Posts Tagged ‘Mac’

2 Evernote Future Plans Revealed

2009-06-17

More than ever, I wish I owned the iPhone; not the iTouch.

Before diving into the future of Evernote, make sure you know today’s news, by either looking at this announcement, or watching this video:

Evernote is one of those killer apps out there. I won’t spell its main features here. You should know them already. But let’s remember a few things.

Evernote runs on:

  • Your PC (under either Apple’s or Microsoft’s charm)
  • Your Mobile phone
  • Your iPod Touch
  • Your Browser

Evernote syncs your notes perfectly between each one of these platforms. And it’s very good at letting you organize your notes the way(s) you want.

I have only scratched the surface, and yet, Evernote is already besting out a lot of those cool Information Collection applications out there, including OneNote, EagleFiler, Together, Yojimbo, et al.

As if all that Evernote already does wasn’t enough, let me now share with you two secret, future features of Evernote, which are being planned by the company:

  1. Evernote will let web page clips keep their whole visual identity. Everything – layout, fonts, colors, images – will look exactly the same as it looked in your browser when you clipped it. The guys behind Evernote recognize how important this is to us – they’ve already shown us their commitment to keeping a hi-fi visual identity. It’s great to see they’re continuing in this line.
  2. Evernote will let you keep more metadata about your notes. You’re already able to tag your notes. You’ll be able to write notes about some part of another note; so one note could contain many notes about it. And all of these metanotes will be non-destructive. At last, you’ll be able to use a yellow pen to highlight key points in text, for future quick reference, and improved, preferred search results.

There’s many web products out there that have tried the annotation gig. If there’s one product that can at last solve it, it’s Evernote. That said, in this social era, I need to mention they also plan, of course, to put as much social sauce on these features as needed for us to thrive sharing our notes. I’m really glad about their plans.

When these features will start showing up, I will at last be able to stop using delicious/diigo/etc. – Evernote will be much better at keeping my bookmarks, with their visual identity, their full text, and my annotations. In fact, Evernote will kind of become my personal documents’ replicated file system. I will use it every day, and will rely on it for so many things in my life that I will be glad to pay them a subscription. And you will, too.

Oh, one more thing. These news might also come out as news to Evernote, the corporation. I don’t know if they knew they were planning these features; all I know is that if they didn’t yet, they now do.

Update: Phil Libin, Evernote’s CEO, twitted me: “Your Evernote secrets are surprisingly accurate. No promises on dates, though. Try shift-clicking on the Safari clipper.”

When Your Applications Overflow

2009-06-11

overflow-logoIf you’re like me, you’ve got many applications on your Mac.

Over the past two years, I have tried many applications to help me with the sheer number of applications I use.

The one that I use the most often is Mac OS X’s own SpotLight.

Sometimes, though, I feel a bit more like launching an app the visual way. That’s when I use Overflow, the only third-party application I have really grown to like:

Overflow

If it wasn’t of Overflow, I might just end up using the Applications Stack, which, even with the upcoming OS X 10.6’s new scroll bar, wouldn’t cut it at all:

overflow-many-applications

As you can see, I really need something like Overflow; and that’s why I wanted to write this review, as a big thank you to Stunt Software.

In Rebate: Together

2008-06-12

I just wanted to let you know that for the next 9 or 10 days, you can buy Together for ~31$ instead of 40$.  That’s a nice rebate of about 25%, coming to you due to the Give Good Food to your Mac promotion.  You’ll find Together under the European Edition section/tab.

Together and Evernote: Updates Reviewed

2008-05-14

First, let’s get Evernote‘s business out now: I have updated my recent review to reflect its new beta 1.1 version.

Now, let’s take a look at TogetherIf you remember my comparative review of web information collection applications, you know I liked a lot Together.  Now that it’s been significantly upgraded in its new incarnation stamped Version 2.1, let’s see how our landscape of options evolved in the context of the comparative review.

  • Overall, with a global average score of 2.8, Together is more than ever a solid competitor to all the other 8 applications I’ve tested. Prior to its version 2.1, it only scored 2.4.  On many aspects, Together is now much more usable and mature. (more…)

MenuCalendarClock: Ugly Name, Great App

2008-04-18

Update (2009): It’s been at least a few months since I stopped using this. Maybe I’m no more busy enough. And I was a bit hassled by the fact this app doesn’t feel that much native to OS X. It needs a bit of interaction tweaking.

MenuCalendarClock for iCalUntil yesterday, it’s been a few times I resisted trying MenuCalendarClock.  Its name is ugly and its web site isn’t much better at selling it.  But it’s almost exactly what I was longing for.  I was tired of bringing up the whole iCal interface, or firing up the Dashboard, just to see my daily appointments.  I wanted something more streamlined into my workflow, more accessible but still capable, yet not distracting.  Thanks to MacUpdate’s Parallels Bundle and Chris Pirillo, I found the answer to my need in MenuCalendarClock.

It’s as slick as it looks in this screenshot and it’s even better.  The search box works wonders to bring up anything that’s been on your calendar but you don’t remember when, and it’s just where it’s needed.  Double-clicking on something either brings up iCal or a window to edit a task’s details.  In short, it rocks.

Of course, it could be even better.  I’d like to be able to specify the date format of the events view.  Repeating the year and month for each one of the three days shown looks silly to me.  I’d much rather see the name of the day completely spelled out, like “vendredi le 18“, “samedi le 19“, and “lundi le 21“.  (Yes, French is my native language.)

MenuCalendarClock comes at the price of 20$, for either iCal or Entourage.  If you’re quick enough, you could also get it like me in the great deal that is the Parallels Bundle.  Finally, if you just want the slick calendar view without the events and tasks view, the basic version of the application will come free to you.

Why I Bought the MacUpdate Parallels Bundle

2008-04-17

Here’s my story.
If you don’t like its start, don’t miss its end.

I already knew of most of the applications in the Parallels Bundle.

I already own Hazel.
I already own a competitor app to Parallels (Fusion).

I already use freeware or shareware equivalents to:
MenuCalendarClock (stock apple widget, not great),
StoryMill (trying Scrivener),
Typinator (trying TextExpander).

I knew I would someday want to buy Leap and MenuCalendarClock.
I knew I might someday need Art Text and StoryMill.

I think I learned the existence of this bundle on TUAW.
I checked it on MacUpdate, including the screencast.
I read again about it on another blog.
And another time on another blog I’m subscribed to.

And still, with all the knowledge I have of these apps, I wasn’t sure I’d purchase the bundle.  I even closed its tab in my browser – bad sign.

But then, Chris Pirillo published this post that hooked me.
I read it and bought the bundle; hence this post to share it with you.

Evernote for Mac Reviewed (beta version)

2008-03-22

evernote.png

Update (2008-05): The beta version was updated to 1.1, bringing support for PDF documents and some other minor goodies.  I’ve updated this post accordingly.  It also reflects the updated scores of Together 2.1.

In March, I was able to snag myself a TechCrunch invitation to try the upcoming Mac version of Evernote.  When I first discovered it in 2004 (for Windows), I soon became an advocate of Evernote for its organizational capabilities.  Evernote wasn’t perfect, but it was already a leader in the market and since then, it’s kept progressing at a steady pace.  Now that it’s starting to breathe on OS X, it’s time for a new testing round.

Today, I took a few hours to run Evernote against my web information collection test benchmark.  I’m now ready to share with you how Evernote, in its actual pre-release form, competes with the pack.

As this is pre-release software, please understand that Evernote will probably fare even better than now when it’ll reach Release Day.  Until then, here’s what I found. (more…)

EagleFiler 1.3 Reviewed

2008-03-14

Update (2008-05): Together and Evernote have been overhauled.  I’ve updated this post accordingly.

Reading this new version’s change list, which includes some great new features, I thought it’d be interesting to update my recent comparative review to see how EagleFiler now fares with its competitors.  But I’m not going to update the comparative review now, so I decided to simply post the score-changing differences here, along with their impact on EagleFiler’s evaluation.

  • EagleFiler’s global score for Collection brings it to become the second greatest of all the apps I’ve tested, for collection purposes (behind Evernote’s 65).  From 50, it raised to 62:
    • It’s now possible to import a selection of a web page as a web archive!  (You need to use Safari, or probably any other webkit-based browser.)  Until now, only Together supported this functionality.  This brings the score for Collection – Support from 26 to 29.
    • The addition of the optional window dialog to file what you collect (tags, comment, etc.) ups the score for Collection – Interaction from 18 to 24 and brings the score for Collection – Consistency from 6 to 9.
  • Various small improvements to EagleFiler’s tagging support bring its Organization – Tags integration score from 9 to 10, and its global Organization score from 30 to 31.

These changes bring EagleFiler’s global score from 124 to 138, with an average of 2.1 that now becomes 2.4.  That’s quite an improvement!

Now, there’s two more things I’d like to mention:

(more…)

Uninstallers: AppZapper vs Hazel

2008-02-12

trash.png

Update 2 (2008-12): MacApper posted a review of CleanApp 3, which has been released a month ago, and it looks even much more interesting than it did before. I’m yet to try it, though.

Update 1 (2008-04): Someone else compared many uninstallers, reaching similar conclusions.  Hinted at CleanApp possibly being the perfect solution.  Reviews on MacUpdate are fairly positive.  Cleanapp’s rating would be almost perfect if it wasn’t of some performance bugs that might get fixed when version 3 is released.

In the past few months, Hazel, an application that’s useful to automate your organization of files and folders, started lending a hand when you want to uninstall software from your Mac.

This move from the author is a really wise one, as it widens Hazel’s target market into the uninstaller utilities category of applications.  And indeed, that’s what convinced me to buy it, because first, I needed a good uninstaller, and second, I might someday want to build myself an automated workflow for my files and folders organization.

Now, the main question is:

How good is Hazel at uninstalling applications,
compared to the leader of this category, namely AppZapper?

I started my tests a month ago with the hypothesis that neither one would be really sufficient as a uninstaller, because unless I’m wrong, they both solely rely on Spotlight to find which files should be trashed when you uninstall something.

To verify this hypothesis and find an answer to the main question, each time I needed to uninstall an application, I would both use AppZapper and Hazel to see which one fares better.  It’s easy to do.  First, drag your doomed application to AppZapper.  Then, drag it to the trash.  You will end up with both AppZapper’s and Hazel’s suggestions as to what should be deleted along the application package.

The Short Answer

Neither one is that much better.  Neither one is sufficient.  Use both.

The Long Answer

(more…)

20 Observations from a Switcher

2008-02-02

apple.jpg

Update (2008-06): Updated to reflect how it works for me now.

Like most computer users who started with a Windows system, I once believed Macs are mostly crap or hype.

Background

That said, I would never have considered switching if Apple hadn’t introduced Mac OS X.  Mac OS 9 wasn’t my cup of tea (I used it for some school projects).

Through the last 7 years, my progressive discovery of the open source community in general drove me more and more to feel and experience how Windows sucks for a non-ms developer.  I needed some kind of unix/linux flavor, and even in 2007, my opinion was that linux distributions aren’t mature enough for me.  But linux is worth another rant.

When I started to understand in 2005 that Mac OS X had redefined the game and was indeed a great system, my interest raised enough for me to start reading a bit about it when bloggers would mention it.

In 2006, I saw the birth of MacTels and much more people starting to switch.  At that point, I was really enthralled by Leopard’s promises.  But I wasn’t ready to switch.  I needed to realize a three more things:

  • Mac OS X is so much based on a unix system that it’s in fact the best unix/linux-compatible distribution out there for the mass market, while at the same time being great for developers.
  • I can replace all the Windows applications I use with strong Mac alternatives.
  • Buying a Mac is a no-risk decision, since I could always switch back to Windows with the same Mac by using BootCamp.

When I understood all these facts, I knew I needed to give OS X its chance.  That’s when I started waiting for Leopard’s release.  This waiting wasn’t the happiest of all, especially after MacWorld 2007 came without the next cat.  I was of those wanting Steve Jobs to tell us to go buy our Macs now and he’d ship us Leopard later for free, but now I’m happy I waited.  I got a 24” aluminum iMac instead of a 20” plastic iMac.  I bought it one week before Leopard’s release and I ordered the 10$ upgrade disc to get Leopard one week after its release.  I received it three weeks after its release, probably because I’m Canadian.  I was angry at first, and then I felt deceived and sad about that.  When I finally received Leopard, I forgot all about that and continued using my shining, brand new iMac.

Observations

  1. I’m lost! I’ve used DOS and Windows for about 14 years and now I must find how to do almost anything.  …After a few days, most of that feeling was gone.
  2. PhotoBooth is a great deal of fun. My wife would like us to take one picture of us each and every day.
  3. System Preferences are much easier to browse and use in general than those of Windows XP.  And it’s really great that they all take effect without having to click on an OK button. (more…)

8 Web Information Collectors Reviewed

2008-01-31

Update 3 (2008-05): I reviewed Evernote’s and Together’s recent updates.  While reading this post with its slightly outdated results chart, remember to use the one that’s besides this paragraph to get the updated results.

Update 2 (2008-03): Evernote is the new wolf that’s coming in the pack, and it already redefines most of what’s best.  Read this review to know how.

Update 1 (2008-03): EagleFiler’s new version 1.3 makes it fare much better.  Read this review to know what changes regarding the following comparative review, as I haven’t updated this post in any other way than this mention.

Although computers are great to work with information, in the last 10 years using a Windows PC, I never found any software solution that would work well for my information collecting and management needs, although OneNote and EverNote came close to it.  But now that I use a Mac, I wanted to see if I’d be able to find something really great.

Our Problem

I believe what makes it hard to find the good application for our needs is that we all have our own very personal ways of dealing with the information that comes before our eyes every day; but most importantly, I believe we still haven’t seen our software in general become mature. Software still behaves like a baby who won’t share his toys. Software will grow someday, but Software just isn’t there yet. Say, Software, what will you do when you’ll have grown up?

Our Need

Until Software becomes an adult, there’s many applications available, and some of them might solve most of our information collecting needs. How would we define the best proposition?

I believe what we need in any application is that it:

  • supports the features needed,
  • interacts comfortably with us, and
  • keeps doing the previous two criteria in a consistent manner.

This definition is most probably critical in the case of information collection software. When I speak of consistency for information collection purposes, I mean, for example, that whatever the web browser I use and the method I use to collect something, it will always produce the same kind of rich text entry, accompanied by its link.

The Contenders

Now, since this is all about reviewing different applications to see which one of them is closing the most towards maturity, here’s what I tested:

DEVONthink PersonalEagleFilerJournlerNoteBook

ScrivenerSOHO NotesTogetherYojimbo

(more…)