Evernote enters my life

Evernote logo2Every so often I come across a new computer application that gets me quite exercised and wanting to tell everyone about it. I have a new one to rave about: Evernote. I think it may turn out to be very significant, but at this stage I admit that when I describe it to many people, including my wife, I get a blank look. For them, Evernote answers a need they haven’t noticed.

For me though, it is a step forward in a way of working I’ve had for 20 years, through a program called InfoSelect and its predecessor, Tornado. InfoSelect is essentially a big freeform database that you chuck all sorts of stuff into, as separate notes. Contacts, reminders, research notes, how-to instructions and so on. Even if you only remember a fragment of text that might be in a note, you can enter it in a search box and find it instantly. It’s so fast and easy that it’s practical to do quick look-ups to answer people asking questions on the phone.

The whole thing is pretty random, which seems, to my cluttered mind, to mimic the way brains work. Well most brains anyway – some button-down people simply must have structure and order in everything and won’t be happy without a full-blown structured database like MS Access. Which, to be realistic, you’d never use to find things in a hurry or to answer a casual query.

But InfoSelect hasn’t kept up with the times. You can’t synchronise its database over several computers using the Internet, its user interface is dated and clunky, and searching is not as flexible as people have come to expect in the Google age. Your search term has to be spelled exactly right – you can’t, as in Google-type searching, toss a few words into the search box and have it come up with the most likely answers even if one of your words is misspelt or not actually in the note you’re searching for. It doesn’t handle graphics well. At US$250 it’s horrendously and unjustifiably expensive for what it does.

To get around the problem of making information available on all my computers (and on anyone else’s computer I happen to be sitting at), I was starting to bypass InfoSelect and send information in emails to my own Gmail account, which can be searched in the Google manner.

Enter Evernote. It adds considerably to what InfoSelect has given me for so long. I can toss bits of text at it and easily search for them. But I can also put graphics in it and if those graphics happen to contain text, Evernote makes that text searchable through optical character recognition (OCR). It does a great job of that, even with quite low quality text.

Below is the main Evernote 3.1 screen (click on the graphic to make it bigger). In this case I searched for the term ‘web’ and it listed quite a few notes in the upper right box. When you click on one of the note titles in the list, the full note shows in the bottom window. You can also choose to email it. Double-click on the note title and it opens as a separate window you can more easily edit. This example contains information about my old mobile phone, including an email from the supplier of some software I installed on the phone.

The main Evernote screen (click on the graphic to make it bigger). In this case I searched for the term 'web' and it listed quite a few notes in the upper right box. When you click on one of the note titles in the list, the full note shows in the bottom window. You can also choose to email it. Double-click on the note title and it opens as a separate window you can more easily edit. This example contains information about my mobile phone, including an email from the supplier of some software I installed on the phone.

I can scan or photograph important family documents, put them in Evernote and the text is searchable. Evernote is great for research. Put images of book or journal pages into Evernote and dredge them up again later via a standard text search. I’ve also used it with the National Library’s online Papers Past service, copying text from old newspapers with a screen-grabbing utility, then pasting it straight into Evernote. All searchable now.

Needless to say, Evernote is a good place to store selected emails and web pages. You even get a ‘save to Evernote’ button added to the Firefox browser (I don’t know about the other browsers), and to your email program (if it’s Outlook or Thunderbird — I don’t know about the rest).

Example of searchable text within graphics stored in Evernote – in this case I searched for 'cow' to find a mention of my great-great grandfather in an 1851 edition of the Otago Witness, downloaded to my computer from the National Library’s Papers Past website and ‘cut’ out of the screen image with HyperSnap.

Example of searchable text within graphics stored in Evernote – in this case I searched for ‘cow’.

Example of searchable text within graphics stored in Evernote – in this case I searched for the word 'bandage'. Text on graphics uploaded to Evernote’s servers is turned into searchable text via optical character recognition (OCR). It worked well in this particularly poor example, which had low contrast text on a textured background.


Evernote stores this information on my computer but it also sends it up to the Internet ‘cloud’ where I get backup storage. But here’s the kicker: if you have Evernote on other computers and are ‘logged-in’, these other computers get updated with the latest information. This only works on computers with the Evernote client program installed, but all is not lost. You can access your database using a browser on any computer, anywhere in the world. This is also helpful if you have a Linux computer – so far there’s no client Evernote program for Linux. But there are clients for Windows, Mac, the iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Palm, Blackberry, Android and Windows Mobile.

It only took a few days of trialing Evernote before I was sold on it. Then I chose a rainy day and went through my grown-like-topsy InfoSelect database and transferred 500 notes to Evernote. I ignored literally thousands of notes that I was unlikely to need again. But InfoSelect is still on my computer, just in case…

Evernote is free if you can live with a fairly generous monthly data volume allowance, having (pretty unobtrusive) adverts showing, and getting low priority in the OCR queue on the Evernote server. The free version’s monthly data allowance is 30Mb, more than enough for a largely text-based database. I could see myself storing plenty of graphics and web pages, so I paid US$45 for an annual subscription that gives me 500Mb of data a month, no adverts, greater security and a few other niceties that include the ability to store data files such as Word documents, Excel files and PDFs of anything. For me it’s another backup location for important files that I can access anywhere.

Your Evernote account is password protected. You can even further protect words within entries – passwords, for instance.

I have to thank fellow blogger Alan Vallis for alerting me to Evernote in the first place and his own rave review of it is here. His cheatsheet listing the keyboard shortcuts is here. Like me, Alan was a long-time user of InfoSelect, which he accurately calls a “flawed gem.”

Update July 2010: the interface has changed a little in the latest version, 3.5. This new version has been extensively rewritten and makes use of Microsoft’s .NET Framework. There are a number of improvements, but at the expense of the program now being bloated and slow. For this reason, I’m only using it on my fastest computers. I’ve taken it off my netbook and gone back to version 3.1, which is snappier. Fortunately both versions use the same database, and Evernote still makes version 3.1 available on its website. Hopefully the company will sort out version 3.5. Certainly I’m far from the only person complaining about it.

Further update, 18 August: Evernote has released a beta of a new speeded up version of 3.5. It’s faster and it’s back on my netbook. The beta seems to be stable. Get it here.

Yet another update: the August release did speed things up a bit, but nowhere near as much a further update in December.

And another one! Evernote now has an excellent companion program called Evernote Food. I blogged about it here.

Evernote Food

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49 Responses to Evernote enters my life

  1. Alan Vallis says:

    Great post John, you’ve encapsulated Evernote nicely. They should be paying you a consultancy fee. 🙂

    Funny thing about Evernote covering a need that most folk haven’t even noticed — most computer users don’t appreciate their potential and of those who do get it, most don’t appreciate the advantages of abandoning paper. The Google philosophy of abandoning organization in favour of making searching painless can liberate a big chunk of one’s shrinking time pool.

    Maybe it takes a “Google Monkey” to appreciate this.

    I’m impressed with your abandonment of extra Notebooks and your limited use of tags. I’m in the process of drastically pruning mine back. I’ve been guilty of over-organizing Evernote.

    A feature of Evernote Premium version which I’ve found very useful is the ability to add word processing, spreadsheet and other data files to notes. I now only need to sychronise my PCs’ data files every 3 or 4 days instead of 3 or 4 times a day.


    Roll on the Linux client.

  2. Dave Yuhas says:

    When I added a jpg of wine label to Evernote that became searchable in about 5 minutes I saw the light.

  3. Jim McGarvie says:

    I am considering ditching Info Select myself. How did you “transfer” notes from it into Evernote? Just copy/paste, or some sort of export/import function?



  4. Hi Jim – there’s no export/import function. But it’s a bit faster than copy/paste. If you highlight all the text you want to copy over, all you need to do then is hit Windows Key-A. As the best way to highlight your text is to click anywhere in the InfoSelect note and then do Ctrl-A, the next step of doing Windows-A is very quick. You don’t need to have Evernote ‘on top’ when you do this – the transfer happens in the background.

    I chose a rainy day and just sat down and did the job. I sent about 550 notes into Evernote within a couple of hours or so, as I remember.

    I only transferred notes I thought would still be relevant. But I kept InfoSelect on the computer, so later on I could find any notes I forgot to transfer. At that point I also made sure they got transferred to Evernote.

    Yes, it was a bit of a job, but I’m really glad I did it.

  5. brad says:

    i am also an infoselect user of many many years – memorymate before that. i find it hard to work in the rigid format evernote gives you but i am trying. no topics/folders to organize things has me stumped.

    you say you transferred notes by hand – what about the topics of the notes? how did you transfer these? and the category/folder they were in?

    perhaps i have a much more extensive database than you – about 150 megs or so – i throw literally everything into IS daily – lists of all my archived CDRs, music, articles, emails, everything i know is in there.

    hope evernote can help – just starting now, thanks


  6. Hi Brad – I’m a bit confused by this sentence: “i find it hard to work in the rigid format evernote gives you but i am trying. no topics/folders to organize things has me stumped.”

    Evernote is not rigid at all. Just toss stuff in just like you do in InfoSelect. But then you say Evernote has no topics/folders to organise things. Surely that is what would give you a rigid format?

    If you do want to organise things a bit more, you can add tags. You can also have separate files for separate major topics so things don’t get mixed up. But you can search across all of those files if you wish.

    In giving you these options, Evernote is a bit like InfoSelect. There are certainly different ways to use InfoSelect. I just tossed stuff in completely freeform and knew I’d find it with the search function.I’m a liberal arts graduate. My brother approaches InfSelect the way you’d expect a civil engineer to: quite structured. He loves it his way; I loved it my way. He still uses InfoSelect a bit, though he’s also an Evernote user. I’ve switched entirely to Evernote.

  7. Alan Vallis says:

    @ Brad

    Many potential Evernote users find the lack of nesting notebooks difficult to accept, but if you require structure all you need to do is think of the tags – which ARE nestable – as notebooks.

    On the other hand, many users of Info Select V1 which had no tree structure (including me) subsequently discovered that the use of nested topics was an impediment to efficient use.

    Quote from my blog post about Evernote”
    “One thing which annoys some new users. You can save your notes in one Notebook or you can split them between any number of Notebooks, but there’s no tree structure – those Notebooks can’t be nested, so there’s a practical limit to how many you can cope with.
    This is not a bug! Nor is it an oversight!
    The excellent boolean search capability and the provision for unlimited note tags (which can be nested) makes finding your stuff a breeze. You don’t need nested Notebooks or a tree structure. Think of the Gmail philosophy: search, don’t organize. Organizing data files can get in the way of searching.

    * Does Google need to structure the web? No.
    * Does lack of structure inhibit a Google search? Not a bit.
    * An example: your friend Egbert is a member of your squash club, he also owns your favourite restaurant and he’s your child’s Scoutmaster. Where do you put him in your data tree? 3 different places? Easy answer — don’t have a tree. You can allot his note (or notes) tags which cover all bases. Egbert can be a tag too.”

  8. Nigel Rowe says:

    A great, really useful comparison. Thanks! As a longtime Info Select user (13 years) I have been mulling its eventual successor. This has been kicked into high gear lately as I have been seriously contemplating switching from PC to Mac and now have to make sure all my favourite software tools can make the transition with me. Info Select is essential, so either I depend on the PC>Mac emulators like Crossover or others to help out, or I have to go somewhere else. Which means a horrendous data transfer job. I wish I just had 550 important notes to transfer!

    Also, it was great to stumble across your blog. As a fellow Kiwi – albeit living in Chicago for almost 20 years. It’s always refreshing to return home digitally. Cheers! Nigel

  9. Jerry Nelson says:

    …still waiting out here for closure on Info Select to Evernote transfer methods when the number of notes (thousands) and size of database (megabytes) makes a CNTRL-A, WINDOWS-A semi-automated cut-and-paste approach untenable. Sorry not a Kiwi, hope 5 yrs in Oz earns guest status.

    From Info Select 8 HELP:
    File Formats

    Info Select can import and export to Files of the following formats [useless ones omitted here].

    ASCII (txt)
    This format is the most basic format. Information is treated as general text with no font codes or formatting commands.

    Rich Text Format (rtf)
    This format retains text font and formatting information (size, style, etc.) and can be used with a variety of Windows programs. Info Select version 8 allows to import the RTF documents which contain images and bulleted or numbered lists.

    Use this format to export Info Select data for viewing in an Internet browser or for publishing to a web site. See “13 Im-Exporting | Export to HTML”.

    Note Delimited
    This format is for exporting and importing multiple text notes and separates each Note by a special character. The character is specified in Tools | Options | Misc | Note Delimiter. In order to export in this format, place all the notes under an expanded Topic, choose the Topic in the Selector, then choose File | Export.


  10. I can cope with you being in Australia! It’s my favourite other country, except when they play sport against the Kiwis. I lived in Sydney for a few years too.

    I reckon you’ll be waiting a long time before Evernote develops an import filter for InfoSelect notes. There aren’t enough InfoSelect people out there for Evernote to be bothered with. I’m afraid you’ll just have to do it manually as I did. I also had thousands of InfoSelect notes, but most of them should have been culled out years earlier. I ended up transferring only 500 or so. The whole job took most of a rainy afternoon, but I’m glad I did it.

    I can’t see any point in using the InfoSelect export options, unless you want to transfer a single huge note into Evernote, which would not be practical. And if you exported one InfoSelect note at a time, it would take forever. It would be easier to do as I did, and manually go through each of the InfoSelect notes and copy/paste the text into Evernote in the way I described in my post. You soon get into the swing of it, and get surprisingly fast.

  11. David Post says:

    So add me to the list of long-time InfoSelect users (also one who started out with MemoryMate many years ago) who’s contemplating a PC to Mac switch. I’m going to give EverNote a spin, though like the others here I’m horrified by the prospect of having to manually transfer all of my information over to another program, one at a time . . .
    Does anyone have any experience running InfoSelect under the Windows emulator that comes iwith the Mac?

  12. I guess it would run like that on the Mac, but would it always be available instantly while you’re running your Mac apps? If you had to specially switch into Windows mode before using InfoSelect, wouldn’t you’d lose the ‘instant’ virtue you’re used to with InfoSelect?

  13. Moon Over Martinborough says:

    Thought of you and this post when I read this article over on ‘Mashable’ – http://mashable.com/2010/05/04/evernote-3-million/

  14. Logan says:

    I started using IS 2007 about 1 1/2 yrs ago and now have upgraded to IS 10. I wld never consider moving to EN because I want to own MY data. In my view, it is cloud based (potential) ransomware, i.e. if in the future the change the pricing model for the free portion you will have to pay. I stay with my sturdy IS. Now that USB drives are so small, no need to access data on the remote. I always have some USB drives in my pocket.

  15. Alan Vallis says:

    Evernote is cloud-based it’s true. However, it can easily be used just as a local application. You don’t have to put anything in the cloud.
    If you follow the Yahoo IS user group you’ll find that it’s anything but sturdy and the way things are going for Evernote and Info Select I’m picking that Info Select is the most likely candidate for future demise.
    Even if Evernote did pull the plug on the free version, the subscription version is comparably priced to Info Select and it’s continuously upgraded.
    Even though I’ve been using Info Select for 20 years and was an evangelist for it for most of that time I won’t be going back.
    Evernote will not pull the plug however. The free version is their marketing tool, and it’s working magnificently.
    Info Select is going to die unless it’s taken over by someone other than the current developer.

  16. jmacg says:

    Below is one comment from the Yahoo Info Select group Alan mentioned. Interesting that the person says that upgrading to the latest version of InfoSelect will alter your database file and render it unreadable by earlier versions.

    You might ask, “why should that matter?” My answer is that sometimes you just want to go back to an earlier version of IS that works better. I made that mistake way back – I think I upgraded to version 4 or 5. I found that the new version added claptrap rather than basic functionality (the ongoing problem with IS). It was also slower and had other quirks I could have done without. But because I hadn’t kept a backup of my version 3 database file, I was stuck and had to listen to friends crowing that they hadn’t been silly enough to ‘upgrade’ a watch that wasn’t broken.

    Ironically, IS’s blurb for the new version 10 says, “by request of our customers to simplify Info Select, we have removed the following rarely used features: [list].”

    About time IS did some pruning. But if you happened to use some of those features, you’d be pretty hacked off if you upgraded and rendered your database inoperable in the older version of IS. One of the discontinued features is the ability to export IS notes in formats such as text, .doc, HTML etc that can be used in other programs. That is a serious reduction in functionality and I just can’t believe it was requested by users.

    The IS website has screenshots of their whoop-de-doo IS10 and frankly it looks cluttered and dated. Think Windows 3.1.

    Anyway, here’s what one person wrote in the Yahoo IS Forum. An IS zealot had claimed that Evernote was ‘ransomware’, and she was responding:

    “Re ransom-ware: I think many who’ve responded to this thread prior to me have established why Evernote is NOT ransom-ware. Since this word has been introduced into this forum, let me ask you about IS.

    “Right now in IS 2007 I can export my *.wd2 data to HTML, doc, and txt for access in many other software programs. The description of IS 10 says they’ve eliminated export and import functions. Have I understood correctly that after I convert my data into wd3 format by opening it in IS10, I won’t be able to get it out of IS anymore?

    “Right now, in Evernote, I can access my data simultaneously on as many computers as I want running a free EN client, or via any web client. I can also export local EN files and sync it to other computers if I choose not to use the EN cloud, and open them simultaneously. On how many computers can you have IS open? The answer is ONE. If I have it running on my desktop, it will not open on my laptop. (Perhaps it will if I disconnect my laptop from the internet and from my internal network, but who wants to do that?)”

  17. Alan Vallis says:

    If there’s any further proof needed that there’s a problem, there’s now an IS-EN support group for disillusioned Info Select migrants.
    It’s growing rapidly. I don’t expect that there’d be a great future in an EN-IS migration group.

  18. Mark Hilsen says:


    I started using Tornado Notes around 1987 and switched to InfoSelect [for DOS] about 1989, and thence to InfoSelect for Windows [not numbered at that time!] about 1991 or ’92. I never liked any of the upgrades and still use ISW1 today (as of September, 2011) on a Windows XP laptop but have lost my install disks and have been unable to install this program onto a modern PC; so time to switch to Evernote. The InfoSelect people have been no help over the years and switching loyalties will give me no heartburn, but my records number in the tens of thousands. I have exported them to an ASCII delimited [default character “126”] series of 40 different text files, one for each original WD-file.

    Is there no one with a simple method of converting ASCII TXT file data to individual Evernote notes? I have little or no scripting ability and I can’t believe I’m the only one to face this problem. Is there an intermediate program I could buy that might do this for me, such as Microsoft Office One Note? Has anyone encountered any workaround other than individually copy-&-paste’ing 20,000-30,000 notes?

    By the way, love the thread. I’M NOT ALONE!

  19. jmacg says:

    Evernote works really well on my Android phone. Much better than it does on my iPad. The iPad version is OK and it’s great to have, but it just doesn’t work as well. One problem is that the iPad (and iPhone) only store Evernote headers, and each note then has to be downloaded. It’s an understandable approach, given the limited storage on most iOS devices.

    But on Android, providing you have the US$50 a year premium subscription to Evernote, you can download the whole database to your microSD expansion card, and the program then runs as though it is on a standalone Windows or Mac computer. I have a 32Gb microSD card in my phone, so I took that option very smartly.

    It now works wonderfully. Again I’m thanking my lucky stars that I had a weekend of bad weather as an excuse for spending a lot of time converting my InfoSelect notes to Evernote.

  20. James says:

    For those of who have collected thousands of IS notes over the years (in my case since Tornado), there is a way to synchronize the database over multiple pc computers — if you trust the cloud. I’ve saved all my IS files on dropbox, and pointed all my IS programs to the dropbox folders. But I sure wish IS would come up with, at the very least, an android version. And, hopefully, it will work on the Windows 8 tablets when they arrive.

  21. jmacg says:

    You’re beating your head against a brick wall, even if that kludge works. Better to bite the bullet and move your thousands of IS notes into Evernote, even though you have to do it manually. Evernote is a much better bet. I had thousands of IS notes too, but I never regretted taking a rainy afternoon to make the change. And it was worthwhile doing some pruning at the same time.

    IS coming out in an Android version? Ha! Again, Evernote is the way to go. It’s marvelous on my Android phone. Much better than on my iPad.

  22. jmacg says:

    Absolutely no programming required. My blog is hosted by WordPress.com, where there are a lot of ‘canned’ templates you toss your words and pictures into. You can make variations on these templates, but you don’t have to write code to do this. You can. for instance, choose what things go into the right hand column. Some of the templates (mine is one such) let you put your own artwork into the blog heading.

    You can go further, if you wish, by tweaking the HTML code. I don’t.

    Hosting is free. Most templates are free, but you can pay for some extra-snazzy ones. Another popular free blog platform is blogger.com, by Google. WordPress also has a more sophisticated blogging platform at wordpress.org, but that does require that you do some HTML programming.

  23. Jim says:

    I am a long time, since the early 90’s, InfoSelect user. I have not found that the organization of notes in Evernote is easily interfaced to my InfoSelect data. I use Devon Note on my Mac. It works by creating one text file per note, txt or rtf. I have InfoSelect 6 that exports to text, so I can handle that and have done it for part of my data. I think that I will crank up Evernote and see if I can get my data in there, too. Then I hope to export all the old data onto a DVD and chuck the bunch of it as too old to matter: TOTM.
    Sorry to see InfoSelect fall into the buggywhip category. Buggywhips are still made, but not for Hondas.

  24. N14LH says:

    Guess I’m with the ‘dinosaur’ crowd as I have been using InfoSelect since it was Tornado Notes. I am disgusted with the company, but really appreciate the flexibility of the free form data base. Believe it or not I run duplicate IS programs, Win ver. 1.0 (.wd) and Win ver. 5.00.14 (.wd2). Each has unique features that I prefer, so I copy duplicate files into each version. Brain damage, for sure. 😉
    I recently got an HP laptop running Win7 (64 bit), and was horrified to learn that I could not install the 16 bit IS software on the new computer. Micro Soft, in April, will no longer support my Lenovo running WinXP so I am desperately in need of a resolution to this situation. Surely there is some software ‘guru’ some where that can write a program to convert IS files to another data base program. I too have literally thousands and thousands of IS files and at 70, I may not live long enough to cut and past all those .txt files! 😉 Please, please help!!

  25. jmacg says:

    Sorry – time to bite the bullet! You can’t hang onto InfoSelect like a security blanket forever. Or by the sound of it, for any time at all. No one is going to produce a utility to convert IS notes into another format. There simply isn’t a big enough market to make it worthwhile.

    You just have to bite the bullet and do it all manually. It took me many hours, but I’m glad I did it. And got rid of a heap of crap at the same time.

  26. Allan Logan says:

    Just because you use IS does not mean that you are a dinosaur. I use it, too, starting about four years ago. However, I moved from IS 9 to IS 10 (format .wd3). As you correctly write, some features from the past have not been integrated into IS 10. However, for document management purposes, it is excellent. Also, IS 10 is being maintained continuously, i.e. Miclog puts all the time updates on its website. I recommend you upgrade to IS 10. It will run on Win7 64 bit. Also, concerning Win XP: It does not matter whether MS will continue supporting it or not. It will still run for a couple of years on your computer. Otherwise, get a new machine with Win 7 Pro and install the virtual XP. There, you will be able to use your IS. I do that and still use dBase IV for DOS! You also could run IS 10 on Win 7 and your old IS on the virtual XP, both on the same machine. Good luck. It will work!

  27. jmacg says:

    Do the newer versions of InfoSelect do the cloud so I can access them – and add notes to them – from my iOS and Android devices and more than one Windows and/or Mac devices? I do that a lot.

  28. Allan Logan says:

    IS 10 works with Win only. I have no experiene with cloud services but I believe it depends on the size of your IS file (and your pricing plan). In case of IS 10 that would be the .wd3 file. In practice, it may not work. My largest IS .wd3 file is 346 MB. But why not use a memory stick and put the IS file into an encrypted container? (I know, that would not work with a smartphone.) However, have a look at http://www.miclog.com/ftp/is/11/news/ . There you see a quite new entry called “appnewsid.htm”. Seems they are up to something… A pity that this cannot be communicated on the almost defunct Yahoo IS forum.

  29. jmacg says:

    Using Evernote via the cloud, it doesn’t matter how big your file is. All of it goes into the cloud – no problem – but only the headers and smaller notes get sent to your mobile devices. If you’re online, the full notes get downloaded very quickly.

    I can’t emphasise how useful it is to have your whole database available to you whatever device you’re using and wherever you’re using it. Evernote and similar (though inferior IMHO) services like Google Keep and Microsoft One Note, leave clunky, overpriced InfoSelect for dead.

  30. Allan Logan says:

    The question is: Do you really need all your data all the time? I got a notebook and a netbook. That is it. Who needs the cloud if a 32 GB memory stick has a form factor of 35 x 12 x 3.5 mm? Times have changed… Also, re EN: What if they pull the plug? What if they increase the fee? In my opinion, it is vapour ware and ransom ware. You do not own your data anymore. It even is in the EULA. Plus, EN is inherently unsecure at any speed. Early 2013, EN was hacked and 50m passwords were compromised. I prefer IS, since my data belongs to me and does not form part of the public domain. IS perhaps got some unnecessary features but it is not clunky. There even is a portable version. Also, consider Miclog is a small firm with people who actually do exist. So, the less they sell, the more expensive their product is. Moreover, a product that is almost free is less valued than a more costly one. But if you prefer EN, so be it. Just remember, IS is quite a bit longer on the market than EN…

  31. jmacg says:

    How can Evernote be vapourware/ransomware when the file actually exists on your computer? In your case it would exist on both your computers. With a backup in the cloud that is available to you on any computer anywhere in the world, via the web. A backup that as well as including notes, can contain Word files, PDFs, photographs and more. And should you ever decide to get a smart phone or tablet, all this would be available to them too.

    And yes, you could also carry your Evernote file around with you on a flash drive, should you really want to. Personally, I have a drawer full of largely unused flash drives – cloud communications via Evernote, Dropbox and Skydrive is mostly (not always) more efficient.

  32. Allan Logan says:

    In order to really be efficient, the EN files need to be uploaded, so that you got access all the time. Also, I concede that if you want to use a smartphone or a tablet, then you would look for such a solution. Nevertheless, in order to benefit of all the features (OCR reading, for example), I believe you need to use the cloud version. However, if today someone entrusts his data to the cloud he is doing at his own risk. And – conveniently – you still did not address the EN hack. Right now, I just do net see the need for a device other than a Win notebook and netbook (which I use when on holiday). Lastly, remember, there is a privacy trade-off if you use Dropbox or Skydrive. Having said this, I admit that certainly, it is more convenient than the USB method which – in the very distant past (when there were diskettes) we called “running shoe network”.

  33. jmacg says:

    Only an idiot would leave all his eggs in the cloud basket. The beauty of Evernote is that you keep your data on the computer too. If the Evernote company ceased to exist tomorrow, the Evernote program would still work for me. (And I could forget about Evernote hacking, which I don’t lose any sleep over anyway).

    In the meantime, while the Evernote cloud exists, I get my Evernote database duplicated on a desktop and two laptops. Plus headers (many of them with useable text) on an Android phone and tablet and an iPad. Am I supposed to feel my database is insecure? It’s a lot more farting around to keep your IS database up to date using an easily-lost flash drive. I have the option of flash drive backup if I want it, but I don’t. I do, however, occasionally back up my EN file on a USB hard drive.

  34. Allan Logan says:

    I do not know how proprietary EN is or how easy it would be to extract the data from your HD stored EN. But yes, the fact that IS is proprietary and that without IS data cannot be extracted is an issue. I also store docs that I file in IS as PDF in a separate directory but clearly that is a kind of redundancy. Perhaps, somewhen Miclog will come up with a solution on how to export the data… However, I assess that for the next 10 years, that will not be an issue. BTW: My memory sticks got encrypted containers, so no issue there. Anyway, I feel I cannot convince you to go back to IS.

  35. jmacg says:

    Allan – I suspect it would be difficult to extract data directly from an EN file. It could be as impossible as it is for IS. But if the EN client is installed, which it would be, the notes are all visible and can be cut and pasted from.

    One of the problems of doing an export from IS would be that, to be useable, it would have to be exported as separate notes that could be put straight into the EN database. A bulk Ascii file export would be more trouble than it’s worth for putting into EN. Why would IS go to the trouble of exporting in a useable form and risk losing even more users to Evernote? Evernote would have to do it, and IS wouldn’t give them the info that would enable it. And anyway, EN wouldn’t consider the remaining IS users numerous enough to be worth the trouble.

    I’m afraid the the only realistic options are to transfer notes manually or to stay with IS if you’re happy with it (and are prepared to shell out a lot of money to get the version that’s compatible with 64-bit Windows).

  36. Allan Logan says:

    The IS x86 version runs on Win 7, but agreed, sooner or later (Win 8, Win 9), another upgrade would be due and that probably would be 64bit. But, yes, the export from IS really is an issue (not just to EN, of course). It does create a certain dependency on Miclog. Right now, for me that is not a major issue. Remember: I also use Lotus 1-2-3 for Win and Lotus Orgnizer 6.1 on a daily basis (both on Win 7 Pro). Those “legacy” software fortunately does run for longer than we think.

  37. nigellists says:

    Still using both Info Select (17 years) and Evernote (3+ years.) I definitely prefer EN for mobile use (why did IS ever charge such a hefty premium for their previous Palm mobile solution?) and ease of saving Web content.

    But IS still is the best for having folders within folders, collapsing down the interface and search. However I haven’t upgraded IS since version 6. But it’s still going strong on Win7 64 bit with no problems.

    Am slowly manually migrating content from IS to EN, but 7400 items takes a while, especially as much is setup as lists/database items, etc.

    IS is still one of only 4 programs that I have kept going this long.


  38. Allan Logan says:

    Very interesting to hear that your IS 6 works on Win 7. I upgraded to IS 10 and – whilst accepting that some features from the past have been omitted – I only can recommend it. Also, may I discourage you from migrating your data from IS to EN ransomware? Do you think EN will be around as long as IS? Don’t follow the hype and stay with IS.

  39. nigellists says:

    Just to be clear, it’s very easy to export all of your Evernote content to individual HTML files (with all images saved out separately in a linked folder) or as an XML formatted file with all data and images saved as MIME data. I have a Premium account, but the export option was one of those things that finally convinced me to switch. Don’t forget that EN has more paying subscribers than IS has ever sold software, so there is an inherent responsibility momentum that comes with that.

    I’m not sure about how many future Windows upgrades my IS 6 will survive, and if I ever switch to Mac, then all bets are off.

    Probably easier than doing the individual .txt/rtf exports that IS 6 offers.


  40. Allan Logan says:

    Please don’t make it worse by switching to Mac! Stay with Win. Also remember: You always could (in the worst case) install a virtual XP machine and still use your IS 6. But yes, I am really astonished that IS 6 works on Win 7. Says a lot about the quality of IS, doesn’t it. Don’t change it if it ain’t broken. Or upgrade to IS 10. If you write them a nice e-mail, Miclog certainly will give you a discount. After all, IS 6 on Win 7, that is is not bad. I would tell them that if I were you.

  41. jmacg says:

    Ransomware? Really? I thought we put that ridiculous canard to rest some time ago. And yes, EN is highly likely to outlive IS, by a large margin.

  42. jmacg says:

    I’m trying to remember which version of IS I had before I switched to EN. Must have been about version 6. I still have it on an old laptop that runs XP, but I haven’t fired it up for at least a couple of years. Whatever version it was, it certainly didn’t like Windows 7 (32 bit). It would like my current 64 bit Win7 even less.

    I wasn’t prepared to pay the extortionate IS upgrade price for an IS version that might work on Windows 7. Not when Evernote was free and synchronised via the cloud with all my computers and mobile devices. At the time IS had no cloud synchronisation and to pay such a high upgrade price for something that couldn’t do that would have been ridiculous. I don’t know if the latest IS does the cloud. I don’t even care…I’ve passed it by, like a horse and buggy.

  43. Allan Logan says:

    Absolutely agree with you on Win 7 64 bit which I also got. However, my netbook (a Toshiba NB100) still runs on Win XP which I clearly prefer. Unfortunately, we have no choice. When you purchase a new machine, it will have Win 7. Downgrading to XP would be too tiresome because of the drivers.

    IS 10 does not do the cloud. It just is not designed for it. But then again, who needs the cloud if you can get a tiny memory stick with 32 GB?

    Yes, IS is expensive. However, Miclog seems to be a small company. The smaller a company is and the fewer software it sells, the higher the price is.

    Lastly, remember the stolen EN passwords and that if your data is in the cloud it more or less is in the public domain.

  44. Allan Logan says:

    Tornado Notes was released in 1986 which means that IS is almost 30 years old. What about EN? It is ransom ware, vapourware and unsafe at any speed (remember the stolen passwords).

    What do you do if EN goes bust? Of course, you got all backed up on your HD. Well, perhaps.

    Times have changed. Get a tiny 32 GB memory stick (they mostly come from Taiwan / R.O.C.) so that you do not need the cloud (another lofty concept) anymore.

    Trust me, I am Swiss (& IS 10 user).

  45. jmacg says:

    Allan – aren’t you getting paranoid, with all this talk of “ransom ware, vapourware and unsafe at any speed (remember the stolen passwords)”?

    The ransomware and vapourware charges are demonstrably bullshit. The unsafe at any speed charge is hysterical, though stolen passwords are theoretically of some concern. However Evernote very responsibly made all Evernote users change their passwords. They also claimed that no payment details were stolen and the passwords were encrypted, using hashes and salting to prevent login details falling into the wrong hands.

    Nothing is perfect of course, but personally I’m only very slightly concerned about the Evernote break-in. That minor concern is covered by my specifically encrypting all of my more sensitive Evernote notes. I actually don’t think my encrypted notes are so important that anyone – even the NSA – would go to the huge trouble of beating the background Evernote encryption, then working again on the encryption applied to my specific notes.

    Yet in your other post today, you claimed that data in the cloud is “more or less is in the public domain.”


    As for your USB flashdrive solution to backing up your IS file, I would point out that flashdrives are small and easily lost. They are one of the worst forms of computer backup available. How can they possibly compare with my complete and up to date Evernote backup on three computers and the cloud?

    If I want unsafe additional backup, I can save my Evernote database to a USB flash drive – just like you can.

    And if I decide I really don’t want to use the cloud after all, I can run Evernote entirely locally on my computer. Evernote users are not forced to use the cloud – though in my opinion they are silly if they don’t, because then they’d miss out on having have a fully synched database on the hard drives of all their computers, and access to the database by all their mobile devices. 75+ million Evernote users seem to agree with me.

    As for Tornado Notes…well I used it too, from 1988. But once I moved to InfoSelect, the Tornado database was transferred and made incompatible with Tornado. And so on it went, with InfoSelect moving to new versions and losing backwards compatibility. It really annoyed me after I found that IS had become so overloaded with add-ons that it was now awkward and sluggish. But I couldn’t go back to the versions that were lean, mean and highly efficient. By version three, MicroLogic had lost its way. For some reason they thought InfoSelect should be computing’s Swiss Army Knife. If they’d stuck to their knitting, who knows, I might still be using it today.

    No, actually, I wouldn’t.

  46. nigellists says:

    I didn’t have any problems getting IS 6 to run on Win7 Professional 64 bit. It’s been purring along for three and a half years now. Even survived a system crash. At work I was able to get it running on 32 bit Win7 as well for several years.

    See here for visual proof. Maybe it’s an HP thing?


  47. Allan Logan says:

    Dear Nigel: Amazing! I am stunned. Thanks for the screenshot. Have a nice week-end. Allan.

  48. Allan Logan says:

    I appreciate that for synchronizing several devices the cloud is the solution. Also, I agree with your comments on IS. In a way, it is a pity what happened but what can we do? My USB drives got encrypted containers and I always got a backup at home. Also, I do not use other devices, so this suits me. But again, I fully agree with what your write about IS. I use just about 10% of its features, mainly for document storage. Re EN, let us see how it goes on. Regards, Allan.

  49. Marty Brown says:

    I was a Tornado–> Info Select fanatic starting in 1992 and kept tons of random notes in it. Having learned in the DOD (days of DOS), I had quick shortcut keys that enabled me to power through it and I can’t tell you how many times it saved my bacon when I needed a quick fact or recall a long distant phone conversation that I kept faithfully in my stacks.

    However, like you, I found that it got stranger and stranger with every new edition. It tried to be everything to everybody and does not seem to have succeeded. The upgrades became prohibitively expensive and mostly unnecessary. I moved to Evernote about a year ago, following the advice I got from your post, here, and haven’t looked back.

    Still, InfoSelect’s lightning-quick searches are better than Evernote’s. I could quickly find things faster and more reliably in IS than I can now in Evernote, but I can use Evernote anywhere as long as I have my Nexus 5 with me.

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