Tools of The Trade: Information Management/Note-Taking/Notebook/Research/Document Organization Software That Will Knock Your Sox Off
Do you have some software programs that have you so enthused that you want to evangelize for them? There’s an app for the Mac that I use extensively for developing almost any kind of project you can imagine: books/ebooks, journals, e-zines, research projects, web pages, product design, video development, information organization, art projects of all kinds…more, more, more. Well, I don’t have enough space in a simple review to go on with all you can do with it. (PC users: don’t dispair if you develop Mac envy by the end of my ravings. There is a similar program for the PC. But just remember, similar is not the same. And there’s nothing quite the same as working on a Mac.)
I’m talking about Circus Ponies Notebook 3.0
The first thing that turned me on to it was the user interface. It resembles a physical spiral bound notebook with colored tab dividers. You can design the front cover of the book and choose the page background, such as plain, yellow legal pad, white ruled, graph paper, steno pad, etc. You can also customize the “paper” you write on, even to the point of inserting a background image.
I liked how comfortable and familiar the interface was. It’s very like the way I worked with projects before computers became sophisticated enough to organize and store the info in those projects sufficiently. I would have a spiral notebook with my handwritten notes, stuffed with miscellaneous clipped pages from magazines, photocopied pages from books and journals, miscellaneous small objects cello-taped into the pages or covers, even cassette tapes affixed to the front and back covers, just to keep everything together. I became really familiar with large rubber bands to bind the notebooks and keep loose pages from falling out.
Circus Ponies’ Notebook is like my old notebooks, on steroids and without the rubber bands.
I can write in it, outline, take notes (there’s a Cornell note-taking template, if I wish to use it), brainstorm, mind-map, doodle, chart, journal, make to-do lists. I can share my projects, in full with others.
I can clip webpages and text into it. I can clip audio and video into it.
I can publish it as a pdf or web page.’
(Of course, I can’t store physical objects in it, but I can take pics of the objects and store the images.)
It will index it all and let me find it in a flash. It is an entire information management system. It is one of those ultimate productivity tools.
What makes it even better is that there is a great deal of choice in end-user configuration of the product. You can make it look the way you want and work the ways you want. It makes it a pleasure to work on even the projects you don’t like. You could even keep your tax records and receipts in a notebook — and be able to find everything.
And if you think this is a long review, it isn’t. I’ve just touched the surface of what the program can do and do for you.
I’m going to give you a link to Amazon.com to go learn more about it. Be sure to read the other rave reviews on it. People love it.
One more wonderful thing: it is available for the iPad!
Go get it or get more info at Amazon.com:
Circus Ponies Notebook
Or get the iPad version at the AppStore (just click the button):
I did promise my PC-using readers that there was a similar program for them. I haven’t used it myself, but I have researched it carefully. It’s called Microsoft OneNote 2010
The functionality is similar, but the user interface is not the same. (And, who would expect it to be.) If you’re not as happy with it as you think you’d be with Notebook, you could always buy a Mac. (Keep remembering: Macs can run all your PC programs, so you don’t have to give up stuff you’ve grown fond of, if you switch. It can run them under an emulation program or it can actually boot up as a PC.)
Explore it for yourself and see if it fits. Those who use it rave about it as much as the users for Circus Ponies’ Notebook.