About Crazy @Evernote Pricing

I like Evernote and I use it constantly. I was using it today, in fact when – BOOM! – in the middle of a meeting, without any warning, a notice came up in my iPhone app that blocked my access to my notes and said my subscription has just ended. Like, literally, that very second, right in the middle of that very meeting.

I couldn’t do anything with Evernote until I renewed my subscription.

Okay, but, excuse me, Evernote? I’m kind of in a meeting right now…? Can I finish taking notes and deal with this later, please? Apparently not.

After the meeting I go back to my desk. I open Evernote on my Mac. BOOM! Another “renew now or else” notice pops up. That was kind of expected. But, hey, waitaminnit… the subscription fee is different. On the iPhone they wanted $70. On the Mac they want $50.

This is disconcerting. Enough that I want to sort out the discrepancy. But I’m working. I decide to deal with it later. (Plus, I think I have an unused code in the back of an old Evernote Moleskine at home that’ll get me a few free months…)

Back home, I find the Moleskine with the code, log in to the Evernote web site to try and use it and – BOOM – hammered again with that renewal notification. But, hey, there’s another different number on this renewal notice: $58.

I know I need to renew Evernote. Heck, I want to renew Evernote. Right now I just want to give them money and get on with my life. But I’m confused. This doesn’t make sense.

I hate giving money to companies that confuse and frustrate me.

There are three different rates I’ve seen for the same Premium service.

  • Evernote app on iPhone: $70
  • Evernote app on Mac: $50
  • Evernote web site: $58

Evernote Premium Price Quandary

Which do I choose?

You’re thinking, duh: the cheapest one. But here’s the catch: I’m in Canada. So if that $50 subscription is in US dollars, that’s like a million dollars Canadian. Okay, not quite that much. But it’s a full $70, the same as the highest price.

So the new, added question is: what currency are these fees being charged in?

I could make some assumptions. Like, because iPhone apps have to charge fees through the App Store, and my account is with the Canadian App Store, that’s $70 Canadian.

And it might be that the subscription fees identified in the Mac app and Evernote web site are US dollars, right? (In which case, anyway, shouldn’t the rates in the Mac app and the web site be the same?)

Or maybe Evernote directly charges its customers in their local currency?

I don’t know. It’s all very confusing.

I tried getting in touch with Evernote today for an answer but they were incommunicado.

In the meantime, until I am empowered with the knowledge that will clear up this clusterfuck of a pricing dilemma, the Evernote apps are blocking my access to my notes. Which totally sucks.

About the Best Digital Journaling App

Day One 2 is good. But Awesome Note is better.

I’ll tell you why.

Day One

Bloom released a major new version of Day One for Mac and iOS last week. And it’s a beautiful thing. But it’s a very expensive beautiful thing: $56 for the Mac app and $14 for the iOS app (after the introductory 50% off sale ends next week). That’s a total of $70 for full-on cross-platform journaling. Very, very not cheap.

Day One is a capable enough journaling app. You can post text entries to your journal, and you can attach multiple photos to an entry. Day One will automatically tag your entries with your location and the weather. You know, the basics.

I like Day One. It’s well designed and covers all the basics of journaling. But its feature set is relatively limited, and its design is uninspired and rather blasé.

My major problem with this new version, though, is that Bloom went for a proprietary solution to sync your data between its iOS and Mac apps. So you’re storing your valuable, personal journal data in a closed ecosystem. It’s relatively difficult to get your data out of it and you can only ever use Day One to look at it. You are entirely dependent on this little American company called Bloom to maintain and safeguard your valuable, private journal data. If Bloom bites it, or if you decide to move away from iOS or Mac… not pretty.

Awesome Note

It’s worth stating at the outset that Awesome Note is not designed specifically to be a journaling app. But that’s one of the things it does, and it does really, really well. Awesome Note can easily match Day One, feature for feature (and more, actually), at a fraction of the price. Awesome Note costs just $8: $4 for the iPad app and $4 for the iPhone app (you buy them separately). Chump change.

Like Day One, Awesome Note is also beautifully designed and easy to use. I prefer the Awesome Note interface to Day One.

There isn’t a version of Awesome Note for Mac, but that’s okay. Because instead of a proprietary sync solution, Awesome Note can use Evernote to store and sync notes in the cloud. So on your Mac (or Windows computer, for that matter) you can just use the excellent Evernote client.

And there’s the real benefit of Awesome Note: your data is not trapped in a closed, proprietary environment. Should BRID, the small company behind Awesome Note ever disappear and its apps die*, your data is safe in the data store of the massive, secure Evernote machine.

Anyway, beyond basic syncing, Evernote opens up Awesome Note to a world of extensibility, because Evernote can hook into almost any online service out there. Like the insanely awesome IFTTT.

Day One is ignorant of what you do on social media. And because it’s such a closed platform, you can’t push anything into it. But with Awesome Note syncing through Evernote, you can have IFTTT publish whatever you do on whatever social platform you use to an Awesome Note notebook via Evernote. And then over time, automagically, Awesome Note will build up a history of your online exploits.

There are a couple other areas where I think Awesome Note improves on Day One.

Customization

In Awesome Note, you can customize pretty much every aspect of the interface with colour, texture, and icons. With Day One, I hope you like blue and white. Because that’s all you get. Brrrr.

Integration

Awesome Note integrates with your the calendar and reminders on your iPad or iPhone. So, if you want, you can view your life activites and tasks juxtaposed against information you’ve stored in your journal. This provides a lot of personal insight.

I suppose the one major caveat to Awesome Note is that, to sync, it requires a little bit more custom configuration. You have to step outside of the app to set up an Evernote account if you don’t already have one. But I think that little bit of extra effort is worth it for the cost savings, added features, and improved interface. (All that said, Awesome Note will also sync via Apple’s iCloud, if you prefer an easier-to-set-up but more closed system.)

Day One is attracting a lot of attention these days, thanks to Apple, and I’m sure that’s resulting in a lot of sales. But if you read this, consider Awesome Note instead. I think you’ll prefer it.

* That’s a real concern, actually. At just $4 per app, you have to wonder how BRID is making any money at this. I highlighted that low cost as a benefit, but I really think Awesome Note should cost more. The total $8 price tag for both iPad and iPhone apps is simply not representative of the incredible value. If it were me, I’d doduble the price of each app. I hope BRID survives and continues to deliver new versions of Awesome Note, and I’d encourage them to increase their prices to improve the likelihood of that.

About Northwestel’s Internet Penalty Fee Reduction

Northwestel reduced the cost of its internet over-use penalty fee yesterday, to $1.50 per GB from $2 per GB. Of course, any reduction in the cost that Northwestel charges for internet service is welcome. So on behalf of internet users across northern Canada, I want to say thanks to Northwestel.

But yesterday’s reduction is not enough. Northwestel can, and should, do more to reduce the internet service costs that northern Canadians are forced to pay. We still pay much, much more than our southern compatriots.

I’ll do a quick comparison of internet service rates here in Whitehorse, Yukon, a town of about 28,000 people, and Dawson Creek, BC, a town of about 11,500 people that’s just 1,400 km away down the Alaska Highway.

At the top end of consumer packages, northerners will pay Northwestel $190 for 400 GB of monthly data. That’s 47.5¢ per GB. If you live in Dawson Creek, British Columbia, you’ll pay Shaw $123 for 800 GB of data. That’s 15.4¢ per GB.

On the low end of the package spectrum northerners will pay $42 for 10 GB of monthly data. That’s an insanely expensive rate of $4.20 per GB being charged to people who are probably the lowest wage earners in the North. You’d do better at this package level to simply ask Northwestel to charge all your data at its penalty rate.

Low income earners in Dawson Creek, by comparison, can pay Shaw $35 for 65 GB of data. That’s about 54¢ per GB, still very expensive, but about one-seventh the cost of Northwestel’s cheapest package rate.

Northwestel’s newly-reduced penalty rate of $1.50 per GB is still three times more than the fee levied on data in the company’s high end package. And its in-plan data fees at all levels are still much too expensive when compared to the rates southern Canadians pay.

Interestingly, Shaw does not punish its customers with data over-use penalties. They are permitted to exceed their monthly data limits from time to time at no extra cost.

One closing thought. You can buy a litre of gas in Dawson Creek for about 92¢ this morning. You can buy a litre of gas in Whitehorse for the same price (at the Porter Creek Super A, in case you’re wondering).

Is a virtual commodity like internet data really that much more expensive to deliver to the North than a physical commodity like gas?