I’m getting on well with NoteRiot, part of the Blockstack ecosystem… and feeling better about security.
There is a way out of castle Google it seems, and it can start through the keep — or Google Keep — that app which has been so handy for all my sticky notes, reminders, doodles etc.
But why find and use these alternatives to Google Keep, Google Docs, Evernote, Microsoft Sticky Notes…? Why remove all those currently neat — and potentially future — integrations with Google Docs, Google Home, Chrome etc.etc?
Well… because of security, longevity… This gets important if you’re saving security information, cryptocurrency keys, passwords, private notes in there (and let’s face it: many of us do).
The difference is like a storage locker. At Google, an engineer potentially has access to all your information. Or there could be an outage at Google. Or a data center breach. Or changes to subscriptions and features. Or ads suddenly start appearing.
And the importance of this relates to where we store all our passwords, crypto keys, log-in information and private reminders. One of the easiest tools — but by no means the most secure — is to use Google Keep. We bring up a sticky note stored on the cloud and copy/paste your private mnemonic, password, or private keys for easy recall, or special access to a crypto wallet.
After all, crypto addresses are mostly long strings of numbers, like private key backups, and then authenticator backups also need to be stored….
Yes, you could store them on your desktop in a notepad .txt file or something, but then what if your device blows up? And you have other devices, and need quick access to funds, or your log-in to Travala.com (if you’re travelling for example)?
At Blockstack on the other hand, where decentralised apps — or dapps — are being made, it’s only you who has the access, and the keys. It’s like having your own safety deposit locker stored in the cloud, or at another location — but only you have the access to it.
So just where to start with all these dapps, or crypto-powered ‘decentralised’ apps?
Note Riot review
I’ve been using it for a while and so far so great.
It all works exactly the same as Google Keep. There is search and filter by color options, and labels. In fact, the only missing feature off the top of my head is the doodle feature, so you can’t hand-write a note yet.
The default setting for new notes is Markup, but you can use the Wysiwyg setting too, for nice, extensive formatting.
For mobile use, the shortcut to the dapp works fine. The information is clear to see.
But go easy
One thing to remember is to refresh Note Riot a little more than with Google Keep, to reassure yourself that all the notes are there, and give it time to save.
But it’s the same with the cloud, sometimes we just go too fast.
Another thing is the Import from Google feature didn’t work for me. But I don’t mind: it gave me the chance to sort my notes out, and save the important ones manually.
Summary and beyond
So… by using Note Riot and other dapps, we can reduce some security concerns.
However, this doesn’t remove more timeless issues like who might be looking at your screen (behind your shoulder in a cafe), who might break into your computer (where your tabs are still open) and…
…Where do you store the key to your Blockstack log-in, which includes Note Riot itself?
The answer to the latter is: offline. Write it down on a piece of paper and store it away in a metal box! Or in that notepad .txt file, but store it in a backup hard-drive somewhere.
I will update this post if I experience any big issues with Note Riot, and stop using it, where then I’ll once again be searching for decentralised alternatives.
Otherwise I’ll keep using it and feeling more secure.
Next dapp stop? Google Docs, Dropbox, Microsoft Office etc. transition and migration….. so I’ll be looking at a Graphite dapp review coming soon.
What features do I actually use now? What apps do I actually need more private, even decentralised replacements for?
More about Blockstack
Contact Note Riot on Twitter