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September 14, 2005



Sounds interesting to me!

You used Aquaminds? To me, the interface looks like the Big Chief Writing Tablet of note-taking software.


One of my professors bought a copy of Aquaminds NoteTaker last year. I grabbed the demo and used it for about a month for note taking. It's actually a pretty useful piece of software for note taking, but it has some serious limitations in my opinion. The interface sucks pretty bad. It's not so much the notebook metaphor that bothers me as much as the cluttered menu structure and dialogs. It also only allows for one level of outlining on the index pages. I tend to get a little more granular with my document structures. Also, newer versions have a java based plugin system which seems pretty useless to me and seems to make the program crash a little more often than it should. Circus Ponies Notebook is derived from the same code base, seems cleaner, and has the better balance between functionality and clutter. You can't beat Hog Bay Notebook for the price, but I don't use it as much as I should and I'm not sure why. I use blogs pretty extensively to keep notes and ideas. I suspect that Hog Bay Notebook doesn't give me enough extra functionality to make me switch my workflow.

DEVONThink is very similar in concept to Hog Bay Notebook, but has a few features that sets it apart for me. First, it can deal with RSS feeds directly. Since a large part of the research I do outside of the dissertation involves reading RSS feeds, this is a big gain for me. It also allows me to integrate the notes that I take on the blog side without having to change the way that I work. Second, it will index and search within PDF files. This is a big gain for me on the dissertation side of things. It is pretty weak as an outliner, but it can handle OmniOutliner files directly, so I don't know that that is too much of a negative. I went ahead and picked up a copy of DEVONThink. I think I'll give it a month or so and do a big information tools blog posting with my thoughts on the tools I've used.

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