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The Best Note Taking Software for the Paper Note Taker

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The Best Note Taking Software for the Paper Note Taker

    My fellow managing editor, Mr. Vardy and I have taken a liking to paper for note taking, especially when it comes to analyzing and clarifying problems. It’s durable, simple, easy to use, has an almost infinite resolution, is aesthetically pleasing, and just feels good. Although paper is awesome for clarifying your thoughts and actions, you can’t easily index, sort, and search it, something that digital notes will always have the benefit of.

    SEE ALSO: 5 Tips for Effective Digital Note Taking

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    So, what do you do if you are a paper note taker in an increasingly digital note taking world? Here are some of the best ways to use note taking software if you are a paper note taking aficionado.

    OneNote for Windows

    OneNote is a great application for taking notes, storing files and links, pictures, graphs, or really anything if you use Windows or even iOS. The great part about OneNote is that you can organize it much like a notebook with different tabs and sections as well as click anywhere and instantly start typing.

    Another great thing is that if you have paper notes you can snap a photo or scan them in and store them in OneNote. Then you can easily search your notes with OneNote’s built in optical character recognition (that is, if your handwriting doesn’t suck). It’s a great hybrid approach for the paper note taker.

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    Evernote

    We wax about Evernote here at Lifehack because it’s truly a ubiquitous capture and note taking application. It works everywhere, and because of that gives you the quickness and ease of use like paper does. You can quickly add notes via your mobile device or the capture applications on Mac, Linux, or Windows.

    Just like OneNote, Evernote gives you the ability to upload handwritten documents that the service will try to OCR for you. This allows you to take notes via pen and paper when you are away from your digital devices.

    Circus Ponies Notebook

    If you are working on a Mac and you want something like OneNote, then look no further than Circus Ponies Notebook. Notebook uses pages, tabs, and sections to make the app feel more like paper and is a great way to store a ton of information. There is also a great tool for recording audio while you are taking notes. Notebook will then map the audio to the notes that you took.

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    You can add charts and diagram’s to your Notebook notebooks and also “free hand” draw with some of the ink tools. Notebook also has a cool feature called “Multidex” which basically indexes all of your notes and even the changes you make to them allowing for an easier way to find notes that you may have forgotten about or “lost”.

    Livescribe Smartpen

    Livescribe is a paper/software hybrid that allows you take handwritten notes on special paper that takes “snapshops” of what you write. The best feature of Livescribe is that you can record any sound that is going on around you while you are taking your notes and the smartpen will map the note taking with the sound. This is great for note taking during a lecture or a meeting where you may want to refer to what was said later.

    After you have taken your notes you can upload the handwritten notes as well as the audio that is tied to it to either a Mac or PC. You can then click anywhere in your notes and the audio that was recorded at the time of the note will play back.

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    Your handwritten notes are also fully indexed and searchable so you can quickly locate things later on. I have found that if you are a strick paper note taker but you want the benefits of note taking software, Livescribe may be your best bet.

    Note taking software for the traditional paper note taker can be a tough sell, especially when it comes to ubiquitousness and speed, but these apps are a great way to transition your handwritten note taking habits to the digital realm. If you have any good note taking software and paper note taking workflows, please share them below.

    (Photo credit: take notes via Shutterstock)

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    More by this author

    CM Smith

    A technologist and writer who shares advice on personal productivity, creativity and how to use technology to get things done.

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    Last Updated on November 25, 2021

    How to Make Private Browsing on Safari Truly Private

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    How to Make Private Browsing on Safari Truly Private

    There comes a time when we may be searching online and don’t want the browser to remember our footsteps. The reasons don’t always have to be what we obviously think of as the main reason; for example, sometimes, you may not want Safari to remember your passwords or prompt you to enter your password when surfing the web.

    Whatever the reason, we may think that we are totally in the clear with Private Browsing on Safari and the other browsers on a Mac. However, a quick Terminal command can bring up every website you’ve visited. How do you do this? Also, how do you clear your tracks for good? We will provide both answers and more today.

      What Does Private Browsing Do?

      When activated, Private Browsing on Safari prevents your browsing history from being kept in the history tab of the application. Along with this, it doesn’t autofill information that you have saved in the browser. In this mode, you essentially become incognito and any references of previous use is essentially hidden when you are in private mode.

      For example: if you are on Facebook or filling out a form and some information or your login is already filled in in the spaces provided, this is called autofill. It’s activated by simply clicking Safari next to the Apple symbol in the menubar and selecting Private Browsing, then clicking “OK” to the prompt.

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      The reasons behind private mode differ for each individual. While we won’t go into all of those reasons, one thing that is  important to remember is that private browsing doesn’t forget the websites you visit. As we will see later on, Macs keep a second copy of the websites you visit in either mode. If you are in frantic mode looking for a solution to this, look no further.

      The Terminal Archive

      While Safari does a good job of keeping your search history out of prying eyes in the history tab, there is a less-than-obvious way to view a full list of visited websites on Mac. This is done in Terminal; the command-line emulator that allows you to make changes to your Mac.

      Terminal is located in the Utilities folder on your Mac. Once activated, simply add the command:

      dscacheutil -cachedump -entries Host

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      Once you hit “enter”, a list of the visited sites appear. Showing only the domains, the sites appear in a format of:

      Key: h_name :(website domain)ipv4 :1

      However, there’s no need to fear—there is a way you can clear this information from Terminal with a command that’s just as simple.

      Clearing Your Tracks

      Just as simply as you were able to enter the command to view the websites, you can clear the cache that Terminal showed you with the comamnd:

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      dscacheutil -flushcache

      As the command denotes, this literally “flushes” the domains from Terminal. This does not prevent the record from continuing to be recorded for future sites, however, so if that’s an issue for you, repeat this process regularly.

      Other Browsers and Private Browsing

      Other browsers have this form of privacy mode for their service. They promise many of the same things as Safari, but they do not have the same Terminal issue due to how this command only presents websites visited on Safari (the browser Macs come shipped with).

      If you use Firefox, you’ll notice that its private mode is also known as Private Browsing. Chrome calls private mode Incognito, while Internet Explorer refers to it as InPrivate Browsing. Opera is the newest to the scene, denoting it as Private Tab. Safari is the oldest well-known browser with this feature.

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      As you can see, despite Private Browsing not being 100% private, Terminal allows for your browser to be. In what ways has Terminal helped your life or allowed you to become more productive? Let us know in the comments below.

      Featured photo credit: Benjamin Dada via unsplash.com

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