Best alternatives to Circus Ponies Notebooks?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by jojoba, Feb 23, 2016.

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  1. jojoba macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2011
    #1
    I'm was really sorry to see CPN go and now I'm looking for alternatives. The main functionality I'd like to find in a different app are:

    1. outliner capacity
    2. ability to have multiple outlines in the same file/document
    3. ability to link different cells

    I own omnioutliner but have used it for different purposes than CPN, because it doesn't meet criteria 2.

    One of the best options I've found so far is NoteTaker, but I've read reports that the app is no longer being developed (http://www.aquaminds.com/).

    I own and use Devonthink and Evernote and think they are both great, but they don't have a dedicated outlining capacity. Evernote is set up to sync with Outline, but Outline doesn't meat criteria 3.

    So, at the moment I'm down to:

    a) Curio. I use and own Curio but the outlining capacity is not as advanced as CPN.

    b) NeO. This is an unknown entity for me and I haven't found many reviews, but the feature set looks promising (http://d-lit.com/macosx/neo_outliner/index.php)

    c) Tree. I've used Tree 1 and am considering Tree 2. I don't think it meets criteria 3 but it more or less meets criteria 2 in the form of tabs.

    Anyone has advice/experiences?
     
  2. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Location:
    Oregon
    #2
    Did you find a solution? Just looking now since it appears that CPN won't run in High Sierra. Among other things I use CPN for notes alongside Scrivener for writing. Scrivener has a built-in notebook feature that I never used because I have been a long time CPN user, but it looks well up the job for me and meets your three criteria as well. For my other use, basically small collections of notes, it looks like Apple's Notes application will do the job.
     
  3. jojoba thread starter macrumors 68000

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    Dec 9, 2011
    #3
    Hi talmy,
    I switched to OmniOutliner. It doesn't meet criteria 2 in the same way as CPN did, but I've bypassed this by using different sections within one document instead. I had already used OO for writing purposes for a while and earlier they didn't allow you to link cells, but I discovered that this is now possible. A decisive factor for me was that the Omni group has a range of apps that are well established, so I figured they will stay around for a while. NeO seemed a bit of an unknown entity and Tree isn't great for exports.

    I have also used Scrivener for a long time for writing, but I didn't think of it as having a full outliner capacity. Can you say a bit more about how you use it?
     
  4. MC6800 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2016
    #4
    I use OO 4.6.1 and that feature is one in particular I've been looking for-- was that added in 5?

    As for #2, I sometimes resort to saving a copy and opening that, but multiple views would be so much nicer.
     
  5. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Location:
    Oregon
    #5
    I use Scrivener for non-fiction, technical writing. But I had never used it for notes, using CPN instead where I've had longer experience. In Scrivener you can consider the Binder (the left pane) to be an outline that you can attach blocks of text to. There is no outlining capability in the text itself. CPN was unusual (at least unusual to me) in that it has both a top level outline (contents card) and could have outlines on individual pages. I generally don't use outlines on the individual pages but use these tools as outliners that allow putting text and images (and other documents) under each outline item.

    I started writing that way using a program called Kamas in the early 1980s and found that the compartmentalization and ability to quickly rearrange the outline/document sections was a big boost to productivity. Somehow I could never get excited about outliner programs, and I did have a copy of Omni Outliner which came with my first Mac in 2004. Scrivener gave me back the capabilities that I mostly lost 30 years earlier.

    I guess that since the subject matter is non-linear my writing style is non-linear, so these programs are quite natural for me!

    Anyway, CPN is great for organizing but doesn't make final documents. Scrivener will make the documents but I never made use of it for notes. I found that I could take a CPN notebook for one of the writing projects I'm working on now and (sadly) manually move all its contents into Scrivener. I've also used CPN for projects where there is no written output -- lecture notes when I was teaching (retired now), trip and travel plans, anywhere I want to have notes. I could move all of this to Scrivener as well but I think just using the Apple Notes app will be sufficient for that, and my old lecture notes I plan to just archive to HTML, which, I hope, won't be going away!
     
  6. loby macrumors 6502a

    loby

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2010
    #6

    Growly Notes
     
  7. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Location:
    Oregon
    #7
    This looks like a winner! It looks like a OneNote clone. I used OneNote on Windows before getting CPN on my Mac as the best alternative to OneNote at the time. IMHO, OneNote for Mac is no good. I'll be checking this out later this week.
     
  8. MC6800 macrumors 6502

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    Jun 29, 2016
    #8
    I've been checking out Growly Notes-- many nice features, but it appears to also lack the ability to show multiple views of the same document simultaneously (not even by collapsing outlines as can be done in OO). I understand how it makes the program more complex, but it's a serious omission -- if my memory were good enough that I didn't need to refer to my older notes while entering new ones, I wouldn't need a note program in the first place!
     
  9. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

    Joined:
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    #9
    Just installed it and at first glance it looks good. But I seem to be having some sort of corruption problem (and even a crash) just playing around with the Help notebook. Perhaps I'm doing something wrong but this makes me nervous. Can I trust this program? I'll have to copy all the data from a decent size CPN notebook and see how it gets handled.

    You should be able to get multiple views of notes within a document, which should be sufficient for your problem, by using "Edit Note in Floating Window".
     
  10. loby macrumors 6502a

    loby

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2010
    #10
    Growly Notes is a good program, especially for the price. Contact the developer directly and he will assist. Here is his website. http://www.growlybird.com/
     
  11. jojoba thread starter macrumors 68000

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    Dec 9, 2011
    #11
    I'm not sure when it was added, but I have v. 5.0.4 which allows you to select a cell and then choose "copy as link".
    --- Post Merged, Jun 28, 2017 ---
    I see, that's what I thought. Thanks for clarifying!

    And thanks to Loby for chiming in with Growly Notes. I've looked at it before and it wasn't quite my thing, but it seems like a very able app.
     
  12. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

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    Oct 26, 2009
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    #12
    I found out what I was doing wrong -- trying to make any changes to the help notebook, which is locked. I can't replicate the problems with a "real" notebook.
     
  13. MC6800 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2016
    #13
    Thanks-- I assume you're using the Pro version as I don't see it in Essentials (strange that they don't mention that feature in the release notes that I can find). I'm still debating whether or not to move to 5, as they changed the file format to zipped which may be good for DropBox but it's bad for the version control I have my notes under.
     
  14. jojoba thread starter macrumors 68000

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    Dec 9, 2011
    #14
    Ah, yes, I forgot that there are different versions. I checked and yes, I have Pro.
     
  15. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
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    #15
    Still floundering. Here's where I'm at:
    • All archived notebooks (mostly class notes for courses I taught before retiring) exported to HTML and zipped and printed as PDF. I've got a couple dozen of these. That leaves just my active notebooks.
    • Really simple ones (I've got one for wines) I'm keeping in Notes. That also gives me access from my iPhone.
    • Notebooks I had for books I'm working on I've moved the contents to the Scrivener files for the books. Frankly I should have done *that* long ago.
    This gives me 5 notebooks left, most are for travel and have lots of embedded PDF and JPEG files. I've found:
    • Growly Notes looks really good for this, but it's performance is terrible with large embedded images, and there doesn't seem to be a way to display them small to speed things up.
    • Omni Outliner will only store them as links which means I have to keep the outlines and linked files together. Nasty!
    • Notes would either place everything in the iCloud (and fill my iPhone with unnecessary stuff) or if kept local I would not be able to share between my MBP and iMac, which is not acceptable. Files need to go into a Resilio Sync folder for me to have sharing under my control.
    • Scrivener isn't really meant for this, but I know can do it. Advantage -- I know how to use it and have already paid for it.

    So it looks like my preferred CPN replacement will be Scrivener! Maybe I need to write a book about my traveling. :)
     

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