Our Favorite Apps: Jotz 1.1

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Date: Thursday, December 12th, 2002, 06:59
Category: Archive

As part of our ongoing last-minute holiday shopping guide, we have to mention some shareware registrations — the perfect stocking stuffer for any Mac user you love or yourself. Every so often there’s a shareware app that’s so insanely useful it brings a smile to your face. Jot from Thinkerton’s definitely fits that category. I’ve found that no matter how many advanced PDAs and software organizers I have around, I want a place to keep random notes, and a to-do list that’s so prominent I can’t ignore it even if I try. If I don’t have something that does this, I wind up with stacks of paper scraps all over my desk. For the past year, I’d been using StickyBrain from Chronos. Then I found Jotz. Nothing against StickyBrain — it’s a fantastic, deep product, and Stickies junkies will want to check it out. But the interface is big and clumsy, and I found it replicated the problem on my desk on my screen: now I just had digital scraps covering up my second monitor!

Enter Jotz. Remember the old Mac Notepad? The great thing about that limited app was the ability to store lots of scraps of unrelated information out of the way. (The idea, after all, is to get more organized, not less organized!) Jotz fights “scrap creep” elegantly and efficiently. Enter whatever you want into scrollable rich text notes and then quickly browse through them using a slider at the bottom of the screen or by title using the “shuffle” drawer. (There’s a terrific new auto-titling feature that makes the shuffle drawer useful even if you’re too lazy to title your notes.) There’s also polylingual support and multi-note, multi-level search.

Jotz is a model of UI design, neatly minimizing itself into an icon to get out of the way when you’re not using it, and making intelligent use of the Aqua interface — particularly drawers — to store lots of information and features without getting big, kludgy, and ugly. The new version 1.1 upgrade, which is really closer to 2.0, adds new drawers for storing reference information and to-do lists, and additional sheets and drawers for settings. The best new feature is the Jotz Mailroom, which lets you jot off a quick e-mail note and send it using Jaguar’s common address book, without launching Mail (perfect for compulsive e-mailers like me). My only gripe is that the only way to access the mailroom now is via the Window menu; Thinkerton should add this to the existing interface and add a keyboard shortcut. (I could use the built-in suggestion box to suggest this to the developer, though!) The whole app is just US$17.50. A must-buy.

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