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00 Writing Notes.jpgSo you’ve come up with the million dollar idea when you took a shower one morning. You entertained your imagination with a scenario about cashing out on it and living the life of the rich and famous. Then you finished showering, continued your life with the 9 to 5 routine and totally forgot about that chance to be successful until one day you saw somebody on TV getting rich using that very idea!

What should you do about it? Find a lawyer and prepare to sue that “idea thief”? Actually, there’s nothing you can do but continue on with your life. You can’t copyright ideas and it’s very possible that there are several people among millions of others who came up with exactly the same idea.


Aside from taking actions, the first difference between success and failure is the act of taking notes of those ideas.

Anytime, Anywhere, Any Forms

Ideas pop-up unpredictably anytime and anywhere, and most of the time, they are only doing a one time visit. If you are determined to be successful, you’d better always be prepared to catch those ideas or they will gone forever.

The most basic way to do it is to bring pen and paper everywhere. Some people even go further and prepare paper notes on their bedside to write down their dreams. But in this technological era, I personally think that this quick note taking business should be done using gadgets that we use.

00b text input.jpg

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We need a note-taking application which can be accessed using any gadget, and all the notes that we take should be automatically synchronized between gadgets.

Here are 5 alternatives to synchronize multi-platform quick notes:

The Many Faces Of Evernote

01 Evernote logo.jpgLet’s start with the most viable solution. We’ve discussed Evernote so many times that I don’t think another introduction is necessary. This note taking service comes for almost every possible gadget – Windows, Mac, iPhone, iPad, Windows Mobile, etc.

The good: available under almost every platform and gadget, with dedicated applications built specifically for that platform.

The bad: the free option is a little bit limited (although it’s good enough for most users).

01b evernote.jpg

Combination Of Dropbox & Any Word Processor

02 Dropbox logo.jpgThis combo also needs no further detailed explanation. Just put any notes in the Dropbox folder and you can access it from anywhere.

The good: available under any platform which can access Dropbox, flexible, can use any note taking app.

The bad: doesn’t have a specific note taking application.

02b Drag to Dropbox.jpg

Zotero Two Easy Ways To Synchronize Zotero Data Two Easy Ways To Synchronize Zotero Data Read More & The Synchronization Feature

03 Zotero logo.jpg

Zotero is the favorite of Firefox user researchers. It’s a very capable data gathering tool, with the ability to take and synchronize notes across the platforms.

03b Zotero - App.jpg

The good: available under any platform that can run Firefox.

The bad: cannot work outside of Firefox.

SimpleNote Environment

04 Simplenote logo.jpgSimpleNote started as an iPhone app with its own synchronization center. Then several note taking Mac apps – like JustNotes Four Free Quick Note Taking Apps For The Mac Four Free Quick Note Taking Apps For The Mac Read More and Notational Velocity Notational Velocity - Creating Notes At The Speed Of Light [Mac] Notational Velocity - Creating Notes At The Speed Of Light [Mac] Read More – began supporting it and opened up the possibilities of synchronizing notes easily between Macs, iPod Touches and iPhones.

Simplenote is available for free (ad supported) for all iPhone / iPod Touch / iPad owners. But if you don’t have those iGadgets, the service is also available via web access (require one time small payment).

04 JustNote - Simplenote login.jpg

The good: Supported by many dedicated and great note taking apps.

The bad: Non-Mac users can only access it via web interface (for now). Note: similar app for Windows: PicoNote.

NoteSync & Google Docs

05 NoteSync logo.jpg

There’s a new player on the field. NoteSync is an AIR application that can run under Windows, Mac and Linux. The best thing about this app is that it syncs with your Google Docs, so you can pick up where your Google Docs left off.

05b NoteSync.jpg

The good: simple, multi-platform dedicated desktop quick note-taking app.

The bad:  Nothing so far.

Honorable Mention: Any browser & Note Taking Web Service

There are quite a few free web note-taking services out there – something like Springpad Organize Your Life With Springpad Organize Your Life With Springpad Read More – so it’s a little bit difficult to discuss them all. Basically anybody with access to the web could use the service – regardless of the platform. The good: accessible from everywhere.The bad: browser dependent, and not so quick.

There you go, 5 (plus 1) methods that you can use to have synchronized multi-platform quick note-taking. If you have your own killer apps or combinations of services, please share them using the comments below.

Image credit: wickenden, Apple

  1. Bola OUSSOU
    May 20, 2016 at 3:11 pm

    hi
    thanks for info. By the way i haven't see any taking note app that sync with devices (Mac->Android or Android->Mac) through a WiFi or bluetooth sync ... and not necessary via a cloud ...

  2. jschall
    May 11, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    As an adjunct to the many note-taking applications discussed here, I am finding futz.me absolutely indispensable.

    Futz.me is a free web application that allows you to send url's and short notes to your email from within any web browser. I know it works with Opera Mobile on my Windows Mobile 5 PDA, as well as with Chrome on Linux and Windows XP, so I am pretty sure it is a universal solution.

    Often, you will be away from your main computer or busy on a project when you come across a web article or news story that you want to act on, or read later. Just go to the address bar
    (for this MUO article, it reads:
    http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/5...

    Insert the futz.me prefix before the URL - in my case the address bar looks like:

    futz.me/jschall http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/5...

    (Note the all-important SPACE between futz.me/jschall and the message content - the url in this case.)

    Press the return key, and the futz.me server will parse the text after the space. In the case of a simple url as in the example above, futz.me will simply send an email to the address registered to jschall, the content of which is the url to this article. When I eventually check my email, there will be the note from futz.me in my inbox, where I can take the time to read the article and take the appropriate action.

    Check out http://futz.me for ways to enhance the address-bar text to be able to

    - send images fro the web to your cell-phone's email inbox
    - send images from the current computer disk to your email inbox
    - send short text notes to yourself
    - send a link to another futz.me user (jschall, for example) with an introductory note and a from: name
    - tweet from the address bar
    - send the futz.me note to up to five futz.me users at once

    I'm sure you will find futz.me a useful addition to your bag of web tricks!

    - Jeff

  3. Anonymous
    May 11, 2010 at 12:09 pm

    As an adjunct to the many note-taking applications discussed here, I am finding futz.me absolutely indispensable.

    Futz.me is a free web application that allows you to send url's and short notes to your email from within any web browser. I know it works with Opera Mobile on my Windows Mobile 5 PDA, as well as with Chrome on Linux and Windows XP, so I am pretty sure it is a universal solution.

    Often, you will be away from your main computer or busy on a project when you come across a web article or news story that you want to act on, or read later. Just go to the address bar
    (for this MUO article, it reads:
    http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/5-alternatives-synchronize-multiplatform-quick-notes/)

    Insert the futz.me prefix before the URL - in my case the address bar looks like:

    futz.me/jschall http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/5-alternatives-synchronize-multiplatform-quick-notes/

    (Note the all-important SPACE between futz.me/jschall and the message content - the url in this case.)

    Press the return key, and the futz.me server will parse the text after the space. In the case of a simple url as in the example above, futz.me will simply send an email to the address registered to jschall, the content of which is the url to this article. When I eventually check my email, there will be the note from futz.me in my inbox, where I can take the time to read the article and take the appropriate action.

    Check out http://futz.me for ways to enhance the address-bar text to be able to

    - send images fro the web to your cell-phone's email inbox
    - send images from the current computer disk to your email inbox
    - send short text notes to yourself
    - send a link to another futz.me user (jschall, for example) with an introductory note and a from: name
    - tweet from the address bar
    - send the futz.me note to up to five futz.me users at once

    I'm sure you will find futz.me a useful addition to your bag of web tricks!

    - Jeff

    • lakridserne
      May 11, 2010 at 3:45 pm

      Thanks for this. I think I'll write a blog post about it on my blog.

  4. Anonymous
    May 11, 2010 at 5:09 am

    There is one problem, that if the virus corrupts the files then all the data will be lost. There must be a way to store it online. Every application should allow their notes to store them on secure location of their website. Usually online bidding websites provide us enough space to store our data.

  5. Jack Cola
    May 3, 2010 at 7:56 am

    I actually use Google Notebook to take notes. I bold the title, and make my notes underneath it. For what I use Google Notebook for, I would actually prefer it over Google Docs.

    I use it to take notes for all my websites, blog posts etc. Each site as it's own notebook, and inside I have blog posts and a bit of notes on what I am planning to write. Then you can collapse them all for easy viewing.

  6. Jerberber
    April 30, 2010 at 5:36 pm

    One that I really love on my Android-based phone is 3Banana. It syncs all notes taken with Snaptic.com and can even create notes based on pictures taken with your phone camera.

  7. Jerberber
    April 30, 2010 at 3:36 pm

    One that I really love on my Android-based phone is 3Banana. It syncs all notes taken with Snaptic.com and can even create notes based on pictures taken with your phone camera.

  8. Jack Cola
    April 30, 2010 at 3:06 pm

    I am not aware of any, but you can always use the existing note taking program that's on the phone and just email it to yourself. That's why I do.

    Or you might just use a website similar to Google Notebook and take notes through the web browser, but I am not aware of any sites that do this for mobile devices.

  9. sajniho
    April 30, 2010 at 7:22 am

    Is there such app (or other workarounds) for Symbian S60 devices like Nokia E71 / E72, where one simply writes the notes in the mobile and they gets automatically sync to web / PC

    • Jack Cola
      April 30, 2010 at 1:06 pm

      I am not aware of any, but you can always use the existing note taking program that's on the phone and just email it to yourself. That's why I do.

      Or you might just use a website similar to Google Notebook and take notes through the web browser, but I am not aware of any sites that do this for mobile devices.

  10. lakridserne
    April 30, 2010 at 6:27 am

    Thanks for this great article - I really appreciate it. I don't know other apps than mentioned here that can sync the notes.

  11. Jack Cola
    April 30, 2010 at 7:49 am

    What about Google Notebook? I use it all the time http://www.google.com/notebook
    Although, I do believe it has been discontinued.

  12. Jack Cola
    April 30, 2010 at 5:49 am

    What about Google Notebook? I use it all the time http://www.google.com/notebook
    Although, I do believe it has been discontinued.

    • Anonymous
      May 3, 2010 at 1:29 am

      Google Notebook's still on. But it's a bit redundant with Google Docs around, don't you think?

    • Jack Cola
      May 3, 2010 at 5:56 am

      I actually use Google Notebook to take notes. I bold the title, and make my notes underneath it. For what I use Google Notebook for, I would actually prefer it over Google Docs.

      I use it to take notes for all my websites, blog posts etc. Each site as it's own notebook, and inside I have blog posts and a bit of notes on what I am planning to write. Then you can collapse them all for easy viewing.

  13. jonesing77
    April 29, 2010 at 7:00 pm

    This is very cool.

  14. Anonymous
    April 29, 2010 at 6:13 pm

    Other than 3Banana, Evernote, and a Google Docs solution - are there any other options for Android phones that sync to a webapp? I was using Simplenote before with the Chrome Extension and iPhone - one of the best note taking combinations I ever used.

  15. Charles Willson
    April 29, 2010 at 5:55 pm

    Another great one is Synotes. It has native apps for the iPhone & iPad and JustNotes has a Mac front-end for it.

    • Anonymous
      May 3, 2010 at 1:22 am

      Thanks for the tips. I'll definitely try Synotes. But I can't find the way to link it with JustNotes (I also use it). What version of JustNotes do you use?

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