How can I replace Evernote?
December 11, 2015 7:18 AM   Subscribe

Hi! Evernote has gotten very clunky for me -- especially since I can only use the web client on my desktop (I'm on Linux). I've gone through the questions here about replacing it.
  • I LOVE Thinkery but I'm not sure to what extent it's got a future.
  • I'm not interested in OneNote because it doesn't seem to support tags.
  • I looked at SimpleNote but the web interface is laggy.
  • I'm playing with Dropbox Papers, but right now there's no tagging or Android client.
I'm looking for something simple for taking notes. Something that supports tags, has a good web interface and an Android client. The question title is about replacing Evernote but really I'm trying to find something like Thinkery, if that helps at all. I don't mind paying for a product.
posted by lbotkins to Technology (14 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
Google Keep?
posted by ginatrapani at 7:29 AM on December 11, 2015

Google Keep has tags (labels) -- although you could just put #tags in the body of your notes and use the excellent search function. Also a great web interface and Android (and now iOS) clients. I *really* like it-- it's very simple, and feels more like pen-and-paper than any other service I've tried.
posted by acidic at 7:33 AM on December 11, 2015

acidic, you must define "good web interface" in a different way than I do. I had to abandon Keep because of the obnoxious way it deals with mouse focus and the current note.
posted by scolbath at 7:38 AM on December 11, 2015

Just to clarify a point: OneNote has tags. They can be completely customized, also. And of course OneNote is fully searchable anyway.
posted by clone boulevard at 7:42 AM on December 11, 2015 [2 favorites]

Not to threadsit but I also looked at Google Keep but given Google's track record, I'm not confident it'll be supported long-term.
posted by lbotkins at 7:50 AM on December 11, 2015 [4 favorites]

There is no way that anyone can guarantee that a particular software solution will be around in the future. At one point in tech history, Lotus 123 looked unassailable. Your current thought no doubt is "What the hell is Lotus 123?"
posted by yclipse at 8:09 AM on December 11, 2015 [2 favorites]

WorkFlowy? It has tags and a decent Android app. It also has (on the paid but relatively cheap subscription) backup in a standard outliner format, or if you're super-cheap, there's a nifty backup hack for the free version too.
posted by scruss at 8:25 AM on December 11, 2015 [1 favorite]

I know you dismissed it, but SimpleNote has worked for me, and is the first web-synced notes platform that I've been on that didn't shut down on me within 3 years and pull the rug out from under me. I've had no lag issues with them. In fact it's been fabulously quick. And crossplatform, yaaaaaay.
posted by intermod at 11:02 AM on December 11, 2015

This exact issue has sent me tumbling screaming down the emacs org mode rabbit hole. I got fed up with Evernote being slow, sometimes losing my notes, and general bad behavior.

Org mode pros:

1) It's based on text, so you never need to worry about compatibility, slowness, etc.—theoretically it might get big enough to slow down, but I think that would take a while.
2) It seems extremely customizable, and in theory at least can do almost anything, esp. through creative links.
3) Orgzly seems like a good and active Android interface for .org files.
4) emacs is 40+ years old, and org mode is an add on written in emacs lisp, so I'd say you don't need to worry too much about support.

The big cons more or less flow from these positives. It seems to have a steep learning curve, its endless customizability can lead to chaos, no bells and whistles because it's text, and so on. I am finishing a dissertation that was written using Evernote, and as soon as its done, I'm going to test a new note-taking system more thoroughly. The resources here have been really useful so far, and the main Org Mode page has more.

Would be super interested to see what else people put up here—I have been having this exact issue this fall and, while it's back-burnered right now, I'm going to be thinking a lot about it come January (I hope!).
posted by Stilling Still Dreaming at 12:23 PM on December 11, 2015 [3 favorites]

Zotero is great, supports tags and notes, and has Android thingys.
posted by Little Dawn at 3:48 PM on December 11, 2015

Totally different, yes, but what about a simple self-hosted WordPress site? You can do it for almost nothing (PM me for hosting suggestions if this interests you), WP has a great Android app (and probably iOS, but I've never used it), and you can keep all of your data for yourself. It also has built-in support for categories and tags, as well as search.

You don't have to be a tech wizard to do this, although if you're afraid of tech at all, I wouldn't recommend it.

My husband and I just ditched FB/Twitter/Evernote/G+/etc. in favor of this, and we're loving it. It's not for everyone, but I thought I'd throw it out there!
posted by nosila at 9:22 PM on December 11, 2015

Evernote works well with Wine under Linux in single threaded mode (taskset -c 0)

taskset -c 0 env WINEPREFIX="/home/username/.wine" wine ~/.wine/drive_c/Program\ Files/Evernote/Evernote/Evernote.exe
posted by Sharcho at 2:19 AM on December 12, 2015

Notational Velocity for your computer. Sync it to SimpleNote for phone use (better for reading & short notes than extensive writing). Or Slack!
posted by fritillary at 8:53 AM on December 13, 2015

Like Stilling Still Dreaming, this problem also led me to the perverse wonderland of emacs and org-mode. Several months later, I feel like I've got a grip on all my crap. If you're comfortable in Linux you'll have no problem. I've also found Sacha Chua's web site to be invaluable, along with the built-in org-mode documentation and Worg. I say this as someone who had never used emacs before going all-in with org-mode.*

*I actually love emacs now but that's a side benefit/curse.

Emacs + org-mode + helm (or deft, alternative) = a Simplenote-like instantly-filtering note platform with outline support and robust export options.

No web interface, but throw those files in Dropbox and you can mess with them in anything that edits text.
posted by overeducated_alligator at 6:33 PM on December 15, 2015

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