Windows Phone - 06 May 2011
Author: Jim Szymanski

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A pet peeve of mine, going back to my Pocket PC days,  has  been the inability to reliably backup/sync input from a mobile device. Anyone who spent time with ActiveSuck over the years knows the frustration of channels sometimes not syncing or folders/files being overwritten or ignored. Full backups are nice, but very time consuming, and not a great solution for data I entered an hour ago. It’s especially frustrating for data entered directly onto your mobile, as regardless of the entry method, it no doubt takes more effort than a full sized desktop/laptop qwerty keyboard.

Windows Phone has some good Cloud sync features built-in for your Live ID and OneNote, but data intense third party apps generally lack a good solution to backup/sync data that you worked hard to create. Ultimately, everyone will need to restore their data someday, either due to a damaged/defective phone, some device bug requiring a hard reset, a rouge third party app or changing out SD cards. That has driven me to focus on data intense apps that do provide a good backup/restore option.

Notesly+ floats right to the top of my list. This app allows you to take typed and ink notes in the same file. And once you have saved that file you can backup your entries to a Dropbox account with a simple tap. You can view your notes in list or icon view, which actually shows the content of your note. You can also choose the default screen, text or ink, when creating a new note. When you create a note, simply add a title and type or draw whatever you like. You can add/edit text in an existing note anytime although ink cannot be edited after being saved. Notes can be sent via SMS or Email, and ink notes can be saved as images to send as an attachment. Deleting notes is a simple tap.

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Tapping the Dropbox icon presents you with a screen to; Backup Changed Notes, Backup Everything and Restore Everything. You can also Disable Dropbox integration from this screen. When you tap Backup, you will see which notes are being backed up followed by a Done! message. My eight notes backup in about 5 seconds. This solution is not perfect, but it is a step in the right direction. Notesly+ creates a separate folder in Dropbox which contains a TXT and XML files for each note entry, so there is no easy way to edit or add Notes from the desktop. A desktop Client or another method to save the data would make this app even more valuable. Last week after a hard reset, all I did was install the app, enter my Dropbox credentials, tap Restore and my six existing notes were right where I left them. What a relief that was. Note that this app does have a “Live Tile” option, but it’s only to enable push notification for app updates, news, etc. So I have it disabled.

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Sure, you can use OneNote, and I do for the more intense note taking stuff, especially things that require a lot of input, like my listing of the 200+ apps I have downloaded/installed. But for things like short lists, hints or simple reminders, Notesly+ fills in nicely. And with a robust backup solution you will only need to enter data once. You can find Notesly+ under Productivity in the Marketplace here for 0.99 (sorry, no trial). Or for those cheapskates out there, or the unfortunate users who can’t yet purchase apps through the Marketplace you can find Notesly Free here, which is ad supported and can be easily migrated to the paid version at a later date.









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