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November 29, 2005

New NoteTaker Update Now Available

We just released a free update today.  NoteTaker 1.9.9 is primarily a maintenance release but it also includes an updated User's Guide, new support for exporting NTML (XML) to XHTML along with various enhancements and bug fixes which are documented in the What's New notebook (Help menu).  This release also marks the last version of NoteTaker which will officially support Jaguar users (OS X 10.2.8).  Looking ahead to 2006 you'll also see the arrival of UBFs (Universal Binary Format packages) once Apple ships their new Intel-based systems.  NoteTaker is now ready to run on Intel.

Search the User's Guide
Check out our new web site for searching the NoteTaker User's Guide.  It's fast, convenient and a great way to learn more about the many powerful features in NoteTaker.

November 28, 2005

Universal computing is here today, here to stay

My "digital" day usually starts when I click on one of two Page Marks in my Dock that open to specific notebooks.  Nothing particularly remarkable about this other than the fact that they are notebook pages with live, interactive web page entries.  But the real magic is that these web page entries are portals or gateways to other services that I need to use throughout the day.  Be it a Google or Yahoo start page or even one of the many "social hubs or RSS feed-based" sites I visit, the blending of my "webtop" with my "desktop" is transparent to me.  NoteTaker allows me to combine, mix and fuse information that I have created locally or globally, makes no difference.  My definition of universal computing is easy, convenient access to both my desktop and webtop information.  The vision of "information at your fingertips" appears closer to reality everyday or at least from where I sit as AquaMinds moves forward to that day.   

One more thing 
AquaMinds will be supporting Apple's next generation of hardware systems based on Intel processors when they become available.  We've been maintaining and testing our UBF (Universal Binary Format) packages for all of our products on Apple's transition developer system.  Our products run fast, clean and efficiently on Intel.  Apple's done an excellent job of providing the necessary tools for developing, testing and delivering UBF packages efficiently.  2006 is going to be an exciting year for both AquaMinds and Apple.

November 04, 2005

Come to think of it, yet another productive reason for using NoteTaker

For the most part, we're creatures of habit when it comes to learning and using new software features--we use what we know or what we're comfortable with. This is especially true of browsers, with their near-instantaneous access of web-based information.

We seem to be one with our browsers and their search capabilities. It's even reflected in our daily speech, as we confidently tell someone that we can "Google it." The answer seems to be just a keyboard moment away. And, in fact, most of the time it is that easy. Google is almost friction free.  It just works with very little energy spent. That is, we have little motive or incentive to change or learn something new. We are comfortable with the path of least resistance. Browsers and Google are like a habit.  We use them daily, almost as one action.  Why we would even use a new feature or try to do something in a new way? 

However, there is the small matter of dealing with real bits of information that are not easily "Googled" or located by searching the Internet. Even searching your hard disk with Spotlight doesn't necessarily discover a long-lost bit of information or even a recent tidbit. Call it the missing "atoms" syndrome: It's all the information or materials printed on paper stored in a folder or file cabinet or desk drawer. The frustration is that this atoms-based information isn’t residing on your computer when you need to retrieve it.

How did all these bytes or bits become atoms in the first place? In my case, it's usually during the completion of a web site transaction involving a purchase or payment that generates a receipt or record of the transaction. At this point, I’m encouraged to keep a copy for your records--and that usually means printing a hard copy. It’s a case of bits and bytes to atoms.

But I thought the whole point of using the digital model was to cut back on our dependency upon paper? And this is where life gets complicated. Many of us now work in a mostly digital mode, and yet we still have a practical need for paper records and documents. It makes sense until you need instant access to those atoms.    But come to think of it, there is a better way to keep all of this in one place without having to move between bits and atoms. Start with NoteTaker. Begin your web site session on a notebook page and the rest is easy.   

Let me share an example of what I mean. I frequently need to book flights with a certain few airlines.  Since they all have direct ticket purchase via their web sites, I have a page for each airline in my daily notebook.  On the page itself, there is an outline with a web page entry for the airline, an entry with some log-in information (I rarely write down my passwords or rewards numbers as suggested) and most importantly, an entry or sub-head with another outline list of all my previous transaction receipts.     

So, how am I doing this travel planning in NoteTaker? Simple. Whenever I book a flight and have the confirmation/receipt web page in front of me, I tear off a PDF copy of the page (the button is on the right-hand corner of the web entry's toolbar) and drop it on the same notebook page where I'm currently browsing. Or I select and drag the key transaction information from inside the web page entry itself to the same notebook page. Done. My bits and atoms about my flight plans are all in one place now.  Adding hotel reservations, travel notes and interactive Yahoo! maps creates my own atom-based travel planner harnessed in a notebook that I can take with me or publish to the web.   

And don’t forget that whenever you're using Google or Yahoo! via the NoteTaker Web Search Box (also in the toolbar), you can also archive your web page results in addition to creating PDF copies. It's yet another productive reason for working NoteTaker when you're working the web.

Posted by Scott Love on November 4, 2005 08:27 AM | |

November 01, 2005

Staying in touch with RSS feeds inside NoteTaker notebooks.

We're about to release a free maintenance update to NoteTaker in the next two weeks.  Want to keep apprised of the update's status? There's no better way than with an AquaMinds RSS feed.  In fact, RSS feeds are the easiest and most convenient way to monitor changes to any website.  However, by using NoteTaker, you can monitor and display RSS feeds directly on a notebook page! (10.3 or higher is required).

Here's how:  First, navigate to our site (http://www.aquaminds.com/whatsNew.jsp) and find the orange XML button near the bottom of our home page.  Next, control-click on the XML button and choose "Copy Link" from the contextual menu.  Third, paste the copied link into a NoteTaker notebook page and double-click the @ category icon: you now have instant, automatically updating AquaMinds news! 

Note: If you're viewing our site within NoteTaker already, you can skip all the copying and pasting. All you have to do is click on the orange XML button and the RSS feed is displayed directly within the Web page entry in your notebook.  Once you've saved the RSS web page entry in a notebook, drag the current page's Page Mark from the NoteTaker toolbar and drop it on your Dock for one-button, anytime access.

Posted by Scott Love on November 1, 2005 01:36 AM | |