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Once upon a time I was a Winnipeg Jets fan. I grew up watching them, going to their games, and even got to wave my banner behind Manitoba's premier during the "Save the Jets" campaign. But when they moved to Phoenix, I entered hockey diaspora. Years later, it looked like I would be heading to the Chicago area for graduate school. I figured if I was going to live in Chicago for a few years, I'd like to cheer for the local team. I decided to try to convert myself into a Chicago Blackhawks fan. I read up on all the players, watched games and interviews, consumed a massive amount of Blackhawks trivia and history, attempting to make my brain cross the "fan" threshold.
I almost succeeded. But then I didn't end up going to Chicago, and so my make-me-a-fan programme came to a halt. So close.
Using Evernote is a bit like that. I've appreciated being able to store nearly endless amounts of audio recordings, documents, notes, and web clippings. I love that Evernote connects to nearly every other cloud service out there. And I've enjoyed being able to access its vast and ambiguous sea wherever I am. But all the while, I just haven't been able to become a fan.
A clunky editor, flat hierarchy, digital notes restrictively bound to particular notebooks, clumsy to-do functionality... And then Evernote lost its core development team, significantly raised their prices, and limited free users to 2 devices. For me, this was the same as realizing that I wasn't moving to Chicago and that I could stop chasing the Blackhawks bandwagon.
To my great delight, I happened upon Bear, a really excellent and intuitive notes app made by a small team from Italy. It's simple. An editor that is actually fun to use (that supports markdown!), with instant processing to recognize URLs, email addresses, and other data types. Notes are categorized with hashtags instead of notebooks, allowing you to create an interconnected web of notes just by hashtagging things as you write. The drawing tools are great, allowing you to capture sketches on the fly. Bear even supports code formatting, so you can save snippets of code along with your notes, which is especially helpful for documenting development projects.
I'll still use Evernote as my digital dumping ground for digitized documents, but I'm glad to have a new, intuitive home for captured thoughts. If you're an Apple user, Bear could be your ticket out of post-Evernote diaspora.