Livescribe and Evernote integration – getting better!

Finally!  The Livescribe and Evernote integration has been pretty much re-designed.  I have been waiting for this since I got my Livescribe pen a few months ago.  One of my biggest issues was that if I had multiple pages to send to Evernote, they would each get sent into a separate note!  I would then have to copy and paste them into one note, and rename the whole bundle once it was in Evernote.  What a pain.  Now it’s all sorted out!  Sort of.  They added this new thing called Livescribe Connect.

You can connect to your computer, email, Evernote, Facebook, Google Docs, My Livescribe, and your mobile pencast app.  Well, the only one I really care about is Evernote, but the rest are cool too, I suppose.  The big change is, you can just select the pages you want to send, and then drag and drop them onto the relevant item in the Connect sidebar.  And all the pages go into the same note!  Woo hoo!  I actually just sent Livescribe’s support desk an email this past weekend, requesting this very feature.  I got a canned response thanking me for the suggestion, and it would be sent on to the relevant engineers for consideration in future updates.  I guess they didn’t actually read it, because they could have told me there was an update the next day that would directly address my issue.  Ah, well.

Another cool feature – you can automatically send pages to Evernote right from the notebook, simply by writing a command line (a back and forth horizontal line), and the word Evernote, and then tapping the pages that you want to send.  Next time the pen synch’s with a computer, those pages will be sent automatically.  I have yet to try this.  It might be more trouble than it’s worth (why not just drag the pages in the software?).  But it seems like a neat little trick.

Evernote, iPad, and PDFs

I’m really liking Evernote, and I like having it on my iPad and iPhone.  The iPhone app isn’t that great, but it’s just an iPhone app, I wasn’t expecting too much.  I’m a bit disappointed with the iPad app though.  I read a lot of papers.  In fact, that’s one of the main reasons why I got the iPad in the first place.  And when I read papers, I like to highlight and annotate for later reference.  I’m currently pretty happy with GoodReader, but you can’t search.  It would be great to be able to, say, look for papers that have the words “whale” and “double differencing” in them.  But Evernote DOES have the PDF searching capability, as long as you have a premium membership.  The problem is, it only seems to work in their desktop software. You can’t even view the PDF in the Evernote app, let alone highlight and annotate.  🙁

Luckily, the Evernote folks are releasing new iPad/iPhone software soon – maybe all of these problems will be solved!

Evernote and Livescribe Issues

As cool as the Evernote + Livescribe combo is, there are still some kinks in the integration:

– Audio and handwritten notes are imported separately (as separate Evernote notes).  It would be nice if the two were integrated more like what it’s like in Livescribe, or at least imported into the same note.

– Handwriting recognition is WAAAY better in Livescribe software than in Evernote.  I’m guessing that the Livescribe folks wouldn’t want to give out their text recognition algorithm, but maybe they could somehow embed the results of their algorithm with the image file?  That sounds easy but may be asking a lot.

–  Multiple pages imported from Livescribe desktop to Evernote, using the built-in Evernote button, are not appended to the same note.  It would be nice if you could group selected pages together for certain notes.  What if my seismology notes fill up 4 or 5 pages?  4 or 5 separate Evernote notes?  It just doesn’t make sense.  I guess I could publish to pdf and then import to Evernote, but that takes away from the whole point of having the Evernote-Livescribe collaboration in the first place.

Another thing I’m curious about is how the iPhone and iPad apps work – does the whole database get uploaded?  What happens if your account grows very large?  At some point it might start to get too bloated for my little iPhone.

There is so much great stuff that both Evernote and Livescribe can do, and despite the drawbacks that I’ve mentioned, I like the good stuff so much that I am willing to try to make it work for me.  For example, in the current configuration, I don’t think I’ll upload every class note I take to Evernote.  First of all because of the multiple pages issue, and second, because of the space limitations of my free account.  And because Livescribe software does such a good job at this point.

Finally discovered Evernote

I’ve been meaning to check out Evernote for a while now, but the tipping point was really this morning when I saw Kurt’s post on Facebook about using it to record a meeting.  And generally, if Kurt has an opinion on some tech gadget or software, I’ll listen.  He didn’t actually give an opinion, actually, but it was enough to send me to the App store to see for myself.  It was way cooler than I thought it would be.

You can write notes in all sorts of formats – text, images, websites, web clips, iPhone photos, scans, PDF’s…And you can really easily synch your iphone, ipad, desktop, or laptop anytime you have an internet connection.  You can also access your notes online.  The notes are stored on a server somewhere, but as far as I can tell, the full installation + notes gets installed locally on computers.  I’m not completely sure what happens with iphones and ipads, though, they might just access the cloud directly for everything.

I could go on about it, but there’s lots to find elsewhere on the internet.  But one of my favorite features is the handwritten text recognition.  I tried taking an iphone snapshot of some notes I took during Rip’s Master’s defense today, and then used the iPhone app to upload them to Evernote.  Even with my messy handwriting, it was still able to find some important words.  Here’s an example:

Not bad!  I also like how it can show you a map of where you took certain notes:

I’m probably jumping the gun, but this seems incredibly irresistible to me.  Sorry, Org-Mode!