Take A Note and Docs







I like productivity applications that do what they say they are going to do. I also am really impressed when the developer takes the extra steps to add appealing design elements. That being noted, here are two related apps by the same developer you may want to consider.

Take A Note

Take a Note by Readdle is a very handsome application. The design is attractive from the moment you load it. The opening splash screen shows you a nice leather front cover that digitally represents a notebook. This sets a very positive and motivating stage for note taking.

Take a Note allows you to capture four types of notes: text, audio, photo and drawings. For each note type, you get a multi-tabbed page. One tab for where the actual note resides. A second tab for your comments regarding that note. A third tab to categorize (or tag) your note. Each note is date and time stamped in the upper right corner and you are limited to one tag per category.

I have to make some special comments about the photo note. Photo notes have a wonderful, scrapbook appeal where there is a place holder piece of paper “taped” into the notepage with masking tape on the edges. Once you snap your photo or take a photo from your photo album it is put into this placeholder page. It fits so nicely, the photo looks like it was truly “taped” onto the page. Clicking on the photo brings it full screen where you can see all the details of the photo. This is a great example of the design element I mentioned at the beginning of this review; very thoughtful.

You have full control over your folder structure. You can be as minimalist as you like or as numerous, however, at this time, there is no embedded folder structure. The developers state they are working on this for a future release. Another nice touch, especially when you start to develop a large amount of notes, is the search feature. It will allow you to search for keywords that either reside in the title of the note or within the content of the note. This is really nice, very powerful, and another thoughtful touch.

Some additional controls:

- Font size: as small as 14 or as big as 48

- Five available fonts: Helvetica, Times New Roman, Courier, Marker Felt and Zapfino

- Alphabetical note sorting

- Volume boosting, and

- Optional password locking (side note: this is a universal password lock. It would be nice if you could control this feature setting for individual notes)

The icing on the cake for this application is the Wifi syncing capability with your lap or desktop computer. This feature allows you to take your notes back and forth. It comes in two flavors, a shared disk mounted on your mac (or PC) or via a WebDAV client called Cyberduck. I tried both. They each worked without a hitch. I think I will stick with the Cyberduck client as it has fewer needed steps and a few more capabilities.

I’ve tried a few note applications in the past. This is by far the most attractive I’ve seen from the standpoint of looks alone. It’s handsome and makes you feel good to keep your notes in it. If you like physical notebooks, this is a strong digital equivalent. Functionally, Take A Note it is also very capable. The ability to capture text, photo, audio and drawing notes makes it useable and practical in many settings.

I can be very hard on productivity applications. I need them to be quickly responsive, intuitive, helpful, almost invisible. If I have to think to use it, it’s in the way. Take A Note by Readdle passed all of my requirements. It actually earned a spot on my Productivity page on my iPhone. I am impressed. I think you will be too.


Readdle Docs

Readdle Docs is a nice tool for keeping documents accessible either on your iPhone or via access to the cloud. I have a MobileMe account, so I was able to quickly and easily access my iDisk and the files I have stored there. Sweet! I also took the time to sign up for Readdle’s free storage space (512MB) under the AppStore plan (They have pay-to-use plans too for larger storage needs). This too was quick and easy. There is a companion application that you can download to your laptop or desktop (called Readdle Up). It is free. It allows you to load files directly from your desk into the storage by drag-and-drop. No fuss, no complications. Nice! I haven’t jumped on the service, but Readdle does support it, as well as any other WebDAV access service.

All of the standard Microsoft Office, PDF, TXT, RTF etc. are supported. I could not load up and access iWork files (I particulary tried to load a Numbers document). I also, for grins, loaded up a mindmapping file (NovaMind), it could not read this, though I really didn’t think that it would. They were, however, accessible when I converted them to PDF documents. In fairness to the developers, every file type they listed as accessible was indeed accessible. It would be nice if they could include iWork file types, though.

You can access the web via the internal browser (this includes portrait and landscape orientation). I had been meaning to thumb through a forty-one page PDF document on the web, so I took the opportunity to open it through the browser. After looking around, I was then able to just download the document to my iPhone; portable goodness. Inside the settings page on the app, there is a nice “device storage info” bar that keeps track of how much storage you have remaining. Good! No worries about guessing if I’m bumping up against the limit. Docs automatically picked up all my photos that I am carrying on my iPhone. I didn’t particularly want this and was able to easily turn that feature off. Also, you can email files to your accounts or share them with friends/co-workers. Another nice touch.

This is a useful tool. The layout is intuitive and functional. I am hopeful that someday it will allow iWork files to be loaded and ultimately they will eventually allow on-board editing capabilities (Aren’t we so demanding regarding our applications (smile)). At the end of the day, I like Readdle Docs. It works for me.

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