Thursday Apr 16, 2009

A Mac OS X application to help me stay organized

I've got lots to update here, including my experiences using OpenSolaris as my home file server which I've been using for a couple of months now with success.

But now, I want to take just a minute to mention a really cool Mac OS X app that I use every single day: it's called Notebook, from a company called Circus Ponies, and it's wonderful.

For years, I've carried around a physical book to write notes in: you know, catch meeting notes, take action items, that kind of stuff.  I switched to a Franklin planner some years ago and found it helpful for me to organize myself.  But there were always some things that I couldn't put into my Franklin filing system, like presentations or technical documentation.  Also, I have horrible handwriting and I'm slow at it (but fast at typing), so I looked for a way to do all of this on a computer.

That's what I use Notebook for.  The metaphor is a spiral notebook: the app looks like a spiral notebook and you just start typing into it.  It's trivially easy to make outlines, just by using Tab or Shift-Tab.  Making action items is similarly trivial: as you're typing whatever, just press Command-Control-A (action) and it's now a to-do item with a little checkbox next to it for you to click when you're done.  Want to give that to-do a due date?  Type Command-Control-T (time) and type "today" or "wednesday" or "6/1/2009" and it'll do the right thing.

If something you're typing refers to something else like a URL, there's a simple command you type to attach the link; you see a little icon next to whatever you were typing.

Want to link a document to your notes?  Just drag it onto your typing and a thumbnail of your document will show up, and Notebook will keep track even if you move the document around your directory tree.

Notebook has a nice indexing mechanism, too: for each notebook you make, it adds some standard pages to the end, like a To Do Items page, a an index of words (like you'd see at the end of a text book), a page showing all your attachments you've dragged into the notebook, and some other things that make sense once you've started using some of the other cool features.

I love this app.   I think it's a beautiful Mac application, and it really does help me stay organized.  I'm not even scratching the surface of what it can do.

Check it out.  Or as with just about everything nowadays, become a Facebook fan of Notebook.


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The views expressed on this blog are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Oracle. What more do you need to know, really?

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