Simplenote, DropBox, Notational Velocity, Instapaper
Much has been written about these apps/services recently, with the move to simplicity in just about everything. Full reviews of these can be found elsewhere but we want to focus on how you experience them as a suite of tools.
If you’re not familiar with these apps, lets get aquainted.
Simplenote – Allows you to create, well… Notes. Free form, hit the plus button to create a new note and start typing. No formating to set up, saves your notes to the cloud as you type. Add tags, support for versions is there if you need it. There is also a mobile app for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. Indications are that other devices are also under development. For a complete list of desktop apps that work with simplenote, click on the downloads link on their website.
Notational Velocity also will let you create notes simply and effectively as Simplenote does with a few extra features one might find useful, especially if you post to the web. You can sync your notes with Simplenote and other iOS apps so that anything you have created on the Mac/iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch, can be accessed and worked on in Simplenote from any computer with internet access.
Dropbox is a powerful service that allows you to throw anything in a folder which resides in the cloud and then can be accessed from anywhere without the need to carry those files with you.
Instapaper Last and certainly not least is Instapaper. Let me describe; find something on the web, want to read it later? Hit the read leader bookmarklet and it’s saved in your Instapaper account where you can read later without all the distracting ads and stuff. You can also archive, favorite and put them in folders.
So, as my kids would say, what’s the big deal about that? Simply this; all of these tools, simple as they are make a powerful suite of tools for the blogger, researcher, student, collector etc.
My initial reaction to this “software” was it’s too simple, I kept looking for the bells and whistles… they aren’t there. You must start using them as a “workflow” to finally “get it” which is, they work well and don’t get in your way. These four pillars help this “big picture” guy focus on what is really going on. The ability to focus is what makes the internet and all it’s vastness manageable. Sort of like scooping from the pile and putting it in another container. The beauty is that the container can be accessed from anywhere you have a internet connection, either by WiFi or 3/4G Cellular service. Remember too, that this is essentially free if you don’t count the cost of the hardware.
Start using them and you will begin enjoying the benefits of this amazing technology.
Colophon: Typed and edited in Notational Velocity