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Author

Steve Zeoli

My first computer was a Compaq "portable" -- you know the kind that when it was packed up for moving looked like a sewing machine case. Countless machines later, I'm still fascinated by these devices and the software that runs on them. I switched to a MacBook from PCs about three years ago, though I still use a PC in my day job, which is marketing for a small, nonprofit publisher.

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For the past five years, I’ve been relying upon FileMaker’s Bento to manage structured data on my MacBook. Unfortunately, the Apple subsidiary recently announced that it was ending development of the friendly database application. The company will stop selling Bento after September 2013, and will end user support after July 2014.

It’s time for a new simple databasing app for the Mac. In this review, I’ll be looking at an indie database app called Tap Forms to see how it stacks up as a Bento replacement. It looks promising — and hopefully it can eventually take the Bento crown. (more…)

Two years ago, when I reviewed Curio 6.4, I described the application as a “workshop for your creative projects.” Today I’m going to take a long look at the just released Curio 8. According to Curio’s developer, George Browning of Zengobi, the new version is “the most ambitious Curio release since its inception ten years ago.” Does Curio 8 live up to this billing? Is it a major improvement? Should you upgrade? I hope to provide those answers for you, as well as giving you an orientation to the new version that will help you better evaluate it for yourself.

Those not familiar with Curio should begin by reading my earlier review, because I’m not going to repeat the basic introduction to Curio that is provided in that article. With over 40 improvements, there is plenty to say just about the changes in version 8.

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Anyone who has used Wikipedia understands the concept of a wiki — and who hasn’t used Wikipedia? It’s a network of pages or articles linked through keywords. A desktop wiki just takes that idea and makes it personal.

VoodooPad is one of the original desktop wikis for Mac OSx. Today, we’re going to take a look at the recently released version 5.0 to see if it lives up to the longheld VoodooPad legacy.

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It is rare to find a note taking tool that incorporates task management. That’s why proNotes first caught my attention a few years ago, but then development seemed to wane and I lost track of the application. That is until a few months ago, when I stumbled upon the proNotes website and found that version 2.0 was in development.

I’ve been testing the new version, which is now available to the public. Let’s take a look at the new proNotes 2.0 and see if my early intrigue was warranted.

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A journal is a great tool for keeping track of daily happenings and the start of a new year is a great time to begin your new journal. Whether you are tracking progress toward achieving those resolutions you’ve just made, chronicling the important milestones in your life, or simply creating a dialog with yourself, a good journaling application will be your constant companion throughout the year.That’s why it is important to select the best option for your needs.

There are a lot of choices in this growing category. Today we are going to take a look at one of the venerable Mac-based journaling programs, MacJournal from Mariner Software. Version 6.0 was released recently, and I’ll be pointing out the significant new features as we go along. Let’s get started.

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Creating an outline is a handy way to organize, plan and brainstorm. One of the strengths of the outline is its hierarchical linear relationship among the topics in the list. That can also be one of its limitations, as the list can become long and start feeling one-dimensional.

The outliner Tree tries to remedy this with a twist on the standard outlining format. In Tree you can expand your outlines horizontally, as well as vertically. Today we’re going to take a look at whether or not the approach Tree takes actually bears fruit.

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I’m a sucker for notebooks. Paper or digital it doesn’t matter. I’ve got a stack of Moleskines right next to my Field Notes notebooks. And you don’t even want to know how many different journaling-type applications I have on my MacBook. Most of these digital notebooks don’t try to mimic a “real” notebook. The few applications that do try to look and feel like a paper notebook have always failed in that regard (though they often have other redeeming qualities).

But along comes Per Se, the new digital journal from Sprouted Software. It’s the first application that actually feels like a three-dimensional, paper journal. Too good to be true? Let’s take a closer look.

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Tinderbox from Eastgate Systems, Inc. is an information management application notorious for its long, steep learning curve. Almost any review you read will hammer that fact to the point that many people are sure it’s beyond their ability to master. This is going to be a review for them, actually for us — because I was one of them.

I won’t deny that Tinderbox can be challenging. I’ve been using it for two years and still feel like a babe in the woods. But the message I want to convey with this review is that Tinderbox can be remarkably useful even if you never venture too far into its more advanced features. To shift metaphors, if Tinderbox is a swimming pool, this review is about the fun you can have even if you just splash around in the shallow end. So let’s jump in.

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The list is long and growing of applications designed to help you visually make sense of information. These range in price from free to several hundred dollars. MyThoughts from Mode de Vie Software lands somewhere in the middle of this spectrum, at $49.00.

While so many of the other applications heroically pack on features in an effort to appeal to everyone, MyThoughts takes the radical approach of being a mind mapping program that actually behaves just as a mind mapping program should.

This single-minded approach has earned my admiration. Let’s see if it should earn your software dollar.

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A new year always brings the chance to start fresh with a new approach to staying organized, so we’re going to take a look today at PersonalBrain, a sophisticated knowledge management solution I’ve come to think of as a GPS system for my information.

PersonalBrain is unlike any other application I’ve come across for managing information. Superficially it looks somewhat like a mind mapper, and it has the ability to create networks of links among your notes like a personal wiki. But PersonalBrain is more than the sum of those parts. It always indicates what neighborhood of your information you are currently prowling.

Is it the right solution for you? Let’s take a look.

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