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View Full Version : Circus Ponies Notebooks well worth it for the iPad?




kylera
Dec 4, 2012, 06:00 AM
I notice on the iOS App Store that it has a bit of a steep price. Would current users recommend it? I haven't been able to find some more recent posts about it.



jojoba
Dec 4, 2012, 06:48 AM
I use CPN extensively for my work, I've written about it here (http://macademise.wordpress.com/2012/10/23/reviewing-literature-with-circus-ponies-notebooks-not-just-a-fluffy-pink-pony/).

For me personally, it's been a worthwhile investment. I've set it up to automatically sync between Air and iPad via DropBox, I like the ways in which it's very easy to switch between different entries, and I like that I can create links between different pages. However, if you are just looking for a general note taking app for the iPad, I wouldn't necessarily go for CPN first. Their hand writing feature is awful, and the iPad version doesn't have default writing pages (just notes pages, see the link above for more on that difference). I create most of my content for CPN on my Air and I find it much more user friendly than the iPad app. For note taking on the iPad, I use Notability (http://macademise.wordpress.com/2012/11/12/hand-writing-on-the-ipad-note-taking-with-notability/), ByWord or Pages.

kylera
Dec 4, 2012, 07:06 PM
I use CPN extensively for my work, I've written about it here (http://macademise.wordpress.com/2012/10/23/reviewing-literature-with-circus-ponies-notebooks-not-just-a-fluffy-pink-pony/).

For me personally, it's been a worthwhile investment. I've set it up to automatically sync between Air and iPad via DropBox, I like the ways in which it's very easy to switch between different entries, and I like that I can create links between different pages. However, if you are just looking for a general note taking app for the iPad, I wouldn't necessarily go for CPN first. Their hand writing feature is awful, and the iPad version doesn't have default writing pages (just notes pages, see the link above for more on that difference). I create most of my content for CPN on my Air and I find it much more user friendly than the iPad app. For note taking on the iPad, I use Notability (http://macademise.wordpress.com/2012/11/12/hand-writing-on-the-ipad-note-taking-with-notability/), ByWord or Pages.

I actually read that post you made through a Google search, but found it was more focused on the OS X version, which I am test driving at the moment. I am, like countless users here, a big fan of OS X-iOS connections, but found the iPad version to be a bit steep. Also, the reviews for the iOS version weren't very reassuring, so I was seeking the opinion of any heavy users like you.

Having said that, your comments about the iOS version don't seem reassuring either.

jojoba
Dec 5, 2012, 01:05 AM
I actually read that post you made through a Google search, but found it was more focused on the OS X version, which I am test driving at the moment. I am, like countless users here, a big fan of OS X-iOS connections, but found the iPad version to be a bit steep. Also, the reviews for the iOS version weren't very reassuring, so I was seeking the opinion of any heavy users like you.

Having said that, your comments about the iOS version don't seem reassuring either.

Yes, I think it really depends on your work flow. For me, there is value in the iPad app because I haven't found that many other notebook apps for both iPad and mac with that amount of features. There are tons and tons of note taking apps for iPad, a lot of which are great, but many don't have a mac counterpart and only sync rich text through drop box. Personally, I wouldn't buy the iPad app only if there wasn't a mac counterpart. But since there is, and since CPN has a lot of features I like, I find that it's worth the price, and I've found a work around to some of the issues that bother me, like the lack of writing pages. However, I don't find note taking on the iPad app to be very smooth.

I did check out this for a while as a potential alternative

http://www.notebooksapp.com/

Unfortunately, it was so buggy that I had to give up on it. However, the developer has been very responsive and is promising fixes in the next update. I'm going to check it out again in six months time or so to see if there are improvements. I think the app has great potential, but it needs major stability improvements.

What is your use pattern/ what is your note taking focused on?

kylera
Dec 5, 2012, 03:42 AM
Yes, I think it really depends on your work flow. For me, there is value in the iPad app because I haven't found that many other notebook apps for both iPad and mac with that amount of features. There are tons and tons of note taking apps for iPad, a lot of which are great, but many don't have a mac counterpart and only sync rich text through drop box. Personally, I wouldn't buy the iPad app only if there wasn't a mac counterpart. But since there is, and since CPN has a lot of features I like, I find that it's worth the price, and I've found a work around to some of the issues that bother me, like the lack of writing pages. However, I don't find note taking on the iPad app to be very smooth.

I did check out this for a while as a potential alternative

http://www.notebooksapp.com/

Unfortunately, it was so buggy that I had to give up on it. However, the developer has been very responsive and is promising fixes in the next update. I'm going to check it out again in six months time or so to see if there are improvements. I think the app has great potential, but it needs major stability improvements.

What is your use pattern/ what is your note taking focused on?

I am getting ready to go back to college, and as such, I've been hitting the books for relevant subjects and taking notes. I first started with Evernote, but I didn't like how any images I wanted to insert couldn't be freely inserted anywhere in the page and was treated like text. As such, I stumbled on Circus Ponies and downloaded their trial version a couple days back, and I liked how I could almost exactly set up my own notes the way I wanted it to - positioning pictures and other objects freely like PageMaker was probably the one feature I fell in love with the hardest.

Later once I get into school, I very much doubt I'd actually take notes on the iPad version for most of my classes, though I imagine taking notes with it for one or two classes at most. Instead, the primary function would be more of a viewer, but of course, between now and March (that's when the new school year starts here), who knows what kinds of functions could be added?

To add to that, there's a bundle sale for Notebooks right now which is making me itch even harder for a purchase :p If there's a sale for the iPad app during the Christmas season, I'm so sold.

jojoba
Dec 5, 2012, 06:27 AM
I am getting ready to go back to college, and as such, I've been hitting the books for relevant subjects and taking notes. I first started with Evernote, but I didn't like how any images I wanted to insert couldn't be freely inserted anywhere in the page and was treated like text. As such, I stumbled on Circus Ponies and downloaded their trial version a couple days back, and I liked how I could almost exactly set up my own notes the way I wanted it to - positioning pictures and other objects freely like PageMaker was probably the one feature I fell in love with the hardest.

Later once I get into school, I very much doubt I'd actually take notes on the iPad version for most of my classes, though I imagine taking notes with it for one or two classes at most. Instead, the primary function would be more of a viewer, but of course, between now and March (that's when the new school year starts here), who knows what kinds of functions could be added?

To add to that, there's a bundle sale for Notebooks right now which is making me itch even harder for a purchase :p If there's a sale for the iPad app during the Christmas season, I'm so sold.

If the primary function of the iPad is more of a viewer, I think you'll be fine. That's mostly how I use it, and it works well for that purpose (I don't work that much with images, though, so I don't know how they translate from mac to iPad in terms of formatting - I mostly just have text, which sometimes changes line spaces, but otherwise they are fine). Sometimes when I take notes on the iPad, I use another app (like Notability or Pages, depending on purpose), and then later transfer it to CPN on my mac - I like using CPN as my notebook 'hub' for a lot of my academic notes.

A lot of the standard note taking apps (like Notability or Noteshelf) will also let you situate images as you want on a page, and they seem to be popular with students. However, they don't have a mac equivalent, if that's important for you.

kylera
Dec 5, 2012, 07:40 PM
If the primary function of the iPad is more of a viewer, I think you'll be fine. That's mostly how I use it, and it works well for that purpose (I don't work that much with images, though, so I don't know how they translate from mac to iPad in terms of formatting - I mostly just have text, which sometimes changes line spaces, but otherwise they are fine). Sometimes when I take notes on the iPad, I use another app (like Notability or Pages, depending on purpose), and then later transfer it to CPN on my mac - I like using CPN as my notebook 'hub' for a lot of my academic notes.

A lot of the standard note taking apps (like Notability or Noteshelf) will also let you situate images as you want on a page, and they seem to be popular with students. However, they don't have a mac equivalent, if that's important for you.

Nice to know that the iPad app isn't a complete disaster as some users have made it out to be. Since I will be using public transportation extensively, the time spent in buses and subways will be invaluable for me, hence looking for apps that have good OS X - iOS connections.

Thanks for following up on these questions - I figure if I have any other questions regarding CPN, I'll get hold of you again :)

jojoba
Dec 6, 2012, 03:00 AM
Nice to know that the iPad app isn't a complete disaster as some users have made it out to be. Since I will be using public transportation extensively, the time spent in buses and subways will be invaluable for me, hence looking for apps that have good OS X - iOS connections.

Thanks for following up on these questions - I figure if I have any other questions regarding CPN, I'll get hold of you again :)

Yes, not a complete disaster, but definitely worthy of some improvements, though. The app is a bit overpriced. I guess, for me, it's the combo with the mac version that makes it worth it. But don't blame me if you're disappointed :p:)

Outline is another app that I think might have future potential. It was initially designed to be used with MS OneNote, but they're now working on a mac version so I think the iOS/OS X combo there could be interesting and a possible alternative to CPN at some point. But this is all in the making at the moment, so not an alternative as of today.

By the way, for syncing, I've used MacDropAny on my mac. It automatically syncs the CPN notebooks on my mac with the CPN IPad DropBox folder. I think they are working on a more seamless sync solution, though (that's another thing you really would expect from an app with this price tag).

kylera
Dec 6, 2012, 06:42 PM
Yes, not a complete disaster, but definitely worthy of some improvements, though. The app is a bit overpriced. I guess, for me, it's the combo with the mac version that makes it worth it. But don't blame me if you're disappointed :p:)

Outline is another app that I think might have future potential. It was initially designed to be used with MS OneNote, but they're now working on a mac version so I think the iOS/OS X combo there could be interesting and a possible alternative to CPN at some point. But this is all in the making at the moment, so not an alternative as of today.

By the way, for syncing, I've used MacDropAny on my mac. It automatically syncs the CPN notebooks on my mac with the CPN IPad DropBox folder. I think they are working on a more seamless sync solution, though (that's another thing you really would expect from an app with this price tag).

I'll be cursing you if the app sucks for me :p

Thanks for the MacDropAny reference, though. While a more seamless solution would be more welcome, I can see myself using that for other stuff.

On a tangent, would you happen to know why the Mac App Store version costs $10 more than the direct purchase option?

jojoba
Dec 7, 2012, 04:01 AM
On a tangent, would you happen to know why the Mac App Store version costs $10 more than the direct purchase option?

Really? I had no idea. That's totally weird, I don't know what that's about.