Tag archive: shareware

HoudahSpot adds OpenMeta support

HoudahSpotEvery so often I get emails asking why the heck I’ve never mentioned HoudahSpot on Tagamac, and the answer has always been the same: it doesn’t offer any easy way to work with tags. Fortunately, those days are at an end. HoudahSpot, one of the few Spotlight enhancements that is still actively developed, was recently updated with support for OpenMeta tags such as those used by Tags and Deep, allowing you to build complex search queries involving tags easily and quickly.

HoudahSpot 2 requires Leopard, and is available for $25 with a 14 day free trial. Like other Spotlight enhancers, HoudahSpot gives you an easy way to construct and save complex searches without needing to rely on Apple’s less-than-ideal tools. If you’ve been as miffed at FileSpot’s apparent abandonment, then HoudahSpot definitely deserves your attention.

Fontcase released

FontcaseBohemian Software yesterday released Fontcase, a font manager for OS X that features a beautiful interface, tagging, and most other standard font manager features (previewing, examining all the characters for a given font, comparing fonts, etc.). I’m pretty excited about Fontcase. A month or two ago I was looking for a font manager (as a frontend web developer I find myself accruing more and more fonts), but none of the offerings on the market were as simple and elegant as I was hoping. I ended up just sticking with Font Book and wishing that there were a font manager that supported tagging and smart groups. Lo and behold, my wish is granted in Fontcase.

Aside from its extremely pleasant interface, Fontcase offers a surprisingly wide spread of features for a 1.0 release, including importing smart groups and so forth from Linotype’s FontExplorer X, local network sharing of fonts, the ability to print font previews, and more. Although the lack of any sort of Adobe plugins for auto font activation may make the program less appealing for true power users, Fontcase is a very appealing option to those like myself who need a better tool than Font Book but aren’t interested in spending an arm and a leg. Fontcase is available for a 14 day trial, and costs €35 / $46, with family and business packs available as well.

Tags released

TagsYesterday Gravity Apps released a new file system tagging solution called, simply enough, Tags. Even after playing with it for less than a day, I can say definitively that Tags is the most elegant and easy to use tagging solution available on the Mac, and I strongly recommend that anyone interested in a generic file tagging solution give it a try. Using an approach to tagging reminiscent of Quicksilver, Tags allows you to tag virtually anything on your computer by invoking a single hotkey (control-space by default). And when I say virtually anything, I mean exactly that: files in Finder, emails in Mail, addresses in Address Book, bookmarks in Safari, photos in iPhoto, and the list goes on. Once you’ve tagged a few files you can find them easily simply by hitting the hotkey twice and using Tags’ searching interface, by creating a Smart Folder from within Tags, or simply by prefacing the tag with “tag:” in a Spotlight search. This is the first application I’ve used where tagging items and then searching for them in Spotlight just felt like magic; Gravity Apps has obviously paid very close attention to making Tags a first class OS X citizen.

The best news, however, is that besides being beautiful and so easy to use my tech-challenged grandmother could probably figure it out, Tags doesn’t use Spotlight comments or any other such hackery to accomplish its tagging. It instead uses extended attributes in a way that is compatible (or possibly identical) with OpenMeta, the open source tagging framework recently released by Ironic Software and incorporated into their photo tag browser Deep. For anyone who has been frustrated with the numerous limitations of Spotlight comment tagging, this is fantastic news indeed. Tags is available as a free trial from the Tags website, and when you’re ready to buy is priced at $29.

The Hit List enters public preview

The Hit ListAs if the choice wasn’t difficult enough already, yet another Getting Things Done application entered the wild today; Potion Factory today released a public preview version of The Hit List, a GTD app that treads a middle path between OmniFocus‘ high-powered outlining and Things‘ beautiful minimalism, with a dash of TaskPaper‘s text-based tagging for good measure. By combining outlining-style task management with the concept of lists and robust text-based tagging, The Hit List is an application that will likely appeal to those who love OmniFocus’ flexibility but are yearning for an application with a little more visual pizazz.

Some of my personal favorite features of The Hit List include the tabs (which essentially allow you to save snapshots of the sidebar and navigate between them, something which Things is sorely lacking), the wonderful notebook-paper inspired themes, and the in-depth and easy to get into keyboard navigation. If OmniFocus or the recently released Things don’t quite scratch your task management itch, The Hit List will be well worth checking out. According to its early testers, The Hit List is stable enough for daily use despite being in beta and not yet feature complete. If you fall in love with The Hit List you can preorder it for $49.95; the price after release will jump to $69.95, and it is completely free during the public preview. For more information and to download the application, visit the Hit List public preview announcement.

DevonThink 2.0 public beta released

DevonThinkBig news for those interested in file organization! Devon Technologies yesterday released a public beta of the long-awaited DevonThink 2.0. Among other things, DevonThink 2.0 offers the ability to open multiple databases at the same time, a completely revitalized interface, a web interface to your database, saves files to its database as-is (thus allowing them to be edited by external programs), smart groups for sorting your files, and at long last adds tagging (sort of). DevonThink has always been one of the most feature-rich file libraries available, and with version 2.0 it at last is a bit more friendly. If you need a lot of power and automation (particularly sorting/grouping automation) and don’t mind sacrificing the Finder-friendly approach of Together or EagleFiler for a database, then you’ll need to give DevonThink 2.0 a serious look.

The downside to the first public beta is that it doesn’t actually have much in the way of tagging support. There’s a place for tags in the Get Info window, but you can’t edit them (the contents currently defaults to the groups for a document). However, tagging (and presumably auto-tagging, given DevonThink’s long dedication to auto-sorting) is definitely on the radar for the final release. For more information about what’s new in DevonThink 2.0 and to download see the release notes and DevonThink 2.0 page. The first public beta will expire at the end of January, and upgrade options will be made available at the DevonThink website soon (they have announced, however, that users who purchased DevonThink 1.x after July 1, 2008 will receive a free upgrade to 2.0). DevonThink 2.0 requires OS 10.5.

Minor updates for early December

EvernoteEarly this December Together, Hazel, StoryMill, and Evernote all received minor updates. Together 2.2.3 includes synching improvements and several minor bug fixes. Hazel 2.2.4 offers a number of crash and other bug fixes, including some minor UI improvements. StoryMill 3.2.1 fixes several bugs, including date entry problems and localization improvements. Evernote 1.2 primarily introduces a new feature for premium users only: file synchronization. Basically, premium users can now attach any file on your computer to a note and it will be synchronized between all of your Evernote clients (Mac, web, iPhone, etc.). The only limitation is that a single note cannot exceed 25 MB. Cool? Yes. Evernote has made a lot of improvements since I last wrote about it, so definitely give it a look if you need to access data from anywhere.

For more information on the various updates see Together’s release notes, Hazel’s release notes, the StoryMill 3.2.1 announcement, and the Evernote synchronization blog announcement.

Ironic Software releases Deep 1.0

DeepIronic Software, makers of Yep and Leap, yesterday released a new image searching and tagging program called Deep. Deep offers a unique approach to image searching by combining filtering by tags/keywords, location, size, and aspect ratio with color palette matching. As you build your search in the top portion of the window, the results are displayed in a carousel below with navigation reminiscent of cover flow. As with Leap, tags include not only keywords that you’ve assigned to your images, but folder names, as well, providing you with a very complete list of keywords even if you’ve never tagged a photo. Unlike Leap and Yep, however, Deep is not focused on organizing photos. Although you can add tags to a photo, the program’s primary focus is on finding photos that are similar to one another, leaving the task of organizing, importing, or editing those photos in the first place up to software better equipped for the job. Interestingly, Deep doesn’t use a database; all of its metadata (including tags and color data) is included inside the extended attributes of your image files.

The awesomeness of Deep does come at a cost, however: Deep not only requires Leopard, but is Intel-only. It will not run on PowerPCs. Deep is available for $34 or as part of a package deal with Yep and Leap for $69, and the application includes a 21 day free trial. Definitely check out the manual for some very useful tips and tricks on using the software; although Deep is simple enough to pick up and use immediately (or almost immediately, given the need to index the colors of the images on your hard drive), there’s definitely more to the program than meets the eye.

Minor updates for late November

EagleFilerEagleFiler and Default Folder X received minor updates in the past week or so. EagleFiler 1.4.3 includes numerous bug fixes, some new esoteric preferences, and other minor improvements. Default Folder X 4.1 removes the lag that normally existed for open and save dialogs, adds Open Office 3 support, and fixes other minor errors and bugs.

For more information about EagleFiler 1.4.3 see the release notes. Default Folder X includes information on what’s new on the Default Folder X download page.

TaskPaper 2.0 released

TaskPaperIn case you’ve been living in a box, the three most compelling options in the world of Mac task managers are: Things (if you like a simple, beautiful interface), OmniFocus (if you need lots of powerful features), and TaskPaper. TaskPaper eschews the standard feature bloat of GTD applications and provides instead the minimum tools you need to manage your tasks easily and effectively. TaskPaper task lists are plain text (so you can take and edit them just about anywhere) but enhanced with features like automatic formatting, archival of completed tasks, and easy filtering/searching of your task list. TaskPaper 2.0 adds a fantastic new search system (watch the screencast), a Things-style quick entry window to add tasks from anywhere on your computer, drag and drop organizing, a customizable theme system, Applescript support, and an even more attractive user interface.

I strongly recommend TaskPaper even to people who think their needs are met by more complicated software. There is nothing like using a minimalist tool like TaskPaper for a couple of weeks to learn exactly what features you can live without and which you desperately need in a task manager, and for many people TaskPaper will be the solution that finally gets out of their way and lets them complete their tasks rather than fiddling with them. TaskPaper 2.0 is a free upgrade to users of TaskPaper 1 (although it now requires OS 10.5), or is available for $29.95 with a free trial.

StoryMill update: 3.2

StoryMillStoryMill, my favorite place to craft longer fiction, has been updated to version 3.2. This update includes numerous improvements, but my personal favorite is the new project-wide find and replace. Although it’s been a long time in coming, StoryMill’s find and replace is possibly the best implementation I’ve ever used outside of powerful (and user-unfriendly) text editors, and uses the type of modeless window that users of Textmate or Xcode will recognize to serve up detailed and contextual information about exactly what your search has found, allowing you to make replacements with confidence. (Special Tagamac tip: if you find more hits than you were expecting, you can toggle all of the items closed by holding down option while you click any of the disclosure arrows.) Other new features include the ability to use European-style dates, Quick Look support for StoryMill files, and text zooming available in all views (rather than just the chapter view).

For a full list of changes, see the 3.2 forum announcement. StoryMill 3.2 is a free update for owners of StoryMill.

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