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Notefrog Pro on Bits du Jour today ...

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Posted by Stephen Zeoli
Aug 30, 2009 at 04:48 PM

 

Daly de Gagne wrote:
>I may be headed over to the Mac world in any event, in which case
>this madness begins all over again.
> >Any thoughts?

Daly,

About 16 months ago I bought a MacBook to supplement my personal computing. I still use a PC at work, and I expected that I’d spend about half my time between the PC at home and my MacBook. Well, I now use my MacBook almost exclusively for all my personal computing. But it isn’t so much because the applications are better, but because the OS is so much more user-friendly than Windows.

In fact, I am still flailing around with several different PIM-type apps for the Mac. There are some very good ones, ones that are unique, but still none that I would consider that Holy Grail application in which I could put ALL my information. Ironically, however, shifting my focus from Windows to Mac has caused me to settle into a nice system for my office PC, where Zoot and OneNote form 90% of my information management workflow—although I’ve still found a reason to buy a $10 license for Notefrog.

But back to the Mac. There are many admirable applications—Curio, Notebook, VoodooPad, DevonThink, Tinderbox, to name a few. In truth, however, I have come to believe that the Windows world has a richer selection of more powerful tools than does the Mac world. And the Mac world is as plagued by start-and-stop developers who abandon their applications as is the PC world… if not more so.

All of which is not to say that you shouldn’t change teams. I love my MacBook, and you won’t find anything like Tinderbox or Curio in Windows (at least not yet, though the developer of Tinderbox has been claiming to be building a version for Windows for at least the past seven or eight years).

Just as an exercise, here is what I would recommend for new Mac users:

1. Choose one of these two as a project organizer:

- Curio (http://www.zengobi.com). Creates a “notebook” of white boards on which you can combine built in outlines, text boxes and mindmaps, as well as pasting in PDFs, media files, and almost anything. Integrates well with Evernote too.
- Notebook (http://www.circusponies.com). A virtual notebook, relying heavily on outlining. Add sticky notes, media files, and other documents.

Both applications have good task management features, though Curio is probably stronger.

2. Choose one of these as your information dumbing ground and organizer:

- DevonThink (http://www.devon-technologies.com/products/devonthink/). Widely considered the most powerful information manager for Mac. Has functions to help you discover associations among your data. The UI isn’t the friendliest, and it takes some work to uncover the power functions.
- Eaglefiler (http://c-command.com/eaglefiler/), Together (http://reinventedsoftware.com/together/). These two applications seem very similar to me and offer a lot of power, but without as much screen clutter as DT, though neither is as powerful, I believe, as DT.
- Yojimbo (http://www.barebones.com/products/yojimbo/index.html). An order of magnitude in power below any of the above applications, but cleaner and simpler. Does not seem to have received much development in the past year.

3. Choose one of these as your writing application:

- Scrivener (http://www.literatureandlatte.com/scrivener.html). Probably the most popular writing application on the Mac, at least from a creative standpoint. Handles both fiction and nonfiction projects. The interface still feels a bit clunky and cluttered to me and we’re in month nine of the public beta for version 2.0.
- Storyist (http://www.storyist.com/). If you’re writing only fiction, I would suggest looking strongly at this application, which feels like it has a better interface than Scrivener.

Of course there are scads of other options in all three of these categories, but these are the ones I have come to feel are the best options for the most part.

Steve Z.