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CircusPonies Notebook - experiences wanted Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Hi guys,

I am heavily using OF on Mac, iPhone and iPad. While the "notes" feature is quite useful (more so since notes are fullscreen on iPad) I am still in need of a "professional grade" note taking app. Apple's notes app is ok for a quick note but not suited to take numerous notes that I want to conserve and organise, plus it does not support sketching a quick diagram and the like.

I have investigated and tested a lot of apps. Only one I did not check out is "notebooks" for iPad by circus ponies. I use the mac pendent and like it but since the iPad version is not exactly cheap but, and that's the concern, has a lot of negative ratings for lack of performance and the like, I did not buy that one yet.

It seems to have the features I want though. My question is now: does any of you guys use the iPad version of notebooks by circus ponies? If so, what are your experiences with it? How is it's performance, are things smooth and stable? Can you recommend it?

Any such qualified opinion would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you in advance :)
The first question I would have is ... what constitutes "organizing" for you? Are you interested primarily in filing text notes + pictures in a searchable archive format? Or are you interested in arranging the notes + pictures in relationship to each other, possibly within larger contexts?

My second question is ... how dependent are you on your iPad or iPod to do this organization of notes? Is the requirement to have a cross-platform app strict, or are you willing to live with an app that only allows development on the Mac, with possible options to view your results in read-only formats on the other platforms?

FWIW ... I have Notebook on the Mac and have really not used it beyond a few initial trials. I rely far more on Curio to do the work that seems to parallel what you are wanting to do. I tend to organize my notes and pictures far more on a blank idea space in a relational, mind map style (Curio) than in pages using a sequential notebook style (Notebook). The downside is, Curio is only on the Mac, not the iPad or iPod. I do not have an iPad anyway and do not want to do my "organization" on an iPod regardless (screen is too small). The developer of Curio is well aware of and responsive to folks who are requesting an iPad version of Curio, though he has also pointed out the clear limitations and hurdles that would need to be overcome in translations of content.



Last edited by DrJJWMac; 2011-08-27 at 09:26 AM..

Thanks for the Quick reply.

I mainly Need it for Professional work. I am a corporate lawyer which means details are quite important for my work and I am collecting those in numerous meetings, phone calls and talks. And I have to keep such notes over months and sometimes years and be able go access them quickly, in context with each other. This is why apples notes (like the one in mail) is not suited, it's not organised enough. I also need to be able to take a quick scribble now and then (not so much pictures, as in jpegs).

Ideally an iPad app would sync with a desktop app. I only use macs (at least in relation to notes) so I do not need it to work cross platform. Main aspect is the iPad though since it has proven to have a lot of potential for my daily work, seeing it's small dimensions and weight and it's long battery duration combined with instant-on functionality. All I need now is a software suited to support my note taking needs.

I own notebooks for mac and it's a good software. I just don't want to carry around the MacBook.
Sounds as though something like NoteBook will certainly be better than Curio. The iPad also has note taking apps that support hand writing input. Some come highly rated. A recommendation I have read in this case is to get a good, dedicated iPad pen.

FWIW, you might consider the benefits of separating the note taking functions that you will do on the iPad from the note archiving functions that you will do on the Mac. You may find an app that allows you to take great notes on the iPad coupled with a different app that allows you to archive those notes in a searchable, logged, and tagged format on the Mac.

Sorry I cannot provide feedback otherwise for what you need. I anticipate being in your shoes ... looking for a good note taking app on the iPad ... sometime after this coming Christmas pending Santa putting me on his "good" list :-).

I actually like Circus Ponies Notebook on the Mac and the iPad. The ability to create an outline, tables, and freeform drawing is indispensable.

Syncing isn't quite perfect yet. I have to drag and drop Notebook files with iTunes so that I can use it on my iPad. No over-the-air syncing...... The blogs did state that they would get DropBox syncing soon and will explore iCloud syncing when it is officially released.

To complement your iPad, I'd recommend a nice case and even a bluetooth keyboard.

Here's a cool iPad case/stand:

There is an iPad generation 1 and iPad 2 edition available. It's an interesting stand with variable positions to prop up your iPad. The case/stand also swivels out just enough so that the backside camera is not blocked.

Then when I really want to do some heavy duty typing, I might suggest the Matias folding bluetooth keyboard:

I'm starting to learn to use mind mapping as a note taking tool.

I just bought NovaMind 5 because it allowed me to view my thoughts in both mind map and outline format simultaneously.

Here is a NovaMind 5 video tutorial on how to take notes or brainstorm in NovaMind 5.

For the iPad, iThoughtsHD is available and can use DropBox to sync with NovaMind, Mindmanager, and a lot of other mind mapping programs.

Mind mapping is another way to take notes and might help you out.

An alternative idea is to get one of those new MacBook Air (particularly the 11.6" edition). The 11.6" MBA is just a little bigger than an iPad so it won't be as heavy as a MacBook or MacBook Pro. Then you can use Circus Ponies Notebook on the MBA and don't have to worry about syncing Notebook files.

Last edited by wilsonng; 2011-09-05 at 08:43 PM..

I have used Notebook for a long time and Beta tested the iPad version. I have not bought the iPad version yet as it is a pain to sync backwards and forwards unless you do not want to add notes on the move but only read mac version's notes.

They are actively working on DropBox and/or iCloud remote syncing which will make it so much more useful and will definitely make me buy.

I have Yojimbo also but prefer Notebook for clipping from sites, especially tutorials and the like. I prefer it to (free version of) Evernote as I find it frustrating if out and about with slow connectivity and the notes take an age to download. I use Simplenote for mobile quick text only note taking.

I found years ago that the Mac version of CP (Clown Posse?) Notebook had too many bells and whistles for me. The very negative reviews of the iPad app have scared me off from taking another look. I won't use a tool I don't trust. I use Evernote (reference) and Simplenote (project plans/reference) and that's enough for me.
I use Evernote and iThoughtsHD for support materials on iPad. Evernote is used as an inbox and for storing general refence and I use a simple a-z tagging system without sub tags and etc.

IThoughtsHD is used for project support and project planning with natural planning model and more. It is a mind mapping app so information could be organized and structured in any imaginable way.
Mind maps are great for project support because it allows to easily see information in context, visualize dependencies, see the big picture or focus on details and so on.
An outliner app might work too, I guess, but I find mind maps to be more flexible.

All this is not easy to do in an app like Evernote where all you get is basically flat lists (no sub tags on iPad). But Evernote is amazing as an inbox and a great place to store everything that doesn't need much structure, ie general reference.

Both apps are cross platform.
And this combination works really well, Evernote is not enough for organizing project support materials because it doesn't provide enough structure and mind mapping is an overkill to store everything. But together those apps work great for me for managing all non actionable data on iPad.

I used personalBrain previously but got tired of carrying laptop and switched to iPad completely when I'm not at home

Last edited by StevenMay; 2011-10-02 at 03:48 PM..

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