Dyce & Sons Ltd.

Helping IT since 1993


Wednesday 29th March, 2006

Yojimbo is the latest offering from Bare Bones Software, a utility for collecting and organising those fragments of information that aren’t quite documents, but are valuable to have around: passwords, notes, URL bookmarks, web archives and serial numbers.

The intuitive interface follows Apple Mail’s three-paned approach; a list of folders (collections) on the left, the contents of the selected collections listed in the top half, and an individual item view shown below that.

You can choose one of six methods to get your stuff into Yojimbo. The first four are standard features of OS X 10.4: use the Services menu to copy selected text or image; drag text or images onto a collection in the Yojimbo window itself; use the print dialog’s pop-up PDF menu to print from any application directly into Yojimbo; or, for traditionalists, copy your item, create a new note in the Yojimbo window, and then paste it.

Yojimbo also provides a floating dock, a la DragThing, containing the main Library folder and any other collections you’ve manually created; dragging and dropping something onto the appropriate collection immediately files it away. Finally, there’s the Quick Input panel (invoked via F8), which grabs your clipboard, letting you classify it before saving it to the main Library. If this happens to be a URL, you can choose to save it as a bookmark, or have Yojimbo import the whole page as a web archive - effectively a live page you can view offline, but whose links (and forms) remain active. However, there’s one glaring omission - no contextual menu entry method for grabbing items.

Once items are brought in, you can organise them by dragging them into different collections, or by applying user-definable labels. Items can be in more than one collection at once, and there’s an inspector window that lets you get at that information. Sadly, although you can search comments, you can’t apply keywords to items. As well as any collections you create, you also have access to built-in collections, rather like Mail’s smart folders, which group items by type, whether they’re recent or not, marked as flagged, or sorted into other collections.

If necessary, you can drag stuff from Yojimbo onto the desktop. Items can be encrypted, and password items can only be viewed once you’ve entered a master password. Yojimbo also packs the latest Mac goodies. It’s searchable using Spotlight, and collections can be synced via a .Mac account.

Buying Advice

There’s stiff competition in this area. For a dollar more, Chronos' StickyBrain 4 offers a similar, albeit less snappy, interface with more bells and whistles. If you just need somewhere to archive websites, then Webstractor may be more apposite. For text only, HogBay Notebook is also worth considering. But if you are in the habit of hoarding large amounts of disparate information, then Yojimbo is worth investigating.

Get Further Info
Manufacturer Bare Bones Software
Pros Syncs with .Mac; encryption of data; web archives.
Cons No contextual menu; smart collections not customisable; no keywords.
Price $39.
Originally Published MacWorld, Wed, 29th Mar 2006