Excellent New Personal Content Manager
by Justin Gehtland
Related link: http://www.near-time.com
I've got a text file called "TODO" on the desktop of every machine I've ever worked at for longer than 20 minutes. I have a combination of bookmarks in a combination of browsers, along with little notes about sites I've visited that didn't rate a bookmark. I have folders filled with documents that I've written or been sent, some of which are related, but I just have to remember that. I have old .zip files sitting around that contain documents I sent out to colleagues, and .zip files they sent back with their edits. I've got three different RSS readers, and mayble nine different OPML/Blogroll files sitting around. In short, I'm like a lot of folks: I have a lot of information to track, and no good way to do it all.
Entire Near-Time's new Flow application. This piece of software just blows me away. It has an excellent, lightweight but full-featured text editor, so I can create any of the documents I'm used to (barring specialty stuff like spreadsheets). It has an organizing principle that lets me combine those documents in a variety of ways. It has a built-in browser and RSS reader (my favorite so far), and every web page and feed is just another document to Flow. I can combine them with text documents. I can annotate web sites and RSS feeds using a commenting mechanism, and every time I visit those pages or feeds, my comments are right there.
It has auto-indexing and super-fast search. It has smart folders, like iTunes. It has configurable auto-refreshing rules for online content that you subscribe to.
In short, this application makes managing all my varied information a cinch. And the best part? Peer-to-peer collaboration with other users. Just add another Flow user to my list of contacts, and I can share any and all of it with them.
I'm hooked. Now, if only I had a Mac.
note http://devon-technologies.com/products/devonthink.php which is somewhat the same, minus some features (collaboration, RSS), plus some others. it costs less than half as much. the search is fast, but I wouldn't consider running on less than a g4 800.
the real difference
the biggest difference I see between them (not, by any means, the only difference) is the collaboration tools built into Flow.