Ask Sam

This is just FYI for anyone who might find it useful.

I’ve just recently switched to a Mac for the first time. Prior to that, I always used a software called Ask Sam for my free form database. After switching, I bought Devonthink Pro and Devon Agent and began using them.

The Devon combination has several advantages over Ask Sam when it comes to doing research. Together Devonthink Pro and Devon Agent are an excellent tool for finding information on the internet and filing it on your computer. In addition, Devon is also very friendly to filing the results of searches from other online search engines the libraries use.

But, Ask Sam has it all over Devon when it comes to searching an existing database for a specific document. You can find whatever you want in Devon, but it takes a little longer and the way Devon works you may end up going down a rabbit trail before you get where you want to be. Devon is actually better at exploring your data. But if you want something specific, Ask Sam is by far the best. It’s faster and lets you do searches with complex parameters. Ask Sam also does a better job of uploading emails, working with scanners and importing large volumes of documents.

Ask Sam will also double as a structered database and has a passably good word processor in it. It runs fine in Parallels. On the other hand, it’s tres easy to get documents into Scrivener from Devon, while Ask Sam requires dragging the file from Parallels to the Mac desktop, THEN importing it in. Not a big hassle, but a little more work.

All this is just a comparison for people who might be interested. Devon is very good and I am using it a lot. But there are certain big databases that I’ve left in Ask Sam simply because it’s soooo much easier to get what I want out of it.

I dont know if I would buy Ask Sam if I didn’t have it already, but I am glad I have both. Ask Sam has been around a while and the software never stops being usable. I upgraded a year ago from version 3 to version 6. Version 3 came on 3 floppies and ran originally on Windows 3.1 when I first bought it in 1993. The only reason I ugraded was that I lost the floppies and thought…after 13 years, why not?