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January 31, 2006

Giants before us, giants above us

Two industry-changing people always stand above all others with respect their prescient, vision and sheer genius to predict the digital future.  Do you know to whom I'm talking about?  No, not Gordon Moore although he stands alone in his own silicon-based domain of prediction and insight.  One is a legend and the other is a living legend.  With all due respect to Sir Isaac Newton, the giants' shoulders we stand upon in the software industry are equally deserving of our adulation if not respect.

NoteShare is the intersection of several ideas but most importantly, it amplifies the collaborative sharing theme of the innovators before us and among us: Vannevar Bush and Douglas Engelbart.  Like Steve Jobs' vision of "bicycles for the mind", Bush and Engelbart viewed the digital future as a turbo-charged human thinking experience.  Instant sharing, as our product NoteShare embodies it, is a very modest starting point for one such possible digital future that Bush and Engelbart envisioned so richly long before us.  And above AquaMinds today are the "legends in the making" we aspire to surpass.  On to Olympos!

January 27, 2006

NoteTaker is now officially a Universal application

We just officially shipped NoteTaker 1.9.10 today.  It requires OS X 10.3.9 or higher (we highly recommend OS X 10.4.4 for accessing NoteTaker's Tiger-specific features).

Macosx Universal 60Px-1

This new version of NoteTaker marks a wonderful milestone for AquaMinds, Apple and most importantly, our user community.  Many of you have recently been writing to us about your specific plans to order the new Mac systems especially the MacBook Pro.  We're very pleased to announce that NoteTaker is now a Universal application.  Runs great on both PPC and Intel.

By the way (aka "one more thing"), the pending promotional pre-release of NoteShare will be delivered as a Universal application right from day one.  Hats off to the AquaMinds development team for a great start in 2006!

January 23, 2006

Social computing equals sharing: the new "personal computing" for groups

Someone asked me the other day if NoteShare is designed to be a document management system and/or a collaborative editing system.  The short answer is no but it also begs the question about what NoteShare really is.  In short, it's a personal desktop information platform for sharing media-rich, multi-page documents called notebooks.  Whatever information and ideas you want to organize and communicate as notebook pages can be shared with another NoteShare user.  Returning to the question, document management is a particular application approach while collaborative editing is a particular workflow approach but both are built upon shared information concepts.

Sharing your notebooks creates opportunities for new forms of social computing applications.  When you have "more degrees" of freedom, you can be even more creative and dynamic in your communications with others.  On top of this, you add NoteShare's convenience factor of place and location for simplicity.  NoteShare allows you to create an instant place or location for gathering, meeting, sharing and exchanging ideas but without schedules or strings attached (like gaining access to a web server).  Instant sharing opens up new possibilities for bringing people and their ideas together in the moment now or any moment.  And why does this matter?  Because productive, creative work can never be scheduled especially if the team is working from different locations or even on the same campus or office building.

The essence of NoteShare's productivity advantage is that you and other users can edit and change the content of a shared notebook (locally or remotely) as easily as viewing and browsing it.  And best of all, users can be both sharing their notebooks while viewing others' remote notebooks at the same time.  By using NoteShare, there is no need for a central server or a hosted service to enable sharing with another user or group.  From your desktop to their desktop, it's a direct connection.  Or, if you've got a second machine around or a Mac Mini, just leave it running 24x7 for anytime access.

"Bicycles for the Mind"
And this is where the excitement of NoteShare begins because social computing is a collective activity that has no time boundaries, no physical boundaries and no application or workflow boundaries.    Apple's very early vision of personal computing has always resonated with me.  When I worked at Apple in the early days,  the big mantra was the amazing leverage gained by using your own computer.  Owning an Apple computer was like having "a bicycle for the mind" which was a terrific ad campaign featuring Steve Jobs that ran in the early 80's even before Apple brought the Macintosh to market.  Insightful and thought-provoking, this brilliant message connected with the public (and eventually with IBM/Microsoft too).  Back then, nothing seemed more exciting than Steve's vision of personal computing.  He envisioned it then as he does today that personal computing has an almost unlimited potential to amplify human creativity.

Today, we take for granted the vast information resources we have at our fingertips.  But it's still personal computing that matters most.  One person, one computer.  Creativity and genius without boundaries.  As we continue to connect everyone with instant sharing, instant messaging and instant communications (sound/video/voice), social computing becomes the new model for pervasive computing.  With NoteShare, desktop sharing is truly anytime, anywhere.  Social computing is transforming into the new personal computing mantra for groups.  And we truly mean any personal group of two or more users creating, brainstorming, organizing, communicating and sharing notebooks.  What could be more social than a bicycle built for two?

Posted by Scott Love on January 23, 2006 12:54 PM | |

January 10, 2006

UBF ready for flight

We are ready to ship a universal binary (UBF) for both NoteTaker and the pending early access release of NoteShare.  Apple's claims have been true from day one that developing and creating a universal binary are straightforward in most cases.  We're happy to announce that we're good to go with our own UBF packages and will release the NoteTaker universal binary next week.  It's an exciting time to be developing software for OS X.  The hardware choices from Apple just get better and better.    NoteTaker looks terrific on MacTel.

Posted by Scott Love on January 10, 2006 09:41 PM | |

January 03, 2006

First impressions of the NoteShare experience

As expected, more information about NoteShare is now starting to flow from various sites on the Internet.  Most are based on the very excellent "first impression" article written by  James Fallows which was just published in The New York Times this past Sunday edition (January 1, 2006). A real collector's item on many levels since it announced NoteShare publicly for the first time.  Our company web log will highlight articles of interest whenever possible such as this piece just posted today.

Kevin Sheridan, long time NoteTaker user and expert, has written a new and informative piece about NoteShare on his very popular blog.  It's another "first impression" piece but starting as a blog series so I highly recommend you subscribe to his feed if you're interested in learning more about NoteShare from one of our very first users.

Posted by Scott Love on January 3, 2006 06:41 PM | |

January 02, 2006

Out of our lab and into your hands

We're announcing a new productivity product today called NoteShare. It is scheduled to ship during the first quarter of 2006. It is a "one of a kind" information processing application (just runs on your desktop like any other application) designed to allow small workgroups, classrooms and project teams to instantly create interactive sessions via sharing of personal notebooks. NoteShare allows users to create and publish information as personal notebooks but adds a very powerful capability for ad-hoc sharing anytime, anywhere. It will initially run on OS X (with UBF support coming at the same time Apple releases Intel-based, hardware systems).

NoteTaker first shipped in 2002 and it was a key product milestone for our young sofware company which represented the beginning of an exciting journey. Since then we have continued to define information processing as more than just a desktop utility but as a power tool for processing both structured and un-structured data. From the very beginning, our product vision has been dedicated to making your notebooks and information available everywhere.

Way of Life software
When we first invented the idea of dynamic generation of Web Notebooks, it too signaled an important milestone by allowing users more choices for publishing their notebooks. But publishing information is only one part of our technology vision at AquaMinds. We recognize and appreciate that our users are working with their NoteTaker information daily. For many, it has become "way of life" software which is integrated into many users' tasks and creative efforts. And to this end, NoteTaker notebooks are not just static documents but dynamic collections of information, web clippings, live web pages, search results, dynamic plug-ins, bookmarks, annotations, file attachments, images, QuickTime, voice and more. Whether a user's applications are personal or work-related, NoteTaker is a highly interactive platform for creating, presenting and sharing media rich, multi-page documents. Notebooks have become living records of personal knowledge, insights and even conversations; a very natural approach to social software. Your information, your notes, your ideas, all in one place.

Share your notebooks - anytime, anywhere
But to be a truly interactive, media rich platform, we had to first solve a most difficult, technical problem. The challenge was how to allow users to not only share their notebook information but to actually work together while creating new information. We needed to provide and support multiple access, multiple viewing and multiple editing without burdening non-technical users with jargon like servers, clients, web hosts, etc. From this point of view came the conceptual genesis of the NoteShare design approach. The quest to solve this challenging user problem began nearly three years ago to this day.

And we continued to ask ourselves if we could design and build a solution that would allow users to simply share a notebook from their own desktop computer. To make it available for multiple authors or viewers to contribute their own content without the need for a dedicated IT or network technical staff to host it. Would it allow users to add their ideas, concepts and annotations to a shared notebook while supporting all of the feature richness of NoteTaker with drag and drop support too? And finally, could we make it as easy as one button sharing in order to be available anytime, anywhere with the least amount of set-up? No hosted service, no server or intermediary, just your own computer to share your own information with other users in your group or office or on your team (locally or globally).

Yes, instant notebook sharing is arriving January 16th
During the week of January 16th, we will begin offering registered NoteTaker users early access to purchase a NoteShare license at a special promotional price. It will be available directly from our site and we'll send a notification to the NoteShare mailing list (an opt-in program). In the coming days and weeks ahead, we'll be sharing more about the NoteShare vision, where it's headed and what's next. And one more thing, by the end of 2006, shared notebooks will be accessible from as many platforms as possible including Windows, Linux, PDAs and smart phones.

Posted by Scott Love on January 2, 2006 03:25 AM | |