Consulting / Project Managment

I just purchased DEVONthink, DEVONagent and, Circus Ponies NoteBook this week after following the information organizer thread on Macintouch. My dilemma is that I know these products can help me, I’m just not sure how they’ll do it yet.

I’m a creative and marketing consultant and frequently have several projects running concurrently. These can range from web site creation to graphic design/corporate identity to full blown marketing campaigns. I need to keep track of everything from phone call and meeting notes to all of the collateral images and documents that a typical campaign entails. I also want to manage some of my reference images and sites that I pull off the web when doing research for the various projects.

Currently, I’m building a web site for a toy company, preparing for the international launch of a software product, writing the script and coordinating production for a promotional video, and providing general marketing and management advice to a few senior executives… it’s easy to lose track of things and, being a Meyers-Briggs INTP, staying organized is not one of my strong points. Organizing is, but not being organized.

Essentially, I want to dump everything that’s rattling around in my brain and cluttering up my desk into my computer so I quit forgetting and losing track of important information. It would also be a godsend to have all of this information in a form that I can dump to my Powerbook and take with me, rather than relying on memory or dragging files around the country.

Is anyone else doing this type of work with these tools? Are there better tools? If you’re using DT with Notebook (and I know a lot of you are…) what’s your method? I haven’t yet found a good way to make use of the two together.

I use it primarily for project management. I don’t have NoteTaker or NoteBook (though I am intrigued by both and am still on the fence as to whether they’d help me).

As far as DT goes, I have a folder for each project inside of which are whatever extra folders I need. Generally, one folder contains links to, or actual imports of crucial project docs such as proposals, task orders, statements of work, etc. I often do a great deal of research leading up to a project. I get all of the web pages with useful information into specific folders (based on what they tell me, perhaps information relevant to the project or perhaps design sites answering technical CSS/HTML design issues I want to use in a design, etc.) I also regularly move all email to/from the client and to/from the team (including all IRC chats since we have a distributed team and we use irc to keep in touch) so I have a complete set of data related to the project.

I also use the RTF note feature to keep track of my own notes. I keep wanting to use the wiki feature, but it’s just not working out for me.

I think NoteBook/Taker would be a good way to collate thoughts into a form that I could present to the client – DT as the raw repository and NT/B as the presentational side of things. But I haven’t really needed that to date.

I’m sure there’s more ways I could use DT but they haven’t come to me yet. I expect that with the pro edition and its expanded AppleScript support I may find many more ways to integrate it into my daily life. It’s a tool I want to use more than I currently do and I haven’t figured out how…

-A

Hi,

before I heard of DT I had already bought NT (thought it was useful and had more features than NB), but it was buggy, looking ugly and was clumsy - look is still ugly, it has become less clumsy, and it is definitely not so buggy any more. But anyway, several months ago I was fed up and bought NB, which is really elegant, but I doubt how long the company goes on with serious work - I hope they will.

Serious academic work with either NT or NB turned out to be impossible if projects get bigger, it is particularly the notebook symbolic - what originally was so intriguing - that makes working on different documents (notebook pages) so difficult. Speed is another problem, with NB as well.

I do my whole work now in DT, and it is really worth looking forward to 1.9!

But still I have one notebook (NB) always open on my desktop: It is for short notes that do not refer to my academic projects, private toDo lists or bugs that I encounter and that I wish to report later without interrupting my work for an email. If DT offers several open databases at the same time in the future, may be I won’t even need that notebook any more.

NB (and NT) are nice for presentations. As for DT, I hope for an XML parser that at least presents the text without tags - like HTML, so I would only write XML documents any more. I am now writing RTF files in DT, set tags in the end and try to transform the documents in EditiX -  I am not yet used to it too well, but it seems to work quite elegantly and would deifinitely be great if I can set my tags at any stage of my writing process…

Hope this gives some more ideas?
Maria

O, I forgot:

yes, buying DA is certainly a good idea. It helps me to get into a new field of study in the beginning like no other search tool. And it is nicely integrated with DT where proceed with detailed study.

Maria

A while ago, I found Circus Ponies Notebook, and my wife ended up purchasing it. Subsequently, the Macintouch organizer thread pointed me to DEVONthink, and I’ve been completely hooked on DT since then. It’s been incredibly useful for filing hundreds of PDF’s articles, keeping a lab notebook, taking meeting notes, etc. I particularly like the web connectivity of DT. (My wife has also purchased DT since then.)

It seems like there are a number of people who use both Notebook and DT, but use them rather separately. I was wondering if anyone had found a nice way to integrate the use of the two? I feel like, if I’m entering info into DT, I don’t want to do it again into Notebook.

Any ideas?

Joe

I sometimes use OPML for exchange, but one looses lots of informations from NB (keywords, stickers etc.). The other way round (exporting from DT) doesn’t loose so much, but if labels come, the problem starts here too. Anyway, NB seems to be just a solution for a few more months, and I refrain from using all options of NB any more. It is just to take some quick notes.

So far my view…

Maria

<sigh> I agree. I had started (before finding DT) by putting information in CP Notebook, but since DT, have been putting info exclusively there. I think it’s time to “retire” Notebook, and just send all its data into DT.

A pity, because the aesthetic of Notebook is rather pleasing, but the functionality of DT is so much stronger.

Joe

Although aesthetics are of course a matter of taste (and depend on the functionality - browsing thousands of contents is a different job than writing notes), version 1.9 should hopefully look much better than v1.8.1b (especially preferences, search & concordance windows, info panel etc.).

Will it be possible to modify the folder icon image in a future release?

I just wrote this on the Mac Rumors forum:

So, changing the DT folder icon would help visually decondition me from the traditional file/folder metaphor. :slight_smile:

Christian, when we talk about aethetics of NB, it is always in comparison with NT. To me, DT is already well designed from a graphical point of view – I just do not recognize the interface, this is the best one can say about software (IMHO). There can be improvements in handling, but they are on the way. Rome was not built in one day, and as long as DT does not insult my eyes I am happy.  :D

Maria

The revised info panel of DT 1.9 and DN 1.1 will support custom icons (similar to the Finder by using copy & paste). And therefore it’s possible to assign unique icons to every group/document.

Oh, VERY nice… Will that be only for Icon view, or will it work with the small icons in Notepad and Outliner view?

Joe

Those icons will be visible everywhere (similar to thumbnails of images for example).

BTW:
The current builds already support this feature - just click on the icon in the info panel (which will get a focus ring afterwards) and paste an image to it (e.g. one copied from another item). Images with at least 128x128 pixel are recommended and the maximal size is 256x256.

In addition to changing individual custom icons (nice, thanks!) there be a way to set “global” group/document icons that override the defaults and will automatically be used by new items?  For example, even if there’s a way to change icons for multiple current items (which seems impossible with Finder?) it would be awkward having to change it for each new item.

I don’t expect anything elaborate with this (your time is worth more) and just the ability to change a few individual icons will be of benefit.

That might be an option for a future release of course but will definitely not be part of v1.9.x (as v1.9 will be already the biggest revision ever).

Could have guessed that just from seeing 21 pages of version history for DT Pro. :slight_smile:

The version history of DT PE 1.9 will be smaller as this history will only list the changes since v1.8.1b. But nonetheless still around 40% of the DT Pro history ;D