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Maybe it's not as glamorous, but I favor the simplicity and robustness (not to mention cost-effectiveness) of the Mac OS X filesystem, especially on Snow Leopard.

I've tried a variety of PIMs and "everything buckets" over the years, but always seem to return to basic files and folders with Finder and Spotlight. Here are a couple reasons why:
  1. Extremely robust, reliable, and future-proof
  2. Very Time Machine friendly
  3. Compatible with virtually any imaginable file type
  4. Very fast even with huge numbers of files
  5. Allows you to use any app you want for editing/viewing text notes, images, PDFs, etc.
  6. Built-in support for smart folders
  7. Built-in support for boolean searches
  8. Works well with third-party launchers (e.g., Quicksilver or LaunchBar, if you're into that kind of thing)
  9. Built-in support for labels and comments
  10. Built-in support for aliases
  11. Built-in support for Quick Look
  12. Easy linking to OmniFocus tasks (including Quick Look support)
  13. Supports syncing across mutiple machines via MobileMe, DropBox, etc.
  14. Items can be easily manipulated with scripts, command line tools, and third-party utilities (e.g. batch renaming tools)
  15. Excellent security via encrypted disk images

Admittedly, this approach works best if you've already got a favorite text editor or similar app for editing notes. Personally, I like BBEdit, but other apps like OmniOutliner, TextMate, the free TextWrangler, or even TextEdit will work.

It also helps to have a solid understanding of Spotlight queries and the underlying metadata system. That really goes a long way in helping you to quickly and easily find the information you're looking for.

If you're concerned with security, a basic understanding of disk images is important too (e.g., Mac OS X's mdutil command line tool can turn on Spotlight indexing for your disk images).

Many PIMs support tagging, which is, of course, missing in the Finder. But this feature can be approximated by using Spotlight comments or some third-party apps. In my situation, I've found tagging to be unnecessary and rely entirely on Spotlight's full-content and metadata searches. YMMV.

So maybe it's not for everyone (my wife seems happier with Yojimbo), but it's certainly not rocket science either. And you've probably already got all the software you need to use this system.


Last edited by Toadling; 2009-09-29 at 04:09 PM.. Reason: Added links