More iPad apps
In this episode of the blog we will talk about some additional iPad apps that I’ve been using since I got the machine in March. The apps we will discuss today are Evernote, which is a notetaking application that’s much more than just a place to take notes. As well as Evernote we’ll talk about Dropbox and Instapaper on the iPad.
Evernote is an application that runs on most of today’s devices – it runs on the iPad obviously, on iPhones and BlackBerries, on Android devices and PCs and Mac systems.
Evernote is an application that is a hybrid Internet/local system service. It is a subscription service, with a free option and a premium subscription that is $45 US per year. The paid version provides more storage as well as making any item stored there searchable. Evernote’s tag line is “Remember everything” – it’s a tool where you can capture documents, images and voice notes. The information can be captured from Web pages (it supports sophisticated “clipping” from all the major browsers), scanned documents, smartphone cameras and so on – any kind of document is able to be stored and accessed from wherever you are.
As noted, there are clients for various smartphones and desktop systems, while your Evernote account can also be accessed via browser, so if you don’t have access to your own computer or phone, you can still gain access to the data stored in Evernote by borrowing a device and logging in to your account.
I’ve been using it for close to two years and it has become indispensable to me – I store information that I will refer to when working with a client. The iPad version uses the screen layout well and has similar functionality to the native Mac version. It’s great for taking meeting notes – folders can be shared with co-workers or business colleagues and in the Premium edition, the information can be edited by those shared with.
If you haven’t tried it, download the free version from the App Store and give it a whirl!
Like Evernote, Dropbox is a cloud-based service. While Evernote has a specific focus on being a repository for your important information, Dropbox is more a general-purpose data store. Like Evernote, it has clients for all major desktop and mobile platforms; on Windows and Mac OS, it installs a client that makes your Dropbox storage appear as a local directory – you can drag files into it and they synchronize to your Dropbox account on the Internet. The iPad has a Dropbox client that interacts with a growing list of apps – as an example, the Byword text editor can store files in either Dropbox or iCloud. Dropbox therefore provides a more general storage area. My primary use for it on the iPad is to synchronize my passwords with the excellent 1Password application (we’ll cover it in a future episode of the blog). This allows me to create secure passwords for Web sites and have them available on all my devices without having to enter them in multiple places.
If you’re like me, you come across a lot of information and articles of interest as you browse the Web. For some, I will capture them in Evernote for reference, while more one-time only articles will be stored and read in Instapaper. Another cloud service (it seems all the best apps today have a cloud component), this one has an applet that sits in your browser’s Bookmarks Bar (generally on your PC or Mac). When you’re browsing and come across something of interest that you can’t spend time on now, but do want to read later, click on the Instapaper “Read Later” link and the article is saved to Instapaper’s servers. Then when you’re ready, open the app on your iPad and read it there, presented in several optional formats. Pages can be laid out like a book, or if you prefer the browser paradigm, it can be read and scrolled through as you reach the bottom of the screen. The current version of Instapaper has several neat features – articles you want to keep can be saved to sub-folders, so that the main display is not clogged up. It also recognizes your location and can switch the display to a dark background when you’re reading late at night to reflect the lower levels of ambient light. I was quite startled the first time it made the change in the middle of an article; however, it does make it easier on the eyes when the screen is not as bright as it is in daylight.