Monday, March 02, 2009

Take Note Ten

Ten Things to Help with Note Taking

Freeware caution: always scan free downloads of anything for bugs and other threats before dumping the programs into your hard drive.

Dustin Wax's article Advice for Students: Taking Notes That Work also offers some great tips for writers who want to improve their note-taking skills.

Efficient Sticky Notes will allow you to "Stick your notes on the desktop and you can read important information at any time on the screen. It saves your money and saves your time! The software allows various background colors, with optional gradient effect, to be set for the sticky notes. You can also customize the font of each note and set it to be semi-transparent so it will not fully cover up your desktop background or icons. To fully protect your privacy, the software encrypts the login password with the irreversible SHA algorithm and also encrypts data files. Besides, it offers various special features such as managing sticky notes by group, setting note importance, tracking the creation time and last modification time of notes, adding attachments to notes, Recycle Bin, etc." (OS: Win 98/ME/NT/2K/XP/2K3/Vista)

GlobonoteGloboNote is a simple and easy to use desktop note taking program(Sticky Note). It lets you organize your ideas, ToDOs, reminders in one place and allows you to find it easily. (OS: any that has Java 6 installed.)

Hott Notes is "the free sticky notes reminder program for your desktop. Totally free. No ads. No spy-ware. Not only can you post sticky note reminders, you can make checklists, set alarms, draw on your notes, and archive. Pumped? Download away!" (OS: Windows XP/2000)

Note-It offers "Enhanced desktop notes that persist windows sessions, give you control of the look and feel, allow you to save and open notes, provides special notes that provide updated information, drag text to and from any application, and even email the notes or just a selection of the note. Notes on your desktop have never been easier and with Note-It you get all the power you will ever need in note application" (OS: Win 98/ME/NT/2K/XP/2K3/Vista)

With Note Studio, "the priority is on getting the notes down quickly. It is inspired by wiki technology, which allows simple text formatting (headings, bold, italic, tables, etc), as well as pages which link together through hyperlinks. Dogmelon has found that people become much better organized when they start using Note Studio. Customers report that it is actually fun to make notes. The result? People make more notes, and their notes are actually useful. Note Studio was originally developed for handheld Palm devices. Dogmelon has learnt a lot of lessons for portable devices which apply equally to laptop or tablet PCs. An obvious example is security. A major concern for mobile users is having their important data compromised if their device is lost or stolen. Note Studio allows you to encrypt notebooks. This means that even if your device falls into the wrong hands, your notes will not be readable. But it is the ease of organizing notes that makes Note Studio most powerful. The way pages are organized in your notebook is very flexible. Because pages can contain links to other pages, your notebook can be arranged like a web-site. This allows simple, logical navigation through your notes. In case you're in a hurry, Note Studio includes a powerful search facility. Often you just vaguely remember that you made a note several months ago. With Note Studio you can search through all of your notebooks, to find the information you're after in seconds. (OS: Mac OSX 3.3.2)

For those who aren't familiar with notetaking techniques, CalPoly's Notetaking Systems page takes a look at the advantages and disadvantages of 5 different notetaking systems, explains how to do them, and shows examples.

Task List Task List is an one-stop management app for students. You can take notes, track assignments and grades, and set priorities, among a bevy of other handy student-y features. We've posted several great note taking apps for students (from Mac- and Windows-only to web-based note taking), but Task List is by far the most comprehensive student tool I've seen. Task List is freeware, Mac OS X only - complete with all the great iLife integration (with apps like Mail, iCal, iDisk if you have it) that can make your Mac such a handy place to work." -- Adam Pash, Lifehacker (OS: Mac OSX)

Tiny Notes is "a note/code organizer. It is meant as a small and simple tool that helps you organize small snippets of text, through which you can quickly search. Supports syntax highlighting" (OS: Win NT/2000/XP)

Wikipad is "a Wiki-like notebook for storing your thoughts, ideas, todo lists, contacts, or anything else you can think of to write down. What makes wikidPad different from other notepad applications is the ease with which you can cross-link your information. Links in a wiki are created by typing in WikiWords. A WikiWord is any mixed case word typed into the editor. TodoList or JohnDoe are example WikiWords. The term wiki means "quick" in Hawaiian, and wikis are all about quickly linking your information together. Wikis are not a new concept, in fact there are many web based wiki servers available" (OS: Win NT/2K/XP/2K3)


  1. Anonymous6:00 AM

    PBW wrote: Wikipad is "a Wiki-like notebook for storing your thoughts, ideas, todo lists, contacts, or anything else you can think of to write down.

    This reminded me of a quandary. I want to use a wiki structure to collaborate with a long-distance friend on developing a story. I don't want it on the public web though. TiddlyWiki is only editable on a local directory. Hosted on a website it's just viewable. We'd have to email the whole wiki bundle back and forth. Anyone have other collaborator that work wiki-like -- for more free-form story development?

  2. Lara,

    I'm not sure that it's exactly what you're looking for, by gmail has a documents feature. You invite only the people you want to view (or change, so it helps with collaboration) the document and it isn't viewable on the internet, unless you've already invited the person viewing it! You both do need gmail accounts, though.

  3. Anonymous2:29 PM

    For those with the means to purchase one, I'd also recommend a Livescribe Pulse pen. You can jot down notes to be uploaded to your computer later, but you can also augment notes with audio recordings as you muse out loud. The audio files are indexed to the words you write, which is a nifty tool.

  4. Anonymous5:28 AM

    @Lara Z being a TiddlyWiki power user for many years now, I should mention that there are a few good TW solutions for collaboration, server side solutions (like ccTiddly) as well as different approaches (like TiddlyChatter) - there's also the possibility to make a hosted TiddlyWiki on tiddlyspot private. But for collaboration on documents I'd always suggest Google Docs (mentioned as "GMail document function" above). There are a few services more - but Google is definitely the most feature-rich, reliable and innovative. It allows automated notification of users, easy export into (and import from) all major office formats and PDF, has a version history (including restore) and so on...

  5. In addition to the hosted wiki solutions mentioned already, you should also definitely check out Luminotes. It's an online (or offline) personal wiki that allows you to privately share your notes with friends or colleagues.

    More info is at


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