capsule review

StickyBrain 3.4

At a Glance
  • Chronos StickyBrain 3.4

    Macworld Rating

StickyBrain is a freeform information manager modeled loosely on a filing cabinet. In this filing cabinet, nothing is ever lost or forgotten. With its recently added features and enhancements, StickyBrain 3.4 could be the perfect place to store your notes, stickies, clippings, passwords, receipts, and reminders.

The StickyBrain Viewer window is a cross between Mail and Safari. Like Mail, StickyBrain organizes information into folders and subfolders that are displayed in a drawer. Like Safari, StickyBrain lets you view information in individual floating windows or in tabs. You control the appearance: you can select different icons for folders; set a background color, texture, or image for a note; add a calendar; add a checkbox in any of eight styles; or select from three window styles, including a Sticky-like window style with adjustable transparency.

When you search, StickyBrain displays a list of matching entries and highlights matching search terms, so you’ll always find what you’re looking for. Attach an alarm to a note and you’ll never forget anything important (you can even add a note with an alarm to a contact from your Address Book).

Getting information in and out of StickyBrain is a snap. Import text or RTF (Rich Text Format) files, other StickyBrain files, or Stickies. A new Image Browser lets you drag and drop clip art from Chronos’ SOHO series programs (Business Cards, Labels & Envelopes, and Art Pack) and images from your iPhoto library. You can export one or more notes as individual files or a combined plain text or RTF file, and StickyBrain can synchronize with your .Mac account, Palm OS device, or iPod.

StickyBrain does what OS X’s Stickies does, and more. Add a note with QuickNote (bottom), or browse and search with FlashNote (upper right).
(Click image to open full screenshot)

The best thing about StickyBrain is everything you can do with it even when it isn’t running. For example, you can create a new note on the fly by invoking the new QuickNote window with a hot key, or browse or search within notes by selecting the FlashNote window from the menu bar. You can grab text from other applications by highlighting it and pressing a hot key, or by selecting StickyBrain from a contextual menu or the Services menu. You can also grab and file Web receipts into a Receipts folder, or store password information in a Passwords folder (and also mark your notes as private to shield them from snoops). You can paste a note into another application by selecting it from a contextual menu or using a special hot key for that note.

As much as I love StickyBrain, a few things about the interface bother me. There’s no Trash folder, as there is in Mail, so you can’t retrieve a deleted note if you have second thoughts. Creating a note always opens a new window, even though you can edit a note inside the Viewer, and StickyBrain automatically saves new notes if you close the window; it doesn’t ask if you want to save. The FlashNote window isn’t resizable, and the QuickNote window doesn’t let you select the destination folder for each note (it sends notes to the Unfiled folder by default).

Macworld’s Buying Advice

StickyBrain 3.4 may be the ideal freeform information manager, especially if you need something that excels at capturing information from other applications and putting it at your fingertips.

At a Glance
  • Macworld Rating

    Pros

    • Easy grabbing and pasting
    • Lets you add or browse notes without launching the program
    • Excellent implementation of hot keys
    • Address Book integration
    • Palm, iPod, and .Mac synchronization

    Cons

    • Minor interface annoyances
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