Angry Robot

Kick Ass, Take Notes

Wow, note-taking has rocketed ahead a few decades while I was jotting down notes by actually typing like a sucka. I use an assorted hodegpodge of notetaking and organizational tools, because I’ve yet to find one that does everything, but mostly I use Backpack since it makes it easy to organize things by project. (However, I don’t necessarily recommend it since the $5/month plan I currently enjoy is no longer offered.)

Now I just became aware of a couple interesting, high tech note-taking tools. One is evernote. The big twist here is OCR, which I guess has advanced to ‘good enough’ status over the last few years. So with evernote, you can simply hold up a piece of paper to your computer’s iSight, or take a picture with your phone, and the image will be eaten by evernote and scanned for text. Then it will be searchable. I’ve tried it and it did okay with a page from Now Magazine, but I have a feeling it might choke on my handwriting, which is a cross between sanskrit and semaphore.

It has all the usual features, including tagging and emailing notes to yourself. It makes it easy to grab things off web pages. It also has a robust desktop version (both for PC and Mac) that syncs effortlessly with the cloud, something I wish backpack did without recourse to third party apps. Anyway if you want to give ‘er a shot, I have some invite codes I can send out.

The other, potentially more mind-blowing service is Jott. It’s all about voice recognition. So you sign up, register your phone number, and make note of the number you need to call (yes, it works in Canada). When you call and record a message, it converts it into text and emails it to you.

The beauty of the thing is that it will play nice with other services. You could set it up with your secret Evernote email address and turn your random blatherings into a searchable archive. It will deal with wordpress, blogger &c, but sadly not textpattern or I’d totally be dialing in some posts.

Or – SPECIAL AWESOME ALERT, this works beautifully – you can set it up with your Google Calendar account, tell yourself “2pm tomorrow poutine-eating marathon”, and if you’ve got your SMS notifications all set up, google will text your hungry ass tomorrow and remind you. It’s like having a freaking secretary. Now I just need to get it to respond to the voice cue “Diane” and I’ll finally be living my fantasy of being Agent Cooper in Twin Peaks.

4 comments on "Kick Ass, Take Notes"

  1. Nigel says:

    That’s awesome D!

    Yeah I agreee my handwriting would probably cause the program to blow up as well

  2. Nadine says:

    Whoa. That is crazy awesome. Freaks me out though a bit on one level because it makes it so much easier to become a wireless cyborg…But it’s such a very useful feature for this crazy fast-paced life!

  3. mytheory says:

    useful post- can i have an invitation for evernote beta thx

  4. D says:

    Invite sent, mytheory.

    So far, I’m using jott-as-secretary a lot more than evernote, but I’m going to give the latter a bit more of a test and I’ll write it up when I do.

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