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Kal's Posts
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Kal reviewed on 25 Apr 2010
I was looking for an application to write and organise:
• blog entries and discussion forum posts
• private journal entries
• product reviews (mainly to help me when trailing and comparing software for my own use)

I wanted to be able to quickly search for things I've previously written, and in the case of product reviews, easily compare them at a glance, listing them in order of rating. Folders full of text files just aren't fit for the task.

Out of all the programs I tested, MacJournal came up on top. The programs I tested, in rough order of preference were:

MacJournal 5.2
Scrivener 1.53
Together 2.3.5
SOHO Notes 8.17
Yojimbo 2.1
DEVONthink 2.0
Dossier 2.3.2
Tinderbox 5.0.2
MacNote3 2.5.1

For my needs, MacJournal had the best combination of ease of use and the features I was looking for. Its user interface is simple, attractive and very logically set out. An ‘inspector' panel give quick and easy access to various settings at the document level (the main file), journal level (like a folder grouping certain entries) and the entries themselves. The default toolbar didn't suit me, but I was able to customise this to a set of features that worked for me.

Two of the most valuable features for me are templates and checkbox lists. If I'm comparing a list of products, I can start out by defining a list of the features I am looking for, format this as a checkbox list, and then use this as the template for that journal - meaning that when I create a new entry, it comes pre-populated with the list of features, and as I'm reviewing the software, I just check them off. Too easy! It also lets you give each entry a star rating, and then order them by rank.

That's just an example of how I use the program. It also includes tagging of entries and the creation of smart sets (smart journals) giving you a lot of flexibility as to how you organise your journal entries.

In the few weeks that I've been using it (and using it quite a lot), I stumbled across two bugs which I reported to the developer, and on both occasions he responded within a few days to inform me that he had fixed the issue. (Personally, that is more than I expect from a developer. I know a lot of people complain on here when a developer doesn't reply to their emails, but I find it kind of amusing that we don't expect this kind of service from companies like Adobe and Microsoft who charge hundreds of dollars for their software, yet we expect it from shareware developers who charge less than $40! Am I missing something??)
[Version 5.2.1]


Kal reviewed on 19 Apr 2010
- Choosing food groups from a photograph of assorted food actually works pretty well! I'd say it's easier than browsing a list. I guess it makes sense since our brains are already well programmed to scan a table of food at social events… :) This is probably the main saving grace for a user interface that is otherwise pretty dog-ugly. (It would be nice if the lamb and beef in the photo was cooked though. There's only so much looking at raw cow muscle one can stomach in a day!)
- Various reports provide some useful information.
- Even though it's not particularly well done, I like that they've tried to visually depict the appearance of your person as you enter your height and weight - that's kinda fun. (Do men really wear underpants like that in France?) And if you're curious to see what the fairer sex looks like, you gotta love the message that pops up when you close the window: 'You have changed the gender of the user [Your Name]. Do you wish to keep these new values?' Hmm…

- Ugly user interface. (It tries hard and has some nice ideas, but overall it's not pretty.)
- Possibly the worst implementation of numerical data-entry I have ever seen. Seriously guys, we all have numerical keys on our keyboards!!

When you quit this program it informs you:
'This program is not free. It is distributed as shareware. If you find it amusing, interesting or useful, please buy it. Thank you.'
Rats! I thought I only had to buy it if I found it useful… Those darn French developers and their amusing green drawstring underpants!
[Version 1.0.2]

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