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This blog post about "Anything Buckets" is pertinent. Shawn Blanc argues for keeping Finder stuff in the Finder, but throwing miscellaneous stuff into an info. manager app. He's using Yojimbo, but other apps could be used similarly.
__________________
Cheers,

Curt
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by curt.clifton View Post
DevonThink is clearly the power tool of this bunch, but I just can't get past the unapproachable user interface.
Oddly enough, Devonthink seems to me to have an unusually straightforward user interface - you just make folders, pull things into them, and use the search dialogs ...

Perhaps, however, this is not the right forum for that conversation :-)
 
Maybe I need to have yet another look. Every time I've launched a trial of Devonthink I just think "eww". ... [downloads demo] ...

The UI is cleaner than I remember, but there are still way too many concepts to learn for my needs: groups, databases, multiple inboxes, 6 different views on the main toolbar, smart groups in the sidebar and within databases, and a dialog (that comes up behind other apps) with options to install nearly a dozen different vaguely named plug-ins as the first-launch user experience.

Anyway, this is off-topic. DT is clearly a power tool. I'm sure others find OF equally daunting on first launch, but I'd be lost without it. To each his own.

Cheers,

Curt
__________________
Cheers,

Curt
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by curt.clifton View Post
Maybe I need to have yet another look.
I think so. (Perhaps they need a less comprehensive demo).

Quote:
Originally Posted by curt.clifton View Post
too many concepts to learn for my needs: groups, databases, multiple inboxes ...
Well ...

groups - just folders and sub-folders - exactly like OF.
databases - you only need one. That's what I do to integrate with OF.
multiple inboxes - Like OF, there's just one global inbox, and an icon for it appears (rather usefully, I find) in the Finder and in the Save As dialogs of all other OS X applications.

(The global inbox can feed into database-specific in-trays if you choose to have several databases, but there's no need to)

As for the alternative screen layouts and smart collections - these are very much like the Finder. As an OF expert, I think you might feel less daunted if you gave it a second glance :-)

I find the Omnifocus <--> Devonthink interaction works very well, not least because both are highly scriptable.

--

Last edited by RobTrew; 2009-10-01 at 03:22 AM..
 
I trust your judgment, Rob. DevonThink goes back on my list of software to play with sometime. I'll try to give it a more extended trial next time.

And now, back to our regularly scheduled forum...
__________________
Cheers,

Curt

Last edited by curt.clifton; 2009-10-01 at 03:56 AM.. Reason: typo fix
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by wdiadamo View Post
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.
I'm evaluating it now - how do you get actions etc from OF to Together?
I really like the distinction between folders and groups, btw.

(more)

Action text can go to either Eaglefiler by dragging or to Together via Services, but neither will preserve any note.

Ideally that's what's needed: a repository for all non-project related info.

I really can't see Finder doing that job elegantly.

eg.

action: 'test action' + note 'test action note'
Folder 'A'; ex-project 'Z'.

How would I file that in Finder?

peter

Last edited by peterlemer; 2009-10-01 at 07:10 AM..
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by peterlemer View Post
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?
That's hard for me to say. It really depends on how complicated you make your system. If your nontechnical family members can navigate a folder heirarchy, sort by column headings, and double-click file icons, then they've probably got the basic skill prerequisites. ;-) It's the building of complex Spotlight queries and using encrypted disk images that adds an extra layer of complexity. But depending on the PIM application you choose, similar complexities may exist in using that software as well.

There's certainly something to be said for having everything in one place, all bundled up nicely in a PIM database. Even though you can think of your filesystem as that "database", I agree that there's an addiitonal level of comfort provided by knowing that all your info is neatly contained within the narrower confines of a trusted application.

Then there's the issue of convenience. As Curt mentioned earlier, Shawn Blanc wrote about this in his recent review of Yojimbo 2. John Gruber has also written about reducing the friction of collecting notes.

I mostly agree with them, but the efficiency gains seem small to me. Maybe it's just my OCD, but regardless of where I store the info, I'm going to name the item properly and store it in an organized manner, whether that be in a folder heriarchy or with tags. Some PIMs might make this slightly easier, but it's not much of an obstacle in the filesystem either, at least not for me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by peterlemer View Post
2. using Finder, how would you advise storing the random examples I gave ( above) in my reply to curt?
NI dongle purchased 12/4/07

I keep a folder of receipts from all of my purchases. Most of these are PDFs saved from Safari or Mail. If I don't have the original receipt, I create a simple text file with the pertinent details and save it in my Receipts folder. Spotlight, Finder, and Quick Look make searching and browsing easy and fast. I store the folder on an encrypted disk image just in case there are credit card numbers or other bits of private information in any of the files.


Unsubscribed from MyLife' 12/9/09'

I keep another folder of all my subscriptions and accounts on the same encrypted disk image. I create a single text file for each account using a simple template in my text editor. Each file contains the account name, location (URL), username, password, and a comment field. In the comment field, I log when the account was opened, any signifcant transaction or details, and if/when it was closed or canceled. As with my reciepts, this folder can be easily searched and browsed with Spotlight, Finder, and QuickLook


lots of technique notes for Logic Pro

I keep another folder of general purpose reference material I've collected over the year. I call mine "Articles" and have a new folder for each year. When I find a useful piece of information, I simply dump it in the folder. Everything for the year is kept in one big pile. I typically view it in list mode in the Finder, sorted by modification date. By the end of the year, I might have a couple thousand articles saved. Tags might be a nice addition here, but I've found Spotlight's full content search to be sufficient for my needs.

I sometimes also create topic-specific folders outside of my Articles folder for things I'm particularly interested in. For example, I have an "Audio" folder for all my notes on Logic Pro, sample libraries, and production techniques. I have another folder for all my purchased e-books, one for all my manuals and user guides, and another for Python tutorials and code snippets.


people I was considering to invite to perform at a festival last year

For something like this, I'd probably create a folder named after the event and put it in my "Miscellaneous" folder. Inside, I'd store all my notes about the event: URLs, brochures as PDFs, and the list of attendees as either a Numbers or OmniOutliner document or even as plain text.

Using Finder's column view, it becomes very easy to browse through these items and find what I'm looking for. And of course Spotlight works on folder names as well as individual documents.

Quote:
Originally Posted by peterlemer View Post
Ideally that's what's needed: a repository for all non-project related info.

I really can't see Finder doing that job elegantly.

eg.

action: 'test action' + note 'test action note'
Folder 'A'; ex-project 'Z'.

How would I file that in Finder?
I'm not sure I understand. Couldn't you just create a related folder in Finder and put all your reference material in it? Isn't that essentially what you'd be doing in a PIM? Then just link the folder to your OmniFocus project. I usually store short text notes that are directly related to the action or project in the note field of the project or action itself.

As I see it, a PIM basically offers these potential advantages:
  1. Ease of data entry; just drop stuff on the app or "clip" it to store it; no save dialogs or filenames to worry about. But once you start to sort and organize items in the PIM app by placing them in subfolders, tagging, or labeling, there's not much of an efficiency advantage over Finder -- you're more or less spending the same amount of effort in both systems.

  2. Tagging. Granted, this is missing in Finder. Although it can be implemented with various hacks or third-party apps, it may not feel quite as polished as a dedicated PIM app. If you're a big fan of tagging, the Finder approach might not be for you.

  3. Search relevance and intelligent item relationships. I've never used DevonThink, but it looks like it can do some pretty sophisticated stuff in this regard. If you need something like this, Finder is probably not a good choice.

  4. iPhone app. If the PIM offers a syncing iPhone app so you can view all or a subset of your notes and reference material on the go, that's a huge advantage. I guess you could use your iDisk or an iPhone app like Briefcase or Air Sharing to take files with you on your iPhone, but a syncing PIM database seems more elegant.

Am I missing anything?

DISCLAIMER: I'm not really trying to convince you or anyone else that the Finder, Spotlight, and Quick Look are going to solve all your problems. It's not perfect and probably requires a particular mindset and a fair degree of discipline to make it work.

In fact, I'm kind of hoping someone will offer up some convincing reasons why I might want to consider moving back to a PIM myself. :-) I don't see a clear advantage now, but I'm certainly open to persuasion! And if nothing else, maybe these ideas are at least food for thought.

-Dennis

Last edited by Toadling; 2009-10-01 at 11:17 AM.. Reason: Added iPhone app to my list of potential PIM advantages
 
Hey Toad person only just realised you're a music person too.
 
wow Dennis - that's some serious coaching :-)
please accept thanks and allow me some time to absorb - this is philosophy :-)

peter
 
so Dennis - any chance of a screenshot of your folder hierarchy?

My Documents folder is a mix of my main category folders and all sorts of stuff that my various apps put there, plus customised folders and alias folders that are my personalised Dock folders.. Quite a long list - not very well structured.

I'm wary about nesting app-specific folders because sometimes the parent app doesn't like losing the default path. I've had all sorts of problems with audio plugins - I can't be specific here because it's history ( not well logged!) but I've had missing libraries, licenses, presets and so on. I know this can be overcome by revising directory path info but then when I have to re-install for whatever reason, I have to do it all over. And I think some of the developers prefer that such resources stay where the installer puts them.

I admit some confusion, but I do have too many plugins to herd like this.

peter

Last edited by peterlemer; 2009-10-02 at 03:25 AM..
 
 


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