A new name for Hog Bay Notebook

by Giles Turnbull

Related link: http://www.hogbaysoftware.com/

I hadn't noticed that Hog Bay Notebook, a widely respected note-taker and outliner for OS X, had changed name to Mori.

People don't change the names of popular applications at the drop of a hat, so I contacted Hog Bay head honcho Jesse Grosjean and asked direct: why change the name? And why change it to Mori?

Here's the answer.

"Mostly because Mori is a brand new application. On the surface it shares a lot with HBN, but the implementation is completely different and offers a lot more opportunity for growth. Also since it's a rewrite Mori has many "1.0" application characteristics. For example it doesn't yet support printing, and a number of other features that HBN did support. Of course it does brings many new features to the table.

"Because of this I thought releasing it as a new 1.0 application made more sense. Of course there certainly are drawbacks to doing this (check out the Hog Bay software user forums for some commentary), but for better or worse that's what I've done."

As for the new name...

"The original working name was 'Forest', but later I found that Forest was in use by another application in Version Tracker and they didn't want to give the name up. Then I found out that Mori means Forest in Japanese, so that's why I picked it. In general I really wanted a name that would be shorter then Hog Bay Notebook (and not need to be abbreviated). Mori's not universally loved (again, see the user forums), but I like it, and it won in a poll that we had on the website."

So there you have it. Personally I'm looking forward to having some time over the forthcoming holiday to try out Mori and see what I think. I admire Jesse's courage in going ahead with something that will be a major transition for him and his customers, and for his willingness to let the users have a say in exactly how things should progress from now on.

There's a new wave of note apps, outboard brains, and outliners under development, spurred on by the wider interest in Getting Things Done and the growth of web-based todo lists and task management systems. Mori is one of the forerunners of this new wave; I know of at least two other note-style applications, still in early development, and I'd be willing to bet there are more on the way (either new apps, or updates of old ones).

So looks like there'll be plenty more ways for us to procrastinate next year, as we avoid real work by testing out more GTD systems. Yippee!


2005-12-14 06:25:48
Check out FreeMind too
FreeMind is an example of "mind mapping" software, a fancy term for a sort of graphical outliner. Topics branch out from a central top-level node, and spawn their own sub-topics, and so forth. The result is a sort of organic sprawl that is still easy to follow (and you can collapse stuff you don't need to see to cut down on the clutter). Hit Return to create a sibling, Tab to create a child, and F2 to edit (or Shift-F2 to edit in multi-line mode).

One nice thing that I haven't seen in outliners I've tried is graphical links, which you can use to reference another node in a different part of the tree. Hold down the Command key and drag one node onto the other.

Although it's written in Java, there's an OSX-specific version that hums along nicely enough on my G3 iBook. It's definitely worth looking at.