By Anne Chen  |  Posted 2004-11-22 Print this article Print

Users seeking a way to discover and capture random information will find that EverNote Corp.s EverNote 1.0 is very much up to the task. In eWEEK Labs tests of EverNote 1.0 beta code, we were impressed by its versatility and find it to be a promising solution—particularly for organizations looking for an alternative to Microsoft Corp.s OneNote.

Taking a page from Microsofts OneNote application, EverNote unites the use of typing, handwriting and digital ink to capture data with an efficient means to search information. An evaluation version of the application can be downloaded from www.evernote.com. A basic version of the final shipping product, due in January, will be free, although EverNote will charge a subscription fee for synchronization between devices.

In addition to Windows, EverNote will eventually run on Mac OS X and Linux, which will make the application a good fit for users who dont want to be tied to the Windows operating system. However, EverNote will be less useful for enterprises that already use OneNote, and those that are looking for tight integration with Microsoft applications should stick with OneNote.

We tested the EverNote 1.0 beta code on a Toshiba America Information Systems Inc. Portégé 3500 Tablet PC. In addition to typing notes, we could take advantage of the programs handwriting and digital ink capabilities. Unlike Microsofts OneNote application, EverNotes ink capabilities are not dependent on the handwriting recognition in Windows XP Tablet PC Edition. Instead, EverNote uses its own RitePen handwriting recognition technology.

Although the ink can be created using a mouse, the software will work with the handwriting recognition feature found in Windows XP Tablet PC Edition. This improves EverNotes handwriting recognition capabilities when EverNote runs on a Tablet PC. EverNote recognizes handwritten ink text and can search ink documents. The ink components ability to refine drawn shapes, such as a circle or a square, is a nice touch.

Click here to read Labs review of Windows XP Tablet Edition. Like OneNote, EverNote allows users to grab images or portions of Web pages, media files or Microsoft Office documents and paste them into a note for later reference. After we copied and pasted or dragged and dropped information from a source, a link back to the source file or Web site was automatically created at the end of the note.

EverNote employs a timeline of sorts to help users find notes theyve taken on what amounts to a virtual roll of paper. All the notes are displayed in chronological order and can be assigned to multiple categories (by date, time, topic and so on) either automatically or manually for easy searching of data.

Unfortunately, EverNote lacks OneNotes integration with Microsoft applications. When we looked at OneNote Service Pack 1 earlier this year, we stated that enterprise users would find its strength lies in the ability to use the Shared Workspace Pane in OneNote to post notes on a site powered by Microsofts SharePoint Portal Server 2.0 or Windows SharePoint Services. Users hoping to take advantage of similar capabilities will find EverNote to be less powerful.

However, EverNote does allow for the synchronization of data across multiple devices over the Internet. Versions of the application installed on different devices will talk to one another so that users will be able to view notes they took using a Tablet PC or a PDA or synchronize notes taken on a smart phone while on the road to a desktop system in the office.

When the final version of the software is released, wed also like to see the ability to synchronize versions via Bluetooth-enabled or IrDA-standard hardware.

Senior Writer Anne Chen can be reached at anne_chen@ziffdavis.com.

eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis about productivity and business solutions.

As a senior writer for eWEEK Labs, Anne writes articles pertaining to IT professionals and the best practices for technology implementation. Anne covers the deployment issues and the business drivers related to technologies including databases, wireless, security and network operating systems. Anne joined eWeek in 1999 as a writer for eWeek's eBiz Strategies section before moving over to Labs in 2001. Prior to eWeek, she covered business and technology at the San Jose Mercury News and at the Contra Costa Times.

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