Evernote is my digital brain.
It remembers everything for me, from my receipts to all of my sheet music to recordings of orchestras to my projects (Midwest Clinic, trip planning, podcasting, etc.).
The distinction between productivity apps like Evernote or OneNote (owned by Microsoft and Evernote’s biggest competitor) versus storage/sharing apps like Dropbox versus Goggle Drive has become fuzzier as all of these services continue to evolve and add features over the years.
Basically, I use two services all the time for my cloud computing needs: Google Drive and Evernote. I used to use Dropbox all the time but quite doing so when our school Google Drive accounts got uploaded to unlimited storage. Installing Google Drive on the desktop ensures that all of your documents are backed up on your local computer as well as in the cloud, and all edits/changes are synced between all devices. I am actually writing this post in Evernote, which is standard for pretty much every blog post, podcast episode, document, and project that I create.
To my eyes, Evernote is a personal productivity service while Google Drive is a Microsoft Office replacement with wicked storage and sharing options. I never finish anything in Evernote, but I start almost everything there. For every project I have, I create a notebook that contains to-do lists, web clipping, PDFs and other such research for that project. It has a great tagging system and strong search capabilities, so I can find anything instantly on any device.
Evernote also does optical character recognition (OCR) on all PDFs and photos, which is amazingly powerful and allows you to really adopt a paperless lifestyle. I keep an absolute minimum of paper in my life these days, scanning all bills, receipts, articles, and any other paper worth saving that enters my life into Evernote.
To do this, I either use Evernote or (especially for music) an app Evernote makes called Scannable. This app will save you a ton of time in front of the photocopier! No more resizing awkwardly large music to fit on an 8 1/2 x 11 page. Just scan the page with your phone and Scannable will take care of it for you. After scanning your music you can save it in Evernote or email it. It’s by far the best scanning app that I’ve tried.
This cool app came out right after the original iPad, and I’ve been using it ever since. Since the iPad lacks a traditional file structure like Apple’s Finder or Windows Explorer, finding and organizing files can be challenging/confusing/baffling. GoodReader fills this role incredibly well, and with the iOS Springboard (the “open in..” option that happens in various apps) you can use GoodReader as your main iOS device repository and open files in various other apps on your device as needed.
GoodReader will interface/sync with various cloud services like Google Drive and Dropbox, but I opt to transfer over the files that I like to have with me at all times on my iOS devices. For me, these include double bass PDFs, MP3 practice tracks, and files that I like to use with students. GoodReader is both an excellent PDF device (with annotation options and a tabbed interface for viewing multiple PDFs at the same time) and a sweet MP3 audio player, which makes it a perfect device for using in lessons. You can even use a Bluetooth foot switch to change pages.
Other apps that fall into this general category (I’ve used all of them to some extent) include: