Your Mac might be easy to use, but there’s a healthy learning curve, especially if you’re switching from Windows. For all the ease of use in an iPhone, there’s still a learning curve. It takes time and effort to figure out all a Mac or an iPhone can do.
BareBones’ Yojimbo claims to be effortless to use and has no learning curve. That’s not quite true. Yojimbo is an information organizer not found anywhere else on the Mac. Elegant, sleek, simple, and very powerful, yet comes with two basic flaws.
I’m going against the Mac360 grain by advocating a Mac utility not in the mainstream of average, everyday Mac users. That’s been Mac360’s basic forte’ now going on six years. As a group of Mac users, we like what we like.
Together, ShoveBox, EagleFiler, and Yojimbo have more in common than the gender difference may allow. Both collect all kinds of information with not much more than a drag and drop. Each has a pop out shelf which aids the drop process.
Each is easy to install, relatively easy to use. Each stores everything and gives it back almost instantly. Genderwise, Yojimbo is more powerful, and requires more effort, and money, to manage if you have more than a single Mac.
Shaken, Not Stirred
Yojimbo’s interface is at once familiar and friendly. Toolbar on top. Left column of library, files and folders (collections). The center columns display the line items of what you’ve stored on top, the detail of each on the bottom.
What goes into Yojimbo is the daily stream of stuff that crosses your Mac’s screen, catches your attention, and then gets lost. Except Yojimbo is there to help hold onto what usually gets lost.
- Collections – This is how you organize what you store in Yojimbo. These include Bookmarks, Images, Notes, Music, whatever. Create your own collections, or use the built-in smart collections.
- Toolbar – Mac users are familiar with toolbars, and Yojimbo’s won’t intimidate you. Click the New icon for a new item. Inspect the details of an item by clicking Inspector. Even Flag or Label items.
- Search – A chunk of the toolbar is the Search field. Enter a word or phrase or tag and whatever matches pops up on the screen. You can also use Spotlight, but as you know, that dredges up everything else. Yojimbo’s search is more specific.
- Security – What sets Yojimbo apart from the masses is industrial strength encryption. You may wonder what needs encrypting. Yojimbo is perfect for serial numbers (collection), loginIDs and passwords (collection), sensitive messages, notes, files, even on a per-item basis.
- Inputing – Any information manager without a pop out shelf is still living in the last century. Yojimbo has a Quick Input Panel with multiple ways to store stuff. Drag to the Dock. Or, drag to the Drop Dock. One item. Many items. The effort is minimal.
- Tags – Not so minimal effort is using Tags and the Tag Explorer. Clearly, this feature is for the more adventurous and disciplined. You can assign keyword tags to every item you store by using a handy right column pane of tags, or make them up as you go. Tags are handy in searching Yojimbo and almost automatic using the Tag Explorer.
License to Thrill
If ShoveBox isn’t enough, or EagleFiler seems to complicated, or Together seems anemic, and you don’t mind a nagging fear that anything this good must come with a hefty price, you’ll like Yojimbo. Price? Yojimbo syncs between Mac by using MobileMe.
That’s another $100 a year to keep your stuff synchronized between a Mac at home and a MacBook on the road. It works. It’s automatic. It’s easier than dragging folders from Mac to Mac. Is there a gotcha in the house?
Yojimbo pulls and stores data into a database on your Mac, which comes with a built-in SQL Lite database (which gets used on more Mac apps and utilities than you may imagine). It’s fast, it’s secure, but it’s not for the faint of heart. You can’t just drag a folder to another Mac and make Yojimbo work again.
On the other hand, if you use Yojimbo with MobileMe, and you’re familiar with the potential trials and tribulation of putting everything of value into a single database instead of a folder, you end up with multiple back ups in multiple locations; always a benefit.
Also missing is an iPhone version that, you guessed it, syncs with your Mac or Mobile Me. Yojimbo is a thriller, though more masculine than similar information managers.