The problem with notes made of atoms is that they can’t be everywhere at once, so our usage of Post-It Notes has declined in the face of our digital life. We’ve tried and used half a dozen Mac note taking apps in recent years.
One that we like works a bit like Dropbox and stores notes online, synchronizing notes between Mac and Windows PC, or iPad and iPhone.
Sounds good, right? Make a note, and it’s saved automatically, uploaded to online backup, and then synced with your other devices.
Simple Notes For Complex Lives
The service I’m trying this week is SimpleNote. It works like Dropbox. Whatever app you choose to create and read notes saves them to your SimpleNote account.
That gives you access to your notes anywhere. Mac. iPhone. iPad. Windows PCs. Any web browser connected to the internet.
SimpleNote keeps versions of your notes, more or less like your Mac’s Time Machine. Searching is confined to just your notes, and not a million other files on your Mac that might look like what you want to Spotlight but really isn’t.
Many app developers are using SimpleNote to store data and documents so there are plenty of writing and notes tools to choose from. Notes are encrypted when synchronized so they’re more secure. You can even publish notes for family members, classmates, office workers, or others.
Each note can be tagged and easily browsed. How can all this be free? Advertising. SimpleNotes brings you simple advertising to help pay the freight. However, there’s also a premium version that cost about $20 a year. It backs up more versions of your notes, has no adds, also uses Dropbox to sync, and even features an RSS feed.
How do you write using SimpleNotes. I’ve been trying the free Metanota. It’s a Mac app that uses SimpleNotes, but also display little ads in the lower left corner. Think of this as a mini word processor.
As a notes app goes, Metanota is decidedly simple. It’s not cluttered up with toolbars or floating tools pallets or the typical word processor tools.
Your SimpleNotes files are listed in the left Sidebar. You’ll see the ad in the lower left corner. Click the All button and you see all your Metanota files.
The first line of a note also becomes the head; automatically. You can also add lists by adding a dash or bullet in the first space of a new paragraph. That’s fast and easy and eliminates the need for menus or tools.
Whatever local files and folders you create in Metanota also get replicated in your SimpleNotes account. Sweet, simple, easy, and free. Evernote comes with far more features, of course, and that makes it more complex. Metanota and SimpleNotes are what you expect them to be. Simple.