Mac Notepad 8.0.x (October 30, 2010)

Posted: October 30, 2010 by docbabad in Multiple Products, Software Reviews
Tags:

By Harry {doc} Babad, © Copyright 2010, All Rights Reserved. 

Version: 8.0.0.316
Website: http://www.apimac.com/notepad/
System Requirements
: Mac OS X 4.x or later; (e.g., MacBook, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, iMac, Mac mini, Mac Pro, PowerMac, iBook and PowerBook)
Release Date
: January 15, 2010
Download Size: 18 MB
Shareware Cost: Single Computer – $29.00, Site License (5 computers) – $39.00 USD. In the trial version a reminder window appears and forces you to wait for some seconds every time you open the application. The print feature for is disabled only a limited number of notes can be added to the database.
Doc’s Previous Reviews: – Apimac Note Pad v.1.6.6 macCompanion, July 2005; and Mac Note Pad 3.0.2 macCompanion January 2007.
Star Ratings 3.5 Stars

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Audience: Everybody that wants an alternative to the Mac OSX text editor.

Strengths: Mac Notepad helps you organize any piece of text you may want to keep on hand.

Weaknesses: list, separated by commas.

Previous Reviews: links to previous macCompanion reviews on the same product.

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Copyright Notice: Product and company names and logos in this review may be registered trademarks of their respective companies.

Sidebar #1: Reviews were carried out on my iMac 2.8 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo with 2 GB 667 MHz DDR2 SDRAM running Mac OS X version 10.6.4 with all security updates kept current.

Sidebar #2 Disclaimer: When reviewing software I will often use the developer’s product, functions and features descriptions. Because of this unless I’m quoting directly from another source, I do no cutter up the review with quotation makes. All other comments are strictly my own and based on testing. Why need I rewrite the developer’s narratives, if they are clearly written?

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Introduction, including Publisher’s Summary

Just to make things clear to our readers, notepad applications come in two distinct flavors. One is a place to put your ToDo and schedule them, checking the as done when indeed you completed them. The second is a repository of notes, actions, memorabilia snippets that you want to save for future memory or use. <Apimac’s Mac Note Pad is of the later type. This is not to say that you can’t collect To-Do’s in the application, but it is not designed to optimize the ‘scheduling’ function.

Babad’s Mac Notepad Database
The Original Memoblock ToDo Collection

Mac Notepad is a straight-forward (standard) application built around notes. Using a standard three-pane window similar to Address Book’s or Mail’s, you can create individual notes, give them titles, customize text fonts and colors, and sort them into categories. You can also password-protect them, back up your database of notes and email them. To save screen space, you can ‘iconize’ the application down to a floating palette containing just a search box. New to version 8 is the ability to drag and drop text into and out of Notepad.

Publishers Description — “Hold that thought! Now you can store any piece of text right at your fingertips thanks to the new Mac OS X note pad program from Apimac. Mac Notepad is the “missing notepad application” you’ve been waiting for. You’ll never be at a loss for words again! 

Now designed from the ground up to support the latest Apple technologies, Mac Notepad allows you to save, copy, paste and organize all your favorite snippets with ease. You can drag the text from other applications, drop a text file from Finder or, of course, write it yourself. 

Mac Notepad is a great tool to boost your productivity and creative output by not letting those great thoughts and ideas just slip away. You can assign a title and category to each note. Notes are easily retrieved by category or content by simply typing the text in a search field.” Many more features have been added as noted below.

Getting Started

This is a well-developed Macintosh application. Drag it to your applications folder. Start using it in demo mode or type in a password. Decide which preference settings you prefer. Check out, if you like, any readme files. You’re good to go. The developer’s site has a short Help file, but I never need to seek aide. I did skim the file at http://www.apimac.com/help/macnotepad/ but it I more designed to trouble shoot than to get a new user started with this application. However if you can use the basic Macintosh editing skills as found in applications like Apple’s TextEdit, and understand the simple [Category > Notes > Notes details] logic, using the product is a no-brainer.

Using the Software

I kept this review to a KISS level. I copied and retagged, as appropriate, several dozen of the notes from my Memoblock list to Notepad 8.0.x.  The transfers of data were simply a combination of copy (from Memoblock) to paste into Notepad. Redoing the tags, the organizing feature that groups items was also straightforward but required a little forethought. Why? Because Memoblock organizes categories by color-coding and had so set up my categories from the color-coded ‘lists’ Also Memoblock has only two windows so sub-tasks to an item are tiered in ‘outline” form, compared to the three provided by Notepad X.  The left hand side is a principal task list (coded to an appropriate cation category. The right hand window list is a set of subtasks which can’t be ‘flagged out individually.

You can paste text into it, by dragging it from other applications, drop it into the application as a text file from the Finder or type often-used boilerplate yourself. In addition, you can assign each note to a standard (defined by its developer) or a user-named category. This added feature allows users to retrieve notes on a category-basis using a popup menu. Users can search note contents via a find function from within the application. For completeness, you can assign a password to your notes or hide your notes folder.

Notepad X, on the other hand, with its simple [Category > Notes > Notes details] hierarchy allows for a simpler to modify and organized set of tiered ‘data content” descriptions.

Where Is The Database Hidden — To backup data of Mac Notepad to a different disk, or to create a backup copy the Notepad file that contains all your data. Here’s the location of Notepad’s data file:

[/Users/<you>/Library/Application Support/Apimac/Notepad/Notepad File]

Annotated Selected Key Features List

The notes are all kept in a separate Valentina database [http://www.valentina-db.com/]. There is an effective multiple format export facility for saving notes in a variety of formats or to some iPods, but the later requires manual intervention and is no better than Text Edit’s export functions.

You can assign a title and category to each note. Notes are also easily retrieved by category or content by simply typing the text in a search field.

Recents menu — A handy Recents Menu keeps track of your latest edited notes. Notes can be edited at will and text can be customized with a choice of fonts, styles and colors. If you need a hard copy, go to the “Print” function in the menu.

Iconized Search Window Mac Notepad sports the brand new Iconize feature. Just click and your notepad becomes a small, handy search window that floats on top of all other windows. To access the note again, just make a search or click on the icon.

Password ProtectionThe products unique privacy features allows you to protect your personal notes with a password. If this option is selected, a password dialog box will be displayed when the Mac Notepad database opens.

Advanced SearchMac Notepad gives you two search options:

  • Easy Search: Matches any text you enter in the search field, even if it’s not an exact match. For example, “nice girl” will match “Mary is a nice girl” and “Bernice is a little girl.”
  • Regular Expressions: An advanced search method based on patterns. For example, “nice|girl” will match either “nice try” and “pretty girl.” More information on this topic can be found on many websites such as the dedicated page of Wikipedia [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regular_Expression].

•    Drag and Drop to Import and Export Notes — For exporting, dragging notes to a folder or the desktop will export the selected notes into that location. The reverse is obvious.

Mail Notes Feature — There are new mail note features that I’d previously not tried. I was and am delighted that the feature works well with my long of tooth, totally extinct version 6.2.4 of Eudora. What a Joy!

•    New Expanded Import and Export Formats — Supported formats now are: Plain text, Styled Text (Simple Text), RTF, HTML, Open Office .odt, Word (.docx), Word XML .xml, and /or Word (97- 2004) .doc

Kudos

Where Notepad is superior to the baker’s half-done applications I’ve tried is in its speed as well as its ability to organize and search large numbers of notes. It also has a convenient Recent Items menu for quick access and you can search by partial text or by means of a “regular expression.”

Discomforts

General — I wish there was a way, from a reviewer’s perspective to intelligently extract the contents of one notepad product to another. I know the databases or other data organizational tools differ between products, bit it sure would save time when I again review a new notebook/notepad product – transferring the whole database from the old product as tab-delimited for to a new one, e.g. Bento and FileMaker Pro; would be great.

Synchronizing Databased Between Devices — There’s no import facility available to get your existing Mac OS X notes into Notepad. There’s also no MobileMe syncing to sync notes between different computers, no Spotlight integration, no iPhone app with which to sync your notes and no option to attach files to notes. This is all true, albeit I have no need for these missing functions.

Creating Additional Separate Databases Collections — I prefer, as I’m enabled to, in DEVONthink, to create separate databases for items that are clearly totally unrelated to each other. Therefore I have a separate personal/professional database and a separated focused uniquely on the Environmental-Energy articles, which I collect as a basis for my greening articles and occasional book. Finding an article I need thus, although its time consuming to create, is easier than the alternatives. These are search in though a separate drive partition nested folded for articles <5.6 GB and growing> or doing HoudahSpot front ended Spotlight search.

If Wishes were Horses… — It took me less than an hour to transfer about 40 items in my Memoblock program while both updating and reconfiguring them to avail myself of the Apimac software’s greater flexibility Along the way I sprinkled a dozen or so items I wanted added to NotePad from DEVONthink into the mix. Why, it added a bit more robustness to the notepad file contents. During this time I came across a number of wish list items that would further enhance this fine program. I list them below in no order of priority. Remember I managed a speedy transfer/update/expansion of my records without having the extra features available. However several of items are additional feature I would welcome.

  • I would welcome a menu item to insert a date item and perhaps time into a note
  • For this kind of use, casual and continuing w/o disrupting my work cycles an Auto Save feature would be helpful.
  • I couldn’t color code note names in the note listing (2nd Column of the application window, I would have used that to assign my notes an order of priority.
  • Having the ability to customize the tool bar, which many products have now added, would be useful and timesaving.  At a minimum, I could put the text color wheel into the toolbar.
  • Need ability to use Apples spell checker and to check spelling in real time as I type.
  • I would ability to create single or space and a half and double space formatting.
  • A feature like the ability to transform caps to lowercase/title case etc. would be nice.

 

Yes I know, this sound s like word processor 101, but if I’m actively using a note pad tool, it makes things both easier and more attractive.

Conclusions and Recommendation

In reflecting about note pad applications, that over the last few years I’ve been using two and a half applications to keep tract of snippets of information. The two main products are both database engine based and therefore have great search and ‘tagging’ capabilities. My favorite for heavy lifting is DEVONthink Pro Office in which my main database has grown to 176 MB in size.

As an experienced reviewer of checklist and notepad software I had no trouble leaning to work with the product but a less experienced user deserves at least a short manual or access to a help file. For a twenty-nine dollar license fee, a bit of available help, just in case, is something a user deserves. After working off my irritations with the product, due in part because I’m a heavy user both of FileMaker Pro and occasionally Bento, as well as DEVONthink Pro, I’ve been slick features spoiled. I, however, recommend the product to those users for whom my specific concerns don’t matter. Using something stronger like one of the FlleMaker products seems like overkill, and my DEVONthink database configuration is too rich, broad and complex to suit me for simple notepad/to do functions.

I’ve otherwise alternated between the freeware Memoblock 4.9.5 by Blocksoft and Apimac’s Notepad X 4.0.x, the last version I regularly used. After testing v. 8.0.x of Notepad Pro, I am returning to the Apimac product. I maintain (see the postscript) that for most users who are not hooked on the need for i-Synchronization features, Apimac’s Notepad X is a fine, easy to use, trouble-free product. Try it — you’ll like it.

Oh the remaining half — shadowClipboard, the best multi-clip application I’ve yet found,

Therefore, I am delighted again to give the product a 3.5/5.0 score. It’s still not perfect but gets better with each major release. Now if I could only color code notes to create an urgency scale.

Doc!

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Post Scripts

First: A number of reviewers have down rated this product for lack of iPhone and iPod synchronization and its price. From my perspective, as an extremely casual iPhone use the lack of such a feature is irrelevant to my needs. The price is also not a criterion since Apimac has allowed users of its version 3.0.x product <Aug 2006> to continue to use their old registration number free of charge.

Second: After competing this review I was surprised that my of the download sites I checked, had the product priced at $39.00, about 25% higher in price then the developer’s site list. No wonder some folks balked at the price. The later is the price for a site license for five people.

Third: I would suggest the developer do a price/sales tradeoff to see if revenues would increase were the product priced at $19.95. Under $20 for most shareware products seems to be a major marketing inflection point. Despite this being a fine product there was too much ‘BG’ on the web about price.

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