Saturday, 11 April 2015

Unsolicited Testimonial: Evernote

I'm not really in the app demographic, either temperamentally or age-wise.  Although I am far from being a technophobe, I think I first really started to feel my age around the time everyone started going on about "Web 2.0", and it became mandatory for programs and services to have cutesy-wootsy names.  And, although I don't necessarily regard social media as the first ominous symptoms of an imminent decline into e-dystopia,  it's true I have found myself dusting off those old Situationist tracts, just to remind myself what the "society of the spectacle" might look like, if and when it were to arrive.

However, I imagine that you, like me, have a voracious visual appetite.  Most days, I expect you see something on the Web that, in an an earlier age, you might have snipped out of a magazine and filed away or pasted into a scrapbook, simply because you liked it, or because it sparked some useful visual train of thought.  It has always been easy enough to copy and save images from the Web (though I'm always amazed how many people never do "right click" on an image) but it's not really the same.  The point about a scrapbook is that you can browse it at your leisure, and bring to mind things and visual cues you had forgotten all about.

A couple of years ago I came across the Evernote app, and in particular the Evernote Web Clipper.  There are other similar tools, but this is the one I have come to like, and find most useful (and at least it's not called "Snoofle", or something equally silly).  Essentially, Evernote offers "cloud" storage for your notes, clippings and images, and like Kindle or Dropbox (that other indispensible tool for those of us with multiple "home" locations, or who need to share files with other data nomads) will synchronize your files across multiple devices (work computer, home computer, iPad, Android or iOS phone, etc.) so that you can browse through, add to, or edit your cloud scrapbook at any time, and see the updated results seamlessly on all your other various bits of kit.  Very handy!

The Web Clipper is a plugin for your web browser that enables you to send images (or any selected text, or even an entire webpage) to your Evernote stash, simply by right-clicking in the time-honoured way.  Although I do sometimes use Evernote as a convenient notebook, it is the Web Clipper that I use most.  I have built a browsable, sortable file of annotated images that I can flip through in idle moments on my phone.  I like to pick a particularly stunning image to display full screen on my phone or iPad, just so it's there to look at.

There's really no better way to improve your own image-making than by studying pictures which you like and which, by accident or by design, are better than yours.

[NOTE:  I am away from home until 18th April.  If you comment, please be patient!]


John Krill said...

I know this is the complicated way to keep images and articles but I copy and paste stuff to a Word page and save it. I even will reformat the stuff so it looks better.

Simple is not always better but usually is.

Zouk Delors said...

Snoofle's really good! You should try it!

At least your app isn't called "My Web Clipper". Did you know there's now a cross-channel operator called "myferry" and that to qualify for subsistence benefits the unemployed are required to sign documents drawn up by the DWP and headed "My Jobseeker Profile" and "My Claimant Commitment". At least the DWP uses caps appropriately. I blame that little pony.

Btw, if in your youth someone had offered to keep all your collected scraps free of charge at some unknown location and to bring them to you on request, would you have accepted? Do you keep a local copy of your web clippings, or just trust in The Cloud to endure faultlessly?