I have started writing this series on my favorite productivity apps in order to decrease the technology learning curve for new members of my lab. My hope is that it might also be useful to other folks out there looking to stay on top of the increasing amounts of incoming information that the modern scientist must deal with. Most of the apps that I'll cover are free and fairly easy to use. In the coming weeks I'll post more of these apps and then I'll post on specific scientific use cases. For now, allow me to give you a brief overview of Evernote.
Essentially it is a free notebook program, which can archive clips from the web, PDFs, pictures, or just about any other document that you can think of. It is basically your external brain. The thing that is really remarkable about it is the search functionality. When you upload a picture from your camera, phone, scanned document, etc... it performs a text recognition operation which makes text (even messy hand writing) within pictures searchable. This in combination with the ability to tag notes how ever you like makes it really easy to find exactly what you're looking for. It's also great for collaboration since you can share notebooks or a single note with individuals or groups.
1. Text and handwriting recognition
2. Synced on all devices
3. Input via desktop application, browser, phone, digital camera, etc...
Science use case:
The way in which scientific notebooks are kept hasn't changed since Darwin. I think now a days we should be able to do better. I use this app to archive pages of notebooks, daily work logs, chemical and consumable inventories, receipts, notes for teaching, notes on whiteboards, and anything else that I can think of.