Note Taking Tools

notebooks I would love to take more notes than I do.  In essence, that’s what this blog is all about – notes to myself about things I find interesting.  I write these posts so that a year from now when I’m wondering when our guild alliance first hit Karazhan, I’ll be able to look it up quickly.  Cory Doctrow compared his blog to an outboard brain.  This blog remembers things for me.

That being said, I’m always on the lookout for more note-taking tools.  There are some things I just don’t want on this blog.   It’s a semi-public place, something like setting up a flower garden on my front lawn.  Sometimes I’ll have snippets of thoughts that might develop into a good entry or that I might just want to look up later or that are simply no-one else’s business.  Thus far I haven’t managed to come up with a good place for noting these snippets.  Lifehacker has a roundup of note taking tools.

I’ve tried pen and paper, but the search capabilities suck.  Then there’s the problem of trying to read my handwriting.  Finally, I have to have the paper and pen with me when I have the idea (and not left behind on my desk).  

Some form of computer based note taking solution solves the first two problems with paper, but not the third.  However, if I use an internet solution, I can have the added advantage of accessing my notes anywhere I can access the Internet.  Given that I have rapid access to the Internet 90+% of the time that I’m awake, this seems like a good solution.  My brilliant bike ride brainwaves are still lost, but I can at least search, read, and access my notes. 

I’ve tried using a very simple personal wiki, but I spent more time fiddling with formatting than actually writing notes.  Webmail works, but I wind up with mishmash of messages in my inbox. Something about Google Notebook just doesn’t work for me, though I may give it another shot.

Of Lifehacker’s top five, this leaves me with Evernote and  Microsoft OneNote.  OneNote costs $100, which is a bit much for a tool I’m not sure I’ll like.  Thus I’m down to Evernote.  I’ll give it a shot and see if it works for me.

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