Mac, I Want My Mojo Back

I will have to confess, as I head toward the end of my 90 days of Apple free tech support, I still have problems. Unfortunately, they’re not the mechanical kind that Macintosh can help me with. It’s sort of like when the department store clerk asks “May I help you?” and all you can really say is “Yes, help me make up my mind if I really need (sought item) and should I pay this much for it and should get it here and get it now.”

Apple can’t help me get my blogging and web research mojo back. I just have to settle down and catch the rhythm, but I am having the devil of a time doing it.

When I realized how much of my 2 Gb of RAM gets called on simply by calling up Parallels to run a single PC program (almost always either OneNote, EccoPro or Quicken) I’ve started trying even harder to stay inside the Mac environment. And I’ve met with partial but not complete success–some coin spent, some freebies tried and discarded, a few kept. But the search goes on.

Issue du jour: OmniOutliner (trial download) allows the quick and flexible brainstorming of EccoPro. But it does not allow alarms to be set. ReminderFox extension, IWantSandy, BackPackit, Remember the Milk, and/or ToDoist have alarms, some only in paid versions. (I haven’t settled on a program for this function, either). These apps don’t speak to OO which doesn’t speak to iCal or Google Calendar so there is duplication of effort using it for task creation.

For text storage and searching and inter-doc relevancy linkage DevonThink Pro is great and paid for. However, it doesn’t do a very easy job of recording clips from FireFox (and I’m unwilling to give up Diigo, InterClue and a few other FFx add-ons and go to Safari or Camino). Plus, I don’t want to trash DTP’s text database with a lot of temporary or trivial blather associated with blogging and my random thoughts. Enter Evernote.

The recently released (still beta) Mac version of Evernote is far superior to the “endless tape” approach in the PC version I tried to love but never did. It will capture from any app and store it is such a way I can access it from the desktop or from the synced web version of my notes. I’m writing this post in Evernote and have a “blogging” notebook whose entries I can sort and search and transfer to DTP if it seems worthwhile. OmniOutliner I think could work well for daily writing, and I like being able to collapse “levels” of my work and quickly resort paragraphs by idea line. But the free Google Notebooks does most of this, and captures live links and the url of clipped pages. Hmmm.

Meanwhile, there are persistent rumors (that might just be wishful thinking) that OneNote for Mac will happen, perhaps this year. So I’m reluctant to spend $70 for OmniOutliner Pro and will grudingly open Parallels once or twice a day until I get my Mac mojo workin’.

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. Let me just add that I have just discovered the Evernote has lost all the notes I took since three days ago–and that included a half dozen pages composed as future blog posts. So NOTE: evernote is in beta. Don’t use it seriously. Yet. My bad.

  2. Wow – you’re using your Mac at a pretty high level already! I have Omni Outliner Pro, and like it quite a bit, although I don’t think we use it in the same ways.

    The applications I most often use are a little less advanced, I think , although DevonThink sounds like it would be very handy at times.

    What do I use the most?, iCal, TextEdit, Text Wrangler, iTunes, Logic, Dreamweaver. Word when I can’t avoid it, likewise Excel. A few other little ones, especially SuperDuper and Cyberduck.

  3. deliberately avoiding any holywar issues (i’m a mac man since the mid-80s, but find macosx to be no better than XP — we lost a HUGE amount of usability when apple downgraded to macosx):

    re OmniOutliner:
    for your ToDo type stuff, including elementary project management, i unreservedly recommend the freakishly good LifeBalance. you lay out your tasks in outline form, structured and prioritised top-down by how they relate to your overall goals, then when you ask for a ToDo list, it goes thru and prioritises everything according to how you laid it out, adjusts for time-urgency, and then gives you a list in another window of what you should be doing NOW.
    i have chucked out over the last 30 years every single electronic todo list i’ve tried within a couple of days of trying them. lots of effort, no reward.
    i registered LB within 2 days of trying it, and have used it daily in the, god, nearly 10 years since then.

    it also runs on windows AND mac (and Palm, so you can take it with you, and sync it to your PC later). so you can forget about locking in to mac or windows and be confident no matter what your later choice, your own personal workflow won’t change.

    really: it’s subtly but profoundly different and designed around how humans think and the people who wrote it are wonderful. check it out.

    (because llamas are llovely)