May 6, 2011

Evernote is big sucking data vacuum with no easy way out

I wanted to throw my support behind Patrick Rhone who, in Minimal #30, argued that Evernote’s export options are abysmal (my own word). Brett Kelly was there to argue for Evernote but his counter-arguments were weak, I thought. To me, data-lock is a deal-killer for Evernote. I’ve been through the weekend that Brett said it would take to get one’s data out. My data extraction experience from Evernote was terrible at best. You either copy-paste eternally or you accept everything in xml format. Nice.

Some of my criteria for an everything bucket:

  • Easy to get stuff in
  • Easy to get stuff out
  • Open directories (no proprietary database)
  • Tags
  • Handles most formats, no proprietary formats
  • Spotlight searching available
  • Can use internal editors or send files to external apps

One of Evernote’s biggest draws is having everything available in any location anytime. This is largely silly: why do I need my utility bills on my iPhone? If I need something, I’ll drop it into Dropbox or MobileMe.

I use Leap + the Finder + Spotlight. Back when there was just Yep, I emailed Ironic software a few times and told them we needed Yep for all file types. They were thinking the same thing. They did it with Leap and I was kindly treated to a registration code for the first version. Nice guys.

In the past I have heavily considered EagleFiler, Together, and DevonThink. All use the Finder’s folder structure, last I checked.

Yojimbo never quite did it for me. They were late to add tagging. They’re late with most things. They used to use a proprietary database, which I dislike. It is improving.

Back to Evernote: avoid it like grim data death (which it is).

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