Circus Ponies NoteBook


I was thinking to add my message to the Things thread; then, I realized that each program has a right to its own space - especially when they are not completely overlapping. So, here is a new thread to my recent discovery.

I admit I became aware of Circus Ponies NoteBook while looking for information repositories like Devon Think or Yojimbo. I soon discovered that it is not only that type of program, but also an organizer in the flavour of GTD, and a note-taking tool.

I wonder why so few consider it when dealing with organizers. I see lenghty discussions about OmniFocus, iGTD, Things, but I think this too deserves some attention. It seems to me the most mature, flexible, and probably helpful of the bunch.

I like its appearance, so little geeky that doesn’t force me to think I’m using a computer. More, I find it doesn’t force me to see tasks as it wants, but lets me choose the way I prefer - as a flat list of incoming events, filtering contexts, filtering the sources of information, or showing all tasks grouped for projects or contexts.

There is also a live index, listing all words in your archive. And it automatically reorders tasks by date or other criterion, something iGTD forces me to do by hand.

Have you tried the demo? What do you think about this progam?



CP Notebook was my first application for organising, creating ToDo lists, collecting information, clipping etc. I also own NoteTaker and then changed to DevonThink. I have tried others like EagleFiler and Yojimbo.

You see, none of the applications seemed perfect to me. CP Notebook looks nice. I sometimes use it for a lovely little project to be in a nice environment while working. But the notebook metaphor is too limiting. After all, I keep with DevonThink or the Finder and Spotlight for collecting and finding information, and recently started organizing my day with TaskPaper and now Things.

I would not buy CP Notebook any more.


Thanks, Maria.

As if I had nothing else to do, I’m current trying both TaskPaper (that I purchased in a bundle) and Things. In TaskPaper, I miss some more complexity, like shown dates. In Things, I miss the flat view of next actions.

NoteBook seems to have both, even if it is lacking an “effort” column (to separate 2-min tasks from heavier ones) and a more effective link between project tasks and contexts.

Probably, I wouldn’t use it for collecting information. On the contrary, I guess I would use it for note-taking, as an easier-to-use equivalent of Tinderbox.


Hi Paolo,

like me: as if I had nothing else to do :blush: :laughing:

I like TaskPaper very much, but do not use it any more since I am trying out Things. Things is still beta – reliable though – and therefore many features people are missing will come. I got detailed replies on some suggestions, and I have to admit that what they are planning is a lot more elegant than what I thought about. TaskPaper was the first “GTD”-app I really used consequently, but Things has now taken its place and works well although I am still waiting for features like that you mentioned.


By reading the planned features for version 3.0, I understand that NoteBook is going to compete with Curio. Curio is another program I would like to explore, even if I have always found it a bit busy.

I would say that NoteBook is a metaphor for a - well - notebook, whereas Curio is for a pinboard. Some of my colleagues (especially engineers) prefer pinboards, while I prefer notebooks. Different flavours of similar things.


I once again find myself agreeing with Maria! That seems to happen often! It too tried CPNotebook early on and wanted so much to like it. It’s a very cool program. But the structure and layout of the program are wicked cumbersome (that’s New England-ese for extremely cumbersome). I keep going back to it because I do really want to have a use for it but then I always abandon it because it starts to annoy me and actually get in the way of my work flow.

I too have ended up with a combination of DTPro and the Finder for organizing. I had abandoned DT at one point in favor of organizing everything via the Finder, but that only works for certain kinds of files, like pdfs and media files that need to be shared among different projects. I organize those in the Finder according to type, etc, so they are easy to find.

But I have recently starting using DT Pro again to store and organize other kinds of relevant information. I just haven’t found anything yet to beat it for a catch-all warehousing of certain kinds of information, such as things I get from the web for research, etc.

I am now looking for a project manager and am trying out Bento. There are things about I like a lot and other ways I find it very limited. I do believe it will be well-supported and could grow into a program I can use. But I also want something simpler where I can create a project with tasks, events, timelines, etc., and be able to associate other types of files relevant to the project. Still trying things out, but if there are suggestions, I would welcome them. I’ll check out Taskpaper and Things to see how they fit.


I’ve ended up using my copy of CP Notebook for collecting lots of disparate info - it’s very easy to set up clipping services so all I need to do is highlight what I want to save and right click, choosing the specific subject to clip the info to in CPN.

DevonThinkPO, on the other hand, I keep for research info on a specific subject. At the time I set it up - and I think this is still true - you can only set up a clipping service for one database. In CPN, you can set up each clipping service to go to separate notebooks (= separate subjects).

I haven’t tried the others because I already have too many apps. :wink:

Truly look at Filemaker Pro. Bento’s daddy. It takes some getting used to but a Dummies book and some time and you can develop your own custom solution and modify to suit your needs as you see fit.


I’m thinking Merlin could do the trick. Not only a powerful project planner, but also with an Elements area that lets you associate external files and notes to tasks. I find it very useful for my daily work (complex, multilingual technical documentation development).

Maybe Curio is going somewhat toward the same direction, with an accent on brainstorming rather than office planning?


Today, this allowed me to convert most of my >200 Mac Stickies to an articulate, meaningful notebook file, and export it as an rtf file. Could not have believe it, hadn’t I seen it with my eyes…


Thanks for the suggestions. I used to use FMPro for everything way back when. Haven’t used it in years, but Bento definitely is like FM Lite in many ways. It felt very familiar. I have a demo of Merlin and plan to give it a good spin to see if it works.

Thanks again,


After some days with NoteBook, I’ve moved all my tasks to it, and closed iGTD for the first time after several months. Despite some oddities (especially in the way due dates and nesting are related), I’ve learned how to customize it to show efforts (by way of color-coded round stickers), and it seems I’ve a complete GTD system now.

At the same time, I’ve moved nearly all Finder stickies to a notebook, weighting very little and with a fantastic alphabetic index for ordinary words, and Capitalized index for names. It’s the first time I can do a deep and easy search in my notes with ease…

I find some similarities between NoteBook and Scrivener, in how much customizable they are for different ways of working. They are just tools, letting you build your own, comfortable working environment.


That’s great, Paolo. I’m glad you found a way to use it. It’s a cool program. Ironically, I also think I may be using Notebook for a very limited usage, creating collections of videos and films and information relating to them.

A while back I had a look at a bit of home-library cataloguing software which looked quite interesting … I was thinking of it for my wife and the problem of listing the hundreds of books stacked up all round our house. It was called Bookpedia, or something equally inane … but I remember that the programmers had also written a version for cataloguing CDs, DVDs and videos. My wife has a friend who has the biggest collection of videos and DVDs I have ever seen, and she was going to pass the info on to him.

Might be worth a look for you …


Personal organizers really are the most personal apps. Finding a good way of self-organization is a delicate matter. And it takes time to understand what the correct way is.

During the latest weeks, I’ve seen two parties fronting each other when coming to GTD apps: iGTD, and OmniFocus partisans (with common appreciation for TaskPaper and expectations for Things). I’ve been an iGTD partisan for long, since I liked the simple To Do list it produced.

Now, development of iGTD1 has ended, and iGTD2 only runs on Leopard, and is way different than the clean, uncluttered simplicity of its predecessor. So I had to find an alternative.

Ironically, with its outliner-like organization, on the surface NoteBook is more similar to OmniFocus than any other. But the Super-Find page (such an odd name!) is again the easy, flat list I want to deal with.

In the end, there is no perfect organizer. All considered, my perfect list would be:

  • wake up
  • do what you like better
  • eat
  • meet your partner
  • go to sleep as soon as you need it, but not sooner


Hmmmm, sounds like my kind of day! :slight_smile:

Purchase an:


Put all those worries on them and feel free to act as senile and eccentric as possible.


“act as senile and eccentric as possible”

You mean, like “be normal”? I hope so, cause I can’t act worth a hill of beans. :smiley: