Organise your life – Yojimbo Style !

Written by: Dave Cryer

Categories: Reviews

Yojimbo screenshotWell, I never ever thought that I would move away from bookmarking hundreds of web pages to keep track of interesting items. But things in my everyday Mac life are about to change and it will be interesting to see if the changes are permanent. For a long time now, if I found something of interest on the Internet, I would bookmark it and try to put it into a meaningful category. More often than not into a bookmark folder called something like ‘interesting software’ or ‘to look at later’. I came to realize just this week that I hardly ever went back to these bookmarks, so I was probably wasting a lot of my time, which I could spend more creatively.

Enter Yojimbo, by Bare Bones Software, which I would like to describe myself as an ‘Electronic Scrapbook on Steroids’. Many people are pushing around a category of software called ‘GTD’ which stands for ‘Getting Things Done’, at this early stage Yojimbo does fit into this category, but seems to offer a whole lot more besides.

Before I move on to let you know the features of Yojimbo and how I have used it so far, I would like to let you all know that this review will be revisited for a ‘Long Term Look’ in about six weeks time. More often than not, a reviewer picks up a piece of software to review, raves about it (or not) and then it gets forgotten. Well, with a different approach, I will let you know my early thoughts, but will then report back to let you know if Yojimbo is still in my dock as a permanent feature.

So, Bare Bones Software offers Yojimbo as a trial download. It weighs in at a 7Mb download, which is a Universal Binary and will work for 30 days, after which you can purchase a license for various amounts depending on your use. An individual license costs USD$39.00, educational is USD$29.00 and a family license for up to 5 users is USD$69.00. Each license allows you to install on multiple machines, so for example if you buy an individual license and own a desktop and laptop, this is fine and allows you to use the full power of Yojimbo via synchronization (more on that later).

After a simple installation you can start using Yojimbo to store information. The types of info you can throw at it are almost endless, anything from text, web bookmarks, PDF files, web archives, serial numbers and passwords, the list goes on and on. Right from the offset I found the software great for dragging interesting web images and screenshots into the software. Once the info is dragged into Yojimbo I can then go to the main window and retrieve the information I require. In this case it is a URL pointing towards the original image, from here I can click open and the screenshot I saved a reference to will open in my browser. So this default setting just references where the image was dragged from, going into the preference settings from ‘bookmark’ to ‘web archive’ and this setting now downloads the image into Yojimbo when it is dragged into the DropDock. The benefit of this second option is that you actually have the image downloaded, so no chance of losing track of it if the website you grabbed it from moves the image.

So straight away I found an instant benefit in my workflow, because so often I see images and screenshots that I want to use later, now I have a way of easily grabbing the information. Moving on I also noticed that Yojimbo has ‘Smart Collections’ built in for passwords and serial numbers, this is great as only last week I was testing a software called Pastor for storing my serial numbers, well now I can do this all within one application. Entering the information is easy and once entered the password is greyed out. Clicking on the show button asks me to enter the password that I was asked to enter when enabling this feature. So now I have one password that protects all of my information, which I know a lot of people will say is not a great idea, but when you have so much information to remember, forgetting the odd password always happens. My main suggestion here is to set a really hard to break Yojimbo password and do not write it down anywhere, this should keep things safe. Serial numbers are entered in a similar manner, but are not hidden in anyway, nor are they password protected. I guess that it is not that essential to hide your serial numbers, but it would be nice to have an option to hide them if you wanted to.

Whilst writing this review I had to break off and take a call from Apple, being unfortunate enough to have a battery effected by the recent recall. Because I was not at my normal desk I did not have a pen, so after the initial panic I realised I could make a quick note in the very software I was reviewing. So I hit the ‘New’ button in the top left of the main window, scrolled down to note, entered a title for my note and then typed the details of the conversation in. After I finished the notes were logged and it even kept a track of the time and date the note was made. This updates itself if you then go back into the note and make changes. I also flagged the note as it is something I will need to go back to at a later date.

Now I had quite a bit of information in Yojimbo, some was just for testing, but I had already found several real uses for the software. It was now my intention to move over to my main desktop machine to put this review together. Before taking up my new position I remembered that after the install something had popped up about synchronizing with .mac, so I went into my system preferences, into
the .mac sync tab and there it was, Yojimbo Items were listed as an option. So I ticked the box and performed a sync, then made the move… my desktop Mac picked up the synced item flawlessly, so now I had all my captured data with me once again.

Yojimbo just seems like a dream come true, I would highly recommend you take a look, try the demo and see for yourself. Check back with Geekanoids for the long term review in about six weeks time and see if Yojimbo is still in my dock !

To download the full review complete with all the screenshots click here.

Product supplied by Bare Bones Software.
Retail price: $39 (single user)
Contact: 781-687-0700
Link to product.
Yojimbo Product Tour.

There are 3 comments on Organise your life – Yojimbo Style !:

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  1. Mark S | Oct 28 2006 - 08:17

    I’ve been using Yojimbo for a few months now and absolutely love it! Between that and Circus Ponies Notebook, my workflow has greatly improved for university projects and assignments. I can’t recommend it enough. My only minor complaint is that it does not seem to allow you to import video files (I store them in K.I.T. which is rather similar and not too shabby).

  2. Paul Taylor | Oct 29 2006 - 08:55

    This app pushed me over the edge to renew my .mac subscription. I have 2 Macs at work and 2 at home and thanks to Yojimbo all have the same base collection of passwords, serial numbers, references and notes which I can refer to witout thinkning about which machine I am on. I hope that some calander options are in the development plans.

  3. macdavid | Mar 26 2007 - 11:46

    Would love to see how things work out after 6 weeks application in the real world… I use my own simple form of GTD.. very effective – but balked with Devonthink because one needs to copy data into the Devonthink software / d-base.
    If there was a Yojombo style solution which simply classified ALL new information (with appropriate prompts for tagging) I would be much more happy. Seems rather messy this need to conciously place data and info into an organiser.