On a different note.
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On a different note.

November 3, 2021

Note: Someday I’m going to write about my obsession with notebooks (and pens and pencils), but not today. I fancy myself a writer, sitting in a remote Maine cabin (built by these guys), snow falling, fire in the fireplace, pausing only to hop on my snowmobile to replenish my well-stocked pantry. I digress.

Digital & analog note taking

We spend (at least) 50% of our day writing — captions, reminders, internal conversations, meeting notes, project and task descriptions, client communication, comments, replies, emails, notes about our notes. Lately we paused to ask some important questions:

  • Who owns the notes I take?
  • Can I archive or search these outside the application?
  • Is it better to stick with one app for all types of notes?
  • How do we choose among the vast selection of note taking apps?

Glad you/we asked. Read on.

Note: Maybe you're wondering, do we REALLY use all these apps?? That's fair. I have the slightest touch of SNOS (shiny-new-object-syndrome) — but when it’s in control (ahem) it’s helpful in our work. We like keeping up with the latest technology, frequently assess applications for client use, and want to share reviews with our readers. Back to the questions...


The topic of data privacy is closely related to this topic [content ownership and security] but we’re writing all about that in next week’s issue. So, who owns your data (notes)? It depends on the application. We’re big fans and users of Notion, for example, but unless we’re diligently downloading or exporting all notes, the data itself stays with the application. Does Notion own our notes or data? It’s a gray area because they would say they do not (while they have access to all the data and it is not encrypted). Bottom line: If we have an account with Notion, we accept that they have access to all the content — and if we decide to cancel that account, we say goodbye to our notes/data/content. This is NOT a Notion-bashing session (as I said, we are fans and users), just one example of the ownership conundrum.

My point: Read the tiny print. Ask the ownership question(s).

Note taking apps

iPad (for handwritten notes)

Writing (for writing a book, article, blog post, etc.)

Second Brain (for saving ideas, inspirations, insights)

Classic (solid apps for most purposes)

And my favorite...

Don't even get me started.

Helpful links

College Info Geek
The 11 Best Note-Taking Apps in 2021

The 5 best note-taking apps of 2021

The Cornell Method
A method to take great notes

Tom Solid
The Paperless Movement

And for fun...

Next week

October 31
Cookie Consent

It is a whole new world, that's for sure. We'll take a close look at all the noise around cookie consent, privacy policies, terms of service, how and why to create this exciting stuff.

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