After over 5 years of using Evernotes to organize my notes, I have decided to move on from it. My notes are a very important part of my job, keeping lists of shortcuts and processes that I use day to day. My notes also an important tool for keeping track of lists in my personal life. Evernote has had a spot in my Mac dock and has been open in one of my desktop spaces every day, as well as a spot on the first page of my iPhone home screen.
Unfortunately with Evernote’s layoffs and office closures announced in the past week, as well as their recent heavy push to monetize the product and limit the usability of the free basic accounts, its usefulness to me has grown less and less, while its future is in serious question. It is now time for me to stop depending on it, especially now that the native Notes apps in iOS9 and OS X 10.11 have greatly improved. My fear is that I will find my access to Evernote cut off either because the basic accounts are no longer free or worse because they have closed shop. Evernote started its existence as a free product, eventually leading to a premium tier being established followed by the Plus tier, but without the ability to convert the remaining multitude of free accounts into paying customers, Evernote will not able to survive. Despite their attempt to expand to other physical related products like backpacks, bluetooth pens, and special digitized paper, Evernote has not been able to make a profit. It will be come the first “unicorn” to die. With Twitter’s recent struggles, it may not be the last one this year.
My requirement for a migration tool is just that is be a free small script that uses a language I can read and debug. I found the Applescript at https://www.larrysalibra.com/can-apple-notes-replace-evernote/ to convert my Evernote notes (selecting between 100-200 at a time) in my various folders. Despite a few errors, less than a dozen really, I was able to run a few iterations and had converted everything. The problem notes were copy-pasted or skipped, and I was fully migrated in just a couple of hours. Onward…
Evernote has been a great way to store notes, for quite some time now. Better than all other available note taking services for mobile and desktop platforms, its ability to capture and organize photos and audio, outline and format notes, and sync across all your platforms, has over time made it stand head and shoulders above the rest.
However, I do have a problem with Evernote policy on security in its free product. In May 2013, Evernote began to offer two-factor authentication in addition to its standard password authentication, both of while are limited to only the Premium product. While every other service has recently offered two-factor authentication, I am shocked that the note taking service that has stood out over time, has no plans to offer it to everyone. And in the days of concern over the NSA invading our personal security, it feels like Evernote has a lack of interest in security for non-premium members, and that seems mercenary and disingenuous.
I understand they are a business, but if they are truly concerned about security, this is a good place to appear generous. LinkedIn is a good example of a service that has free and premium services, but has chosen to value security over profits. I call upon Evernote to similarly open two-factor authentication to all users of the service, just as Google, Yahoo, Apple, Twitter and many others have. I know that having two-factor authentication available in Evernote would make me feel safer placing sensitive information into my mobile and desktop devices, and others will too. Don’t get me wrong, I have no illusions that the NSA has not been spying for so much longer than this little scandal has been around, nor that the NSA would not be able to break anything that we try to encrypt with nothing simpler than an order under our many domestic terrorism laws. I feel there should be a deterrent, not just completely open access, and this would be a good first step.