BareBone’ YoJimbo makes keeping track of information very easy. No learning curve. Mostly. Judge for yourself.
Are there easier ways to find, store, track those little pieces of information that seem to scatter all over our Macs? Yes. Yojimbo makes it more than easy.
YoJimbo is a Mac application that changes the way you keep and track those many tidbits of information that get stuck everywhere else. Even Spotlight takes awhile to find what you’re looking for. Yojimbo is easier.
So, what are you looking for? A little of everything that doesn’t seem to belong anywhere, and my Mac is full of it—despite trying the old StickyBrain and Circus Ponies ‘Notebook and half a dozen information “organizers.”
BareBones says Yojimbo will change the way I work. Right up front, I’ll tell you that changing the way I work is hard. I’d rather have an application that sort of follows me around, collects what I need, makes it easy for me to get it back when I need it.
So, what am I looking for? AddressBook does addresses and phone numbers and directions and labels. iCal does schedules and dates and appointments and birthdays and notifications. Safari does web page bookmarks.
Mail does email (and, automatically captures all the stuff I may need inside each message—I just don’t always know where it is).
I keep all my Word and Excel documents in Documents and Spotlight usually finds what I’m looking for about as fast as I can type what I’m looking for. Usually. It also gives me a big list I have to sort through.
What should I be saving that needs to be looked for that YoJimbo makes much easier? Passwords. I keep those on Stickies. Serial numbers. I’ve kept those on stickies, and in email, and in a spreadsheet. Somewhere.
Effortless is what I need, want, and deserve. BareBones promo pages say that YoJimbo is effortless. It’s easy, but not effortless. They also say I can copy what I want to store with a click of a key. That’s easy. Except I have to look on my list of Stickies to remember which key to use in Yojimbo. Really. I’m that way.
YoJimbo collects stuff. Bookmarks (like in Safari), Passwords, Serial Numbers, and Web Archives. It does just what a number of other applications already do. Some specialize in passwords. Others specialize in serial numbers.
Notebook and other such applications collect seemingly everything, so how does YoJimbo do anything more or better for less? It does and it doesn’t. There’s not as many features as other applications, but BareBones doesn’t engage in feature wars with their applications.
Ease of use is important and I found that our right away with YoJimbo. I had some difficulty with the learning curve on the original StickyBrain and later, Notebook, and was somewhat overwhelmed with the features list.
YoJimbo has this nifty tab (they call it a Drop Dock) that sticks out of your Macs screen on the right side. The tab says “YoJimbo” and has an icon of library books. Drag and drop stuff there. Like a URL from Safari. A text file from your Desktop.
Or, press the Hot Key (F8 is default) and a selection from the clipboard is ready to be pasted and stored. OK, those interface elements are simple enough for me.
What else is easy? The interface. We’re back to the iTunes, iPhoto, Mail interface. Tool bar at the top, list of item categories to the left, detail below the toolbar, platinum plastic look. That can’t be too hard to get around and it’s not.
YoJimbo’s categories (the left column, which corresponds to Playlists in iTunes, and Albums in iPhoto, and Mailboxes in Mail) include Library, which holds everything. It’s searchable.
Next is Flagged Items; things that are important enough to warrant a Flag. Then there’s Recent Items (duh), Archives, Bookmarks, Notes, and Trash.
The toolbar lets you make new iems, inspect current items, flag, label or delete items you’ve collected and saved in the Library. That’s handy and, importantly, simple to figure out.
The reason I’m dancing around here is because I’ve tried, as Tera used to say, twenty-eleven different Mac applications to get somewhat organized with the countless little items that I collect, need, use each day that don’t have their own application. Or, if they did, I’d end up with 14 more applications, each with a different interface, each needing to be learned, updated, etc. See the problem?
So, YoJimbo lets me collect information quickly, store it quickly, retrieve it quickly. Is that worth $40? If I use it in place of six other applications that I’m not using well and each of them cost an average of $25-$60, yes.
What made me look a little closer at YoJimbo was the “Print to YoJimbo” feature. For a few years now, I’ve been printing online information as PDF fiiles, and sticking each into various places in the Documents folder. Simple, yes. Easy to find? Not always.
Once installed, the Print menu has a new selection. Click PDF in Print, and select Save in Yojimbo. Now the PDF is saved and searchable (not categorized, though). But the PDF shows up in YoJimbo and is viewable without opening Preview.
Hmmm. This is catching on. Taking a cue from the Inspector found in other Mac applications, you can inspect any file in Yojimbo. Handy. The familiar “Plus” button in the lower left corner lets you create new “Collections” so you can categorize Word documents from Pages documents, of PDFs from everything else. You choose.
The Collections you create also show up in the Drop Dock, which is moveable to wherever you want on the Mac’s screen edge.
Security is a big deal these days, and YoJimbo helps by encrypting and adding passwords to different items, including YoJimbo. This is great if you’re ready to move from a spreadsheet or Word document and want passwords and serial numbers stored in an organized and safe manner.
What I’ve noticed is that YoJimbo grows. I started out by collecting a bunch of text files I’d had scattered around. They had information that was useful, I wanted to save it, but didn’t have a single method. Then I added a few serial numbers. Then I added some passwords. Then more documents.
Then more Collections to keep them organized. Get the picture? I wasn’t really adjusting my way of working so much as I finally found something that let me consolidate five or six applications into one that was easy to get started and grows with me. That’s sweet. That’s the Mac way, right?
Regardless, as always, your mileage may vary. BareBones is a very reputable and professional Mac developer and has been for many years. Click Here for more details and the download link. You can try out YoJimbo for 30 days free of charge.
The list of organizational needs is longer than the list of solutions to organize, though not by much. What do you use to manage these? Serial numbers, passwords, credit card numbers, bank account numbers, web pages, PDFs, graphics, documents. Share in the Comments section below.