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Summer 2009 PIM roll-call

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Posted by dan7000
Jul 29, 2009 at 06:00 PM

 

Tom S. wrote:
> >
>dan7000 wrote:
> >>Todo: Outlook, with Taskline Plugin
>>Email: Outlook, with
> >>ClearContext Plugin
>>Calendar: Outlook
>>Notes, Research, web clippings and
> >>bookmarks: Evernote
> >Just as a matter of curiosity, since you are using it for
>everything else, why aren’t you using Outlook for the last category?  Its a click of a
>button with a browser plugin to send webpages as emails.  Why not make it all in one?  What
>are the advantage of Evernote?
> >Tom S. 

If I understand your question, you’re asking why not use Outlook to store notes and web clippings?  Overall, I find Outlook slow and cumbersome.  EN is fast and light.  Search in Outlook is horrendous, and there is no good tagging mechanism.  EN has fairly fast search and excellent tagging. Also, EN captures web pages fairly accurately and quickly.

Really, I’d prefer to do it the other way: I wish I could use EN for todos, calendar, and email.  Indeed, I’ve been thinking of moving all my emails into EN so that I can search and organize them better.  Unfortunately, EN has no calendaring, and its todo mechanism is basically useless.

 


Posted by Gary Carson
Jul 29, 2009 at 08:50 PM

 

After downloading, installing, evaluating and sometimes buying almost every PIM and outliner ever created, I really only use OneNote 2007 any more. I use it as a permanent archive for information that I need to save for a long time (serial numbers, contacts, research articles, etc.) IMO, OneNote is the best PIM available these days, partly because it’s a Microsoft product and not likely to just vanish overnight. It has a good web capture and does everything I need.

I tried the Brain and while I’m impressed with it, I still haven’t found a good use for it and the interface in general is a little complex for my needs. Also, it takes a while to open and there’s no easy way to do web captures and so on.

I occasionally use NoteMap v2 for outlining, but most of the time, I just dictate my outlines, brainstorming sessions, notes, etc., using Dragon Naturally Speaking v9.5. I’ll dictate directly at my laptop or I’ll use a voice recorder (Philips 9600 DPM) while I’m driving around in my car, then transcribe the dictation directly into Word when I get home. Dictation’s a thousand times faster than writing at a keyboard and it’s a great tool for research and brainstorming.

I’m a fiction writer and I just started using a fantastic screenwriting app called Movie Outline to assemble the structured outlines for my various projects. Movie Outline is similar in some ways to a two-pane outliner, but it has a lot of other features that are used to write formatted screenplays, create characters, compare your script to other scripts, etc. It’s rock solid and so far I’m really impressed with it. Hopefully, they won’t go out of business any time soon.

My goal these days is to dictate everything and switch to using audio files instead of text files as much as possible. Speed and simplicity are the Holy Grail. For example, I can dictate an outline for a novel on my voice recorder and as long as I follow a specific format I can then transcribe the dictation into a text file and import the text file directly into Movie Outline, ending up with a structured step outline with associated notes and so on. It’s easy and let’s me get more work done while I’m driving around.

 


Posted by Tom S.
Jul 30, 2009 at 09:56 AM

 

dan7000 wrote:

>If I understand your question, you’re asking why not use
>Outlook to store notes and web clippings?  Overall, I find Outlook slow and
>cumbersome.  EN is fast and light.  Search in Outlook is horrendous, and there is no good
>tagging mechanism.  EN has fairly fast search and excellent tagging. Also, EN
>captures web pages fairly accurately and quickly.

>Really, I’d prefer to do it the
>other way: I wish I could use EN for todos, calendar, and email.  Indeed, I’ve been
>thinking of moving all my emails into EN so that I can search and organize them better. 
>Unfortunately, EN has no calendaring, and its todo mechanism is basically useless. 

The Windows Live Search is pretty fast and its more extensible since it will search virtually anything on your computer as well.  And Outlook has tags and, though they aren’t hierarchical which is annoying, you can use rules to assign them.  Overall, I’d say Outlook is considerably more powerful on the desktop.

[shrug] Still, I can understand if you don’t want to feed MS.  I don’t have a Windows computer at all any more and only run it in a virtual machine when its absolutely necessary.  Lots of people love Evernote.  I’ve just never understood why.

Tom S.

 


Posted by dan7000
Jul 30, 2009 at 11:57 PM

 

Tom S. said:
>The Windows Live Search is pretty fast and its more extensible since it
>will search virtually anything on your computer as well.  And Outlook has tags and,
>though they aren’t hierarchical which is annoying, you can use rules to assign them. 
>Overall, I’d say Outlook is considerably more powerful on the desktop.
> >[shrug]
>Still, I can understand if you don’t want to feed MS.  I don’t have a Windows computer at
>all any more and only run it in a virtual machine when its absolutely necessary.  Lots of
>people love Evernote.  I’ve just never understood why.
>

So I downloaded Windows Search again yesterday.  I had installed it before, but it did something bad so I deleted it—can’t remember what.  I had been using Copernic for a while but deleted it too recently.

You’re right.  Windows search is very nice so far - really very fast.  But I’m not sure what you mean that Outlook “has tags”?  I don’t see it.  Maybe you’re referring to Outlook 2007 (which I also had but reverted to 2003)?  Are there tags in Outlook2003 that I’m not seeing?  Or are you referring to categories?  If you’re referring to categories, here are some things you can do with EN tags you can’t do with categories:
- with one click in the left pane, see all the notes with a particular tag and nothing else.
- assign multiple notes to one tag quickly
- search by tag without having to go into a special “advanced search” dialog first.

A few other advantages of EN for web clippings: it offers one-click clipping from most browsers (can’t do with Outlook that I know of) and EN stores the source URL in a special field.

Additionally, I just don’t see Outlook as having a good notekeeping interface.  Outlook is set up to view 3 types of data: emails, todo, and calendar entries.  Keeping notes to myself or web clippings in outlook as ‘emails’ seems like a kludge.  (It goes without saying that one wouldn’t use the Outlook “notes” feature, which doesn’t even offer rich text).

Finally, I stand by my comment about Outlook being slow.  I swear, I click on an item in Outlook and the thing freezes for a few seconds before I can do anything.  It is a total dog.

I am not an MS-avoider by any means: I have always favored MS products when they work well.  And I agree that Outlook is by far the best calendar interface out there, has a top-rate email interface, and, for me, provides just the right to-do interface.  I just don’t envision using Outlook for notes, because it doesn’t have the right features or interface, and the performance is not good enough.

 


Posted by Tom S.
Jul 31, 2009 at 02:01 PM

 

dan7000 wrote:
>  But I’m not sure what you mean that Outlook “has
>tags”?  I don’t see it.  Maybe you’re referring to Outlook 2007 (which I also had but
>reverted to 2003)?  Are there tags in Outlook2003 that I’m not seeing?  Or are you
>referring to categories?  If you’re referring to categories, here are some things you
>can do with EN tags you can’t do with categories:
>- with one click in the left pane, see
>all the notes with a particular tag and nothing else.
>- assign multiple notes to one
>tag quickly
>- search by tag without having to go into a special “advanced search”
>dialog first.

Your point is well taken in that this probably is easier in Evernote in that its specifically designed to deal with this in mind.  A couple things:

1)  I usually group emails and whatever else ends up in Outlook by category with the groups collapsed.  Scrolling down to the appropriate one is usually trivial.
2)  Save a search for a category as a smart folder (I believe the search would be “category:my-category” but someone can correct me if that’s wrong.  This basically gives you everything in it with one click.

>A few other advantages of EN for web clippings: it offers one-click
>clipping from most browsers (can’t do with Outlook that I know of) and EN stores the
>source URL in a special field.

Its one click of the “Send To” button with Google toolbar installed in your browser.  Similar toolbars from MS and Yahoo probably have something similar.  Again your point is well taken in that Evernote is specifically designed to do this and doesn’t require that you put in your email (in fairness, a matter of a couple letters and the “tab” key) and hit the “Send” button.  But if I remember right, Evernote also requires the installation of a plugin.

>Additionally, I just don’t see Outlook as having a
>good notekeeping interface.  Outlook is set up to view 3 types of data: emails, todo,
>and calendar entries.  Keeping notes to myself or web clippings in outlook as ‘emails’
>seems like a kludge.  (It goes without saying that one wouldn’t use the Outlook “notes”
>feature, which doesn’t even offer rich text).

You can post a note to a email folder.  It is, in fact, called “Post” (File->New->Post).  It is, of course, basically like working within Word after that as far as rich text is concerned.  Probably considerably better than Evernote in this respect.  You can edit it later, as well.

>Finally, I stand by my comment about
>Outlook being slow.  I swear, I click on an item in Outlook and the thing freezes for a few
>seconds before I can do anything.  It is a total dog.

Yeah, I don’t doubt it.  In your case its a question of whether its worth having it all in one place or not.  And, again, you get all of the advantages of working within Office and Outlook with rules, etc…  But if that’s not important either, Evernote is undoubtedly a better choice.

Cheers,

Tom S.

 


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