This morning I was thinking back to the days when writing news was my primary vocation. A long time before Apple released its Intel version of OS X – in the phase when it was questioning the sanity of any reporter who claimed it was working on one – I was chatting to Nick dePlume of ThinkSecret.
Nick asked if I knew anything about a Manchester-based company called Transitive. He’d heard that they were working on a method for Intel chips to run PowerPC code, something that was vital to Apple’s efforts to shift architecture. Nick wanted to get a second source for this, and so was doing a little digging around.
I hadn’t heard anything, and when I dug around couldn’t find enough. Transitive was open about what it could do, but didn’t talk about its customers. Eventually Nick, and Matthew Rothenberg, got the story out in what was probably the scoop of the decade in the Mac market.
And this morning, I was trying to remember exactly when Nick and I spoke – and I couldn’t. Of course, at the time, I took copious dated notes on paper but unfortunately those notes (along with most of my notebooks prior to 2003) got lost in a house move.
That’s one of the reasons that I now use Evernote for all my note taking. Although it’s obviously an electronic solution, it’s easy to scan in any paper-based notes you make (even using something like an iPhone camera) which get automatically get run through text recognition software and get turned into something searchable.
Normally I’m wary about relying on online services for this kind of stuff, but Evernote takes care of that too. It has desktop clients which sync with the online database, so, if the company died, would give you a local back up of all your information.
If I’d had Evernote back when I spoke to Nick, I’d still have those notes and I wouldn’t be trying to wrack my brains to work out when exactly it was. My notes might not be any kind of important historical archive, but they’re very valuable to me – because they represent a significant part of my work and life.