Category Archives: General

Six Reasons Why Evernote is a Freaking Joke

Starting in summer 2016, I took to using Evernote to take notes at meetings and classes instead of pen and paper as I had for nearly a decade before (I have paper notes dating back to my first college courses in fall 2007). I take notes with a Logitech K810 Bluetooth keyboard connected wirelessly to my Samsung Galaxy S7 phone, using the Samsung Wireless Charger as a stand. I’m not sure why, but many people are surprised/impressed by this. Often, I recall my classes at University of Central Florida being filled with people on laptops or MacBooks, which seems like overkill to me and is probably quite a bit less productive than my setup (although I often devolve into transcribing verbatim due to being able to type 100+ WPM, the small size of a smartphone removes the “wall” between others and I, and discourages multi-tasking).

My use of Evernote is fairly basic: primarily for text-based notes. I regularly use only my smartphone and home desktop PC, so Evernote’s recent decision to limit syncing to two devices (and simultaneously raise the prices of paid subscriptions with no new features) did not affect me. I’ve never approached Evernote’s atrociously small 60 MB per month data limit. I find the PC client useful for its search functionality, and like being able to view, write, and update notes from my phone. I’ve recently expanded into using Evernote to take photos of whiteboards or handwritten notes where necessary; it does a nice job of correcting lighting issues and cropping + straightening.

Nevertheless, it is abundantly clear that Evernote, as a company and product, is a freaking joke. Here are just a few big reasons why:

1. Evernote notes literally cannot be printed. Customers have been complaining about this basic feature being broken for over SIX years, and Evernote doesn’t give a crap. If your note has any italics or bold text, the printing comes out wonky. Like many “support” forums, Evernote’s forums have descended into people blaming users for trying to use an app for something it’s not designed/intended to do. Some even say printing is stupid! Evernote employees actually advise not using bold or italics as a workaround. I kid you not.

2. Evernote sync just plain sucks. Their solution is to put conflicted items in a “Conflicting Changes” folder, and changes can “conflict” even if the user does everything right. Evernote gurus instruct users on the forums that they should be very careful to click the “Sync” button and wait for it to complete before attempting to edit a note on any other device. Basically, blame the user for something that other apps like Google Docs have figured out. As for Conflicting Changes, Evernote offers no “diff” feature to compare these conflicts. Even MediaWiki (the bungling, convoluted PHP disaster behind Wikipedia) offers diffs. This can’t be too hard to implement.

3. Evernote’s PR is a freaking trainwreck. First, they had the poorly executed 2-device limit in June 2016, coupled with a price increase that makes Evernote almost as expensive ($7.99 vs. $9.99 per month) as Adobe Photoshop, an infinitely more complex and per capita (by features), a less stupid program. (Admittedly, Adobe for some reason removed tabbed browsing in Acrobat X and XI and then their forum volunteers/employees enjoyed going off on customers about why they shouldn’t want/need tabbed browsing, and then there is Adobe Flash, but I digress.) Second, in December 2016 they announced a Christmas present: a new privacy policy that says they will read your notes whenever they feel like it. You can’t make this stuff up.

4. Evernote forum morons (I don’t actually participate in support forums but often read them or find them via Google) repeat the mantra about Evernote, in addition to NOT being a word processor or synchronization tool, is also not a collaboration tool. Anyone who finds issue with this is Just Plain Stupid™. Of course, then, I think, I must be pretty stupid. What the hell am I using this piece of crap for? The search and “sync” functions? (The latter should really be labeled “backup” because remember, you should only edit an Evernote note on one device at a time or Bad Things Will Happen, quite literally, because you’ll have to manually reconcile a “Conflicting Change” with a note that’s missing half of what you wrote.)

5. Evernote’s Android and iOS apps literally bog down if your note is over about 10,000 characters. Seriously, in a 3-hour lecture, I’ve had to make three separate “Part 1,” “Part 2,” and “Part 3” notes because the typing becomes slower until the words don’t appear until many seconds after I’ve typed them, making corrections and even moving the cursor agonizingly slow. This is for a PLAIN TEXT note on the Samsung Galaxy S7, literally the Greatest Smartphone that Doesn’t Seem to Have an Explosion Problem in the World™. Seriously, I’m pretty sure my phone became hot to the touch because of the Evernote Android app not being able to handle a 10 KB note. This is like something out of 1991 (the year of my birth). The PC client doesn’t have this problem, but this is simply ludicrous to begin with.

6. Evernote cannot save an empty note. What? Even Windows NotePad can save a text file with no text in it. On the PC client, I often end up titling a note first, before typing anything in it. I put a “.” in the note body to be able to save the note. After I write the note, in the viewing pane, the preview of the note forever remains “.”! There is literally no way to update the preview snippet. actually, this seems to be working now in v6.4.2.3788 of the PC client, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t working before, and still, Evernote will never fix the printing issue for some reason and apparently believes they are treating their users and customers a lesson (yes, the paid version can’t even print).

As you can see, I am still using Evernote but I did, in addition to these grievances, suffer data loss once where I lost part of a note when switching from PC to phone, but this is Probably My Fault Anyway™ and I also should not feel so entitled as to complain about a free product that I am choosing to use of my own free will. Google can’t even get search to work properly in Google Calendar, and one commentator says it doesn’t matter because Google doesn’t make ad revenue off Google Calendar anyway, and another says I should be grateful to even have a Google Calendar. So, in the spirit of Christmas I am grateful for my Google Calendar and this freaking joke we call Evernote. (Though, in a year, it will probably be pretty embarrassing to look back and see I was still using Evernote at the end of 2016.)

New Job as UCF FCSUA Web Developer

I have started working as a web developer for University of Central Florida’s new Florida Center for Students with Unique Abilities. Check out the progress Dr. Rebecca Hines (sister of Cheryl Hines!) and I have made on the site so far: FCSUA.org

The Florida Senate established this new program which will serve the whole state from its headquarters at University of Central Florida in Orlando: http://www.sunshinestatenews.com/story/senate-gives-floridians-unique-abilities-big-boost.

Working on WordPress with GoDaddy IIS hosting (chosen by the previous developer) has been awful. GoDaddy is so much buggier and slower than my host, SYN Hosting. I’m hoping to get approval to switch soon, though we’ll lose money on our GoDaddy subscription.

Statement on Orlando Nightclub Shooting, 6/12/2016

In the Orlando nightclub mass shooting on 6/12/2016, it is puzzling that the police handled an alleged “hostage situation” by waiting outside for 3 hours while 50 people were murdered and 53 more were injured. Surely the police should have heard the shots and screams and intervened earlier? I cannot fathom what sort of “hostage situation” would be handled by allowing the alleged lone gunman to injure or kill half of the approximately 200 people in the nightclub, over a period of 3 hours (2:02–5:00 a.m.).

Source: ORLANDO SENTINEL: Orlando nightclub gunman called 911 before attack, pledged allegiance to Islamic State [local mirror]

Chick-fil-A’s Religious Hypocrisy—Closed on Sundays, Except for Builders, Pavers, and Landscapers

Chick-fil-A, in their February 2009 press release [local mirror], alleges that being closed on Sundays is meant “to have a positive influence on all who come in contact with Chick-fil-A.”

Evidently, this does not extend to contract workers, even though Chick-fil-A could easily stipulate that contract workers must perform work on Monday–Saturday.

At the Daytona Beach Chick-fil-A, I have commonly seen landscapers or paving crews working on Sunday.

A commentator on Reddit states: “Interesting note, while Chick-Fil-A stores are closed on Sunday, they have no problem having construction workers build their stores on Sunday.”

Because Chick-fil-A alleges their closed-on-Sunday policy is religiously based, it is hypocritical that they use Sunday to get all sorts of work done on their restaurants.

Other restaurants that do not close on Sunday must perform such contracted work during business hours or overnight. Chick-fil-A’s supposed “sacrifice” is diminished when we consider they have an entire day to perform contracted work without pesky customers. Further, any moral authority they have with respect to the “Lord’s day” is denuded.

Unlike with Amazon, I do not have a specific reason to pick on Chick-fil-A.

As a young child, I often visited my grandmother and step-grandfather (who passed away in 2003). I would go with them in the mornings to a meetup of seniors who met for friendship and to discuss various issues. After Target in Orange City, FL replaced their cafe with a Starbucks, we would meet at the Orange City Chick-fil-A. In the photo below from Friday, December 31, 2004, I am pictured far right, age 13.

Richard Thripp and friends at Chick-fil-A, 2004-12-31

As long as Chick-fil-A continues to conveniently employ contracted workers on Sundays, they will never have moral authority regarding the Sabbath. Their hypocrisy is on full display when they claim such authority, such as in deceased founder S. Truett Cathy’s claim from their February 2009 press release: “Cathy credits ‘blessings from the Lord’ for the great success the company has enjoyed, and he remains as committed as ever to maintaining the Closed-on-Sunday policy.”

Why I’m Not Attending Graduation

I actually thought about going to graduation for my M.A. in Applied Learning & Instruction from University of Central Florida, because some of my classmates and faculty were encouraging me to go. However, I think the ceremonies are predatory and stupid, and none of my family were interested in going.

Commencement is an opportunity for the enrichment of the private companies UCF provides monopolistic, “sweetheart” deals to. UCF graduates are required to rent their gowns from Herff Jones at inflated prices that are much higher than other public Florida universities. My gown would cost $120 to rent, and Herff Jones assures me my credit card would be billed $800 if I do not return the gown by 5:00 p.m. the day of commencement, even though the ceremony does not start until 2:30 p.m.

At UCF commencements, guests are prohibited from getting closer to the stage or even standing up to take photos. From page 19 of the spring 2016 Commencement guide:

Photography and Recording Equipment
The University of Central Florida has arranged for GradImages to take professional pictures of all graduates as they cross the stage during the ceremony. After the ceremony, photographers will be available outside the CFE Arena and in front of the UCF FAIRWINDS Alumni Center for individual and family photos. Graduates will be contacted at a later date with purchasing information, but are under no obligation to purchase photos. See page 27 for more information.

While cameras and video recording equipment are permitted, guests are required to photograph or videotape from their seats only and must not obstruct the view of others.

GradImages will charge you about $100 for 6 photos that may be dark or blurry, according to their atrocious Yelp reviews. Of course, you won’t be able to tell before buying the photos, because you only get to see blurry, heavily watermarked preview images.

It is my opinion that this level of featherbedding reflects poorly, especially upon a non-profit, State institution chartered for the public’s benefit. Providing a monopolistic arrangement to Herff Jones and GradImages would be like prohibiting students from ordering textbooks from anywhere but the overpriced campus bookstore. It is at odds with the “Integrity” and “Excellence” components of the creed of the university.

When you attend commencement, you are surrounded by people who may or may not actually be graduating. Bachelor’s and Master’s graduates are given a diploma cover; their actual diploma is not mailed until 6–10 weeks later. These purported graduates may even be “walking” early at some institutions, with their graduation remaining dependent on them completing their program of study in the summer semester. Attendance of graduation at UCF and other institutions provides no indication of an earned degree.

I am continuing at UCF in the Education Ph.D. program and have promised to attend that graduation, which will be in 2019 or later if my dissertation takes longer. Fortunately, according to the commencement guide, doctoral graduates actually receive their degree on-stage, indicating they have actually graduated.

I will be receiving my Master’s degree by mail in 6–10 weeks, just like my cohorts who attended commencement.