stuff has landed in the Chesapeake or the Atlantic before.  What I really need is ENs remote syncing.  

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17 hours ago, GrumpyMonkey said:

Evernote could address the security issues but has chosen (by its own admission) not to do so. DT is addressing the weaknesses in their mobile app, but that is still a work in progress, and we don't know when that will become available. 

As long as they depend on a one-time sales to fund their efforts, I'd say things don't look promising for quick action from DT.  I'd gladly pay the yearly I'm paying to subscribe to EN if they'd show more industry.  I've never understood how users expect continuous improvement on a single initial investment.  

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2 hours ago, rhkennerly said:

I've just finished the export and I'm headed over to get the script.

An easy verification that the PDF annotations will export is to open the PDF from the Finder using Preview.  This removes DT from the equation, so you will know that you properly export PDFs from Evernote.

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6 hours ago, rhkennerly said:

As long as they depend on a one-time sales to fund their efforts, I'd say things don't look promising for quick action from DT.  I'd gladly pay the yearly I'm paying to subscribe to EN if they'd show more industry.  I've never understood how users expect continuous improvement on a single initial investment.  

No. I doubt they will move with alacrity in this case. Everything works just fine now, and the improvements are something they are willing to take the time to get right. This is what you buy into when you get artisanal software. We expect continuous improvement, because the developers want to make a great product. It takes them a while, though.

It's kind of like "slow food" in real life -- the priorities are different than "fast food." There are plenty of times when you want fast food (in my case, I am a big fan of Japanese convenience stores), but other times when you are willing to wait. Interestingly, Evernote seems to be shifting from fast to slow food these days, with more of an emphasis on bug fixes and maintenance than throwing out new features every few weeks. In the old days, it seems like we had a complete overhaul of the app every time a new version of the Mac / iOS operating systems came out. That pace sounds good on paper, but in practice, it could be pretty rough for users and developers alike. Users generally seem pretty pleased with Evernote's recent changes.

 

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7 hours ago, rhkennerly said:

Not really HIPPA, but it could be a consideration occasionally.  Actually, classified material is more of a concern, but we handle that on a completely different system and usually you can talk about an issue without actually breaching security.  Mostly what I have is access.  I'm retired Naval Intelligence so I have the clearances to go most places.  I work within a constellation of retired military folks who freelance investigation and fact finding for both the Navy and Contractors.  It usually doesn't have to do with dead bodies, although there have been some spectacular equipment failures from time to time.  Mostly investigating claims from the fleet that xxx of gear isn't working as specified and Contractors saying it's a training or installation issue.  My biggest hazard is usually asbestos (I also travel with a little RC pick-up with a video camera and light mounted in the back--aboard ship that how we inspected long runs of conduit and cables or pulled a spool of twine so we could pull a new cable).  

That's where the interviews and videos come into play.  As well as Taylor-esqe shipboard studies, assessments of knowledge, etc.  Mostly I end up say, "listen, jackass, it works fine if you flip this switch from standby to on.  You've prepped this piece 4 times for me and you've missed it every time.  That's the reason the Navy gives you a checklist."  Then his LPO rips his collar off and I get a windy ride home.  

While I've been mildly unhappy with EN for awhile, it wasn't until we sat down to write-up a 6-month investigation where I had 500+ notes to organize and quote that I looked over and saw another investigator using DT and Scrivener.  That's the combination for organizing and turning out a long, complicated report (research article, Thesis, Dissertation--novel, etc.).  

I think what I've decided on is, if I can get this script to import all of my EN notes.  Then I'm going to pare down my EN files to just phone contacts and the stuff I just gathered.  Like I say, my stuff has landed in the Chesapeake or the Atlantic before.  What I really need is ENs remote syncing.  

An interesting job :)

Well, there is no reason not to use both. If Evernote's .html export is sufficient, then exporting and importing into DT ought to be pretty easy. However, ideally the import tool would get it done for you. Unfortunately, moving from app to app often comes with some bumps along the way (sometimes minor, sometimes major). 

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Evernote/DevonthinkPro Noob reporting back here (@GM: I chickened out of posting to the DT forums since I'm half a convert now, might do it sometime in the indefinite future though): the only consensus here seems to be that anyone discontent with Evernote as the LOTR "one Note App to rule them all" approach should instead try the Pokemon approach and use different apps for what they do best. DT is moving about as fast as its icon mascot but remains as of yet unsurpassed at things like AutoClassify/SeeAlso,integration with automated web research engine DevonAgent, and comparative ease of export (esp. when compared to Evernote, which does have the functionality but makes it too much of a hurdle for novices). OneNote for Windows (which I will be switching to for Engineering class notes...alas Penultimate has dashed my hopes for Ipad Pro) remains the best for handwritten notes.... Evernote remains the best at capture, the worst at release, much like Facebook. And Roberta remains the best at being Troll Centrall(o) (might as well, it pays to be somewhat anonymous).

PS from personal experience: I've tried to keep DT and EN in sync (in the manual sense of the word) and have found capturing first in DT then dragging into EN works. The reverse, (capture in EN, export to DT ),while possible, is way too painful  (the existing scripts dont work well for many notes).

Apologies in advance: no ignorance (or offense) intended. 

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On 4 February 2016 at 10:53 PM, rhkennerly said:

I just crossed the 30-hour mark using the DTPO native EN import feature.  Neither EN nor DTPO report on OSX being hung (not responding) and there are pop-ups from both apps, so I guess I'll let it run until morning.  

The other night I tried importing and thought it hung after many hours of spinning beachball.  When I rebooted and restarted DTPO it reported several thousand "orphaned" files.  I trashed that dB and started over 30-hours ago.  So I committed to letting it finish this time.  Trouble is, I can't tell the difference between what almost finished and what hung forever looks like. 

I might be the first person in history to use up his 150-hour trial period at DTPO just importing his EN data.  4300 records, BTW.  

 

It took 50 of the 150 trial hours for my 4,300 notes.  Admittedly, I also restarted after about 15 because I also thought it had hung.  I also discovered that it goes exponentially faster if you import in smaller batches (I did batches of ~1,0000 notes).

 

I am trialling v2.9 with the new sync so have ~100 hours left to decide whether to dump Evernote for it or not.

 

J.

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