Bluenote: Securely Sync Your Notes in Style

You’ve got a lot of things to write down, but you want to keep them safe. Sure, there are a lot of notes apps to choose from, but how secure are they? Bluenote not only keeps your notes secure with AES-256 encryption, but it will also manage your passwords for you, too.

We’ll take a look at all Bluenote has to offer!

Take a Note

Your first move in Bluenote will be to create a password. If you’re thinking, “No, I’m good, no one’s getting into my notes,” that’s too bad. Bluenote requires a password, and it’s got to be a good one, too. You can’t just enter “password” or “pass123” like I tried. Bluenote will stop you in your tracks and tell you what it thinks of you and your lackluster password skills.

Create a password and make it good, or you can't even get into Bluenote.

Create a password and make it good, or you can’t even get into Bluenote.

Once Bluenote has given your password its approval, you can actually start to do some stuff. Click the first icon in the sidebar to get to your notes or create a new note by selecting the Notes icon and hitting the plus sign that appears below. Create a title for your note, and use some text styling to give some rich formatting to your notes. There’s a word counter in the toolbar up top, and you can email your note or delete it up there, too.

The next icon down is for your task lists. Add new lists and select icons to represent them, and then add to dos within your lists. Click the information symbol next to each to do to add notes or any additional information, and reorder by dragging and dropping. When you’re ready to check a task off, just click the circle next to it. But hold on just a second! What’s that? It only filled in halfway? That’s because you can show your progress on a task by “coloring in” the circle next to the task until you’ve got it completed.

If you ever need to find anything, click the magnifying glass icon to reveal the search bar. You can only search within each category, in your notes, tasks, or passwords, not in all of Bluenote, so make sure you’re in the right section before you get to typing. Just click on the magnifying glass in the sidebar again to get rid of the search bar.

Not only is Bluenote great for taking notes, but it looks good, too.

Not only is Bluenote great for taking notes, but it looks good, too.

I hear you saying that all of that sounds pretty good. But is there sync? Yeah, there’s sync. You’ll need a Dropbox account, but who doesn’t have at least one nowadays? Click the cloud with the up arrow to get things started and to authenticate with Dropbox. Syncing doesn’t happen automatically, so you’ll need to click that up cloud any time you make changes you want saved. When you’re ready to get the changes onto another Mac with Bluenote, click the down cloud to sync with your Dropbox data.

Keep It Secret

Click the key in the sidebar to get to Bluenote’s password manager. I’ll just go ahead and say that I originally thought a password manager in a notes app felt pretty tacked on, but then I thought again. Sure, I use a service that handles all of my passwords for me, but there are a lot of people who keep unsecured lists of passwords in text files or synced in Google Drive or Dropbox. That’s bad juju, guys. If you’re going to go that route to keep track of easily forgotten passwords, this is definitely a better and safer way to get the job done.

The password manager is a lot more secure than just sticking your passwords into TextEdit.

The password manager is a lot more secure than just sticking your passwords into TextEdit.

Add a title for each stored password, like the name of the service, or if you have multiple logins, you can use the service name and username. Then enter your login ID and password. Bluenote will let you know how secure your password is, and if you don’t feel comfortable with your current password, Bluenote can generate a new one. Click the lock next to your password to toggle how it is displayed, and add notes below.

Your passwords are always safest if they exist only in your head, but if that’s not going to work for you–it doesn’t work for me, so no judgment–this isn’t a bad alternative. Bluenote requires a password to get into the app, and it won’t let you just stick your name and birthday as a password, either. Everything’s automatically encrypted, too, so you should be safe as houses.

Feeling Blue

Bluenote doesn’t just work really well. It looks fantastic, too. Everything is in a shade of blueberry, but the major elements are in neutral navy or crisp off-white parchment, so the blue theme never becomes overwhelming. Bluenote keeps the fonts simple, using Lucida Grande or a close cousin throughout, but it changes things up with font size and color to differentiate elements.

Look how good your tasks look in Bluenote.

Look how good your tasks look in Bluenote.

We recently had a discussion of the possible move from skeuomorphism to flat design on Mac.AppStorm, and Bluenote is definitely leaning heavily towards the latter. Full of large blocks of color and sharp corners, Bluenote doesn’t look at all like the official OS X apps. However, if you peer closely, there’s still remnants of skeuomorphic design in the main note and task panes where you’ll spend most of your time. Rather than a blank, white window, the background looks like fine paper, and instead of detracting from the overall UI, this helps to soften Bluenote.

Final Thoughts

The only thing missing from Bluenote are accompanying mobile apps. I’d love to make Bluenote my primary notes app, but I’m going to need access on my iPad and iPhone, especially for my tasks. That aside, everything in the app worked beautifully. It has absolutely all of the features I’m looking for, with the added security of AES-256 encryption.

It was easy to format, email, and delete my notes. Phased task completion was unexpected and perfect for keeping track of my progress. I even came around to the password manager and know there are lots of people who can get real use out of it. After weighing up all of its features, I can’t help but admit that Bluenote really is one of the best notes apps out there, and it looks good doing it.


Summary

Great app for syncing notes across Macs and keeping them encrypted.

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