- Bare Bones Software
- A flexible organiser for keeping track of all the bits and pieces of information you might otherwise lose.
Read on for full review...
Installation was painless - a nice dmg screen, you do the usual drag of the icon into the Applications folder, and it's done. Upon first launch, it pops up a simple dialog asking if you want to use it in demo mode or get a license. You can evaluate the software for 30 days, and it is fully functional during that time. I nominated demo mode for now, and up comes the main screen.
The initial screen is clean and visually appealing. There is a single 'Welcome' item in the library, which provides a basic overview. It then offers for you to watch an introductory video - a very nice touch. It pops up its own video viewer and provides a great little intro to get you started.
At first i didn't even notice the 'Yojimbo' tab at the very right edge of the screen. It turns out this is the "Drop Dock" where you can just dump stuff without having to change focus - a very nice idea. Just drag something (like selected text or a PDF) over to it, and it will pop out and provide a list of the available collections for you to drop it onto.
The Preferences window is quite clean and straightforward, with virtually all the options being quite self-explanatory.
The notes feature lets you add notes in both plain and rich-text format. The RTF support seems to be more for supporting the pasting of text than doing much manual formatting, as the formatting is all under the menu. It would be nice to have toolbar support for styles at least.
When you hit Cmd-N, it creates a note, giving the title field the focus. After you hit enter, the title entry remains highlighted. It would be nice for the focus to move to the text field so you can start typing straight away, saving extra mouse movement or tabbing.
The first time you try to encrypt an item, it asks you for the master password. Once set, passwords and serial numbers can be hidden, and text items encrypted from prying eyes.
Items can have a label, which is a colour-coded label with a name, such as Personal, Shopping, etc. Additionally, items can have tags, and the facility for adding tags is provided in the Inspector. Tags are created on the fly, from any of the inspectors, or when you create a new item. You can add comments to each item also. Finally, you can flag items (presumably for followup). So there's a lot of flexibility for managing your item metadata. I noticed though, when an item is selected that has a label assigned, it is highlighted in default blue, rather than the label colour, so you can never see what the label of the current item is. It would be nice if the selection could be indicated at the same time as the label.
You can create the equivalent of Smart Folders by creating a Tag Collection, which filters the library over one or more tags. I can see how this would be extremely useful for cataloguing stuff, without enforcing rigid classifications.
Collections aren't hierarchical, so once you have a reasonable number of collections, the source list gets pretty large. It would be nice if you could double-click on a collection to edit the name. Items don't have to be in a collection, but you can place items in one or even multiple collections, to suit your management style. This is nice, as it avoids the problem of hierarchical data management, where there is only one "home" for an item (raising the eternal problem of how to uniquely and unambiguously classify things). So by avoiding the traditional folder hierarchy (which I complained about at the beginning of this paragraph before I had explored much) it seems to be even simpler to use than traditional approaches.
Because Yojimbo is designed to collect all your "stuff", it has a wonderful Quick Input panel - hit the hotkey (F8 by default) and no matter what you're doing (ok, hopefully not playing a full-screen FPS game) it will pop up with a nicely designed dialog that allows you to create a new item, of whatever type. It is automatically filled with the contents of the clipboard, for even faster filing. I can see how this could be a very powerful and frequently used feature.
Another feature that would be really powerful is the ability to link to other items, a bit like VoodooPad does (another fine piece of Indy Mac software).
I would love to see some advanced topics on how to use Yojimbo and really do some funky stuff. I have a good feeling about this app, it really grows on you. Yojimbo seems to have that rare combination of simplicity and power. For anyone with a lot of "stuff" to manage (and most of us would probably fall into this category) it seems like a very worthy tool indeed. If it saves you a few hours by giving you quicker access to your bits and pieces of information, then it will probably pay for itself quite quickly. Plus - you get to support indie developers, and that's good karma too!