March 11, 2021


Exciting Times

On the whole, I have been quiet for a while. That is about to change. I am going to return to a regular publishing schedule now that the drama in the US is settling down, and I am in a better mental space.

There are some major things happening in the field of note-taking and writing. Lots of new products. Improvements to old products. And general frenetic activity in this space. I can’t wait to go deep into some of these products and give you the rundown on them.

Obsidian Takes on Roam

Obsidian is a product which differentiates itself from Roam with the ability to work with your local files. This is an exciting product which is geared towards “Knowledge Management.” I am going to write a lot about this product.

For the time being, let me whet your appetite with one killer feature: A published API which lets developers design their own plug-ins. Think of the ecosystem of plugins that enhance products like Atom, Visual Studio Code, Sublime Text, Vim, and GNU Emacs. I am glad to see this feature brought to a note-taking application.

Downside? Obsidian is an Electron app.

Logseq Also Takes on Roam

Logseq is a privacy-first, open-source platform for knowledge sharing and management. The focus is the same as Obsidian. But the implementation is more outliner like rather than a Markdown editor like Obsidian.

Logseq is also an Electron app on the desktop.


SpringNotes is an outliner/task manager which is firmly in the Apple ecosystem. These are native implementations and they are macOS and iOS compliant. One purchase ($5.99) gets you installs on both macOS and iOS. SpringNotes is a Markdown based solution.

Org files without Emacs

Org mode in Emacs is fantastic and powerful, but you have to deal with Emacs. EasyOrg tries to take org files away from the Emacs learning curve and provide a friendlier solution. This is a huge task. Org mode in Emacs lets you:

  1. Use it as a task manager.
  2. Use it as an outliner.
  3. Use it is an authoring tool.
  4. Use it as a journaling program.
  5. And a whole host of other uses.

Org mode is a deep and amazing implementation. EasyOrg is focused on the task management portion of the feature set. It is a decent outliner, but it doesn’t, at least in this stage, pretend to be a complete replacement for org-mode in Emacs. I am not sure that it can ever get there. If you are interested in the task management functions of Org mode, you should check it out. You might be surprised at how well EasyOrg works.

Bear Is Testing Out Panda

Panda is the editor component of Bear 2.0. It is an alpha implementation.

These are some of the features:

  1. Complete CommonMark support. (Fantastic).
  2. A lovely table-editor. (Yippee).
  3. Resize and crop images. (Why?).
  4. Sketch your notes. (Must be an iPad thing).
  5. Folding. (Yippee).
  6. Footnotes. (Great).
  7. Hidden Markdown syntax. (FFS. Why?).

I am decidedly in the minority when it comes to my reaction to the changes. Consumers have been bugging the developers for all of these features and Bear 2.0 is going to deliver.

Try the alpha out to get a feel.

nvUltra Hits Choppy Waters

nvUltra is the other program in beta. There were rumblings of the product nearing final release and then… crickets. I have no idea what is going on, but I am excited about nvUltra. I have been on the beta for a long while and can’t wait to share the details on the product with you.

Apple Don’t Do This

Dashword is an interesting program. Reminds me of an outliner called Tree. But it is at best an alpha implementation. The program crashes, refuses to launch, behaves erratically, and is a general pain to use.

It has promise. If the developer can iron out the bugs, this is going to be an instant purchase for me. However, at this stage, it should not be available in the App Store. Being in the App Store implies a certain basic level of usability. Dashword breaks that expectation. I know it is free, but the product should have been in private beta and not in the App Store.

My Goal

I will do a deep dive into some of these programs and write about them in detail. I am excited about it.

BTW, thanks for reading, and I am glad to be back.

macosxguru at the gmail thingie.

Thanks to Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

writing notetaking

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