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note

The other day, I tried to work out which single service or platform my digital life couldn’t do without. Initially, I thought Dropbox might be that product, but then I realized I could probably use Box or some other, similar alternative. Google’s collection of apps also entered my consideration, due to my commitment to Gmail, and my reliance on Google’s Calendar and Contacts apps for day-to-day operation. In reality, though, iCloud does a similar job.

Strangely, the one service which stood out was Evernote. I realize that this revelation may cause a few sneers, not least because Evernote is nothing more than a digital scrapbook. I can’t honestly think of how I would replace the ease of web-clipping, note-taking and document filing it provides, though.

Much as I love Evernote, I know it isn’t perfect. For instance, it still works in the same way filing systems have done for years — search, in combination with lists — and it is starting to feel a little bit old. A new, innovative approach to browsing your notes can now be found on your iPad, via a third-party Evernote add-on app named Bubble Browser, currently on sale at $4.99. Its older, OS X sibling has already made waves with us at AppStorm, due to its ease of use and its visually striking design. Can the same magic be recreated on a touchscreen?
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I don’t know whether you’ve noticed, but we — humans, that is — often struggle to remember things. Hence, note-taking is an inherent part of any functional organizational workflow. It is little wonder, then, that numerous app developers have, over the years, attempted to ween us off the good old pen and paper, and move us over to a more technologically advanced method of thought tracking.

For a time, I was drawn in by some of these efforts. I flirted with the creative, freehand reminders which Paper makes possible. I came to the Evernote party relatively late, but I now use it every day to keep my digital life in order. As far as I’m concerned, however, it’s still the case that nothing beats the flexibility and ease of access a real-life notebook can offer. No matter how hard an app tries, it isn’t as visually available as a Post-it note, nor is any touchscreen as sensitive as a thin, bleached slice of tree. What’s more, typed text is ordered — our thoughts, generally, are not.

That is why I’m cautiously enthusiastic about Chisel. Designed to be the one and only digital note-taking app you’re ever going to need, it includes the ability to record your thoughts as text, drawings and annotations.

Can Chisel really strike a decisive blow for digital note-taking? Let the scribbling and typing commence.

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