I first gave Simplenote a whirl after reading Adam Pash’s fanboy-esque paen to the service at Lifehacker, The Holy Grail of Ubiquitous Plain-Text Capture. Simplenote does pretty much just one thing, but it does in incredibly well — it lets you create and manage text files and sync those across multiple platforms. As Pash wrote,
What works best for me may not be what works best for you. A lot of people prefer applications like Evernote, which lets you capture nearly any form of text or media you want and is accessible via the web, desktop applications, and smartphone apps. Personally, Evernote’s a bit too large (and sometimes too bloated) for my taste. All I’ve ever wanted is the ability to create plain text files on my computer, sync those files to my phone and other computers (without any extra effort on my part), and the ability to edit or create new files from any of those buckets. That’s what I describe below.
And Simplenote does the above almost flawlessly. There are clients for it for Mac, Windows, iPhone, Android, Linux and maybe even the BeOS for all I know. I typically create a number of set text files from templates each morning on my Windows laptop and then update that throughout the day from whatever device I have closest, usually my Nexus one. The various clients sync with the Simplenote online service, and the result is, as Pash emphasizes, text capture becomes ubiquitous and easy.
Which is not to say the client software is all made equal. One thing I wish the clients would add would be a basic “insert timestamp” option. I use a text expander software fto handle that with Windows-based ResophNotes client, but I’m not aware of how to accomplish automatically inserting a timestamp in any of the Android clients.
On the other hand the Android client I use, AndroNoter, has a convenient “Email” button which lets me email the content of a textfile to whatever email address I want. That works for me because I use Simplenote mostly for files that I’m still editing and then forward the finished file to one of my Gmail accounts for archiving.
Simplenote is free, but for $8.99/year there is a premium version that, among other things, eliminates all adds, provides automatic backups, and lets you forward emails to Simplenote to create text files that way if you’d prefer.
Simplenote has become one of those tools I use so frequently it has just become a background process in everything I do throughout the day.