MacDirectory Magazine

Winter-Spring 2010 (#44)

MacDirectory magazine is the premiere creative lifestyle magazine for Apple enthusiasts featuring interviews, in-depth tech reviews, Apple news, insights, latest Apple patents, apps, market analysis, entertainment and more.

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Page 130 of 147

MacDirectory 129 COMPANY PROFILE CIRCUS PONIES SOFTWARE > IN THE BUSINESS OF CLEARING CLUTTER AND SAVING TIME WORDS BY MATT MARQUEZ The jumbled mess of files, notes and stickies known as "cluttered desktop syndrome" can afflict even the most organized person in the world. Thankfully, Circus Ponies Software manufactures the cure with its award-winning NoteBook program. Founded in 2003, Circus Ponies produces software exclusively for Mac OS X, and its flagship product, NoteBook, uses a familiar notebook interface to house your wandering stickies and important e-mails. The application uses notebook pages, tabs, sections and subsections to make organizing your desktop detritus a snap. Simply add your notes and other text or drag in files and folders without leaving the application you're working in. NoteBook can even manage Web site clippings, spreadsheets and voice recordings. When you're ready to locate something, NoteBook's patented Multidex system lets you find the right snippet based on its name, the date you entered it, a keyword you assigned or anything else you remember about it. "We created NoteBook for all of the Mac users out there with the cluttered desktops, the sticky notes covering their screens, the elaborate folder naming schemes to organize documents in the Finder, the cluttered mailboxes, and on and on," says Circus Ponies cofounder and VP of technology Jayson Adams. That means just about anyone with a computer can benefit from using NoteBook. "If you think about it, whether you're a student, researcher, professional, or just about anyone else, you have lots of bits of information from all kinds of different sources that you need to keep handy," Adams says. Adams originally created NoteBook in 1992 for NeXT computers (the other computer developed by Apple CEO Steve Jobs), where it won "Product of the Year" from NeXTWorld Magazine and was described as "the ultimate digital scrapbook." Since co-founding Circus Ponies in 2003, Adams has rewritten NoteBook from scratch to make the most out of Mac OS X. NoteBook 3.0 is the most recent update, and the late 2008 release brought diagramming and sketching to the application's notebook pages. A new annotation feature that lets users mark up presentation slides and other PDFs with text, sketches and diagrams is particularly helpful for students. Circus Ponies' development plan for NoteBook is determined in equal parts by user input and internal engineering in what Adams describes as an "organic" process. "We love getting feature requests from our users, though there can be a fair amount of work refining them into actual commands in the app. If someone says, 'I want to be able do this,' we have to figure out how to make that possible while preserving NoteBook's overall integrity and consistency," Adams says. Despite an active user base that drives part of the creative process, Adams notes that NoteBook has some features that many people don't know about. One overlooked feature is the app's ability to turn any Notebook collection into a Web site that can be placed on the Web. "If you have information you need to share with other people, even on platforms other than the Mac, you can use NoteBook to construct Web sites," Adams says. "We don't bill NoteBook as a Web site builder but it's a capable solution." With NoteBook's numerous features for creative organization, you might be concerned that Circus Ponies has replaced desktop clutter with another source of confusion, but Adams says he intentionally avoided presenting all of NoteBook's options off the bat so users can discover them over time. That's the reason why the first thing a user sees upon booting up is a simple paper notebook. "Occasionally we hear from a trial user who says the product is too simple, which really means they probably haven't done a lot more than launch the app," Adams says. Circus Ponies offers a 30-day NoteBook trial that lets users see for themselves if the app is the cure for their cluttered desktop. The standard software package starts at $49.95. Find these downloads plus user forums and software updates at .

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