Posts Tagged ‘notetaking’

Yes, I know I promised a review of my note-taking apps. But that was then and this is now.

Finally! The goddess is in her heaven and all’s right with the world!

I’ve often used Ulysses on my iPad and iPhone, wondering all the while why they don’t make a Windows version. To get a document written in Ulysses over to my laptop for editing requires me to jump through far too many hoops.

Too many in fact that I finally stopped using it altogether, canceled my subscription and deleted it from my devices.

Never before had I been sad after removing an app, especially one that was so useful.

Enter Notebooks

Not in any generic sense, however. Not “notebooks” but Notebooks with a capital N. The solution to my problem. Once I paid for it (less than $30 U.S.) and installed it on all my devices, I set it to sync to Dropbox.

Now I can start writing on my iPhone, work on it in bed on my iPad, and do a final polish on my laptop.

What’s that? $30 for an app? Well, no. It’s act$30 for three different apps and no subscription fees.

Consider: in order to create an app that runs on the iPhone, iPad, on Windows, on the Mac, and on Android devices requires that you own at least one of each of those devices. Costs a bit of money. And if you’re a programmer trying to make a living from your work, you don’t just give it away.

Oh, and then there’s the software you have to have on those devices to make sure your app is compatible with them. And the last I heard, Microsoft isn’t giving away free copies of MS Word.

But why did I even need a new writing program in the first place? If you’ve been following me for any length of time you know that to me, writing is as necessary as breathing or drinking. Whenever I have a few minutes to kill — when I’m waiting for my tea water to boil or the tea to steep, or when I’m riding on the bus, or when I’m waiting to be seen by the doctor — I write. Sometimes when I’m writing, my ADD-addled brain says, “Ooh, ooh! Here’s another idea!” and I make a quick note of the thought, knowing that unless I do I’ll forget it in about 3 seconds.

With the Notebooks app, I can simply add a new note and jump right back into the previous one. For me, it is the answer if not to prayer then certainly then treasure chest at the end of a long search.

And I’ve also done away with all the other note-taking apps I had on all my devices.


As a writer, I’m always looking out for The Next Great Tool. And while I’ve pretty much settled on Ulysses for novels and short stories, I’m still not completely satisfied with what’s available for blogging on mobile platforms (I’m looking at you, iPhone and iPad).

On my Windows laptop, Open Live Writer is my program of choice. Unfortunately, it’s not available for mobile devices–they’re just not powerful enough.

This morning I started reading someone’s blog post about a program called Drafts. It looked interesting, so I decided to take it for a spin, which was easy enough to do since there is a free version as well as a paid version.

So I installed it on my iPhone. In fact, I’m writing this entry using it. I already have several writing apps on this phone, so why do I keep looking for more?

It’s quite simple, really: I wasn’t all that smart when I bought my smartphone. I went with the one that had the least amount of memory: 16Gb. Which means I’m constantly searching for more efficient apps so that I can use the fewest number of them as possible.

And yes, I learned my lesson: my new iPad has 128Gb of memory.


Formatting text in Drafts is quite simple; it uses Markdown language which is accessed via the on-screen Markdown toolbar. It’s the same language Ulysses uses, which is pretty cool considering that I can export my writing right into Ulysses.

So today will be a day of research. I’m going to install Drafts onto my iPad, and put it through its paces. My goal is to see what, if any, apps it can replace. I’m also going to see how far I can go with the free version, which will help me decide if I really need to spend money for the Pro version.

I just installed Drafts onto my iPad and it immediately synced to the cloud and retrieved this post. So far, so good! That means that although I’m still going to use GoodNotes on the iPad, I don’t need to keep it on the iPhone, thus freeing up space for those all-too-crucial pictures of cats.

I also managed to export this post to Evernote, then copy/paste it into Open Live Writer, my editor of choice on my laptop. It’s really beginning to look as if Drafts Is here to stay! I’ve already replaced Apple’s Notes app on both of my mobile devices, and between Drafts and Ulysses, I no longer have any need for 53’s Paper or Apple’s Pages.

Tomorrow I’ll take a look at a few more of Draft’s operating details.