Friday, September 9, 2016

"Ulysses News" on "The Future of Note-taking"

The developers of Ulysses want you to move from Vesper to Ulysses. So, they have sent an e-mail to users of Ulysses called "The Future of Note-Taking". Here is part of the text:
Is note-taking writing? In our opinion, the answer is clear: It depends. Jotting down a shopping list may not be writing, but recording secret thoughts and sudden inspiration comes at least very close. Ulysses is a writing app not only for professional or aspiring authors, but also for sophisticated note-takers. That’s why users of the now discontinued Vesper app may consider it as a worthy alternative.
Is note-taking writing? I agree: "it depends", but it does not depend on whether you are "jotting down something" or whether you are "recording secret thoughts". It depends on whether you are taking down notes in writing or, let's say, dictating into a tape recorder. Jotting things down is just as much writing as is recording thoughts. In fact, I don't really think that "jotting down" and "recording" are binary opposites in the way the author of this mail suggests. "Jotting down" can clearly be a form of "recording."

Can "Ulysses" be an application for "sophisticated note-takers"? Perhaps, but I doubt it, if only because I have tried to use it for that purpose. It just does not have the robust search capabilities that you'd need for long-term note-taking, etc., etc. I am also worried about how well it works with tens of thousands of notes, but perhaps I am not a "sophisticated" note-taker, and someone can enlighten me on the secrets of this way of taking notes.[1]

This says nothing about Ulysses as a mark-down editor for occasional use, of course. I do like the application, I just don't like the hype that goes with it. See also here.

1. I am not sure that Vesper was very good at that either.


James Schmidt said...

You're right about the peculiarities of the search functions in Ulysses. Searches are accomplished by setting "filters" (which are roughly equivalent to the "smart folders" in iTunes or Apple Mail). Since it's possible to pile on various conditions (e.g., find all the notes where the words "Jacobin" and "Kant" appear that were created in the last two years). Since it is possible to configure Ulysses to access an "External Folder", I have it pointed at my nvAlt library. But most of time it is easier just to open up nvAlt and search for items there.

Fränk said...

I think that they don't take into account that there is a vast difference between just note taking (e.g. for a project) and having a livelong archive.

For the former (I am a Ulysses User) it is awesome and can be tailored to fill this need. For the later: No way.

I was a bit disappointed on the title because they overstretched their competence for the sake of marketing impact.

MK said...

I agree 100%!
I also use Ulysses (but not for notes).

Jim Willison said...

So I thought I'd check out this "Ulysses". I loaded their web page, which presents a montage of the team members. Interesting how all the developers are male and all the customer support are female...

I click on "Features" to try to find out what this "Ulysses" actually does.

"Oops, page not found."

I guess that says it all.