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Organize all your digital bits and pieces with NoteBook.
Circus Ponies’ newest version of NoteBook takes everything we loved about the last version (4 out of 5 stars, Oct/07) and adds several new features that might be just the thing to convince Mac users drowning in data to give NoteBook a spin. True to its namesake, you can organize notes, to-dos, outlines, pictures, audio files, Web clips, and just about anything else on your computer in a familiar notebook-style interface. For super-organized types, NoteBook may very well be the greatest thing since the sticky-note, but it’s also easy for compulsive fiddlers to get bogged down in all the options, spending more time messing around with NoteBook than actually getting anything accomplished.
At first glance, NoteBook seems simple—almost too simple. When creating a new document—a notebook, natch—you’re presented with the familiar sight of a blank page in a spiral-bound book. You can use the page to hold practically anything. You could of course just start typing in data—class or meeting notes, or ideas for your blog, for example. But the real power of NoteBook comes when you start using it to organize different types of data. Over the holiday season, we used NoteBook to organize our shopping lists. We were able to drag and drop in images, and collect Web links, and product reviews to help us as we checked off items from our gift list. Getting text into NoteBook is quick and easy, either via cut and paste, or by using the handy Clipping Service feature, which allows you to quickly grab information from a Safari window and add it to a notebook page. Unfortunately, however, the feature relies on OS X’s Services, so it doesn’t work with Firefox, our preferred browser. Everything you add to your notebook is instantly indexed and searchable, and you can add a wide variety of metadata to items via the improved Inspector for more flexible searching.
The latest version of NoteBook offers several useful new features. Using OS X’s InkWell handwriting recognition, tablet users can just write in their notebook pages, and the text will be searchable within NoteBook. Sketching options are also now available, making NoteBook a handy repository for designers. In keeping with the notebook metaphor, you can also now add sticky notes and flags to notebook pages. Our favorite new feature is the new tear-out pages. Instead of flipping back and forth between several pages within a notebook, you can temporarily “tear out” additional pages so that you can view pages side-by-side.
We were impressed with the flexibility of NoteBook, although its open-ended design can be intimidating for users who need a bit more structure to help them organize. Easy exporting options as plain-text, PDF, or even webpages makes your NoteBook data extremely portable, but as we worked with the app, we wished it offered some sort of native syncing capabilities to keep notebooks current across two or more Macs.NoteBook can help organize digital details of all kinds, without forcing you to follow a prescribed structure.