Software

Capture ideas and collaborate with Catch Notes

Jack Wallen takes a look at Catch Notes, a mobile app for taking notes and collaborating with colleagues on the go.

The act of taking and keeping notes on a mobile has captured the whimsy of many a developer. To that end, note taking, mind mapping, and idea tracking software is rampant through the Google Play Store. Some of those applications are little more than text pad tools where you can keep simplistic notes. Other tools run the gamut of complexity and feature lists. There is one application, however, that not only helps you keep track of your ideas easily, but takes it to a collaborative level. That tool is Catch Notes.

Catch Notes allows you to:

  • Capture ideas instantly with a unique, easy-to-use interface
  • Create voice, photo, and text notes -- online and offline
  • Track private tasks with checklists
  • Collaborate with checklists, notes, and documents
  • Set reminders
  • Use email to send web content to notes@catch.com
  • Collect ideas into personal spaces as they develop
  • Use #tags for easy note searching
  • Automatically backup notes across all of your mobile devices
  • Secure your notes with a 4-digit PIN
  • Create shared spaces for secure, selective collaboration

Catch Notes is available for Android devices, iPhones, and iPads. I will demonstrate the tool on the Android platform (specifically, the Verizon-branded HTC Incredible 4).

Installation

The installation is simple. Just follow these steps:

  1. Open up the Google Play Store
  2. Search for "catch" (no quotes)
  3. Tap on the Catch Notes app
  4. Tap Install
  5. Tap Accept & download

Once installed, open the app drawer and tap the launcher for Catch Notes. When you first launch the application, you'll need to create a free account. Tap the Create Account button and enter a password for your account. The application wants to use your current associated Gmail account for better communication, so keep the default email address and enter a new password for the Catch account. Do NOT use your Google account password -- use something different.

Once the account is created, you are ready to start using Catch Notes.

Usage

The following types of ideas can be captured:

  • Text notes
  • Reminders
  • Pictures
  • Voice
  • To-do lists
Ideas are saved in spaces. You have shared and private spaces. From the Catch Notes main window (Figure A), tap the Create New Space button and give the new space a name. Figure A

You can also search all of your spaces using the Search button (bottom left).

By default, all newly created spaces are private and all content within them are private. To create a new item in the new space, do the following:

  1. Tap on the new space to open it
  2. Tap on the plus sign [+] to reveal the "Capture Wheel" (Figure B)
  3. Tap on the type of item you want to add
  4. Create the item
Figure B

Dismiss the Capture Wheel by tapping the minus sign [-].

Sharing

You can then share out items by tapping the share icon in the bottom right corner of the item (denoted with three vertical buttons). This will open up the usual Android share menu. You can also share out your spaces for collaboration with other users. Here's how:

  1. Open up the space you want to share
  2. Tap the share icon
  3. Enter the email address of the person to share the space with
  4. Tap the right-pointing arrow to send the share request

The invitee will need to confirm the share from within the auto-sent email. Upon acceptance of the share, the user will then be able to collaborate. If they don't have the app, they can collaborate from the web-based version of the tool.

Configurations

From the main Catch Notes window, you'll find a settings button (small wheel to the left of the share button). Tap that to reveal the Settings window (Figure C). Figure C

From this window, you can purchase a Pro account.

Notice there are a few different ways to sync:

  • Manual sync
  • Auto sync
  • Sync on launch

By default, Catch Notes is set to Sync on Launch. This will probably be fine for any user (as most won't  spend too much time within the app itself). If you do have the app open a while (or have a space shared out and want to see the  new items), you can always go to Settings and then tap the Tap to sync button. This will immediately sync Catch Notes.

Go Pro

For $4.99 (USD) /month you can get a pro account that includes:

  • Ability to attach PDF and Office docs
  • 1 GB of new content per month
  • Up to 50 spaces

Catch Notes is a unique, mobile way of keeping track of and collaborating ideas with your colleagues. It's well thought out, easy to use, and available for both Android and Apple platforms.

About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

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