On the glory of .txt

I’m a huge fan of plain text files, the most portable and universally understood file format there is.  They’re easy to search, easy to munge, easy to maintain.  New operating system?  No problem.  I recently had a computer failure, which put my homebrewed backup system to the test, and one part that worked well was my folder of those easily backed up and synchronized text files.  I’ve got hundreds (thousands?) of them but they take up next to no room and are easily accessible on any platform including my phone.

I decided though that it would be nice to have them accessible as well via a web interface, and after looking around a bit I decided to try Evernote.  Even though it doesn’t have a native Linux client, some of its other features really impressed me, especially the ability to scan handwritten notes, upload them to Evernote, and have them searchable.  This also works with cameraphone shots of whiteboards.  When you see it in action it feels like magic.

Anyway, so far so good.  I now have a way to store all my handwritten notes — I’m a big fan of plain paper and index cards, the RL version of text files — in addition to .txt.

But it turns out that Evernote, at least the 3.5 version of their Windows client, doesn’t properly handle text files.  You can upload .pdfs and it understands what they are, displays them in a thumbnail and makes them searchable.  Likewise .jpgs and, I think, Office documents.  But prosaic old plain text files?  They appear as unsearchable attachments.

Which is driving me crazy.

The company’s said it’s a bug, but it’s been over three months since the bug was filed and it hasn’t been fixed yet, which is making Evernote pretty unusable for me.

I guess I’ll be excited when they fix it.

[17 October 2010 update: they did eventually fix this bug, I believe, but I had given up waiting already and cancelled my account.]