Yojimbo: Changing of The Guard 08.28.2006
Recently, I have found myself in the market for a new way to manage all the little info bits that come ones way in this great big digital world of ours. For years I have been using Notetaker for this purpose. It has basically functioned as a “digital commonplace” for me and I have written about my use of it before. In recent months, I have found myself growing away from it. I have begun to outgrow it’s “notebook” metaphor as it is not as flexible as I would like. In addition, it’s outlining capabilities are far outshined by OmniOutliner Pro so using it in this way feels redundant and is often confusing when switching between the two. Don’t get me wrong, it is a wonderful program and has served it’s purpose well for a long time. I think I have just grown away from it.
I think I have found what I have been looking for in Yojimbo. First off, this app is just plain beautiful. The very Apple like interface makes it a joy to use with very little learning curve. Everything just plain make sense. It allows me to quickly and easily dump information into it in a variety of ways. It allows me to search that information very quickly – even via Spotlight and Quicksilver. Notes default to plain text but invisibly and intuitively become rich text if you apply formatting. It can store URLs or archive whole web sites for offline viewing. Organize it all by grouping items into iApp style “Collections”. There are even some predefined “Smart Collections” that will auto sort your data based upon predetermined criteria. You can even encrypt individual items in your database. As for now, I have taken everything I had in Notetaker and several other places and dumped it all into Yojimbo and have been very happy in the few days since.
There is not much more I can say about this app that has not been said better already elsewhere. Check here, here, here and here for some excellent reviews. These reviews also mention several of Yojimbo’s shortcomings which, while a little frustrating, I can live with for now. Especially because the developers, Bare Bones Software, seem so committed to making it better. I mean, it is a young application (currently at version 1.2) that needs a little time to grow. I am willing to give it that time and hope that it will grow with me.