Simple is better. Less is more. Retro is in. Stickies are the new PDA. Well, maybe not. But the Post-it note metaphor gone digital in your Mac’s Stickies has gone yet another step. Like, back to the 19th century, but in a totally think different digital way.
Imagine your Mac’s Dashboard as a digital cork board. Forget complicated database app, and utilities with twenty eleven folders and preferences. Just drag and drop whatever you want to keep onto Corkboard. Check it just like you would the magnetic cork board on your refrigerator.
You do have a cork board, right? You have magnets on your fridge, right? See? That’s the analog way of keeping organized. Analog methodology is in our human DNA, and despite all the digital utilities that do everything except get you a date, sometimes simple is better.
Yes, digital is all well and good, but analog is retro and chic. Your Mac is chic and combines the two in a unique and simple way to save stuff. Both retro and chic.
The Cork Board
Think of the lowly cork board. Sure, bulletin boards have been around for a few thousand years. The Egyptians used them to advertise for Pyramid workers (or, so I remember from history class). They even had cork back then, but never put two and two together to make a cork bulletin board. Maybe there was a shortage of pins.
Regardless, Corkboard is a handy Mac utility that uses a cork board metaphor that works kinda sorta like your Mac’s Dashboard. Instead of Widgets, your Mac gets a screen where you can save stuff.
Installation is drag and drop into your Mac’s applications folder. Double clicking starts Corkboard, which places a small cork board pin in your Mac’s Menubar. From then on, just drag and drop clippings, pictures, notes, or whatever onto the pin.
See? Simple. You could spend big money and get the latest drag and drop organizer for your Mac. Something like Yojimbo, or Together, or ShoveBox, or EagleFiler. Then try to figure out how to learn to use it. Then try to discipline yourself to do something different.
Don’t Think Different, Think Retro
Why not do what you already know how to do? How hard can it be to use a pin board on your Mac’s screen? A Mac digital cork board is a throwback to the 19th century. So, is Corkboard all that and more? What could be easier than dragging and dropping your stuff to something like the Dashboard (where all those Widgets live)?
Corkboard is one of those ideas you’ll be immediately attracted to until you try to use it. Then, well, the magnetic cork board on your refrigerator door starts to look like organization done right.
The concept is simple, the execution is needlessly complex. First, is the highly restrictive demo mode. Corkboard only lets you hold four items. If you want to try out different items—photos, bookmarks, files, graphics, text, etc., you have to right click on one of the four to discard it.
Second, getting something into Corkboard is a little too much precision action for me. The little pin in the Menubar is just that. It’s little and reminds me of ShoveBox. Together and Yojimbo have this nice big shelf that pops out, almost grabbing what you’re trying to save.
After that it’s almost smooth sailing. Corkboard can be set up to start running when you log in. Hot keys will display the Corkboard and all you’ve saved. Saving is just that. Drag, drop, save. Even if your Mac shuts down, what you put onto Corkboard stays.
What of the lovely interface? There isn’t one. Displaying Corkboard brings up a Dashboard-like screen which has a small tool bar in the upper left corner. It’s not moveable. It should be.
Configure Me Elmo
Corkboard can also be configured to display when you drag something into the icon in the Menubar. There are options for various backgrounds and animation, too. Unlike your fridge, you can have multiple pages of clippings on Corkboard and cycle between them.
For the visually impaired, Corkboard can speak your clippings and other items, and let you navigate between them using your Mac’s VoiceOver technology.
Unlike the cork boards you stick on your fridge door, Corkboard, while a great concept, is obviously a work in progress. There are tools available to help developers and users create plugins to add new data types.
It’s funny how something so retro, straight out of the late 19th century, can still find application as a digital utility in the 21st century. If other organizing apps and utilities are too complex for you, Corkboard might make your easy list. Why? Relative to other drag and drop organizers, Corkboard is easy and inexpensive.