Gems in brief: Productivity

As I mentioned last week, some of my Mac Gems columns over the next month will provide short reviews of several products rather than a single, longer review. Some of these products will be simple items that may not warrant a full-length review, some will be niche products, and some will just be things that have been waiting patiently for coverage for too long. All are Gems.

Today’s theme is productivity—products that help you stay organized, keep track of information, and perform “office” tasks.

FolderOrg 1.2 (   ; free). Tiger’ Spotlight feature makes hyper-organization less necessary, but if you’ve still got a penchant for order, FolderOrg is a Folder Actions AppleScript that automatically organizes items dropped into a folder by placing them in dated subfolders—all items added to the folder on a certain date will be filed into a folder with that date as its name.

Sidenote 1.6.1 (   ; free). Do you like Stickies but want something a bit less conspicuous? Sidenote hides a notepad on the edge of your screen that supports rich text, images, and PDF—it appears when you move the cursor to the screen edge and slides off the screen when not in use. You can create as many notes as you need, switching between them using the keyboard or a pop-up menu. You can even drag content from the Finder or another application to Sidenote; the Sidenote drawer slides out to accept the content.

Sidenote screenshot

Mail Factory 2.0 (   ; $40). Wish Address Book had better features for printing envelopes and labels? Mail Factory lets you create custom label and envelope layouts—by dragging address elements, images, and more onto your chosen label or envelope size—and then print them out using contacts from OS X’s Address Book, Entourage, Eudora, or a number of other contact databases. You can also use one of the included templates for pretty much any label or envelope printer, or let Mail Factory’s Assistant walk you through the process of creating your own format and style.

Measure 1.0 (   ; $39). Put simply, measure is a conversion calculator with a build in reference database of important and interesting bits of data. But that description doesn’t do it justice. It’s an incredibly powerful tool that uses both mathematical- and text-based equations to calculate and convert measurements. For example, to find the distance between Chicago and Detroit, you would type map location of Chicago , return, map location of Detroit , return, and then press - (subtract). Measure is even unit-savvy—there’s no need to convert your data before using it in an equation. It’s biggest drawback is that because it can do so many things, it can be a bit confusing to use; you should read the Examples, Tutorials, and Reference pages on the Web site to really “get” it.

Measure screenshot

Transcriva 1.0.3 (   ; $20). If you’ve got digital recorder and have been struggling with transcribing your recorded content, Transcriva makes the process much easier. With QuickTime support for many audio formats, mouse- or keyboard-controlled playback, and variable playback speed, it’s easy to listen to your recordings as you transcribe. Even better, the chat-like interface, with automatic timecoding and support for multiple speakers, makes keeping track of conversations and interviews simple. There’s even a “follow along” mode for checking your transcripts—the transcripts scrolls in time with the audio file.

Transcriva screenshot

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