Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Escape from Outlook Notes - ResophNotes, SimpleNote for iPhone and Notational Velocity

I had despaired of rescuing my notes from Outlook 2007.

I'd written hundreds over time. In the old days I used Palm products that would sync with Outlook, so I could carry them with me. Now my iPhone, after years of struggle, gives me good Outlook sync with Contacts and Calendars. Notes and Tasks, however, have been orphaned. There's no real hope of an Outlook Notes to iPhone sync solution; although a few people use Outlook Tasks almost nobody uses Outlook Notes.

I've learned to live without corporate Outlook Tasks (I schedule my time on a 3 week plan basis), but I wanted those notes. I decided they needed to live within either ToodleDo Notes/Appigo Notebook, iPhone Notes (unlikely), or the Simplenote / NotationalVelocity universe (for various reasons I've given up on Evernote).

Today I discovered ResophNotes, a Windows app that syncs with the Simplenote cloud data store. The Simplenote cloud data store, of course, also syncs with Notational velocity (open source, OS X Spotlight indexed), OS X Tinderbox, OS X Yojimbe (3rd party sync), and there's a Chrome extension for editing notes.

I exported my Outlook 2007 notes to Outlook's odd CSV format (includes line feeds!), then I imported into ResophNotes and synchronized with Simplenote's cloud store. Then on my iPhone I viewed them in the Simplenote iPhone client.

It worked better than I'd expected.

Now I can move my old (originally Palm III Notes, now ToodleDo/Appigo Notebook) personal notes to the same cloud store. I'll sign up for the $10/year premium Simplenote service. (Currently I have free version.) If Simplenote belly up the rich ecosystem and open source Notational Velocity desktop solution provides the insurance I need.

A good day.

See also:
Update 7/31/10: The author of ResophNotes tells me he's preparing a new version that will import CSV files -- like the ones ToodleDo Notes export creates. Incidentally, I discovered that FileMaker Pro 8 does a great job opening Outlook's CSV files with embedded line feeds. I never imagined ...


Curt Carmack said...

I regularly use SimpleNote with Notational Velocity and ResophNote. I keep my Notational Velocity notes and database in DropBox, so that back up is synced across my systems. A nice benefit of using SimpleNote is that not only is the iPhone app pretty good, but the iPad app is fantastic (much better than the web interface). BTW, if you don't need most of the premium features but want the ad-free version of SimpleNote, you can pay a one-time fee of $5, which takes out the ads on iPhone, iPad, and web interfaces.

Another solution is Notespark, which syncs to Palm and has a nice web app and good iPhone app. That's how I originally got 600 notes off my Treo and onto my iPhone. There's no iPad app yet, but it is supposedly coming.

All in all, I find SimpleNote to be more elegant, especially with Notational Velocity and DropBox integration.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this - very much appreciated. I've been trying to get my notes out of outlook and into Mac for years!

The next challenge is getting notes either out of mail.app and into simplenote, or vice versa (to create one notes repository)


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