Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Utilizing Springpad with a little help from Evernote

I stumble upon Springpad sometime ago. It was on some discussion on some forum (probably stackoverflow, it's a bit hazy now) about programmer's notebook. It was hard to really pinpoint the usage of it for me initially since it's feature is all over the place. I can't really describe what it is personally, you just have to try it yourself to really get the feel of it. It's a mix of Evernote, Pinterest and probably several other cloud-services.

I tried to use it for several purpose some which does not seems to fit well. In the end I settle with using it for more collecting-related purposes. It is a great tool to collect things on the fly. On GTD space it is great for Inbox and Someday/Maybe stuff. I migrated my Waiting-For list to it also since it has a good list item support. Here's the highlight of it's features that relevant for my usage :

  • Flexible views. You can see the items using several different layout : cards, list, custom. If you are an Evernote's user, you might find some visuals quite interesting compare to it, at least visually
  • Notebook and Tagging organization
  • Great iOS mobile client feature-wise although still quite buggy in term of stability
  •  Interesting collecting workflow. Saving books, movies and other stuff is actually fun
The noticeable part where Springpad is still lacking is on the note part. It's mobile implemention is quite out-of-sync with the web one. I tried to copy some materials through it's web app which end up uneditable on the mobile. Some that is editable contains various character-encoding artifact. You have to be really careful to get the notes in-sync with mobile experience which is quite a deal-breaker for me. I'd rather focus on my work than spending time on hand-fixing the notes.

Comes Evernote to the rescue. I am not a newcomer with Evernote, it's just that somehow I prefer OneNote style of note-taking (on iMac I settle with Growly that has the closest workflow with OneNote) so I am not actively using it. I have been thinking about porting the note-taking business to the cloud though and it seems a good time to do so. Not much needed to say when related to cloud-based note app since currently Evernote is the de-facto standard. I need to adjust my system though since it only has limited notebook number allowed and the organization seems to center around tagging (I think I am gonna miss OneNote a lot due to this).

So, the serious note matters are on Evernote while Springpad note system currently only useful for basic notes for me. I might switch fully to Springpad if it has a comparable note feature (accross multiple device that is). Until then, having to switch between the two is bearable considering the usefulness.

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