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CRIMP Defined




Searching without hope of finding, and holding on for dear life.

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Posted by Hugh Pile
Aug 6, 2007 at 02:56 PM



What I intended to add above is “Yes, I have experience of Mac PIMs”, and “Yes, some Mac PIMs are good, but often in ways somewhat different from Windows PIMs”.

As with Windows PIMs there are different categories - for example Outlook types like MS Entourage, data managers like DevonThink, “true” outliners like Opal and OmniOutliner, and journallers like, well, Journler (though like Windows PIMs they tend to shade into each other).

From your post it looks as if you’re focusing chiefly on data managers. Again there are different flavours - chiefly taggers and trees. DevonThink is generally regarded as the biggest gun of them all, and is tree-based. It has an excellent search function and a “relevance” index; it will find “the data you didn’t know you had” (a very useful ability), so it’s great for projects with lots of documents.  Some users have tens of millions of words stashed in it.

But its UI is overdue an update, waiting (like some others) for the release of OS X Leopard, its database format is proprietary (though with its next release it may not be) and some regard it as overkill for their purposes. You probably need several hundred documents in it to begin to experience its power. It’s worth scanning the DevonThink forum.

Yojimbo is a much simpler (and cheaper) tagger, good - I think - for more personal stuff like passwords, less good for large amounts of project data.

Tinderbox is another beast entirely. I have read of people paying its relatively high-priced fee, taking months trying to understand it and then failing. I have a life! It sounds as if it’s a note-storer and recoverer, with mind-mapping aspects, some self-generating. I believe it’s less good for storing large quantities of pre-existing documents as opposed to your own notes - it was, maybe still is, on offer with Yojimbo - and I have a hunch it would be less effective for free-hand creative work, where Curio or NovaMind would be better. http://www.atpm.com/10.10/atpo.shtml , though three years old, is worth reading if you’re set on Tinderbox. There’s also a lot of other information in apto on Mac outliners.

Yes, Mac OS X is good if you deal with many PDFs. There are various pieces of Mac software for manipulating them that are low-priced or free, and Preview is built into the OS. The Services menu of Mac OSX programmes is an effective way of passing data from one programme to another. There is nothing for the Mac like Zoot, UR or OneNote, but the functionality of the underlying platform means there mostly doesn’t have to be (although in my opinion there’s nothing to rival Zoot anywhere). DevonThink and Curio probably come closest in their differing ways. The release of Leopard (later this year?) may trigger a fresh wave of software innovation in a way that in the Windows world Vista so far has not.

My workflow is Devonthink Pro>Curio>Scrivener>MSWord. I also use Yojimbo for simpler storage. I may drop DevonThink if I find Scrivener or Curio can contain all my research, and I’m actively looking for a replacement for Word, like Mellel, Nisus Writer Pro or possibly Bean. But unfortunately no one has so far replicated Word’s change-tracking function.