I have held email conversations with a couple of people concerning my recent article on RedNotebook, a note-taking program. The most common question is: "Which is better? RedNotebook or Evernote?" I decided to summarize the comments in an article here so as to share the thoughts with others.
I tried RedNotebook recently and was impressed with it. I wrote about it, and the article is available at http://goo.gl/srJh1. RedNotebook is a simplistic program, which I think is a good thing. I prefer simplistic in place of overly-complex and user-unfriendly programs, such as Microsoft's OneNote.
I also have been a big fan of Evernote for a couple of years. It is also an excellent note-taking program. However, RedNotebook seems to be a strong competitor, and I believe that some people will prefer it over Evernote, which is what motivated me to write about RedNotebook. Both are good programs although they are quite different from each other.
I like Evernote because it automatically copies data to multiple computers as well as to iPhone, Android, and BlackBerry smartphones. Anyone who uses multiple computers, such as Windows or Macintosh desktop systems at home, desktop systems at the office, a laptop when traveling, and a smartphone in the pocket, will appreciate having their notes with them at all times on all computers. In fact, you can also access your notes by opening a web browser on any computer with Internet access, such as a friend's computer or one at a public library, and access your notes. Of course, your online notes are protected by encryption, user IDs, and passwords. We expect heavy-duty security features with any online product that saves personal information, and Evernote certainly provides that protection.
In contrast, RedNotebook is designed for use on a single computer. Its purpose is quick entry and retrieval of notes in a single program, and it does this easily and well. If you have just one computer where you want to store and retrieve your notes on various projects, this may be exactly what you want.
At the same time, RedNotebook could be used like Evernote if combined with other programs. When used with Dropbox or similar file replication programs, the RedNotebook files can be shared between multiple computers. There is no web access and no smartphone edition of RedNotebook, however. RedNotebook has no built-in methods of encrypting your data. Since the information is stored on your own hard drive, perhaps encryption isn't as important. However, for those who want total security, almost any file or disk encryption product could be used to add security, including TrueCrypt or any of a dozen other, similar programs.
Both RedNotebook and Evernote are easy to use. Both programs allow the user to retrieve stored information quickly and easily. Evernote is available free of charge for unlimited file storage, but the free version is limited to 40 megabytes of new information uploaded per month. The limit increases to 500 megabytes per month of new notes for $5/month (or $45/year, if paid in advance). In contrast, RedNotebook is totally free. The software is free and, since the data is stored on your own computer's hard drive, there are no fees for data transfers or storage.
Here are some possible uses for either program, as listed on the www.evernote.com web site:
- Snap a photo of a business card with your phone, and have an easy way to store and access contacts.
- Capture plane tickets and confirmation numbers, hotel invoices, and receipts for your expense reports.
- Get inspired. Keep a file of anything cool you want to buy for yourself or as a gift, whether it’s online or out in the real world.
- Keep notes from your meetings all in one place. Take a picture of a whiteboard and you’ll be able to find it later.
- Plan your next trip. Clip web pages, maps, and itineraries. Capture sights, sounds, tastes, and anything else.
- Research web sites and clip pages directly from your browser.
- Keep a record of your favorite wines by snapping a photo of the label when you find one you like.
- Remember the things you were supposed to remember. Create to-do lists, jot down random thoughts, leave a voice memo, and more.
Actually, that is a short list. I have other uses. For instance, I recently started saving recipes for diabetics. I also store a list of my prescriptions, including dosages and the dates they were prescribed. I have referred to this list a couple of times when visiting doctors and once at my dentist's office. I save insurance information for medical, automobile, house, and life insurance. When researching ancestors online, at a library, or at a courthouse, I often type notes or copy-and-paste various notes into Evernote. I suspect there are many more uses for an easy-to-use note-taking program that is always available whenever and whever you need it.
The bottom line is: "different strokes for different folks." I suspect that many people will prefer RedNotebook, while others will prefer Evernote.
If you are interested in a good, easy-to-use note-taking program, take a look at both http://www.evernote.com and at http://rednotebook.sourceforge.net/ to see if either appeals to you.
You can find many other note-taking products as well. For instance, Google Notebook is a well-known and popular service but, in my opinion, is not as useful as Evernote or RedNotebook. Microsoft OneNote is heavily advertised but is complex to use and is available on Windows and on Windows Mobile but not on Macintosh, iPhone, Android, or BlackBerry.
You can read a comparison of almost all of today's note-taking products at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_notetaking_software.