Working in the Cloud – Part 2

evernoteThis is the second installment of my “adventures” in working in the cloud.

For the last few years I’ve been an avid user of Google Notebook, a wonderful little online note taking and web clipping application. Its underlying beauty, from my perspective, was its simple interface and browser extension that made clipping and organizing notes on the fly very easy. But alas, Google has decided to stop development and eventually shutter the service at some point. As a result I was faced with finding a new application as well as saving the notes I had stored in my Google Notebooks. I really hadn’t expected Google Notebook to disappear given the Google’s resources and its commitment to cloud computing. But disappearing online applications is always a potential issue when working in the cloud.

Enter Evernote.

Though there are many web clipping and note taking applications available, Evernote has evolved into the most usable one for my needs, and I’d venture to guess for most of you too.  There is an Evernote client for Macs, Windows, smartphones, and web browsers. It can capture nearly any kind of content that you want access to. You can even take a picture of a document and Evernote’s OCR capability will allow you to search through it for needed information There’s no need to detail its functionality here as they have an excellent site that does that already. Here’s a short video introduction to Evernote’s capabilities:

I have Evernote installed on my home  iMac and Macbook, iPhone, and office iMac. All my notes are synced via “the cloud” and accessible whenever and from whatever device I’m working from. And now the best part.

In the opening of this post I was faced with migrating hundreds of notes from Google Notebook to a new application. Initially, I was opening each Google Notebook, going to the original source of the note, then clipping it into Evernote …. quite tedious. Now, Evernote has a new import page that does all this in a flash. One needs only to export each of your Google Notebooks as an Atom-formatted xml file. Once you have all your notebooks exported, head to the Google Notebook import page where you upload the exported files into Evernote. Your notebooks’ creation dates, URLs, images, and other metadata are maintained, while labels and sections are converted to tags.

So far, Evernote has exceeded my expectations for synching notes via the web and getting things done. I encourage you to give it a try.


About Michael Ritter PhD
Professor of Geography at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, science textbook author, educational technology blogger, podcaster, and freelance media consultant.

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