A long time back, I migrated from my beloved Yojimbo to Evernote. I didn’t want to make this transition, but Yojimbo was being sunset, so I had to make a change, and a friend convinced me Evernote was the solution.
And Evernote has been a good tool, although for a very long time the iPhone app was unusably slow IMHO. They have addressed that for the most part, but now the Mac app has become a little flaky. They are also heading in the “more bloat” direction, and when they went to their new-generation apps, they dropped a couple features I liked.
And then, the aforementioned friend put up a blog post about her move from Evernote to Bear!
I’d looked into Bear a while back, but concluded that its web clipping was basic, and Evernote’s is impressive, so while Bear was beautiful, I didn’t feel compelled to make the move.
I gave Bear another look, considering my unhappiness with Evernote’s direction, and decided to migrate off of Evernote and onto Bear.
One big factor is that Bear essentially uses Markdown. I like Markdown, and really like the idea that my notes are in a very tool-agnostic format. I’ve seen too many software applications die (Yojimbo) or evolve in a way I didn’t like (Evernote).
I did some tests, and looks like I can get nice clean exports in a variety off formats, with Markdown being one that I’m confident I can migrate to another tool, or even just arrange in the filesystem and reference that way.
I Hit a Snag
The export process was painful from the Evernote side, as for some reason you can only select 50 notes at a time, and I needed to add tags to entire notebooks that contained hundreds of notes in some cases.
But the real snag came when I was doing the notebook imports. For one notebook, Bear said “47 notes imported”. That was nice, but the notebook had 233 notes in it!
I won’t document all the crazy and tedious process to find out what was going on, but here are the highlights:
1) Evernote was exporting invalid XML.
2) Bear technical support was good, they took one of the notes that I had determined was corrupted, and informed me that there was an invalid element <![CDATA[>]]> .
I used my editor to find and remove these, and the imports succeeded.
3) The one ding against Bear is that when their import parser hit the corrupt XML, it just aborted and happily told me it had imported 47 notes. That really needed to have been an error message, and I expressed that during my email conversation with them.
Did I mention that Evernote only lets you select 50 notes at a time? (Yes. Yes I did.)
This alone makes me very happy to be migrating away from it, as that seems like a completely arbitrary limit.
Not that there should be any limit, but at least if it was 64 or 256 or some other power-of-two, as a programmer I’d say, “ah, ok, that’s crazy, but at least it’s based on some code design decision”.
Snags cleared, my migration continues! More thoughts about Bear to come as I get some time using it.
For years, I’ve had bouts of temptation when it comes to setting up a NAS. The other day, I finally made the leap and put one on order.
I’ve been using an External Thunderbay Thunderbolt drive enclosure for years, and it holds my iTunes TV and movie collection, as well as some other varied files.
My MacBook Pro has a large SSD, but not that large, so external storage is a must.
Here are the factors that finally conspired to make me plunge into the NAS world.
Compared to my normally-silent MBP, the fan and drives in that enclosure seem loud, so I mostly have it disconnected and powered down. My plan is to locate the NAS somewhere else, assuming it is louder than I’d like if I keep it in the same room.
I use a Time Capsule for Time Machine backups, and I know its days are numbered, as Apple (unwisely IMHO) got out of the router/storage game. And it’s actually been too small for a while now, I’d like to have more computers backing up to it and have a deeper version history.
I’d been thinking of switching to an iMac from my MBP when the new Apple Silicon iMacs release, and one thought was to buy that system with a large enough internal drive to hold all of my media. I have a fairly small collection, no ripped Blu-rays or anything, so all I need is around 4TB. Looking at the current price to bump an iMac up from 4TB to 8TB, and that $1,200 is an eye-opener.
I decided I could buy a lot of NAS for that price!
So here I am, with a Synology DS418 on order, and a few drives.
I started to do the thing I always do, and the thing that stopped my last NAS pondering a couple years back, which is steadily ramp up the price. “The DS418 looks fine, but what if I want to run something in Docker? I really should get the DS918. And gosh, the DS920 is not much more money than that, and …”
I’d do that, and then say, “wow, that’s a lot of money for what is basically some external storage”, and abandon the idea. So this time I just said, “The DS418 is plenty for your actual needs,” and clicked the button.
And I’m sure it will be. My needs are pretty simple, I don’t even expect to run Plex or anything like that. I am hoping the Synology AppleTV stuff will work well, but if it doesn’t my plan B (and maybe still actually plan A) is to do what I do today, and serve my media from my MBP, with it “directly” reading the media drive.
I’m sure there will be some surprises, both good and bad, but at least I decided to get in the game.