Studies is a flashcard program for Mac, iPhone and iPad. I use it to learn vocabulary and to memorize geological periods, geographical areas, brain parts and other things I need to know by heart. Studies’ basic learning unit is a note (similar to a traditional flash card); a note consists of one of more facets (the sides of the flashcard). For example, my stack to improve my English vocabulary consists of notes with two facets, named ‘Phrase’ and ‘Explanation’. Studies refers to the names of the facets as ‘role’ and this confused me into thinking that I can change the functioning of a facet by changing its name.
Many dictionaries on the web provide pronunciations of the words they define. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could download those pronunciations for off-line practice? This post explains how you can do so using Safari’s Web Inspector.
DevonThink’s artificial intelligence can be very helpful in organizing a collection of journal articles or other informational documents. To profit from this feature you may need to shift your paradigm: stop to think of DevonThink’s group hierarchy as a filing cabinet that stores your documents and start to think of it as a catalog to a filing system that is hidden from your view.
A few days ago, Gorillized announced a utility to import Circus Ponies notes into their Outline. When you join the “waitlist” for this utility, you are offered the opportunity to inform the developer about the Notebook features that are most important to you1 and you will be notified when the import utility appears. They also offer a 30% discount off the usual price ($40) for Outline for Mac. The iPad version costs $10. Both versions support Dropbox, iCloud Drive, OneDrive, and Box. I have no experience with Outline,2 but I will surely try the free trial (14 days) when the time comes.
iAnnotate from Branchfire used to be my favorite tool for viewing and annotating PDFs on the iPad. As I explain on my TechTools page, I sync more than 2 Gb of journal articles on Dropbox with iAnnotate 3 on my iPad. Branchfire recently launched iAnnotate 4, “a major update of the app with features you’ve all been asking for”. It is available for the introductory price of $4 from 3 May 2016 until 11 May 2016. After that, it costs $10. It has many new features, including iPhone support, support for viewing and annotating .doc, .ppt, .xls and web pages, and the ability to access files from iCloud Drive, Google Drive, OneDrive in addition to DropBox. Unfortunately, Branchfire silently dropped iAnnotate’s ability to download files for offline use and to sync back newly made annotations when reconnecting to the internet. Without this capability, the app is no longer useful to me. I think I’ll switch to GoodReader ($5) for all my file reading. GoodReader is a much better tool for reading and managing files than iAnnotate and its syncing abilities are unsurpassed. I have used it since I bought my first iPad years ago. I used iAnnotate because GoodReader’s features for PDF annotation were initially rather meager, but they steadily improved over time.
I just discovered that Circus Ponies Software ceased to exist. Their Notebook programs are no longer available. Their site is reduced to a short note. Their users forum vanished.
This is bad news for all of us who rely on their eminent Notebook for outlining, note taking or note keeping. I myself have more than 10 years of notes in my notebooks. Notebook 4 currently works fine, but I fear that it will no longer do so after the next OS X upgrade. I will start looking for an alternative. If you use NoteBook, you may want to do so too.
You can find more information about Notebook and the way I use it on my tech tools page.