Christian Roth
Downloads: 27
Posts: 5
Smile Score: +8
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Christian-Roth reviewed on 15 Aug 2010
I started using this application when it was called SecretBook, and at that time, it was the only one that allowed individual fields per entry(!), file attachments and an XML export format for easy, readable data export should you ever have to switch to another app at some later time (you are not locked into the application). These features are still the strong main features of SecretBox.

But unfortunately, the UI is continuously getting worse with each release (and this is seemingly the only thing that changes from release to release). Here's a list of the UI sins introduced in SecretBox:

• the width of the groups pane at the left is not remembered between launches

• clicking a field name to copy its value does not give any UI feedback (like a brief highlighting like the predecessor SecretBook did so beatifully) so you are never sure if the value actually got copied to the clipboard or not

• the new search implementation introduced in v2.1 is horrible:
- Cmd-F does NOT open the search window, you are requird to use the mouse to start a search (there is not even a menu command to assign a keyboard shortcut to!)
- the list of results is horizontally centered, so its hard to skim over the results
- you cannot jump from a search result to the actual entry in SecretBox (so there's no way to see which group a search result is in)
- after you click on a search result and find it is not the one you were looking for, there's no way to go back to the result list; instead you have to perform the search anew
- the animations of the search window for long search result lists slows operation down to annoyance level; this is a data storage and retrieval app that should be fast in getting at the data, but looks more like a Core Animation demo...

In short, it is such a pity that the new developers at app4mac worsen the UI with every release to the point this application is almost unusable. The underlying database schema and core implementation would be really, really good featurewise, but are rendered unusable by the bad UI.

The companion iPhone app continues in that tradition in that entries synced from the Mac show their data fields with ellipses (…) in the middle when they are too long to be displayed in one line (instead of making them scrollable, as is the case for entries that are entered on the native iPhone app). Have a long entry entered on the Mac? No way to ever see and get to the complete data on the iPhone.

I have reported the iPhone issue, several localization issues (German language) and the no-feedback-on-click UI issue to app4mac (the latter one on their forums, but the entry seems to have been deleted meanwhile...?) several months ago, but none of the issues have been fully adressed till now.

As it is at this point, I cannot recommend SecretBox as an app that you are intending to use daily since the UI will drive you mad (especially when you are a keyboard-centric person).
[Version 2.1.0]

Christian-Roth commented on 02 Jan 2010
The download of this utility has seemingly moved to:

and the home is here:
[Version 1.0.1]


Christian-Roth reviewed on 26 Mar 2008
At the time, I evaluated several packages for securely storing software licenses, bank account details and login passwords. SecretBook was the only one where the data fields could be different for each and every entry and named appropriately if the template for a category did not match the information to enter at hand. For example, sometimes a software license is called a "key", sometimes a "code", sometimes it includes a "name" component or a "TSID", sometimes it doesn't, and sometimes it is even a license file instead of a textual string. All that I can store nicely in this application, correctly named and ordered, access it quickly and copy to the clipboard for pasting wherever I want. The application also has a nice printing function to print all or selected items (e.g. software license keys) for hard disk crash proof off-site storage.

Contact to the developer was quick, polite and useful, and requested new features (for me, license file storage was essential) have been implemented quickly. I am using this software now for almost a year and am very satisfied.
[Version 3.2.3]

Christian-Roth commented on 03 Feb 2006
I have been a loyal user of Sound Studio since almost its starting days. I have recommended it to people, because I am (still) convinced of its fast, simple and effective UI for editing audio. For this, I accepted a price somewhat at the upper limits (around 50 USD) for this kind of an app.

I saw the new version, 3.0, and wanted to check it out for new features and upgrade pricing. Fact is, there seem to be virtually no new features compared to version 2.2.4 except for AU support and a marker list window. However, the price has been raised by 60%, and the upgrade pricing for almost nothing new is 40 USD, i.e. almost as much as I originally paid for the full licence.

I have to agree with RADD - this is simply "insulting". I'm sorry, Lucius, even with your explanation on your old web site, I cannot imagine how these changes and the move to Freeverse can be good ones for the future of Sound Studio. (It even strikes me as Sound Studio not fitting at all into Freeverse's other applications portfolio...)

I for one won't upgrade *ever*, but instead use the still finely working 2.2.4 version (still available from the website) as long as possible and then settle on a different tool with a reasonable feature set for a - most importantly - reasonable price.
[Version 3.0.2]

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