iPhone app – Take A Note

Whenever I buy myself a bit of tech’ I always feel slightly guilty. After all, I obviously managed to survive before the gadget happened on the scene so why the indulgence? What’s more, if you’re going to indulge then there’s few more hedonistic gadgets around that Apple’s iPhone 3G, so anything that pushes it further into the ‘really useful’ side of my life rather than the ‘shiny shiny’ side is always welcome!

Now I know there’s people out there that hate Apple, there’s those that hate the iPhone, and there’s those that hate both, but whatever the criticisms are that people level at the iPhone (and I’d be the first to admit it’s not perfect), you have to admit that this little device is a wonderful enabler. The list of truly useful things I can do with it like:

  • Read and send email from pretty much wherever I am.
  • Find a route without asking if I happen to be lost (it’s a bloke thing!)
  • Check train timetables and even see if the train I want is running late
  • Look up viewing times at the local cinema

…goes on and on, and half the fun is discovering something new that pushes those little feelings of guilt a bit further away because you know it’ll make life just that bit easier.

Take A Note

Take A Note

Enter Readdle’s Take A Note application. Often when I’m out shopping I’ll see something and think what a nice gift it would be for someone. Or I might see an idea for the house, or perhaps something in a magazine in a waiting room, there’s no end of situations where a scatterbrain like myself wants to record a note for later use, and that’s where Take A Note gets my award for just plain useful!

In essence it lets you quickly create a note by typing on the iPhone’s virtual keyboard, drawing with your finger, speaking or using the iPhone camera. Each note can then be given a tittle and other comments, and can also be given a category for sorting. The resulting collection of notes can be viewed by type, category or searched, and even viewed on your Mac or PC via the iPhone’s WiFi connection. The interface is elegant and simple, showing you exactly what’s needed to get the job done, whether you want to create, view, edit or delete your notes and I’d challenge anyone to be unable to intuitively find their way around (well almost). The screenshots tell a much better story and you can guess what’s going on for the most part, in fact the only thing that caught me out was one aspect of the Mac/PC WiFi connectivity, which thinking back about it is actually quite logical.

In a wee bit more detail… Text notes are just that – stuff you save in a note using the iPhone keyboard. Audio notes are created by selecting New – Audio Note then pressing the record button, then the pause or stop button as necessary. For drawings you select pen or erase, choose your brush size and use your finger! Unfortunately you can only draw in one colour, but perhaps a later release will enhance that. Finally photo notes are just that, notes with photos in them that you either take with the camera or choose from your photo roll. The icing on the cake is that by touching the envelope icon at the bottom of any note, you can quickly email it as an attachment.

To view your notes on your Mac or PC you simply press the WiFi button in Take A Note and make a note of the number and port it shows you. In fact the port number will always be the same so it’s just the iPhone’s IP address you need. Then in the case of OS X, open Finder, select Connect To Server from the Go menu and type in http://nnn.nnn.nnn.nnn:8080 (where the n’s are the IP address the application tells you). Hey presto, you’re now browsing your iPhone notes which you can open in your favourite application. You can also add new notes by simply dragging them into the relevant Finder window. The gotcha? The Take A Note application must be open on your iPhone as you’re doing it. If it’s not running you’ll just get a message telling you the ‘server’ can’t be accessed. If your iPhone automatically locks, then the connection will be cut. Logical really seeing as the Take A Note software is acting as a server.

My only other minor complaint is over the voice notes recording feature. It’s simplicity itself to use, but there seems to be a lot of gain on the microphone, certainly in my case and when playing back recordings – while the voice or whatever else is recorded is clear, any silent bits (such as pauses when someone is speaking) are replaced by a loud hissing noise. Perhaps it’s my phone, who knows, however the voice notes facility is still perfectly usable.

So there you have it – £2.99 and you’ve got a really useful addition to your iPhone apps. Now that I can capture all those snippets of the world going on around me, I’ll become a master of keeping on top of my information overload. Then again, I’ll lose one more excuse for forgetting the things I need to forget.