At Mac360 we focus attention on Mac applications that are both useful and valuable; particularly those that can have a positive effect on your Mac life.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that we provide plenty of reviews on Mac backup applications.
One trend that’s become crystal clear is organization tools for your Mac. They’re multiplying faster than Alexis Kayhill (still pregnant, overdue, and, rethinking the whole ‘parenthood’ objective).
It’s one thing to organize and store your music and digital photos. It’s something else again to use your Mac to store documents, whether they’re word processing, spreadsheet, presentation, or graphics.
Recently, we’ve seen a notable increase in so-called organizational tools for Mac users; everything from basic To-Do lists, to Project/Task managers, to notebooks that track and store everything; notes, audio, video, URL’s, images, etc.
What’s the latest trend in the digital hub? Looks like organizational tools to me. Tools with many features, loaded with power, more complex.
From what I can tell, the traditional boundaries that separate such tools are becoming blurred. Competition is often led by features, even within Mac applications.
That said, there appear to be some distinctions. Organization tools for projects and tasks, are notably different than tools to collect, store, and retrieve information.
In between the recent flurry of new and updated organizational tools, are the basic applications which store contact information, email, and synchronize, either with other Macs or services such as Apple’s .Mac.
Over the next few weeks we’ll devote attention and reviews to the major organizational tools available for Mac users; projects and tasks, information storage, tracking, and retrieval.
This will include those that are project and task oriented, and those that collect and store all types of information, as well as though that bridge the basic categories, and integrate with iCal and AddressBook.
Among tools that collect and store, the Mac360 reviewers have favorites. Circus Ponies Notebook is a remarkable way to gather and store information that crosses the Mac’s screen.
Though the Notebook interface paradigm is familiar, the feature set is extensive and requires regular use to master.
Bambi swears by Entourage for handling email, contacts, schedules, and the all-important projects and tasks, and it now integrates with iCal and AddressBook, as well as .Mac.
Other Mac360 readers have listed their favorites, too. StickBrain is popular, while BareBones’ Yojimbo appears promising, and has an elegant interface.
I’ve been particularly impressed with MarketCircle’s latest version of Daylite, which handles projects and tasks in a group setting, yet integrates with Apple’s Mail and AddressBook.
Chronos just released the new SOHO Organizer which adds their own version of contacts, calendars, notes, and print essentials to the mix. Organizer isn’t complete yet, as other features will show up in a few months.
Important to note is the complexity of some of these Mac applications. Both SOHO Organizer and Daylite require OpenBase, a powerful SQL database, to be installed on your Mac.
Does complexity beget organization? After all, if there are so many features in the application that’s it becomes a challenge to learn, let alone use daily, what’s the benefit?
That’s an issue even in the Windows world, where business organizational tools for PC users is dominated by Microsoft’s Outlook and Exchange combo, and IBM’s Lotus Notes.
Neither application is for the faint of heart, requiring hours of training to become useful.
The industry for organizing information workers is huge; worth multiple billions of dollars in applications, licensing, training.
Training? Do Mac users need training to use the new generation of organizational tools? Make no mistake. Many of the new breed of organizational applications are complex. It’s no longer just point and click, keep it simple, get productive.
Throughout the month of April we’ll focus reviews on the latest Mac tools, compare them with standards such as Entourage and Notebook, and give you a list from which to choose.
2006 may be the year of organizational tools on the Mac. What’s your flavor? Is Mail, iCal, and AddressBook sufficient for you? Is Microsoft’s Entourage too complex? If so, you’ll be challenged by the likes of Daylite 3 and Notebook.
What do you use to organize your digital life?