What happened to Circus Ponies?

I’ve only just seen this …



Like Steve Zeoli, who writes about CP’s demise here, I was attracted to switch from Windows to OS X to some extent by the lure of Circus Ponies - though Scrivener was the primary magnet. As Steve says, the manner of their departure was unfortunate. But I for one was sorry to see them go, because their application was not bland.

I’ve no idea why they’ve packed up, although their concentration on an overly-skeuomorphic design may not have helped, and competition in the notebook market from one medium-sized orangutang, Evernote, and one very large gorilla, OneNote, must have made life difficult.

But clearly they continued to the end to have some faithful users.

I briefly flirted with CP but while I thought it was good, I never really had a place for it in my workflow as I had already adopted VoodooPad. VoodooPad is another great and unique app that’s got an uncertain fate, having been sold off by Gus Mueller to a company that’s done next to nothing with it.

I used CP Notebook in the past and agree that whilst it had its problems it was a useful app. Not altogether convinced that Evernote’s ‘freemium’ business model is really sustainable, whilst MS could drop the Mac version of OneNote purely on a whim. Getting your stuff out of either of those would likely prove a nightmare.

The real difficulty for anyone moving from Notebook to another app is getting your stuff across. I’ve recently tried moving an old notebook to both Growly Notes (a Mac OneNote clone) and OneNote itself and came to the conclusion that cut/paste was possibly going to prove the easiest method. I really doubt any of the small notebook type devs would want to take on the reverse engineering of the NoteBook APIs in order to produce a suitable translator.

Evernote has recently seemed slightly less confident of its offer than it was; OneNote is (I imagine) of long-term marketing value to Microsoft in attracting younger computer users, especially students, to MS Office.

DevonThink Pro Office can import Evernote notes; I’m not sure about the other DevonThink flavours, or whether any of them can import multiple notes in one go.

As an alternative, Alfons Schmid’s Notebooks app seems to be highly regarded by those who use it, and of course there’s also Apple’s (improving) Notes app.

Mourning lost friends, I still miss Journler, an app that in my mind beat the shit out of the competition, developed with a keen ear to its users by a devoted creator - till he suddenly lost interest in it. Sic transit.

About three minutes after he took my money! Not that I’m bitter. Oh no.

Sad to see Circus Ponies Notebook go, although I used to use its cousin NoteTaker (Aquaminds) instead, and didn’t own a copy of CP until after I had already switched all my note-taking to DevonThink Pro. The note-taking market is hugely crowded now, and dominated by the mass-marketed products of very large companies – completely different to the climate when I first became interested in this sort of software, when the product offerings available seemed much more niche and individual, with developers who were genuinely involved with their customers and who saw a real need for their specific application’s distinctive functionality. A sad result of big brands taking over the universe, with offerings that are no better than those already available but whose adoption requires less active decision-making from the customer.

You rub salt into my wounds! :cry:

Has anyone identified another notebook app that can handle the work load of cpn? I am absolutely grief stricken. I didn’t see this coming. I have a very large notebook of research, and am now trying to find someplace to relocate it. It would be too cumbersome for omnioutliner and scrivnr. If bento was still around… It looks like aquaminds notetaker hasn’t been updated in 3 years, so I am worried that spending time and energy to put it there will be a waste of time. Suggestions please!!


DevonThink (Pro (Office))? Tinderbox?

Mr X

Edited for addition

Another vote for Devonthink. Brilliant information manager - very active forum site as well.

Just to be explicit, Curio (http://www.zengobi.com/products/curio/) seemed to gain the majority vote in the thread I linked to above. Growly Notes (http://www.growlybird.com/notes/) received an honourable mention as a (very) low-priced alternative.

I miss CPN too.
I left the program when the forum disappeared from the Circusponies-site last year.

As substitute I am now using a mix of programs:
DevonthinkPro (for storing and searching files and mail - mac - iPadversion a mess)
Scrivener (for writing and links - mac)
Notability (for notetaking - mac and iPad - good sync - but no hyperlinks)
DayOne (for todos, lists and diary - mac and iPad - good sync).

I have got better functions now but a worse integration of course.

I used Curio for many years, it’s a more visual program - and no alternative to CPN in my world.
Funny to work with and a group of dedicated users.
If you have to consider costs - I left it last year because of their upgrade policy -
just to keep it going I had paid - info from upgrademails in my DevonThink:
2008: US 149 (program)
2009: US 69 (update to Curio 6)
2010: US 69 (update to Curio 7)
2013: US 50 (update to Curio 8
2015: US 50 (update ti Curio 9)
Total: US 387

On the costs of Curio, Gabbe, I understand where you’re coming from, and for similar reasons my own upgrades of Curio have been, er, sporadic. However, in defence of the software, I think one could argue that it can be used successfully to replace a number of other applications - note-takers (of a visual kind), index-card generators, list-makers, diagram-creators, mind-mappers to name a few. (Even today some standalone mind-mapping applications effectively cost $100 or more, and Curio’s mind-mapping capability is good for most purposes.)

Can it map Vic-k’s mind?

Of course you are right Hugh, but the information is for people coming from places where cost information is relevant information :smiley:

Thank you! I have been in contact with Aquaminds today and have been working on transferring everything over. This sounds awful–I would pay anything at this point, so I am going to give Curio a look. I need a stable program, that can get me to finish the research for a major writing project. For future projects, I am planning on using scrivner period, and not just for the writing. I was really inspired by this post to give it a try. earlyamericanists.com/2013/06/1 … istorians/ [If other historians are using scrivnr in this manner, I would love to hear/see more about your workflow!] This project is too far along and too complex for me to make sense of it using Scrivner.

I religiously use devonthinkpro as well as omnioutliner for all sorts of projects, but couldn’t see them as replacements for CPN because my usage patterns. I will be curious to see how other people are using them to transition from CPN.


Just curious: Why don’t you continue to use CP till the end of your project? If I am not mistaken the software does not stop working right now.


Thank you Hugh. I am most likely going to switch everything over to Aquaminds notetaker. The index function is not as capable as CPN, but there seems to be no alternative. I wish everyone the best of luck finding a replacement program!