I use my Mac to keep organized. I’ve had about a dozen Mac applications to help me and that’s not always enough.
With Tera’s request to make April the spring-cleaning, Mac organizational tool month, I figure It’s time to look at a tool with some muscle. This week’s new organization pal is Sticky Brain. Why? Because things don’t stick to my brain like they used to.
The problem, of course, is that to use an organizer on your Mac often requires that you bite the bullet and, well, start using it. As cool as Notebook is, I couldn’t get into it and let it help me control everything that flows through my Mac.
Last fall I looked at the new StickyBrain. Why? Well, I was intrigued by the name, as it more aptly described my process for organizing. I need things to “stick” that didn’t, wouldn’t, or couldn’t.
If you’re like me, your Mac is truly the “digital hub.” Movies. Music. Photos. Web browser. Email. Addresses. Reports. Graphics. Storage. You name it, it flows through my Mac.
The problem is that Mac OS X has no clever way to handle all those pieces, the notes, a list of all the things important. And it’s not just lists. Bookmarks are important, but once they get shoved into Safari, they get lost.
Archiving web pages is painful but sometimes I need to view pages, not links to pages that have already been updated. Again.
Amazingly, some people still use Palm handhelds, so tranferring information from the Mac to the Palm, or between multiple Macs is a necessity.
Even worse is the Mac’s complete inability (in OS X, not in 3rd party applications) to handle notes and alarm in a way that I can track. iCal works OK, but is limited and doesn’t do Projects and Tasks.
Plus, I’m constantly taking notes. Sometimes in TextEdit, sometimes in Word, sometimes in Stickies, sometimes in… see what I mean? Stuff is all over.
All photos don’t belong in iPhoto, but I want to save them anyway. Sometimes I get audio clips and audio programs and even music that I don’t want stuck in iTunes. Where does that stuff go?
My notes need to be linked to people in the AddressBook or on my email list? How do I do that? See. Organization is important.
So, I decided to let the first few weeks of April be my quality organization time, and I tried Sticky Brain. The previous version took a little getting used to because features abound and I wasn’t really sure how to go about organizing me to be more organized.
Step by step, pieces fell into place. Discipline, Caro. Discipline. Jack’s love life can wait. What I was afraid of isn’t what I found in Sticky Brain. It wasn’t a matter of me organizing myself, it was a matter of letting Sticky Brain’s tools do what I needed done.
I just had to figure out the tools and figure out how I needed to do what I needed done. Does that make sense? Duh. Who knew you had to learn what a tool did before you started using it?
Sticky Brain’s latest version now works with Spotlight, so searches are near instant. It’s faster. Much. The Dock icon now has menus, so it’s handier. And there’s a bunch of new “note types.”
As to features, if you’re looking for more organization, check the list. Spotlight. Integration with Safari. Integrates with .Mac for multiple computer use (a big time saver as I have a laptop Mac and a desktop, and I use one of Jack’s Macs to backup).
Tabbed note viewing lets me keep multiple “note types” open at once. Alarms. Oh, how sweet these are. I can even kill multiple alarms at once. Control is a good thing.
The new version is more organized than the old version and that’s a welcome relief. Earlier versions seemed to have pieces of “organization” all over the place. An organizer should be organized itself, right?
What’s nice is the ability to drag and drop. I can pull in photos, archive a web page, link notes to contacts in the Mac OS X Address Book, and view notes linked to specific contacts (you don’t know how handy that is when you get a call from someone and you don’t remember the last conversation).
Sticky Brain has graduated from a healthy note taker to a central “hub” for capturing, displaying, storing, and organizing the bits and pieces of information we run into each day. It’s all the things you can’t easily do with OS X by itself.
The user interface now looks similar to Mail in OS X (down to the high quality plastic look), so navigation is rather intuitive. Saved web pages can be viewed right inside Sticky Brain.
Notes can be pulled in from any application and stored using the Services menu in Mac OS X. Store text notes, web page clips, PDFs, Images, Movies, Audio, whatever.
Sticky Brain almost looks like you folded TextEdit, AddressBook, iCal’s alarms, Mail, and Safari into the Finder and made it all work together.
One thing I found interesting is that Sticky Brain uses OpenBase as the database repository for storing items and information. That means that a powerful relational database system is installed on your Mac.
That bothered me because I don’t know quat about database management. It turns out that it’s not an issue because OpenBase was already on my Mac. It came with Parliant’s PhoneValet which we installed on my iMac last year.
Just as cool is .Mac sychronization, so I can keep StickyBrain on my iMac and my laptop without worrying much about which files need to be copied when and where.
Of course, that points out that the Mac still needs some kind of auto-sync feature between one Mac and another, but that’s a different organizational issue.
Is Sticky Brain the answer for all your organizational requirements? Yes and no. Yes, it will help. No, it won’t get your kids better grades in school. Unless you buy each one a new MacBook Pro and add Sticky Brain.
Sticky Brain is not a simple note taker. It’s highly organized and comes with many options to gather, track, and store pieces of valuable information that cross your’ Mac’s screen each day.
That means there’s a learning curve. To be fair, it’s a gentle learning curve, but don’t expect to simply point and click your way to Organizational Nirvana.
Click Here for the feature list, and download the trial version.