Friday, September 18, 2015

Seeking Note-taking Alternatives - @SimpleNoteapp

Over the last few weeks, I've been exploring Evernote alternatives. Of course, my experiences with Evernote are legion and they bedevil me every time I seek salvation from its clutches. The features I'm looking for include the following:
  • AES-256 encryption (ok, Evernote doesn't have this but it does have encryption options)
  • Send notes in via email
  • Collaboration option or a way of quickly sharing notes with others.
  • Tag notes with the ability to search tags
  • GUI editor like TinyMCE to get to bold, italics, etc.
  • Twitter login authentication
  • Ability to attach files to notes (great for attaching scanned images, small license files, etc.)
  • Image insertion
  • Cross-platform app that allows for easy adding/editing notes on the go
  • Lists
  • Drop-dead simple to use
These may be unreasonable expectations, but you can't blame me. While my Evernote account houses everything but the kitchen sink in it, there have to be some worthwhile alternatives to it. And, let's be honest, as a writer, I'm also looking for a simple interface to work in that enables me to work anytime, anywhere.

A short time ago, I played around with MammothHQ, a rich, full-featured mobile and web app. Unfortunately, I hit the wall with it. Some of the things I didn't like included 
  1. its inability to edit notes on the go (a feature they promise is coming to their mobile app), 
  2. the silly idea that ONE Board could house everything about a subject you could want (it might be great for photographers, but not for note-takers)
  3. how clumsy it is to add content.
But on the plus size, MammothHQ (pun intended) does allow GUI editing, lists, emailing in content, web clipping, and file attachments. In time, MammothHQ may be the right solution.  But right now, it's not quite ready. I have hope.

So, what else is available? came to my attention, and it IS simple. In fact, I'd say that I like the interface a LOT more than Mammoth's pinterest-like board, and it whips Evernote's interface in ease of use.

Even if SimpleNote lacks a GUI editor, it does provide Markdown support, AND a feature Evernote killed off--RSS feeds!!! You can also publish notes, like this one where I share my suggestions for improvement.

There is also Dropbox support can backup your notes (or download them as a zipped file) as well as use popular text editors to create and save to Dropbox that end up in SimpleNote, synced on all your devices!

SimpleNote also comes with a Mac neat is that, it doesn't just live on the web and on your phone, it's a Mac app.

The SimpleNote app also has Premium features...that are provided at no-charge, apparently! For how long it will remain, who knows. After a brief twitter exchange with @simplenoteapp, followed by a few emails, they were kind enough to grant me a 12 month Premium can see the features shown right.

It's also easy to make "lists" in SimpleNote, a feature demonstrated by this:


If you're looking for a simple interface, then SimpleNote may be the app for's what one of my notes looks like on my iPhone:
For those of you who also worry about data privacy and security (ha, like we have any), I urge you to use ParanoiaWorks Text Encryption, which is available for every platform except Chromebooks...that includes iOS, Android, Mac, Windows, and GNU/Linux. Find out more here about these free encryption tools! PTE will allow you to encrypt/decrypt your notes while on the go (copy-n-paste required) because your notes are NOT encrypted while at rest. They are encrypted in transit (https) but...well...not encrypting data while at rest is problematic. Still, don't put anything on the web, or in the cloud, that is private and lacks encryption.

Ok, before I get TOO excited, I'm going to keep kicking the tires.

Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure


Anonymous said...

Hi, thanks for the review, but how did you get the premium? I had asked them a few months ago if i could still pay for it (I need dropbox sync) and they said dropbox and other premium features had been discontinued :((

Miguel Guhlin said...

Yes, I did get the premium. They suggested you write an email and let them know. You can reach them here -

Anonymous said...

I'll try, thanks!!! :)

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