I was trying to find some notes I’d made about a plot point I was recently discussing with Pot. We do all our chats in GoogleTalk, so everything is nice and logged in my Gmail account, which makes them searchable with the awesome power of Google.
As long as you can remember enough details of the conversation to actually pull it out from the literally thousands of chat records we’ve accrued over the last three years.
So I decided there has to be a better way of organizing myself. I am writing a series and have done so much world building over the last year or so. As I move forward, I need to have some way of organizing my notes. I tried tagging things from within Gmail, but I’ve got so much unrelated stuff tagged and I wasn’t being consistent about it, so that really wasn’t the answer. I used to use Google Notebooks religiously, then Google axed that and moved to their Google Sites, which I’ve also used, but don’t like as well. I tried ZoHo Notebooks, which aren’t bad, but I don’t like the way their extension fits and works with Firefox.
Last night I set out to find something new. I based my search on this article about the Top 10 Online Note Taking Applications. I picked online because I have so many notes that are in chat or email, it makes no sense to write them down, and I don’t always have access to a printer. But I DO almost always have access to a computer and internet. And since I work between many computers, online is ideal so that I can access my notes from anywhere.
After reading the article descriptions, I narrowed my choices down to Ubernote, Springnote, WebAsyst, and Luminotes, which I promptly signed up for free accounts with. I wound up immediately rejecting Luminotes because it is based on Wiki. Now I very much like Wikis. I’ve used them many times before, but that’s not quite what I was wanting this time. Springnote was next, and it was also wiki based, with an iphone ap, and nifty shareable capabilities, but I ultimately rejected it, as it doesn’t allow you to clip from websites easily and it didn’t seem to have any kind of extension to add to my browser to make it easy to add information. Next I looked at WebAsyst. This one has some really cool collaborative capabilities (that I may even bring up at Evil Day Job). But again, no browser integration.
So that brings me to Ubernote. Does have browser toolbar to make it easy to snatch and grab info from websites online (handy for doing research). There’s tagging capability. You can attach files to notes. And my very favorite, you can email notes to your account. Which means that when I have a relevant email or chat transcript, I can forward it to myself, easily remove any chatty stuff that’s not related, tag it, organize it, and actually FIND IT when I need to. You can add checkbox lists to stuff, and somehow or other you can assign tasks (though I haven’t figured this out). It ALSO allows you to import your Google Notebook (in case you’re like me and used it a LOT). There’s an iGoogle gadget, and an ability to Tweet or AOL IM stuff to your notebook as well. All in all, I think this is going to wind up being a really nice way to keep myself organized. I’ll just have to make it part of my process in the future because NO WAY can I go back through all my Google records for the worldbuilding stuff I’ve discussed up to now!
Do you have a favorite note taking program?