Evernote Vs OneNote

As part of my series on working with tools in development, i felt a need to share with you some of the tools i use to stay productive. For notes taking ,i mainly use Evernote and OneNote and thus the inspiration to do a comparison of the two.

Evernote and OneNote are two of the most popular note-taking apps available. Because they’re both available for a variety of platforms, many of us rely on them to sync our notes with multiple devices. Both apps offer a similar set of features — including the ability to clip articles from the web and integrate with third-party apps — but they approach them in very different ways. If you’re trying to decide which of these two apps to go for, read on, as we check out the main differences between them.

To be clear, we’re comparing the Windows desktop versions of each program. We do mention cross-platform availability near the end, but just so you know, in-depth reviews of the non-Windows versions are beyond the scope of this article.

User Interface

User interfaces are a tricky topic. They’re important, but they aren’t everything. A great interface isn’t enough to save a poor app, yet at the same time, a poor interface will easily turn me away from an otherwise feature-packed program.

And when it comes to digital note-taking, user interfaces are arguably more important than in other applications. If the interface doesn’t feel comfortable to you, you’re going to spend more time wrestling with the program than actually taking notes.

People have different ideas as to what constitutes a great interface — yes, it’s mostly subjective — so I’ll just highlight the core differences between these two and let you make your own judgments.

Evernote

Evernote uses a three-column design that makes it easy and fast to switch between many different notes and notebooks when necessary. If you shrink the window’s width to less than 840 pixels, the sidebar disappears and the interface becomes a two-column design with more breathing space.

comparison-interface-evernote

You can also go into the options and switch to a layout that splits the notebook and notes horizontally, but I don’t really see any benefits to this mode. Of course, you can always disable the note panel altogether and access notes by double-clicking in the notebook.

Overall, I like that Evernote’s layout is as flexible enough to accommodate nearly everyone’s tastes. The amount of whitespace is perfect, though the lack of colors can be hard on the eyes.

OneNote

OneNote feels really weird at first, and it can take a while to get comfortable with it, but I personally think it’s more intuitive and conducive to productivity. I also feel that OneNote is more responsive (read: less laggy) than Evernote on my several-years-old laptop, though your mileage may vary.

comparison-interface-onenote

In OneNote, you work within a single notebook at a time. Each notebook has tabs at the top to distinguish between sections, and each section has tabs in the sidebar to distinguish between pages. Want to switch notebooks? Just use the dropdown selector at the top left.

One quirky but useful thing in the interface is the Quick Access Bar at the very top. You can customize the Quick Access Bar in the options to add/remove nearly any action that you can perform in OneNote. This feature is extremely useful oft-used actions, like inserting things or changing formats.

Note-Taking Features

Both Evernote and OneNote can handle regular note-taking just fine, including all of the core word processing features that you’d expect in any serious document editor, as well as things like image, video, and optical character recognition (OCR).

But a handful of things are quite different between the two.

Paragraphs

First, OneNote can handle free-floating “paragraphs”, which are groupings of notes that you can move around on the page wherever you want. This is in stark contrast to most other note-taking apps that can only handle notes on a line-by-line basis.

comparison-features-paragraphs

A lot of people have come to love the way OneNote handles its paragraphs and other note contents, but some people adamantly hate it. We realize it’s a polarizing feature and that could make it a deal-breaker.

Just know that if you prefer the traditional line-by-line way of taking notes, it’s definitely possible in OneNote. All you have to do is ignore that the feature exists.

Handwriting & Drawing

Even though both apps can import handwritten notes as images, one thing that separates OneNote from Evernote is the ability to draw and write notes by hand right inside the application.

comparison-features-drawing

Tools offered by OneNote include pens and highlighters of varying colors and thicknesses, lines, arrows, shapes, graphs, and an eraser for when you make any errors. Drawing in Evernote is made exponentially better when using a drawing tablet rather than a mouse.

Note: Evernote indirectly supports drawing and handwritten notes if you take notes using one of Evernote’s mobile apps.

Web Clipper

Both applications have something called a Web Clipper that can clip entire webpages from the Internet (e.g. for research) and save them directly as notes, though Evernote is generally considered to be miles ahead of OneNote in this area.

Conclusion

Both these two applications have some uniqueness in terms of design and usage. However both a little over the other depending on the user and also what the intentions to the user. I therefore conclude that both tools are good depending what your preferences are but for all your needs you can choose either evernote or onenote.

Should i save my data on cloud?

I recently read a story about how amazon had scrapped their unlimited clouds services package to all its users. This in a way got me thinking about the realities of cloud based services. I have almost tried all cloud based services that are popular but still struggling with reliability aspect among them. In 2015, Microsoft announced a similar move where they also scrapped the unlimited package for overdrive  making it less than what was previously offered. I was among those affected by this move. A similar incident happened when my Dropbox was resented and i lost all files saved. With these incidences am still wondering how sustainable these services are and whether in the long run this is the solution to conventional ways of storage.

It’s pretty simple to understand where a file goes when you save it on your PC. It lives on your hard drive, possibly housed in a set of folders you’ve created and organized yourself. That file is only stored on your computer, unless you decide to email it to yourself or save it on an external hard drive or USB.

Now what about the cloud?

At its most basic level, “the cloud” is just fancy-talk for a network of connected servers (a server is simply a computer that provides data or services to other computers). When you save files to the cloud, they can be accessed from a computer connected to that cloud’s network. Now take that idea and multiply it to understand how the cloud works for you. The cloud is not just a few servers, but a network of many servers typically stored in a spaceship-sized warehouse—or several hundred spaceship-sized warehouses. These warehouses are guarded and managed by companies such as Google (Google Docs), Apple (iCloud), or Dropbox.

So it’s not just some nebulous concept. It’s physical, tangible, real.

When you save files to the cloud, you can access them on any computer, provided it’s connected to the Internet and you’re signed into your cloud services platform. Take Google Drive. If you use Gmail, you can access Drive anywhere you can access your email. Sign in for one service and find your entire library of documents and photos on another.

Benefits of cloud storage

On the flip side, the data you save to the cloud is far more secure than it is on your own hard drive. Cloud servers are housed in warehouses offsite and away from most employees, and they are heavily guarded. In addition, the data in those servers is encrypted, which makes hacking it a laborious, if not formidable, task for criminals. Whereas a malware infection on your home computer could expose all of your personal data to cyber-crooks, and even leave your files vulnerable to ransomware threats. In fact, we recommend backing up your files to a cloud service as a hedge against ransomware.

Another benefit to storing data on the cloud is cost effectiveness and ease-of-access. You can store tons of data, often for free, using the cloud. Measure that against the number of external hard drives and USBs you’d have to purchase, and the difficulty accessing data once you’ve stored to multiple other devices, and you can see why cloud storage has become a popular option for businesses and consumers alike.

Risks of cloud storage

Cloud security is tight, but it’s not infallible. Cybercriminals can get into those files, whether by guessing security questions or bypassing passwords. That’s what happened in The Great iCloud Hack of 2014, where nude pictures of celebrities were accessed and published online.

But the bigger risk with cloud storage is privacy. Even if data isn’t stolen or published, it can still be viewed. Governments can legally request information stored in the cloud, and it’s up to the cloud services provider to deny access. Tens of thousands of requests for user data are sent to Google, Microsoft, and other businesses each year by government agencies. A large percentage of the time, these companies hand over at least some kind of data, even if it’s not the content in full.

The other risk is the fact that there is guarantee that your information/data will not be deleted incase of changes in package subscriptions like the case of amazon unlimited to 30Tb limit.

Final verdict

Yes, despite all the challenges, your data is relatively safe in the cloud—likely much more so than on your own hard drive. In addition, files are easy to access and maintain. However, cloud services ultimately put your data in the hands of other people. If you’re not particularly concerned about privacy, then no big whoop. But if you have sensitive data you’d like keep from prying eyes…probably best to store in a hard drive that remains disconnected from your home computer.

If you’re ready to store data on the cloud, we suggest you use a cloud service with multi-factor authentication and encryption. In addition, follow these best practices to help keep your data on the cloud secure:

  • Use hardcore passwords: Long and randomized passwords should be used for data stored on the cloud. Don’t use the same password twice.
  • Back up files in different cloud accounts: Don’t put all your important data in one place.
  • Practice smart browsing: If you’re accessing the cloud on a public computer, remember to logout and never save password info.

Fed up with Skype? Here Are 6 of the Best Free Alternatives

For a long time, Skype was the world leader when it came to VoIP apps. It was so popular, in fact, that “Skyping” became a verb. But with so many complaints of low quality calls, too many crashes, and a general distrust of Microsoft, for many, Skype lost its appeal, despite its recent overhauls.

Since Skype’s heyday, however, many other apps have launched that enable you to call others from your devices. If you’re fed up with Skype then, you might want to try these alternatives.

For something much simpler than Skype, a service like Appear.in might be for you. If you want something with even more features, try out Viber. And then there are all the options in between.

1. Google Hangouts (Web, Android, iOS)

A direct competitor to Skype, offering free user-to-user calls and (mostly) free calls within the U.S. and Canada.

Since its launch just a few short years ago, Google Hangouts has rapidly grown to rival Skype in terms of user numbers while, according to many, surpassing Skype’s call quality.

While you could use Hangouts as just another messaging app, that’s the last thing we need. It’s first-and-foremost a way for you to voice and video call up to 10 contacts (simultaneously) on iOS, and Android. The regular Google Hangouts Web app is pretty impressive, too. On your smartphone, this works over data (or Wi-Fi if you’re connected), so calls over Hangouts do not use any of your included minutes.

The contacts that Google Hangouts adds to your account can be both from your phone contacts, and your email contacts. If those contacts are Google Hangout users, you can call them entirely for free. You can call landlines and mobiles from Hangouts, too.

Almost all calls to Canada and the US are entirely free from any country where Hangouts is available. To make other calls though, you’ll have to add some credit to your account., and pay a relatively small per-minute call charge.

2. Appear.In (Web, iOS)

One of the easiest ways to start a voice or video call. No sign ups, no downloads.If you want an incredibly simple way to start a call, Appear.in is what you’re looking for. You don’t need to sign up to anything. You don’t even need to download anything! There is an iOS app, though, if you’re interested.

Simply create a “Room” link, and share that link with whoever you want to chat with (up to eight people). When a recipient clicks the link, the room will open in their browser (this works on mobile, too).

You can choose to either have a voice or video call, and you can also share your screen. And if you’re worried about privacy, you can “lock” your call to prevent anyone else from joining if they somehow found your unique link.

3. ooVoo (Web, Android, iOS, Windows, Mac)

Like WhatsApp, you can make domestic and international calls too.

Like a lovechild between WhatsApp and Skype, ooVoo is a free cross platform (Android, iOS, Windows, Web) app that allows free calls to other ooVoo users, and paid calls to landlines and mobiles. It’s group video calls are of particularly high quality, which is the main reason it’s included in this list.

If you start a Web-Based ooVoo chat, up to 12 people can join for free, without signing up or downloading anything. All you have to do is send them a unique link. All calls can be recorded, and screens can be shared.

It’s unlikely many of your contacts use the app, but if they do, it also doubles up as a messaging app, where you can record and send text messages and videos. It’s basically like WhatsApp, but also allows calls to landlines and web-based calls to non-users.

5. Talky (Web, iOS)

Like Appear.In, an extremely easy way to host a group video chat. No download required.

Just like Appear.in, Talky sells itself as “a truly simple video chat [with] screen sharing for groups”.

Again, simply pick a room name, get a unique URL, then share this URL with up to 15 people. The call is then accessible via each person’s browser (or via the iOS app).

Once a call is live, you can easily turn your webcam or microphone on and off, and chat via text. Once everyone’s online, you can also lock the call for extra privacy.

And again like Appear.In, you can’t use Talky to make international or domestic calls.

6. Voca (Android, iOS)

Free user-to-user calls, and some of the cheapest international calls on the market.

Working through your Wi-Fi or data connection, Voca gives you extremely easy access to very affordable international calls to over 230 countries. For instance, U.S.-to-U.S. calls to landlines and phones cost $0.001. You can find full rates on Voca’s site.

If your friends and family are also using the app, then text, voice, and video calls are completely free, though the app will use your data if you’re not connected to Wi-Fi. For the security conscious, all calls and messages are encrypted.

And, The App You Know About: WhatsApp

Free voice or video calls to any other WhatsApp users (on mobile). But no calls to anyone who’s not on WhatsApp.And then we have WhatsApp (and its security-obsessed alternatives). Although the app is available on Android, iOS, Windows, Desktop, and Web, WhatsApp calls are only available on Android, iOS and Windows.

It’s popularity in the U.S., Canada, Europe (and elsewhere) has seen the app attract over one billion users. At first, the app was mainly just for messaging your friends. Now it’s grown to also offer voice and video calling. These calls are made via your data plan, not over your network (so you may be charged for using data, but not your included minutes).

When using WhatsApp’s call features, you can only call other WhatsApp users (one person at a time, no group calls). If they don’t have WhatsApp, you can easily send them an invite.

Will You be Abandoning Skype?

Although Skype is usually the default option for calls over the internet, there are many great alternatives out there. These range from the super simple, to the feature-rich, with plenty in between.

Do you think any of these will be good enough for you to start moving away from Skype?

If so, what frustrated you so much about Skype to make you start searching for alternatives?

Originally written by Joel Lee on Sep 7, 2012.

Thanks a million times

To everyone who reads and follows this blog, i would like to personally say thanks a million for all your support. 2016 was quite slow especially on the frequency of updates for this blog but we continue to provide you with the best in the development world. We believe information is a necessity and everyone is entitled to good quality information; so from myself and team, we wish you happy holidays and  profitable new year.

cheers

ICT the game changer in development

Today I had a chance to attend the Vodafone Power Talks conference organized in Kampala. The conference had focus on ict innovations in the health and the impact they had in Africa. Noticing the many innovations shared I was pretty impressed as some could be taken on in other sectors. Among the most interesting things was how mhealth and mvaccine have reduced the time lag for patients to access information from doctors and viceverse. This indeed has enabled greater improvements in health in Uganda and Africa wide. Ict indeed is the future though faced with challenges especially issues of poor network/connectivity and moving to scale in the rural areas. Secondly ICT4Dev is still limited to mobile phones and limited use of other gadgets like computers and laptops. I feel ICT is the game changer even with the limitations, it’s still the way to go.

Innovative communication

During one of the board meetings at my organization, i was tasked to come up with communication strategies that would push our organization to the “world map” and improve its image both in the country and the world at large.  From experience this would be easy to do  since the organization has a website and information is frequently shared,  however this doesn’t do the trick.  I started thinking of innovative ways that would push  for  increased the web view statistics and also  learning within and outside the organization which led me to a simple innovative guide that helped me plan effectively .

In an article published in the guardian (http://www.guardian.co.uk ) a panel of experts gave fifteen ways on the need for communication  in aid work and how to get it right.  These include:

People engage best with people, not abstract issues: Single case-study stories done properly can illustrate wider issue in a real, accessible and relevant way. But most information gathering is NOT geared to this. Most programmes gather information to populate their log frame KPIs in a very static and lifeless way.

Communicate the difference people can make: As a fundraiser, what motivates supporters is communicating the difference people can make to a problem. That means showing the need with the opportunity for improvement. The spirit and dignity of people is part of that.

Be honest about your own agenda: Charities choose who to show solidarity towards depending on their own agenda, and fund according to their priorities. When a campaign is focused on complicated policy outcomes without adequate attention to how they are relevant to people, people can’t see how they can engage.

Celebrities can help capitalise on news coverage: Very few issues, countries or organisations stay on top of the news agenda for long, but the use of celebrities is one way of tapping into it. The responsibility of each group is to do their jobs and make sure they don’t make anything worse than it already is, but I’d see celebrity involvement for what it is: helpful, high impact and potentially catalytic, but not a substitute for many other aspects of an organisation’s or individual’s goals.

Agencies should adapt to aid’s increasing insignificance: While still being significant to people, aid is less so for economies with the emergence of other means of development such as remittances. Unless agencies adapt they will find themselves tumbling down the hierarchy. One of my colleagues Andrew Rogerson even said they face an ‘existential threat‘.

Find a private sector partner: Recruit one company as your champion, so it can push your cause among peers. It can be useful to give them a platform to make the announcement that they’re changing their policies or donating funds, for example.

Strategic communications can change policy: For example, the Global Monitoring Report released new figures on the state of education in Pakistan in October last year and used the figures to campaign in the press in the aftermath of the tragic shooting of Malala. The statistics were picked up by Pakistani politicians and by Gordon Brown in his role as UN special envoy. This media work contributed to the country making the positive decisions it did to find more funds for education and passing the free education bill.

Monitor everything: Integrating communications and continually monitoring progress and impact can be really useful. You can start to pull out what worked and what didn’t and adjust your approach accordingly. It’s also a great opportunity to look back at what could have been done to increase impact.

Know your audience: Research is key to clearly identify target audience, where they get their information from and how they communicate. It’s then possible to tailor your message and test it, but don’t assume people will get it.

Be led by people in relevant countries: International campaigning can support this and can help to tackle the international issues of the role of outside governments and corporations, but is never enough on its own.

Shift from compassion to solidarity campaigning: Corporate tax dodging is wrong because failure of multinationals to pay their taxes in Zambia means that the country is deprived of the money needed for schools, health and support to farmers. But the same tax dodging also hurts people in the west. So the campaign against tax dodging isn’t a north-south let’s help them thing – it’s a together-we-are-powerful 99% thing.

Select the relevant data: One cannot reasonably paint the whole picture and hope to be targeting the right audience. The hard balance to find is between saying what pays off and sticking with the whole story you are supposed to tell. Our utmost concern as communicators should be to ensure the integrity of our message and that it is in sync with our mission. We owe that transparency to our audiences and donors.

Do more with less by being inventive: Particularly for small NGOs, a lack of resources can be a big obstacle effective communications. Overcome this by drawing on freelancers, opening competitions among students, daring to ask for pro bono, being efficient in your use of social media to relay your messages and finding synergies with strategically-chosen partners. That will be the best way to convince a disapproving majority.

Face the critics: It is fair to raise concerns about the way that aid can be misused or misguided, or ask whether it’s right to ring-fence development aid. More aid organizations should openly explain their case and stand up for what they believe in.

Listen to people on the ground: I think it’s important to talk with the people you have working on the ground and hear from them what the real problems are/what’s needed, before you get round the table in HQ and devise the comms tools to suit. Don’t assume you already know the answer, because things are rarely as simple as they seem.

20 liters a day

For many people there is not a day that goes by without using water. We take a shower in the morning, make coffee during breakfast, clean our clothes in the washing machine and wash our hands after using the bathroom. Can you imagine a day without water? I sure can’t… In Uganda an average household uses 20 liters per person per day. What we don’t realize every time we open the tap is that water isn’t available in all parts of the country. The lack of clean water usage leads to a lot of hygiene related health problems.

A life changer

In Uganda millions of people have access to a mobile phone. For Ugandans mobile phones seem to be more than a device used to communicate, rather they are a way of life. One single text message can make a big difference. Why not use this knowledge to improve the hygiene and access to sanitation facilities?

In 2013 NETWAS Uganda partnered SMSONE to set up their first SMS campaign in Bombo through the DANIDA funded good governance project. Here water users are able to communicate with the service provider through a sms text. So the initiative has reached over a hundred people who are able to send an sms through the toll free numbers.