The Misadventures of Quinxy truths, lies, and everything in between!


Evernote is the Worst, It’s like Hipster Software

evernote-logo-designThere are few things I hate more than when something barely worthy of note being over-hyped.  Evernote enjoys a popularity and success it has never deserved.  What it does it does only barely, arguably tolerably.  I have been a premium user for 3 years, falling for and into that only because a free premium account came with my LiveScribe pen.  Since that initial period I have stupidly, accidentally been auto-renewed (forgetting  to cancel in time); though to be fair I do not know what alternative I would use.

What has driven me nuts about Evernote is that from its debut until now it has been little more than a painfully buggy and seriously crippled MS WordPad-like app which could sync between your devices and had a web interface.  And it's just never evolved much beyond that.

Evernote is still extremely and horrifically buggy as an editor.  The worst bugs I experience almost daily are:

  • Lossy copying/cutting/pasting
  • Broken undo
  • Unpredictable and lousy content editing.

When I go to edit a note I will routinely cut some content from one place to paste in another location and find that the paste only remembered a small fraction of what I'd cut.  I cut 10 lines and it pastes only 3 of them.  This happens 10-30% of the time (primarily with lines which involve checkboxes).  This bugginess is pretty unforgivable.  You surely do not expect your text editing software to take literary license and make decisions about what content deserves to stay in your documents.

Worse, though, is that in these moments undo doesn't.  Perhaps related to the bug which loses the content the undo feature simply refuses to go back and restore the missing content back to its original location.  The content is just wholly and completely gone, for good.  I've had to resort to resurrecting past saves of the document to find the missing content.  And I now have to try and remember to alter my edit workflow and always copy, never cut, then go back and delete only when I'm sure the content has been faithfully copied.  And, of course this requires me to try and remember exactly what I'm moving within Evernote to be sure it didn't fiddle with it.  Ugh.  If I was not heavily invested in having my content in their stupid system I would surely flee to any competitor at this point.

And as if their system could get worse, editing a note is highly unpredictable.  You might be on a mobile device and find that rather than just let you edit normally it for some reason will not let you edit chunks of your note, or will only let you edit it in chunks.  I use no fancy features, I rarely paste in any photos, it's just text and checkboxes and maybe a URL or two.  And somehow this confuses it.  Formatting can change for no apparent reason, regions refuse to be modified, etc.  And these issues occur if you stick with the same platform or jump between them.

It is all just absolutely awful.  And when I try and find solutions, bug fixes, etc., I find nothing.  And I've always used the latest versions.  It just seems to me that if you can't produce a good, reliable editor then you have no business being in the document management business, and that's why I am forever amazed that Evernote has had any success, let alone the rabid success they've had.  Perhaps everyone else feels as stuck with them as I do.

evernote_crapAnother thing that bugs me, they are always promoting the "Trunk" area of their site, as if it was some sort of app store, or Chrome extension gallery, but for the most part it is just a collection of tangential merchandise, much of it not even that related (e.g., offering pens for sale).  Just a couple hours after writing this rant I received yet another email from Evernote trying to sell me something that arguably has nothing to do with document management. A back pack, seriously? Fix your damn bugs! Improve your OCR! Focus on doing your core business well, not peddling other crap.

And so that's why I feel like Evernote is like a Hipster.  It presents this veneer of cool utility while really, truly being utterly devoid of any real marked specialness or competence.

^ Q

Comments (5) Trackbacks (1)
  1. I’m just getting started with Evernote- mainly I am planning to use the web clipper app on my Mac Pro desktop.
    Are there any competitors that you like?
    I think their success is that Apple failed to have a decent notes app in the first iphone- the few apps that sprung up
    ( and I tried a few back then ) were really truly terrible. I hope Evernote is not too buggy on my Mac Pro –

  2. It does seem odd that no one has come along to unseat Evernote. I’m not sure if they are an example of perfect timing of an otherwise unimpressive product, fantastic marketing of an otherwise unimpressive product, or the laziness of people (myself included) who once signed up find it too hard to find the time or energy to find and move to an alternative. I have not really looked for or found alternatives. The only serious issues I’ve experienced with Evernote are the copy/cut/paste issues, the rest are annoyances. So, I suspect you’ll have no major problems.

  3. Well I agree with you- I think their timing was perfect- I had many clients asking for notes on their iphones= especially older clients who like to be organized. Also- the graphic design and look of the app is super clean- and usually this means a stable well written app. Apple really dropped the ball not including notes in the first iphone OS- and this created those really poor half solutions- these made Evernote look good…. Also the Apple Geniuses tell everyone at our local Apple store in New Orleans to use Evernote. This is an incredibly busy store as it gets ALL the locals and also all the convention goers and tourists. The store is in a suburb where I live and is very crowded- but well staffed.

  4. I have started to use Centrallo, it has both iOS and Android (Beta), it is a new service, but it has come a long way already

  5. SpringPad was fantastic for me for years. I was able to resist moving over to Evernote because of it. Ironically (another similarity with hipsters), those who are running it shut it down for good on June 25th of 2014 and made a deal with Evernote so that you could export your Springpad content to your new Evernote account.

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