Evernote can be addictive, especially if you also use it on your mobile devices. The cloud-based note-taking service can become even more useful if you partake of the add-on products from Evernote and third parties. Here are 10 products--hardware and software--that stand out.
At its heart, Evernote is a simple document production and storage service. You type a note on a page and it's stored in a "notebook" in the cloud. You can store an endless number of pages and notebooks. Most anything can be attached to a note: text, photos, audio, video, even encrypted volumes.
Evernote is hot. It just raised $70M at a $1B valuation, and also signed up its 32 millionth user.
Evernote does not have a file storage hierarchy in the conventional sense like Dropbox. As with Gmail's handling of messages, you can tag notes and treat the tag like a folder, but notes can have multiple tags. With Evernote you don't directly upload a file; you attach it to a note. Another difference is in how it measures usage. Unlike Dropbox, which measures usage by storage, Evernote measures usage by upload bandwidth. The free version of Evernote lets you upload 60MB every 30 days. Active users will cross that threshold quickly, especially if they form a habit of attaching multimedia. Evernote upgrades the 60MB limit to 1GB upload per month for $45 annually.
Even without add-ons, Evernote can be used for most projects. A colleague recently consolidated her job hunt resources into an Evernote notebook, with one page for contacts, one for leads, another for correspondence, and so on. Any time she found something job related, online or otherwise, it went into the notebook. However, add-ons--some built or acquired by Evernote, some third party--improve the your ability to move data into and within notebooks.
Following are my 10 favorite Evernote add-ons. I tried to maintain a balance of hardware, browser extensions, and mobile apps. These add-ons will make your Evernote addiction even sweeter. Check them out.
Evernote Clearly reformats Web pages and removes distracting ads like Yahoo's three dancing cowboys. (Remember them?) Unlike some analogous services, such as Send to Kindle, Clearly maintains the layout and formatting of the page. It groups by any priority that you choose. You can also use Clearly without sending the page to Evernote. In fact, you can even change the size and colors of the fonts. Pages can be inverted so the text is white on black. I like the fact that I can re-render to much more pleasant fonts and colors.
FileThis Fetch is a Web extension that automatically sends all of your online statements to your Evernote account each month, putting them in a central repository. FileThis Fetch uses "bank level security." I would love to use this app on a regular basis because it's very handy. Someday, I might actually get past my fears of handing over my bank passwords to a third party like FileThis Fetch. For now, cautious person that I am, I'll continue to manually download my bank statements, convert them to PDF, and store them in an encrypted thumb drive. It's painful. If you're braver, and would like an easier way to store your bank statements, FileThis Fetch might be just the ticket.
Hello is a networking tool that helps you remember people. Although Hello was first released for iOS, Hello for Android adds a new, powerful feature: It is integrated with LinkedIn. When you enter a new acquaintance's email into Hello, it builds a profile from her LinkedIn profile. Instantly you'll know your mutual interests and colleagues. This is a perfect way to turn a pitch into a conversation.
The perfect complement to a note-taking app, Penultimate is a handwriting app that seamlessly integrates across multiple platforms--the iPhone, iPad, and Android, plus Windows 8 is rumored. On your tablet, Penultimate lets you write notes, mark up images, and save them into your notebook. One complaint is that it still cannot import PDFs for markup, which would is why some users have defected to Notability. PDF annotation has to be coming soon. When it does, you can sign your mortgage paperwork without having three stacks of documents. Or make notes right on resumes.
If Evernote chooses not to integrate PDF into Penultimate, users can install RightSignature. It turns notes and attachments into PDFs and from the same interface sends them out to be signed. But of course, they're not sent anywhere. A notice is sent to the recipient for a request to sign and you'll know the minute they do. For virtual companies where signers are not right down the hall, this kind of app is invaluable.
Your Evernote notebooks reflects your interests. News360 indexes your notebooks and creates custom RSS feeds based on your news interests. If my colleague who was looking for a job had used News360, her job notebook would have generated specific feeds from more than 10,000 sources around the Web and might have helped narrow her search. News360 looks like Flipbook, but it does a much better job of delivering articles specific to your interests.
BYTE featured the Eye-Fi in its Business Worthy Consumer Tech Gifts guide last December. It's an 8GB SD card with a Wi-Fi antenna built in. We like it because it finally cuts the tether between your digital camera and PC. Uploading to the PC is performed wirelessly. Since we last wrote about it, the Eye-Fi jumped from 4GB to 8GBs and integrated with Evernote. Snap a photo and it's instantly uploaded to a notebook. Evernote OCRs the text of a road sign or business card and makes it searchable.
I could have used Peek when I was studying for my Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) certification. It's a simple app that allows you to make your own flashcards, turning notes into study materials. You can prepare for a quiz or learn a language. Presumably all your study materials are in Evernote so moving them into Peek is simple. Peek is not only for students. Evernote's slogan, after all, is "remember everything." Peek also could be used to prepare for a presentation in stages or to rehearse for an interview where you want to appear prepared and off-the-cuff.
Evernote As Password Manager
Though it's not a password manager, Evernote easily can work as one. Evernote comes with 64-bit RC2 software, so you could create a document and redact the passwords with Evernote's built-in encryption. Or you could encrypt your passwords with a product like TruCrypt or Microsoft's Bitlocker and attach them to a note. When you need a password, you download the file, and unlock again it.
I haven't tested this one, but I love the concept. A Livescribe Smartpen creates a "pencast" to allow you to "hear, see, and relive notes exactly as they were captured." What this means is that the pen transmits what you "draw" with it to a computer as a virtual drawing. The audio file syncs to what the note taker wrote. Naturally the file is saved to Evernote and can be shared with other people.