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VoodooPad Pro is one of those apps that takes a while to grow on you. When you open up a new document for the first time, VoodooPad looks kind of like a TextEdit window—in other words, plain and devoid of excess features. But if you’re the kind of person who needs to capture information and ideas as they happen, before they disappear into the ether—writers, students, compulsive list-makers, listen up—VoodooPad quickly becomes a valuable tool for recording all the awesome band names, Wi-Fi passwords, haiku, class notes, important telephone numbers, and ideas for your novel that pass between your ears every day.
At its core, VoodooPad is more or less a personal wiki for storing information. For the uninitiated, a wiki is a collection of linked documents—usually webpages—that contain editable information. It’s like Wikipedia, but for your desktop. So in a single VoodooPad document, you can create pages for a to-do list, names of books you want to read, and keep pictures to inspire you, if you’re looking for a new paint color for the living room—and move easily between the pages. In our case, we used VoodooPad to track all of the articles we needed to write or edit for the issue of Mac|Life you have in your hands, plus ideas for future issues, notes for a feature story we’re working on, art ideas, and research on some products we’re considering for review. Keeping all this in a single, organized document is a lot easier than keeping separate lists in our calendar, email program, and text files, as we usually do.
VoodooPad can quickly become your off-board brain, making it easy to capture and organize information.
What makes a VoodooPad list stand out from a list you could type up in Word or even just a simple text editor is its linking ability. If you type a word with a capital letter in the middle (VoodooPad calls this a “WikiName”), the app will automatically create a page linked to that word, and as you add information to your VoodooPad, it’ll automatically link to that page every time you type that word. VoodooPad also lets you bring in images and other files by embedding the file into your document or by linking to the file stored elsewhere on your Mac. The more you use VoodooPad, the more useful it becomes. The tabbed interface makes it easy to quickly jump to a specific page, and the uncluttered main window works perfectly as an always-open repository for snippets of information, especially if you take advantage of built-in document syncing via MobileMe or your own WebDAV server. The built-in search is tremendously useful, especially once your VoodooPad documents get deeper than one or two levels of linked pages. While it’s easy enough to create different documents for different projects, we appreciated the simplicity of the all-in-one approach. And that’s the beauty of VoodooPad—it’s easily adaptable to a variety of uses and work styles, and it doesn’t force its own organizational structure on you.
VoodooPad also includes plenty of options for exporting and otherwise accessing data. There’s a free iPhone App for reading—but not editing—VoodooPad docs away from your Mac, and the Pro version also includes a built-in Web server for making VoodooPad documents readable with a Web browser over your local network. For wider distribution, you can export documents in a variety of formats, including linked html files for uploading to your own server. VoodooPad Pro also features whole-document encryption for storing sensitive data, and extensive support for the Lua scripting language for automating VoodooPad functions. And for users with more modest needs, Flying Meat offers a less-expensive “standard” option with fewer features and even a free VoodooPad Lite version.