I’ve been a smartphone owner for about five years now and, as you’ll know if you’re a regular reader here or if you follow me on Twitter, I change apps like other people change their socks. But there are two apps that have been installed without a second thought on every phone or tablet I’ve had: one is Dropbox, the other is Evernote.
I’ve talked about them both quite a bit on here and Twitter over the years, frequently saying that I couldn’t live without them, and for the longest time, that was true. This week, that changed:
I uninstalled Evernote, exported all my notes and switched myself over to Springpad.
Normally my talking about switching apps should be greeted with the same kinds of fanfare that comes with my drinking a coffee, but this was different and, truthfully, ever so slightly emotional.
Evernote has been a staple of my life for years, ever since I stopped being that weirdo with notepads stuck to walls everywhere (yes, really). I credit a large part of my career development to planning things out in it. I took notes about a lot of personal stuff with it; even many of my blog posts started as ideas in there. Truth be told, Evernote was a part of my life, rather than “just another app” – it was almost vital and certainly habitual.
But now it’s off my phone and tablet and I’ve deleted the webapp from my bookmarks bar and I’m not sure it’s coming back.
Why I Left Evernote
One word: bugs. I just couldn’t handle the frequent crashes, the sync failures, the lost notes (I lost some really important stuff), the downtime that always seemed to occur right when I needed to use it. I just couldn’t deal with that anymore.
Evernote stopped being something that I couldn’t live without and became something that I was forcing myself to live with. For a productivity obsessive, that just couldn’t stand.
This post by Jason Kincaid talks through the problems that have been plaguing Evernote in a lot of detail and I have to say that a lot of it rings true with my experience of the app.
I loved it, I’ve used it for years, but I just can’t be losing any more notes or time waiting for the thing to work. It’s over.
Evernote and Springpad have long been compared which, if I’m honest, is a little bit strange since they’re very different apps. You can use Springpad “just” as a notepad (the thing Evernote should’ve stuck to, to be honest), but there’s a lot more that it can do, including sharing and collaborating on projects, following notebooks like they’re blogs and much more.
I’m currently only really using it like I used Evernote, but I’ve found myself setting it up properly from the start, with segregated notebooks and such forth. When I started using Evernote, it was simple. By the time the other features were getting added, I was so ingrained in using it that way that there was just no changing me. Hopefully Springpad will be different.
It’s definitely a much more attractive user interface on mobile and web, much more colourful if that’s something that interests you, but for me the key point to keeping me as a user will be stability and minimal bugs. So far, there have been no problems and I’m really finding myself enjoying taking notes on my phone and tablet again. I’ve set up a bunch of notepads, one of which I’m planning on making public, and I’m using it to plan out a few other “life” things. It’s awesome.
I get attached to notepads. I still have every notepad I’ve used since I was 18 – that’s probably why I feel bad about getting rid of Evernote after about five years. But it’s been done. The decision is made.
Is This For Real, Or Just A Rebound Fling?
Honestly, right now it’s too early to say. I can truly say that I really enjoyed much of my time as an Evernote user, it’ll always hold a special place in my heart, but it was becoming more trouble than it was worth. Springpad’s looking very good to me right now, I’ve imported all my Evernote notes into a separate pad (here’s how you can do that), and I’m already well into getting stuff tagged up for each of the notepads I’ve got set up.
I think Springpad might just be a keeper. Whether I develop the same kind of emotional attachment I’ve had with Evernote remains to be seen.
Mostly, I just really hope it doesn’t all go horribly wrong the way things did with Evernote. I’m not sure I want to go through this again.
How about you? Are you sticking with Evernote, waiting for it to spend its ridiculous amount of VC cash on fixing itself, are you a fellow Springpad user with some pro-tips for me, or do you use something else entirely? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.