by Katherine Murray
5 of 5 stars
Evernote is a popular FREE note-taking app that stormed onto the internet consciousness a couple of years ago and quickly became the standard by which all competitors were judged. It enables you to copy snippets of webpages, images, audio files, and more into personal collections that are not only shared across all digital platforms–desktop, laptop, iPad, smart phone–but with friends of your choice. A little like Google Docs, but easier, faster, and more accessible. Despite daunting competitors like MS One Note and Google Notebook–and smaller ones like Diigo and ReQal, Evernote has amassed over 11 million happy users. If you’ve been promising to try it, but were waiting for a magic wand to clear up all your questions, it’s arrived.
Katherine Murray’s new how-to book, My Evernote (Que 2012) has an awful lot of the answers, enough that I now have my Evernote up and running like a leopard across the African savannah.
Let me back up a moment. I got My Evernote because I got stuck. I downloaded Evernote, tried it out, and somewhere between installing and using, lost my way. Yes, I managed to snip website pieces, share documents from my computer, but I failed to accomplish the one thing that motivated me to download it: I wanted to collaborate on documents with friends. I muddled around on my own for a while, decided it was too d*** hard, and put the program aside. I planned to research more later, but instead forgot about it.
Until I found this book, and found the answer to my problem.
More on that later.
My Evernote is a well-organized, clear and concise summary of this popular program. Chapters include:
- Getting started
- Capturing and tagging your first notes
- Editing and Formatting notes
- Adding images
- Inking notes (using a scribble pen)
- Grabbing web clippings and Webcam notes
- Recording audio notes
- Creating and managing notebooks
- Sharing notes with others
In short, the book includes a good summary of what most people want out of a note-sharing program. I decided to test the book by returning to my rarely-used program and see if I became inspired. Here are a few of my thoughts:
- Evernote has become a more robust program since I first tried it. It now offers every conceivable method of clipping-and-saving from the internet to your personal cloud. As such, what was once probably a fairly intuitive widget has become a fully-featured software program that takes some thinking to get it to work. Therein lies the value of buying a book like this, that covers all of them.
- The proverbial Killer App–creating and sharing notebooks–is well-detailed by Murray.
- Two tools I didn’t know were available until reading this book are creating tables and ToDo lists (complete with check boxes). Very nice.
- Love the audio notes. They’re quick to access and record, no fumbling blindly to find the right button amidst a line-up of look-alike buttons.
- Another favorite I learned about from Murray: Ink notes. I can think of numerous uses for these at conferences.
Being a teacher, I’m always looking for education applications. I found a big one, thanks to this book: Evernote for link sharing. I’ve considered and rejected many link sharing programs–like StumbleUpon and Pinterest–because of their lack of privacy for young minds. Evernote solves that by being completely private, easy for new technology users to understand (click the icon on the toolbar), and collaborative for projects–a critical feature in today’s education environment.
Overall, My Evernote is thorough, easy-to-understand, and motivating. I am re-energized to use it for a long list of useful purposes that will organize my life–and my husband’s. I can’t wait.
Oh–the answer to my ‘collaborate with a friend’ problem: That’s only possible with the paid version. Because ‘collaborate’ is such an internet buzz word, I bet that will soon be moved to the Free column.
Jacqui Murray is the editor of a technology curriculum for K-sixth grade, creator of two technology training books for middle school and three ebooks on technology in education. She is the author of Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy midshipman. She is webmaster for six blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for Examiner.com, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, Cisco guest blogger, IMS tech expert, and a weekly contributor to Write Anything. Currently, she’s editing a thriller for her agent that should be out to publishers this summer. Contact Jacqui at her writing office or her tech lab, Ask a Tech Teacher.