And no, as others who are writing about Evernote also assure their readers, I am not being paid to say this. I also haven't even started using it yet, really (except to take the pictures I'll post in a minute) and don't really know what all it does, but I am already slobbering all over it like a puppy with a peanut-butter-filled Kong. Here's why:
The picture above is the shelf where I keep my Moleskine notebooks that need to be "emptied." They have stuff in them that needs to come out: Notes for articles, notes for stories or books, important "to-dos" usually involving therapy or care for my daughter, and notes for other projects. If these are urgent I usually get them out quickly. But not always. And there's a lot of important stuff in there that's NOT urgent. And stuff that's not "important" but would be nice to get out and into the world - like the complete sketch of an article rebutting the insanity that is "The Tiger Mom" and her approach to parenting.
So there's that. But there's also this:
This is where I keep all of my Moleskine - I don't even know what they're called - the thin, paper-bound notebooks that I use for project notes. I have a couple for the special-needs project I'm developing, one for a steampunk children's book series, several for Urban Yogini. I shouldn't even say "all" because I've got three or four more of these scattered around the house at various locations. They each have their own purpose and I only write in each one what goes in each one.
So here's what's insanely cool. It's what I've been waiting for... forever. Evernote has teamed up with Moleskine to create "camera-ready" Moleskine notebooks to use with Evernote. What that means is that you can scribble your unintelligible notes and drawings in your notebook, take pictures of the pages using the Evernote camera, and then file the pages IN THEIR CATEGORIES (you can tag each page with a magical little tag that can be assigned to whatever project or category you want), and can later search for them by... wait for it... wait for it... SEARCHING FOR THE WORDS YOU HAVE SCRIBBLED UNINTELLIGIBLY IN YOUR NOTEBOOK!!!
I am practically doing backflips over this. Younger people may not appreciate this fully, but I grew up writing on paper with pens and pencils. Personal computers didn't exist back then. In college I used a typewriter (there were PCs by then, but I couldn't afford one.) I think because of this, there are just some things that I cannot write well with a keyboard. There are some things for which I need to put pen or pencil down on paper. And so I've got gazillions and gazillions of sheets of paper, somewhat organized but not in a readily searchable way, with all my stuff in it. A few months ago, I was painstakingly typing in the notes for a short novel from the notebook where I keep the notes for it. It would have taken several more solid days of typing to input it all.
But now I can just slap on some stickers, take some pictures and file it all away. I am deleriously happy about this.
Here's the rub: The "camera-ready" Moleskine notebooks are ridiculously expensive. Not so expensive that I won't buy some if I have to, but pretty expensive. So here's how you can be sure that I'm not in the pay of Evernote or Moleskine: I'm going to try a little experiment. I'm going to try taking pictures of some of the pages I already have (might as well - they're the ones I need to input right now anyway) and see if I can get them to work in the Evernote system. I'm not sure what I'll do about the magical stickers. Probably just order some of those separately if I can.
I will report back here with the results of my experiment. Specifically: Will evernote's handwriting recognition work with pages that are not the "camera-ready" kind? And will I be able to search among my uploaded scribblings without using the "camera-ready" pages? Stay tuned...
UPDATE: Someone has hacked the Evernote Moleskine notebook... sort of:
I downloaded the PDF, turned it into a JPG and imported it as a custom paper into the Noteshelf handwriting app. I wrote a few words, added some thumbs of the stickers and exported the page to Evernote (Noteshelf is well integrated with Evernote).
It didn’t work. I suspect that you need to actually scan a piece of paper for the Smart Stickers to be recognized, and as there is no way to add a photo from the Camera Roll when scanning, there appears to be no way around it.
His hack wouldn't really help me anyway because what I need is not cheaper smart paper, but a way to import my existing reams of notes into Evernote in a searchable way. This might be more helpful.