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I'm beginning to see the sense of using an ancillary app. to manage my information - stuff that isn't directly involved in a project.

What tools do the panel use for this purpose?



I use a combination: OmniOutliner for structured material, like future goals or packing checklists; folders and files in the Finder for project support; and Eagle Filer for archival emails.



Hi Curt :-)

I have these notes: -

o 'NI dongle purchased 12/4/07'
o 'Unsubscribed from MyLife' 12/9/09'
o lots of technique notes for Logic Pro
o people I was considering to invite to perform at a festival last year.

None of them are directly involved with a current project, although arguably the Logic Pro techniques are always useful - but they are no more than tasty selections of the parper/sofware manual

I'd like to strip these sort of things out of OF - to make it more 'action-lean'.

Not least because of the amount of time I have to wait every time I search for a term - but also to cultivate conciseness in what the application is designed to do.

So what I need is an info organiser that will allow me to categorise my info in much the same way that OF does - will Eaglefiler do all that? I've been windowshopping Eaglefiler, DevonThink, Yojimbo, Notes ( Circus Pony) and so on.

I really like the idea of Eaglefiler managing my email archives, but that's not what I'm focused on right now.

My favourite PIM has been MORI, but there hasn't been any development for over a year, and it breaks in Snow Leopard, which I will eventually move to.
I also fancied Journier back when, but they've just announced an end of development, too.

Evernote appears to be an online PIM, and I don't really fancy online data storage.


Last edited by peterlemer; 2009-09-28 at 12:51 PM..
I've investigated DevonThink, Yojimbo, and EagleFiler. DevonThink is clearly the power tool of this bunch, but I just can't get past the unapproachable user interface. I really like Yojimbo, but it can't handle email natively; you have to print emails to pdf to import them to Yojimbo. EagleFiler feels sticky some how; it's lightning quick one minute, then impossibly slow the next. But it takes a mountain of email, a huge variety of other documents, and provides all the hierarchical and tagging-based organization I could want.

So EagleFiler gets my email, web clippings, random notes, and anything else that doesn't have a home elsewhere.

Peter, I think what you're looking for is a PIM (Personal Information Manager). I've been using a now defunct/discontinued PIM called Dossier that I absolutely love. I actually was using it to manage all my do lists until it got out of control... thus why I sought out Omnifocus.

Friends have recommended Evernote, Devon* products, Yojimbo, Together, Voodoopad, Journlr, OmniOutliner and more. There are a lot of options-- let me know if you find one you love!

I'll be using Dossier until I get up to speed on GTD. Then may try to find a good PIM, though Dossier does the trick for me for the most part.
> I think what you're looking for is a PIM (Personal Information
> Manager)

yes indeed - I've been through quite a few in my time :-)
Now Software, Palm Desktop, Hogbay/MORI, Journier - and apart from Now ( which is overfeatured for my needs) they are no longer under development.

As my main interest is retrieval of text information I guess any of the products you mention would work - but following the responses here, I am growing interested in asset management and email management, too.

I guess this decision will have to brew for a while :-)

thanks, curt & jay - and I'd love to hear from other panelists

I have also tried most of the programs mentioned, Yojimbo, DevonThink, SOHO Notes, EagleFiler, etc. The one I settled on has not been mentioned yet: Together. It is simple to use, easy to get things in an out of, and does not use a proprietary database format, instead keeping everything in a folder format. (This means it might not be quite as quick as say, Yojimbo, but I like knowing that I am essentially keeping everything in its appropriate format.)

It is also very good at quick notes. With a keyboard shortcut you can open the sidebar (to which you can, if you wish, drag any kind of file to import), and type a text note that will be dated and can be tagged very easily.

I find this program invaluable, and while not perfect, would recommend it over all the other "manager" programs mentioned above.
I'm using Together too.
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 05:09 PM.. Reason: Added links
thanks toadling - definitely food for thought. Will get back after I've let your idea settle :-)

first questions that come up:

1. is my Finder system as easily understood by other, nontechnical family members in the event that I am no longer in the pilot's seat for whatever reason?

2. using Finder, how would you advise storing the random examples I gave ( above) in my reply to curt?


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