We're tremendously pleased to announce that we have not one, but two new TidBITS sponsors joining us today. Even more exciting from my perspective is that I didn't have to do much work in setting up the sponsorships, thanks to the enthusiastic efforts of Lorene Romero, a well-known figure in the Macintosh user group community who is now handling advertising sales and marketing for TidBITS. If your company is interested in joining today's new sponsors, Useful Fruit Software and Econ Technologies, plus stalwarts like Bare Bones Software, Fetch Softworks, Mark/Space, MacSpeech, CrashPlan, and SmileOnMyMac, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and Lorene will get in touch.
Thanks to both Useful Fruit Software and Econ Technologies for their support of TidBITS and the Macintosh community!
Useful Fruit Software -- The deliciously named Useful Fruit Software produces Pear Note, note-taking software for the Mac that I would have loved to have when I was a college student. It's easy to type notes into a MacBook while you're in a lecture or a meeting, but what sets Pear Note apart is that it can record audio and video as well, synchronizing what you type with the appropriate spots in the recording. Even better, you can drop PowerPoint and Keynote presentations into Pear Note and it automatically integrates them into your notes. And as you change slides within Pear Note, following along with the lecture or meeting, it also synchronizes your notes with the slide changes. Finding notes you've taken after the fact is a mere search; you don't have to file notes carefully to be able to find them later.
The just-released Pear Note 2 costs $39.99 and there's a 30-day free trial available. It requires Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard or 10.6 Snow Leopard, and if you want to record audio and video, a microphone and video camera. If you take notes on your Mac in classes, lectures, or meetings, I'd strongly encourage you to give Pear Note a try. And, yes, before you ask, Chad Sellers of Useful Fruit said that they are working on an iOS version, which I'm looking forward to, since I'd love to be able to sync photos of slides with recorded audio and text notes (especially now that the iPhone supports Bluetooth keyboards).
Econ Technologies -- Whereas Useful Fruit is relatively new to the Mac world, having started in 2008, Econ Technologies was founded in 1991. If you're wondering, the company's name stems from a shortening of the nearby Econlockhatchee River in central Florida.
Nowadays, Econ Technologies is best known for ChronoSync, an extremely full-featured file synchronization program that can be used to sync files between Macs, back up selected files, and make bootable backups of your entire hard drive (even over a network, which only Carbon Copy Cloner and Retrospect can do as well). All of that can be done ad hoc, or on a schedule.
There are tons of synchronization programs out there, but when I was looking for a way to synchronize the iPhoto Library package between my Mac Pro and my MacBook, I settled on ChronoSync (along with ChronoAgent, an add-on utility that improves performance and works around permissions issues). Since the iPhoto Library isn't even a normal folder, and because there are a variety of files that need synchronization within the package, I didn't trust just any program to get it right. Not only could ChronoSync do the job, but Econ Technologies had a page outlining the specific settings necessary to handle iPhoto's oddities. It has performed exactly as desired since.
ChronoSync 4.1 costs $40, and ChronoAgent 1.1 is another $10. Both are compatible with Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger and later. If you need to keep files in sync across multiple Macs, ChronoSync is definitely worth a look.