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JustNotes review


Free (donationware)

Review Date: 5 Jan 2010

Price when reviewed: Free (donationware)

Reviewed By: Giles Turnbull

Our Rating 4 stars out of 5

JustNotes is a desktop notepad that packs in plenty of useful features without needless complexity. That said, it lacks one or two essential basics.

Foremost among the benefits is automatic synchronisation with Simplenote, an iPhone notes app and associated web service. Should you wish to use this feature, note that the Simplenote app costs £1.20 (although JustNotes itself is donationware - for the meantime at least).

Buying that app gives you an account at Simplenote, which you can use to view and edit your notes from any browser. Enter the details for this account into JustNotes' preferences pane and all the notes from it will be synced. Although Apple's own Notes app for iPhone syncs its notes with the desktop Mail application, this is a far neater, wireless way of doing things.

Notes themselves are simple. Plain text, a limited choice of display fonts, and no rich text or image embedding. Simplenote got its name for a reason, and JustNotes was built to support Simplenote from the start.

There are one or two minor frustrations. JustNotes doesn't display a Dock icon, nor does its window behave like most other windows. Switch to another application and JustNotes disappears; bringing it back means hitting your (user-defined) hotkeys or making a trip back up the Menu Bar.

There's also no way to create new notes other than by hitting the New Note command - you can't simply drag text or files into JustNotes and have them instantly imported. If you have a large number of notes already stored in another application, getting them into JustNotes will take a while.

Syncing with Simplenote (and so your iPhone) is the app's redeeming feature, and is probably why most people will use it.

With or without the sync service, JustNotes is a smart-looking and useful alternative to the built-in Stickies app in Mac OS X. Add the sync and an iPhone, and it begins to look very enticing as a go-everywhere notebook, but we're forced to deduct a mouse for the disappointing lack of import features.

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