Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Go Go Gadget Evernote! (The First-Year Reverse Thesis Effect)

Stereotypically, work on PhD theses is always late and hastily finished before deadlines.  However, during this summer, before the first year of my PhD, my thesis is certainly not urgent yet.  Even hoping to work on my thesis at this point is almost presumptuous.

But let me presume, because at this time my conceptual brainstorming can be free and unhindered.  I can let intuition direct me, rather than scrupulously avoiding depth-first research and quickly settling on a "clearly tractable" scope-of-work.

I feel like I should be savoring this time.  Hence this morning's precocious interest in the Evernote note-taking software so I can efficiently record my early research on thesis ideas.

I may be procrastinating away from my Varian microecon reading schedule, but so be it.

A few years ago, I had tried Google Notebook, but never really got hooked.  Plus, Google discontinued support for Notebook in Jan 2009, which is a bad signal about the depth of the software's usefulness.  They suggested Google Bookmarks as an substitute for Notebook's functionality, so I began browsing for online guides on (searchterm:) "how to organize google bookmarks for thesis research."  This search brought me to a video on Evernote by MacroGeek1 which looked pretty appealing.  It looks like this has been a successful software for some time - I don't have to worry about being an early-adopter.

Then I searched for note-taking-software reviews, and found that Evernote didn't have any obviously-superior competitors, and the most obvious competitor was MS OneNote.  So, I looked deeper into Evernote's pricing model.  60 MB/month uploads free, and 1 GB/month of uploads for $5.  Then I confirmed through this support posting that the $5 a month fee is just to upload the excess data, and the indefinite storage of the data is free.

Finally, after seeing this going-the-extra-mile support thread as well as others in the forum, I was convinced of Evernote's solid reputation, quality, and peer-support community.

Let's get this party started.  Hopefully an early push on thesis will tide me through the more difficult later years.

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