Lenote Review

lenoteHaving a simple note taking app should be something we all have on our computers and smartphones. There are all kinds of note taking apps, from those minimalistic and basic ones, up to very complex and cross-platform applications like Evernote, for example. It is very hard to say which type of a note taking app should be considered as essential, since we all got different habits and needs, as well as a sense of aesthetics.

In this article we are bringing you an application made for those who appreciate minimalistic design and simplicity in function. This note taking app is called Lenote, and could be downloaded for free, using the Mac App Store.

Designing very simplistic and minimalistic application is not as easy as it might seem. It is important to achieve that fine balance between stripped down interface and power to produce valuable results. Having that in mind, it could be said that Lenote brings all the essential features that you might expect from a note taking app, and allows you to focus on your writing, especially in its full-screen mode.

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Once you open Lenote for the first time, you’ll be immediately ready to start using it. This means that its basic controls are very intuitive and easy to understand. You’ll basically get to use left-positioned sidebar which holds your notebooks and notes, while the rest of its screen is dedicated to your writing. Lenote comes with very light grey backdrop, while letters are strikingly black, which creates very pleasurable contrast.

As we said earlier, Lenote lets you create notes which need to be a part of a notebook. You can view, create and edit new entries by clicking on “All Notes” which produces a drop-down menu of all relevant options. System which Lenote uses is pretty basic and very similar to Apple’s own Notes app. The only addition is ability to create notebooks which allows you to categorize articles and find your way through your notes a bit easier. There’s also a search bar where you can search for a note. I hope future updates will include tags, for example. Also, I hoped I would be able to easily drag-and-drop notes between notebooks, but I wasn’t able to. In case you’d like to do this, I believe you need to create a new note, and that copy-and-paste its contents.

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In case you’re used to writing text using Markdown syntax, Lenote will be a disappointment. Even though Lenote supports some very basic Markdown, it won’t produce usable results in case you export a note in HTML or PDF format. I know this is a free app, and that most Markdown editors are paid applications, but I was still disappointed to see that Markdown is so basically supported by this app.

In case you’re looking for a very simple note taking app, I would still recommend Apple’s own Notes. Even though Lenote is created with a very interesting idea on mind, it is still a very basic and doesn’t offer any a bit more advanced features. For example, Apple’s Notes also doesn’t support Markdown, but it works well in OSX – iOS communication.

 

Outline Review

Outline 1When it comes to Windows, it is clear that its developer philosophy is quite different than Apple’s. If you’ve used Apple products for a while now, you’ve must have noticed that, for example, once a new version of iTunes appear, it will be automatically published to OS X and Windows as well. The same goes for system-supported applications of OS X and various iOS devices. On the other side, Microsoft tends to leave OS X applications on hold for a while, while focusing on Windows applications which is most obvious with Office application suite. Not only that Microsoft didn’t try to bring 2013 version to both systems, there are some applications which are Windows-exclusive, like OneNote for example.

Previously explained situation actually left some open space for 3rd party developers, who are trying to bring OneNote alternative to OS X, even though these tries were mostly quite unsuccessful. Apple’s Mac App Store currently sells numerous OneNote alternatives, and even though some of those are very popular, users have many complaints.

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I’ve recently stumbled upon Outline, made by Gorillized Corporation, which caught my attention. I’ve known and used some applications made by this developer, so I was happy to try the promising OneNote alternative. Currently, Outline could be purchased using the Mac App Store for $20, so I assumed that it was going to be a very serious OneNote replacement.

Once you open Outline, you will be greeted with nice looking and minimalistic design, which uses the same background found in iOS’ Notification center. At a first sight, I thought that Outline tended to be OneNote alternative, but as it turn out this application is just a reader. It means that it opens OneNote files (notebooks) and renders them perfectly, but you won’t be able to edit those notebooks or create new ones. I guess that some users really need a reliable notebook reader, so they can exchange files through cloud storage for example, but I was very disappointed when I realized that is just an overpriced OneNote files reader.

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To be fair, Outline is capable of rendering OneNote notebooks almost perfectly. No matter how complex your notebooks are, and how much text, images, and graphics they contain, Outline will render those elements nicely and you won’t notice any difference in comparison with the original file. That said, Outline has some serious limitations and downsides, even as just a reader. For example, it fails to achieve a sync connection to SkyDrive, so you won’t be able to use Office web apps to edit those files automatically. This can be achieved but you’ll need to edit a document manually, which makes Outline obsolete. Also, it fails to open password protected notebooks.

By looking at the current state of Outline, I wouldn’t recommend it even as a reader. You can open and do some very basic editing of OneNote files right within Office web apps, which makes this application completely unnecessary. On the other hand, developers promised advanced editing to arrive as an update sometime this year, and I will be happy to review this application once again, because that would be a whole another story.

 

TaskAgent for Dropbox Review

TaskAgent 1We have recently reviewed several text editors, which are a part of a new movement, if we can name it that way. Those are very simple and stripped text editors, which are using plain text and Markdown syntax to format the text on-the-go. If you spend a lot of time writing, and constantly focusing your attention to that text, these text editors will suit you perfectly. If you haven’t encountered Markdown or HTML before, it will take some time to learn the basics, and then it will be very easy to upgrade that knowledge. This will save you a lot of time, and you will be focused only on your writing, instead trying to fit into certain layout and complex editing. I can see that this could perfectly work for writers, bloggers, journalist, and students, just to name a few examples.

With the rising popularity of Markdown syntax, simple text editors have found a way to sneak into other applications, like to-do organizers. In this article we will be talking about such application, named TaskAgent.

TaskAgent is a minimalistic to-do organizer, which focuses on getting the job done, while increasing your productivity. As you can see from the screenshots, TaskAgent has a very simple interface, yet beautifully designed. You will get to use only three icons, which trigger three different actions: New list, New note, and Forced synchronization (with Dropbox).

Once you add a new note to your to-do list, it will appear as the latest note, or differently said, it will appear on the top. While typing text in any part of TaskAgent, you can use standard and specific Markdown codes in order to format text on-the-go. For example, if you enter a hyphen symbol before a sentence, this will create a new task; If you add “x” to your task, TaskAgent will cross it with a line, and declare it as done. Once you learn these tricks, it will be pleasure using this application.

Once you add new notes to your to-do lists, you can copy or move them to any other list, which is a welcomed feature. On the other hand, you won’t be able to prioritize notes, which I found very annoying. After all, this is a to-do application, and this feature should be essential. Still, this is not a major downside, and developers could easily add this feature, which I hope they will do.

If you search for this application in the Mac App Store, you will notice that is says: “TaskAgent for Dropbox”. This means that your to-do lists could be easily exported as RTF files and stored in your cloud storage. Since you can use Dropbox on any device and any platform, this is a valuable feature. Still, I think that for its price, TaskAgent should have included other cloud storages like Google Drive and SkyDrive, so it can achieve larger user base.

This application could be purchased for $5.99, which I think is slightly overpriced. What’s interesting is that its price dropped to $1.99, two times in a couple previous months, so you can easily get a better deal if you don’t mind waiting a bit.

Snail Review

Snail 1There must be many times when you felt overwhelmed by day-to-day obligations, and that you had to juggle between different tasks, personal or professional. Actually, for most of us this is everyday struggle. This is exactly why there are so many productivity apps, made for OS X as well as iOS, and the fact is that most of them are very useful and they can bring some ground-breaking changes to your life.

A while ago you had the chance to read a review of a simple to-do app called Clear, made by Realmac Software. This is the application which first appeared on iOS platform and due to its massive success, its developers decided to rewrite it and make it available on OS X as well. Since that time I’ve been using this small app to organize my professional tasks and it has become an integral part of my day-to-day routine. This was the first time I truly realized how an application can help me become a better organized person. This also made me more interested in this software category, so I am always willing to try out some new apps. That’s why I’ll be reviewing today a small app made for OS X, called Snail.

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Snail is a very simple project management tool which is, in its essence, very different from other simple to-do apps. Snail is actually trying to make you a better organized person by keeping track of how much time you’ve spent doing a certain task, so you can re-question yourself and organize you next day a little bit better. Just like any other to-do application, Snail required dedication and discipline.

Snail sits in OS X’s menu bar and once you click on it you will see its main and its only interface. As you can see from the screenshots, Snail’s interface is very clear and nicely organized, even though it’s not very user friendly at first. So, let’s see how you can use it.

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In order to add a new task, you’ll need to click on a small plus sign in the bottom-left corner. This will create a new task which you’ll need to name, and it will be automatically put in a “stack” column. In order to assign it to a current day, you will need to drag it upwards. Red labeled are missed items, green labeled are completed and white colored are today’s unfinished items. In order to activate an item, you’ll need to drag it onto a large grey bar and a timer will start. You can pause it or mark it as completed once you’re done with it. That’s basically all there is.

Snail also lets you add new items for upcoming days, thanks to those left and right positioned arrows on a top of Snail’s window. You can also use keyboard arrows to browse.

Snail is surely a very interesting idea, but I am not sure how usable it is. It is not automated enough to be really helpful since you will need to start, pause and finish each task. There’s also no remainder or notification to help you remember that Snail is counting (except its animated menu bar icon). Another downside is its price of $7 which is exactly the same price as Clear for Mac, which I believe is way more usable and helpful.

Noteworthy+ Review

Noteworthy 2Note-taking applications can be huge time savers and productivity boosters. I imagine most people use them on a daily basis, since you can come up with an idea about something while you’re typing on your computer or while surfing the web. In case you find something interesting, or some idea simply appears in your mind, it would be perfect to have a simple note-taking application, simply to type it in, or paste something interesting. You can do this using Mac’s Notes application, but this kind of simplistic application doesn’t do this job as well as it possibly could. Luckily, Mac App Store offers plenty of these apps, where some are completely free of charge. One of those is Noteworthy+.

Noteworthy+ is an interesting note-taking application which sits in Mac’s menu bar, so when you click on its icon, it will show a drop-down floating-style window. The main difference between this app and some other more complex idea-catching application like Evernote, is that Noteworthy+ is always present in the background and accessible in a second. Of course, it doesn’t have all the power of Evernote, but on the other hand it is much more capable that some similar paid applications.

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Once you start using it, it will take some time and effort to learn how it actually works. Its workflow isn’t so intuitive at first, but you will quickly adapt to it.

Now, we’ll briefly explain how Noteworthy+ works. Basically, you’ll have two categories of entries: notebooks and notes. Notebooks are general category, in which you place notes. This means that when you open this app, you’ll get a list of notebooks, and when you click on one, you’ll see all the notes you’ve saved. To return to a previous step, you’ll need to click on that odd looking button in a right bottom corner, which I guess should resemble iPhone’s Home button.

When you choose to add a new note, a vertical formatting toolbar will appear on the right side, which is a pleasant surprise. This kind of simple application usually doesn’t have any formatting options, so it’s nice to see that Noteworthy+ integrated this feature. You will be able to highlight text, bold or italicize it, change colors, size, fonts and even add bullet points. Once you’re finished editing your new post, click on a “home button” and you’ll return to a list of notebooks.

This kind of simple note-taking application is all about productivity. It is here to offer you lightning fast note taking, and some kind of organizing feature. Noteworthy+ does a good job of achieving these tasks, and the only thing I resent is limited keyboard shortcuts implementation. It would be great if you could adjust or add new shortcuts, so you can start, and navigate it without even touching your mouse, or a trackpad. That would make this application perfect.

Unclutter Review

Unclutter 2I’ve been a Mac user for many years know, so I believe that I know most of its tricks and secrets. Mac OS X is highly usable and productive right out of the box, since workflow is very smooth and interface is user friendly and logical. Just like with any other system, you probably need some small applications which enhance native user experience of an operating system, and which make your everyday computing a bit easier.

Unclutter, created by Software Ambience Corp, is trying to offer some enhancements to a native Mac OS X desktop by creating easily accessible features like note taking, clipboard, and file storage. These three features are located within three independent floating windows which are actually being pulled out from their status bar. As a default setting, you will see these three windows on top on your desktop, where all three have the same dimensions. As you use them, you can change their dimensions in vertical and horizontal manner, so you can give primary role to the one you use the most. I was surprised, as many other reviewers and users as well, that you can pull these windows (or open them from their status bar) by using scroll button on a mouse, not by clicking on them, double-clicking, or even dragging. If you don’t read this information somewhere, before trying out Unclutter for yourself, you will surely believe that your application is frozen and non-functional. Scrolling is a nice addition, but shouldn’t be implemented in such manner. Also, you should be able to choose which gesture you’d like to use to perform this action, but Unclutter doesn’t offer that choice.

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Now a few words on how Unclutter works. As we said earlier, you’ll get to use three features located within three independent windows: clipboard, file storage, and notes. Clipboard previews whatever you’ve copied to the system pasteboard. Maybe someone will think differently, but I don’t see a reason why this feature even exists. It doesn’t offer another helpful or innovative information, and it doesn’t really enhance system pasteboard in any way. File storage behaves like you’ve got USB stick plugged in, so you can drag and drop files onto it. Unclutter’s file storage keeps files deep within system library folder, which also seems strange. This means that data stored by Unclutter won’t and can’t be indexed by Spotlight, which is a serious shortcoming. Finally, Notes act like you would expect, and you can enter or paste any text. This also seems obsolete, since you can use Apple’s Notes app, which is much more powerful than Unclutter’s Notes. Also, its skeuomorphic design doesn’t fit my taste, especially within beautiful and elegant Mac OS X’s aesthetics.

Unclutter seems like a good idea, which wasn’t developed properly. It doesn’t offer anything new, innovative or original, and it surely doesn’t enhance any system-built features like taking notes, or using clipboard. Someone may find it helpful, but the truth is that you can do much better with those small applications which already come with Mac OS X. For $2.99, you can surely find some other application of this kind within Mac App Store, which will be worth the money.


Noted Review

Noted scr4Mac App Store is filled with all kinds of note taking applications, and they all claim to offer some kind of innovative and breath-taking solution which sets them apart. In practice, most of them need a lot of work and effort in order to keep your notes organized, so they actually make it harder to be organized and productive.

Evernote was probably the first mainstream note taking application, which set the bar very high. It’s been there for a while now, and it is very popular even today, both its Mac and iOS version as well. Once I review a new note taking application, I usually compare it with Evernote which is nicely designed, feature rich and most importantly, completely free.

In this article we are bringing you a review of Noted, a new note taking application brought by Blank Desk. Its developers offered a lot of promising things and ideas, so I was happy to take it for a spin. Noted can be purchased using Mac App Store, for $4.99.

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First, let’s start from its interface. Noted brings simplistic and streamlined interface. It actually looks a lot like any other note taking application, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. After all, it needs to have logical and organized interface, which is easy to handle. You’ll basically get a window divided into right and left side. Right side takes about 80% of space and holds all your notes and transforms into new entry window, when you choose to add a new note. Left side is where you can find folders for your notes, which gives ability to organize them. You can create several folders (or books), which could contain numerous subcategories, or labels. So for example, you can create Home and Work folders. Once you take a note which refers to your work, you can label it and send it into a subcategory of a work folder which could be about meetings, payments, or any other specifically oriented task. There’s also unified folder, which basically holds all your notes, as well as Starred, for the important ones. Finally, there’s Trash, which doesn’t need explaining.

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Now a few words on how you can add new notes. Simply open up a new note, and you can start typing. You can use markdown input, which means that you can format your text by typing a specific text command which could make certain words bold, italic, underlined, etc. You can also add attachments like photos, videos, PDFs and text files which won’t be embedded into note, but they will be presented as an attachment to an email, for example.

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Having a good and reliable note taking application will make you store a large amount of information into it. This means that you’ll need some sharing capabilities in order to share data from your notes, as well as ability to print them. Well, you can share them using Noted but only through an e-mail or Apple’s Messages protocol. You won’t be able to print them, though.

Noted is a nicely designed, but quite simple application. It does take your notes and keeps you organized, but Evernote, for example, comes with some pretty powerful and more advanced features like audio and video recording. Still, I would recommend this application in case you need a bit simpler note taking app with a clean and nicely designed interface.

Wunderlist 2 Review

You’ve probably already heard about one of the bestselling to-do applications for Mac OS X, named Wunderlist. It was holding one of the top positions in its category in the Mac App Store for a long time, and received mostly very positive reviews.

In case you’re following review articles here on macreview.com, you’ve also had the chance to read more about this task manager, where we gave it a rating of 5 stars. We were impressed with all of the features it had to offer at the time, and especially with its thoughtful design. The good news is that Wunderkinder, a company which made this beautiful application, recently released Wunderlist 2, by completely rewriting it. We got a chance to test it, and now we are bringing a review of some of the best features which Wunderlist 2 offers.

As we said in a previous review, Wunderlist was always praised because of its design, so the new version simply had to raise the bar. It seems that developers took their time and carefully planned every single interface element, which resulted in a beautifully looking application. It’s still very intuitive and simple to use, and now offers additional features which are nicely graphically presented so that interface doesn’t get cluttered. Even though we are reviewing Wunderlist 2 for Mac OS X, the same goes for iOS, Android, Windows, and Web versions.

Wunderlist 2 comes with an interface which could be separated into three parts. There’s a top bar which features an icon with your username, new activity center, and a search bar. The rest of the window is divided into sidebar and the main panel. Sidebar now offers an option of creating standard and smart lists, and you can list you tasks according to their due date. You can also hide this sidebar, which will transform Wunderlist 2 into smaller version, which resembles iOS edition.

Even though it is important for a task manager to be rationally designed, it is also important in achieving its main goal: creating, editing, and organizing tasks. Wunderlist 1 was fairly simple, yet very effective, but Wunderlist 2 adds many new features which make this application very powerful. You can now not only add tasks to a certain list, but you can fine-tune that particular task by setting up due date, reminders, notes and even sub-tasks. Once again, all of these features also exist in other versions of Wunderlist 2 (Mac, iOS, Android, Windows, and Web), and the best is that you can sync them using your own Wunderlist account.

Besides sharing information through a cloud storage, which makes this application much more productive since you can use it on your desktop and mobile devices, there are some additional features. Now, you can add new people and share your lists, or tasks, with them. You can invite them through an e-mail or Facebook, and once they receive your invitation, a sharing can begin. This is why there’s a new activity center, which lets you review what your friends added, edited, or deleted.

Since Wunderlist 2 is completely free, we strongly recommend you to take a look at this application in case you’re in need of an excellent task manager.