Departures. Catch notes

Yes, shutting services down is becoming fashionable nowadays. It is always sad, but I get some comfort that the ones being shut down are free ones, maybe there is a pattern there…

Note taking habits

To be honest I am not a hardcore note taker. I have never been. I started expanding to a small extent my note-taking habits with the advent of One Note 2003.  But I have never unleashed a fraction of its potential.

When on the run, I have always had a note-taking app installed in my mobile device of choice (since my old PocketPc2002 devices) but I have never felt the urge to sync or share those notes. Probably because they are more of short-term notes and I have rarely, if ever, had come back to them.

These conservative habits (and the more I write about my habits the more I realize how much of a technology granny I am) changed slightly the moment I started taking notes on subjects I research (Ruby, MongoDb,… to name a few I am not ashamed of Smile with tongue out) on different devices, mainly my laptop and my Android tablet. That moment I felt a a soft-core note taker that could make use of a platform that allows painless sync amongst those two devices.

And lots was read…

… and learn about the ubiquitous Evernote and how marvelous, pretty and feature-bloated-packed and heavy it feels on my modest tablet.

…and then IT was found

And then I discovered Catch Notes (I used for a while when it had the unappealing name of 3banana notes) that was a perfect fit for my requirements:

  • easy on the eye
  • tablet-specific layout
  • light on resources and features (aka. fast!)
  • multi-platform: Android and web
  • easy to sync

I have used it for my tepid note-taking since then and I could not be happier.

And off the door it goes…

I have recently started researching again and to my surprise I found out the news that catch.com is shutting down. Meaning two things: time to get my data and time to look for alternatives again.

Data retrieval

Catch showed again to be a very professional company that, not only delivers pixel-pretty, performant apps, but takes cares of their customers, even if they happen to take advantage of their free tier.

It was as painless as it can be, even without their instructions, to get a .zip file with all my notes, organized by spaces (their term for workbooks) in text, html and even Evernote’s .enex format. Too bad my tags were not carried along, as I had to spent some extra time re-tagging all my notes Sad smile

King is Dead, long live the King!

Girt with my data, I “shopped” around for alternatives. Sweet Lord! Catch.com did some of the work for me and suggested alternatives and even ways to import their data into different services!

I was almost set to fold and move to Evernote, but I had to resist and look something else.

So I laid my eyes on Simplenote. They seem to offer everything I look for but, alas, I was not thrilled (understatement) about their assortment of Android clients.

And then I looked at Springpad. And I was blown away by the looks of their website, the sheer amount of content to help users (videos, templates,…) and their blog. There goes a company that take seriously their online presence (they better do, it is their business). I was so impressed that I signed up (thanks Google sign-on) and was even more surprised with their web app.

Importing my notes in was a matter of minutes and I was running full speed.

Stretching my limits

Their web app is awesome but their feature list goes way beyond what I ask from it. And yet, it does not feel too bloated. It is true that tagging Springs (their marketing term for a good-old note) is not as snippy as with Catch.com, but it does the job.

And the same goes to their Android app. It looks grand, but it feels a bit heavier than the nearly zen-like look of Catch notes.

I was so thrilled that, when reading about their strong points, I found out about their good story with recipes and I immediately migrated my scattered recipes in my email accounts to a dedicated notebook. I only need to convince my technology-averse girlfriend to go totally digital and retire the unpleasant yet cozy notebook.

It looks I have notes for a while (until they decide to shut down or I feel I am not getting what I need.

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