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Summer 2009 PIM roll-call

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Posted by shatteredmindofbob
Jul 27, 2009 at 11:03 PM


I was reading through the November 2008 thread where folks were listing off what they were using and for what purpose and learnt about a few new programs.

I’m curious as to how setups have changed in nearly a year.

My own setup is pretty minimal.

Most standard PIM stuff is being done through Google - Gmail and GCal, with Remember the Milk thrown in for to-do lists.

I’ll probably switch to a desktop client (considering Postbox) since I’ve now got multiple e-mail addresses to track.

Evernote 3 as a note repository, though I’m starting to find it somewhat underpowered for my needs. Only issue is being in love with the web sync (and being able to access it from my Blackberry…not enough desktop software syncs with the Blackberry, damnit!)

I’ve been toying with TKOutline for writing outlines, transitioning from doing them with pen and paper.

OpenOffice.org or sometimes Google Docs for most work. Though, there is a freeware word processor called Q10 I’m kind of fond of. Has the stripped down DOS word processor look, but with live word count (a feature missing from almost every Windows word processor except Word 2007)


Posted by Stephen Zeoli
Jul 28, 2009 at 02:31 PM


Having one foot in the PC/Windows world and one in the Mac, I’ll break this rollcall into two.

First, the PC (which I use primarily at the office for my day job as a sales/marketing director for a small, nonprofit publisher):

- Zoot remains my primary information organizing tool. It captures information easily and automatically organizes it. I have several years worth of clippings within it. Additionally, I use it to maintain catalog information about our books, because it is so easy to save filtered views. There are only two things that keep me from using Zoot exclusively: It’s lack of text formatting, which is not always necessary, but sometimes is; and some of its quirks, especially relating to printing, a genuine weakness.

- OneNote is my project organizer. I create a section for each new project, where I collect related documents, e-mails and notes. OneNote is pretty good at creating a quick table of information, even if the table functions are somewhat primative. So far I have not used the shared notebook option, but hope to soon, as my office is about to adopt OneNote. That will open a whole new area of collaboration.

- I’m still tryng to settle on the best application for keeping a daily log of activities. Either Zoot or OneNote can handle this okay—in fact, I’m currently using ON—but I feel like there should be a better option.

- Outlook is my e-mail program. I generally don’t use a to-do list, but if I were to use one, I’d use the combination of Outlook and OneNote, which can share task information.

- I’ve been experimenting with shifting our catalog data to ConnectedText, which would have the advantage of being able to generate a web site.

On the Mac:

- I’m still in flux about which application works best. Consequently, I’ve been using redundancy. I put most information into DevonThink, but I’m really not sold on DT. It feels clumsy and awkward to me. Plus, I’m not crazy about the fact that the company sold upgrades to version 2.0 last December and still haven’t released anything but a series of betas.

- I’ve been finding TinderBox really helpful for its graphic/visual presentation of information. I don’t make it my main information repository, but use it when I need to do some planning or thinking about a project.

- Curio is an amazing application, yet I don’t use it as much as I would have expected given its great versatility. The promised Index Card function may change that, when it comes out.

- I use MacJournal for my personal journal.

- I use Scrivener for writing longer pieces, although I’ve not been as thrilled by S as I was expecting or hoping (it was the main reason I bought a MacBook in the first place). This may have more to do with my writing style than anything. I find I generally don’t like to write in small, quantum chunks. I prefer to see my work growing as a holistic work.

- I’ve been trying out Evernote again, not because I think it is all that great, but because it can sync my information pretty seamlessly between the PC and the Mac.

And, since I have CRIMP, you can bet there are many additional programs that I dabble with, always looking for something that just works better.

Steve Z.


Posted by Hugh
Jul 28, 2009 at 05:59 PM


My usage tracks Steve’s - except that I hardly use Windows nowadays, preferring the uniformity and harmony of working on the Mac.

- I spend most time in Scrivener. Whilst I too am probably more “holistic than random-chunk” in writing approach, I like many of the application’s other features, such as full-screen, keywords and synopses.

- I too use DevonThink for large-scale storage. Development of Version 2 has certainly been slow, but because I owned a licence for 1.x, I’ve had seven months’ partly “free” use of the 2.0 betas.

- I have licences for previous versions of Tinderbox and Curio. I may upgrade one or both when TB goes to 5.0 and C to index cards, but I haven’t quite had the use out of them so far that their prices would justify. Having praised both applications here, I’m pleased that TB has proved useful for you Steve. For some users on the Mac, getting to grips with TB seems almost like a test of intellectual virility, irrespective of intrinsic value! But your Tinderbox “adornments matrix” sounds very interesting and potentially very useful.

- Because DevonThink hasn’t so far handled snippets very well, and Scrivener isn’t designed for them, I too bought a licence for MacJournal - as a snippets bin. With its Quicknote entry it’s performed that function very well, better than Journler. But now that DT appears to want to be the absolutely ultimate Mac datastore, and is threatening to have a quicknote entry too, I may eventually move all my research and ideas over.

- I use TAO for outlining. It would be the perfect outliner if it were guaranteed stable and not so darn complicated to learn and use.



Posted by dan7000
Jul 28, 2009 at 06:05 PM


Hasn’t changed much in the past year - which says something because I’ve tried out quite a few task managers and notetaking apps over the past year, but have not adopted any of the new ones.

Todo: Outlook, with Taskline Plugin
Email: Outlook, with ClearContext Plugin
Calendar: Outlook
Notes, Research, web clippings and bookmarks: Evernote

Note: I would probably not use Outlook as much but for the fact that it syncs so effortlessly with my Blackberry.


Posted by shatteredmindofbob
Jul 28, 2009 at 06:19 PM


dan7000 wrote:
>Hasn’t changed much in the past year - which says something because I’ve tried out
>quite a few task managers and notetaking apps over the past year, but have not adopted
>any of the new ones.
> >Todo: Outlook, with Taskline Plugin
>Email: Outlook, with
>ClearContext Plugin
>Calendar: Outlook
>Notes, Research, web clippings and
>bookmarks: Evernote
> >Note: I would probably not use Outlook as much but for the fact
>that it syncs so effortlessly with my Blackberry. 

That was the only reason I used Outlook for a while as well. I stopped using it because I was sick of it choking on IMAP connections.

I really wish more stuff would integrate with the Blackberry the way it seems a lot of desktop software used to sync with Palm devices.


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