Yojimbo Reviews.

I can’t stop researching the subject of Yojimbo as a new means of collecting and organizing information. For those 3 other geeks who have been Googlin’ Yojimbo-related arcania, here is a list of relevant links about Yojimbo, its feature set, interface, and functionality and whether it’s a Mover app, a Replicant, or a Dud:
John Gruber: Mover.
Nat Irons: Mover.
Macworld News: Unknown, but forum visitors say: Mixed.
Various Hog Bay forum folks (many, if not most, of whom unsurprisngly prefer Hog Bay’s Mori, which has real “Smart” folders that assign categories intelligently based on your keywording and which I like a whole lot as do others, in part because the developer runs an active user community site): Mixed.
O’Reilly Mac DevCenter’s Blog: Replicant. But, interestingly, Yojimbo uses a SQLite database to store its information, which I understand is actually better than StickyBrain’s Openbase database.
MacUser’s Derik DeLong: Mover.
VersionTracker’s forum: Mixed.
For those who don’t like to click on links for some reason, here is a brief summary of information about the application that I’ve found are relevant to my workflow and the question of shelling out for Yojimbo:

  • .Mac sync is a huge value add; Yojimbo is the only application of its kind that truly integrates with .Mac syncing
  • Drop Dock tab is very useful for getting information in quickly
  • Pop-up data entry is very useful for getting information in quickly
  • Creates embedded webpage archives
  • Does fast encryption (but I question its simplicity)
  • Overall ease of use (DevonThink and StickyBrain are too complicated to learn and maintain)
  • It’s smart folders aren’t that smart; they can’t “read” data on the fly
  • Search functionality is good but it only works upon hitting the “Return” key, a very un-Mac feature; additionally, is Spotlight searchable
  • Does not do hierarchical lists
  • Is stable
  • Is overpriced at a $39.95 introductory price


i just spent a few too many minutes trying playing with some very fine new software by old OS X friends at Bare Bones Software. It’s called Yojimbo and it pretty much rocks. It can do a lot of fancy things like saving web pages, bookmarks, text, emails, pictures, menus, ideas, foot odors, and even passwords. It’s new and novel and pretty and has a good interface that appears pretty intuitive, to me. (Critical to this last sentence are the words “intuitive, to me.” Intuition should never be a universalized assumption, despite what some usability experts want to think.) Mostly, I really like the floating tab drawer that you can position on your desktop that allows you drag and drop content you want to save directly into/onto the application.
Jojimbo has some good competition out there, including the old but recently very renewed Sticky Brain, which looks a lot like Yojimbo, or should I say, the other way around. And then there’s the sweet, but odd and oddly named Circus PoniesNotebook, which is fey and pretty much allows you to do all of the above as well and a bit more. Lifehacker featured the latter application today, ironically, as Jojimbo came out, like two days ago and Notebook has been around a long time.
As I mentioned before, there’s ol’ DevonThink which I know my old college chum Steven Johnson uses and swears by. He’s in Davos today.
Jojimbo. It has a nice name to it. It’s kind of funny. Say it with me: “Jojimbo.” A search on “Yojimbo” comes up with a entry that has led me to review and re-view the well-named application VoodooPad by Flying Meat. (I really like the drawing of the voodoo’d boy on this page. You can even do some similarly ept drawings in VoodooPad, which is unlike all of the rest.)
These note-taking applications are not to be confused with outlining applications like OmniOutliner, which I quite like, though it’s pricey for a thing that makes lists. Nor are these apps to be confused with Website tracking software like Webstractor nor its little sister (more like “cousin”), Yoink.
I don’t know what the hell is going on. Maybe I need Jojimbo. Or Sticky Brain or Notebook. Then there’s good old Stickies, which come with OS X in both Dashboard and desktop flavors. Or you could just use Notepad, and copy and paste all your shite in there in one huge list and click command-F whenever you wanted to find something. The other possibility is to save all of your stuff on your blog, kind of like I’m doing now.


I just got back from a run/walk with my friend M.M. at the Pan Am Pool, where there is a sweet, albeit paved, track around the building. To many, this would be about as big a news item as eating raisins with one’s cereal in the morning. For me, it was pretty momentous. I haven’t worked out in any serious, heart-pounding, fat-burning, heat-searing, leg-pushing, arms-moving, lungs-working way probably in about 3, maybe 4, years. The best shape I was ever in was when I prepared for about eight months for hte AIDS Ride, which ended in shame the year after I rode from Boston to New York City in three days.
I can’t explain the level of immediate elation I experienced as I left the gym this morning. It was a combination of relief, satisfaction, adrenaline, and bodily warmth that I don’t know can be experienced otherwise (excepting an unmentioned activity). I feel great and it’s weird to write this. Thank goodness for the Pan Am Pool, for Winnipeg Community Services, and for my friend, M.M.

Strokes On.

The beautiful boy band The Strokes just put up an amazing little performance on SNL. You’ll be able to get to the mpegs pretty soon but for those of you who were on the phone and want to see something pretty fine, you might check out their published video of the same song, Juicebox, number two on the new album, First Impressions of Earth. (Actually, I thought I didn’t like Juicebox until I just saw the live version.)

Copy Paste.

I do a lot of copying and pasting. So does everybody who uses a keyboard. And it’s true that perhaps the most valuable class in my 20 years of education was a typing class in 9th grade.
Sometimes I wonder what the world would be like without the ability to hit control-c and control-v on that same keyboard. Could I do anything? Would any work get done? Could any code get written, any emails responded to, any spreadsheets built, any ideas revised, any reports written, any Photoshop images get made? I don’t think so. My new theory is that these two keystrokes, and these two keystrokes alone, are the keys to our global efficiency.

Canadian Conservatives.

Disclaimer: I know nothing about Canadian politics.
There’s a very strange thing going on in Canada right now with the election only a week or so to go.
I don’t get it. The Canadian press and all polls show the Conservative party winning this next election and the new Canadian Prime Minister will be Stephen Harper. Why? It’s time for a change. It’s total bullshit, at least to me. The Liberals, which are essentially the Democratic party of the States, have had 12 years of good economics, sound fiscal policy, strong deliberation and stands against U.S. foreign policy, same-sex marriage legalization, general overall political and national unity, and healthy immigration. There’s this scandal, concretized by the Gomery Report, that Canadians seem very upset about wherein money changed hands wrongly in Quebec and there was definitely some mismanagement of taxpayer money.
But now even the left-leaning newspapers like The Globe and Mail have issued new editorials stating that Canadians should kick the Liberal bums out of office because, well, there is a need for somethin’ new.
It doesn’t add up. From my experience in the States, conservatives and conservative parties have done a phenomenal job of convincing mass numbers of people that they have a better way of getting things done by killing government programs and then telling them, when government doesn’t work well, that government doesn’t work. It’s brilliant, no doubt. It has an elegant internal logic in terms of public appeal that kept George Bush in the White House a few months ago. And now the Conservatives in Canada, which seem to essentially a “lite” version of Republicans, are making the case that they have “new ideas” such as tax cuts, Kyoto-defiance, healthcare privitization and space militarization that might actually be neat if they could be implemented. Canadian polls show that they don’t like the current Prime Minister, Paul Martin, because he doesn’t seem to connect with their concerns and he had a chance to do something great and they haven’t seen it, yet.
There’s absolutely no assurance that a Conservative government in Canada can do anything except make the nation a U.S. backwater which rationalizes its best policy, intellectual, and national assets away. Conservatives are billed as change agents while the Liberals are viewed as old, sitting ducks. I feel sorry for Mr. Martin, who honestly seems committed to pushing forward a European/American-style approach to good government.
Finally, I can’t help but think, as a new American immigrant in Canada, that the Conseravtive party must be getting lots of very nice financial and strategic help from their buddies in the States, who, in turn, are looking to make life easier for themselves with a conservative northern neighbor. I have little doubt that Karl Rove and other friends of the right are rubbing their sweaty palms together, awaiting the kingship of Conservatives in Canada who can begin to dismantle the nation’s “welfare” statehood.


On Friday I received my healthcard from Manitoba Health. I carried my new, stamped Canadian Permanent Resident Visa to the offices, took a number (96) and sat for about 10 minutes. The ladies behind the desk called 86 and there was no answer. Then she called 87 and no answer. 88 was the same. 89 the same. Then customer number 90 went up as did 91 and 92 and 93. She called 94 and there was no one waiting. 95 was called and a large man went up to the desks. She called 96, and I saw down, showed her my visa, gave her my address, told her that this was my first time applying for Medicare and she typed my information into the system. About 2 minutes later, after copying my passport, she handed me back a completed, ready-to-use healthcard. I am now completely insured under the Canadian health system. I’m a bit incredulous; being part of a universal government program that is both desirable and acceptable is a strange thing. For most of my life, being part of any government-sponsored system was cause for concern or anxiety.
Covered for free. How strange.

Security and Security.

I’ve been catching up on my technology readings lately, having been given the excellent Joel on Software book for Chanukkah this year as well as getting a few late tech subscriptions all at once. It’s fun. But the enterprise technology ads, I’ve noticed, have taken a more luxriously minimal design take and a more frightening content look. The designs are all very refined, lots of minimal space and clear, scary text that are geared to make heavy-duty information technology folks frightened about their data, their email, their systems, their networks, their hardware, software, or connectivity.
I looked for a few online examples of these fear-mongering ads but, interesting, corporate websites don’t look anywhere near as compelling or frightening as the print ads. It’s as if the print marketers figured out that magazines catering to tech freaks best serve their clients by taking a page from Homeland Security. it makes me wonder whether the actual threats to the U.S. national infrastructure and the private technology companies are similarly overvalued. There’s no doubt that viruses, adware, malware, spam, breaching, etc. are huge headaches and major financial drains on companies which then need to pass their security costs on to consumers. Similarly, the federal government needs to assess real potential threats from national and non-state groups and individuals which then passes on its costs to taxpayers (or, more accurately, these taxpayers’ children). But in both cases, the costs are pretty severe and one can see the logic of fear and fear-mongering in those print ads more clearly than one can via the newspaper.

You're Great.

We just got back from NYC and Pennsylvania last night. Ten days. That was nice. I’ll write more later.
Tonight, we were in a musical mood and happy to be back in the house. We family-cranked Tigermilk and then danced around the living room. I saw my daughter slowly empty a tin full of paints and glue and bangles and I was wondering what she was doing until she started banging on it. Twenty songs later, I put on the incredibly fine All Around the Kitchen! Crazy Videos & Concert Songs! DVD for our daughter. We watched together the zany Zanes play to a small audience of small people in the big city. It was beautiful as she put her hand on the television and said “You’re great, Dan Zanes! You’re great!”