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CRIMP Defined




Profound Disappointment

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Posted by Hugh
Aug 10, 2010 at 08:36 AM



Some immediate random thoughts:

- it helps to have a strong reason for switching, and a goal. I use my Mac for writing, as I previously used Word on the PC. That was until, first, I lost a lot of material in Word on the PC, and then, second, having tried Liquid Story Binder, PageFour, and various other Windows writing applications whose names I forget, I spied Scrivener. As I’ve told Scrivener’s developer, his application is the most expensive consumer software ever; I bought a MacBook for it. Only later did I discover other useful applications that can support what I do, such as DevonThink and MacJournal.

- you’ve said little in your observations about the consistency and connectedness of the Mac interface. For me that’s almost more important than the qualities of individual applications - the ease with which, for example, you can shuttle text around using the Services menu. Incidentally, it’s worth learning how to make best use of the Services menu.

- some of the applications you’re looking at or planning to look at are really heavyweight and take quite a long time to learn, just as their counterparts on the PC also do. I’ve been using Scrivener for at least a couple of years now; last week I learnt of an important feature that I’d been ignorant of before. I’ve scratched the surface of Curio; I’ve quite a long way to go with DevonThink Pro, although it’s my main data repository. It’s not that the manuals are poorly written; Scrivener, Curio and DevonThink have very good reference and tuition materials. It’s just that there’s a lot of features and functionality to absorb, and it’s necessary to persevere. Even Circus Ponies’ NoteBook is quite a big programme.

- but ultimately, “diff’rent strokes for diff’rent folks”: I’m with Manfred on this. Maybe the Mac and its software will suit you, maybe they won’t.

A couple of words about DevonThink. DevonThink technology has lots of bells and whistles, but fundamentally it has two features which are distinctive: the ability to handle gigabytes of data without choking, and the ability to offer you connections between documents you hadn’t thought of. To give an example: I have several thousand documents in DevonThink on recent Southern African events; I recently searched for information about Nelson Mandela in prison, and DevonThink also offered me a useful, long-forgottent note I’d slung in about someone who was involved in the education of Mandela’s children. By the way, only consider DevonThink Pro or Pro Office (which offers OCR features). The lesser members of the family are insufficiently versatile.

But… if you don’t want these advantages and don’t have the material to fill DevonThink up, I wouldn’t bother with it. There are perfectly good less heavyweight substitutes on the Mac, such as Eaglefiler and Together, and they’ll be easier to get to grips with.