This information age we live in isn’t what it’s cracked up to be. There’s too much information. That means clutter. That means storing and organizing information Our Macs are good at that provided we use the right tool. What you need is a whole Caboodle. No, it’s not a digital dog from France. It’s an information manager that’s pleasant to use, highly flexible, light on the nerves and pocketbook. What’s it do?
Our digital world revolves in and around the Mac’s screen, with an occasional iPod or iPhone plugged into. All day long we come across little items of information that need to be stored, sorted, organized, safely put away, yet easily retrievable.
Dejal’s Caboodle is an attractive information manager for your Mac.
Everyone comes across information that they want to refer to later. Maybe gifts you’ve received or sent, product serial numbers, recipes, directions to someone’s house, a photo of your pet, or anything else. Dejal Caboodle is a tool to help store and organize such varied bits of information.
What most of us have is more information than we can handle, sort, or even decide whether or not to keep. Caboodle provides something unique. A structured approach, and a free-form approach. Together (no pun intended).
Most of us deal with structured information that is collected in an unstructured way. Caboodle fits both ways.
Some kinds of information are best stored in an organized structure, like a phone book. You want a label and a short value, and don’t care about text formatting and such: you just want the information.
What we don’t want is a complicated learning curve, lots of rules and preferences, or an intimidating way of collecting and using our daily snippets of information. The world already has enough rules.
On the other hand, sometimes you’d like to write a paragraph or two about something, or include pictures, web links, lists, tables, PDFs, and more.
What we need is a single Mac utility which lets you store what you need to store, either in a structured, formatted way, or just dropped into the box to be retrieved later.
Caboodle provides a single place to store, organize, and find those little pieces of information that you might have previously stored in Stickies or obscurely-named text files strewn over your desktop.
What scares me about some Mac utilities are the endless options tucked away in the Preferences, away from the all-important toolbar. Caboodle is simple to understand and set up (click any image for a pop up, close up view).
It doesn’t get much simpler to get started.
Considering all you can do with information you save, there isn’t much to learn with Caboodle. It stores stuff, it shows what it stores. Organization is mostly up to you.
Every Caboodle entry has an icon and subject. The icon can be altered for each entry, if desired, to make them even easier to identify. The subject is the name of the entry, displayed in the entries list. The entry is automatically saved when you switch to another one (or quit), or can be manually saved as desired.
Open Caboodle. Enter information—text, photos, clippings, web site links, tables, PDFs, documents, whatever, including serial numbers, login ID’s and passwords. Drop it in.
Note Caboodle’s basic layout. Information type in the left column, detail in the right column, toolbar across the top. That’s it.
The entries list is a standard outline, making it simple to see as many or as few entries as desired. You can select one or more entries and drag them to reorder them, or to move them up or down the hierarchy, and expand or collapse the entries.
A Family Affair
Families have children and siblings. So does your information. Caboodle is family oriented.
There is no “folder” concept in Caboodle. Every entry can contain other entries, so you can treat any entry as a folder-like container, and add child entries when needed. The parent entry could just have a subject, to treat it like a primitive folder, or it could contain a summary of the contents, general information, or whatever you like.
That means that the information you save in Caboodle can be related to other information. Or not. You can create data fields and go hog wild on organizing your information. Or not.
Custom fields are useful, but most of the time, you just want to jot down a thought, store a picture, etc. Caboodle handles this simply and elegantly. You can type or paste rich text, drag or paste pictures, PDFs, and even documents into the text area of an entry. Caboodle stores a copy, leaving the original intact.
What’s the opposite of drag and drop? Drag, drop, drag out again? Getting information out of Caboodle is as easy as it was to put in.
Any content stored in Caboodle can also be dragged out again. Drag a PDF out to make a copy on your desktop or elsewhere; it is still stored in the entry. You can also double-click on such items in Caboodle to directly open a copy of them in Preview or whatever application is appropriate.
Yes, Virginia, there are style sheets, so Caboodle can be used to create attractive mini documents with paragraphs, text styling, tables, lists, and more.
Add new information, add style to old information, use the toolbar to format and print any Caboodle entry.
Mac users who collect information often end up with a need to store passwords, login ID’s, serial numbers, credit card information, and much more. Securely, of course.
What about privacy? Got some information you don’t want others to see? An entry can be encrypted to hide your most sensitive information, using an industry-standard encryption algorithm. Simply type and confirm a password – but don’t forget it! Decryption is as easy.
On the negative side, Caboodle needs a drag and drop shelf to pre-sort information, though drag and drop works well, it requires an extra step.
Overall, Caboodle is nicely done, and far less expensive than Yojimbo or Together, or most other information managers, yet highly capable with an easy learning curve.