Update July 2017
A year and a half later, I published a follow-up on my plain text notes system, where I describe how I tried another dedicated app but ultimately settled back on plain text and why. The following article is still relevant, and if you enjoy it, be sure to read the follow-up afterwards.
After bouncing between various note-keeping apps, I finally settled on a very simple solution that is flexible, cross-platform, freely available, and will surely stand the test of time: plain text.
Journal entries. Recipes. Work log. Grocery lists. Things I need to quickly pull up on my phone when I’m on the go. Ideas for gifts I want to buy my wife and kids. Anything, and everything. Digital notes have been an absolutely essential part of my personal and professional life. What I use to manage the notes essentially serves as my secondary brain.
Without putting a lot of thought into it initially, I started out using the stock Notes app on iOS and the OS X, which worked until I took a detour into the land of Linux and it suddenly became annoyingly painful to access my notes. In my frustration, I began thinking about my mobile needs. If I were to move away from iOS in the future, even if temporarily (be it Android or something else), what would I do then? I often need to access my notes when I’m on the go, so this was a big concern.
It was clear that I needed a cross-platform solution that could withstand my (admittedly erratic) computing habits over time. I don’t think vendor lock-in is an acceptable option for me.