Pear Note 1.4.1

April 13th, 2010

Pear Note 1.4.1 is now released. It’s a minor release to handle recording errors more gracefully and fix some problems that could occur when Pear Note’s trial expires. Also, this includes a new menu item to forget all slide transitions, in case you want to start over and re-record when slide changes happen.

Also, I apologize for not saying more around here of late. I’ve been working hard on some good stuff, which I’ll tell you about fairly soon. For now, rest assured that my silence here indicates good things coming up for Pear Note.

Pear Note 1.4

February 15th, 2010

Pear Note 1.4 is now out. Yes, I finally listened to all your requests and added image support to Pear Note. So, now you can drag in your diagrams of molecular structure, your pieces of art, or perhaps just a snapshot of the whiteboard your team just drew all over.


Also included in this release is the ability to Find in Slides. You could previously Find within the text of a document, but not the slides. The new Find in Slides menu item means you can locate things in the slides as well as in the text.


There are numerous other improvements, including a menu item for saving the default note location, the ability to export to RTFD, and a bunch of other improvements and refinements. I hope you enjoy it.


January 20th, 2010


As likely all of you know, Haiti was devastated by a major earthquake last week. Many of us software developers wondered how we could help. Then Justin Williams of Second Gear Software came up with an idea. He thought he could donate all the sales of his software for a single day to help the relief effort, and invited other indie software developers to band together with him to do the same. This became Indie+Relief, which now has well over 100 developers participating, including Useful Fruit.

The idea is simple, 100% of income from today’s sales goes to the relief effort in Haiti.¬†Each developer chooses which charity they will donate their income to. I have chosen UMCOR, the relief organization associated with the United Methodist Church. It’s a great organization that I’ve volunteered with in the past. They are quick to respond, as well as very effective and efficient. This is because they get so much volunteer labor and the fact that the church funds their administration, so 100% of all donated funds go straight to the relief effort.

So, if you’ve been considering purchasing or know someone who has, today is a good day to do it. Also, please check out the other apps that are part of Indie+Relief. You might find something else useful to you and help some people in need in the process.

Positioning windows

January 15th, 2010

Pear Note uses separate windows for separate documents as well as for slides and video (if you double-click them to make them bigger). This is by design Рby making these things separate windows you are free to position them however you like. Also, tools like Exposé are useful when you put things in separate windows. This works pretty well.

That said, lining up windows can be a bit painful, to the point that people often won’t do it and they’ll have windows partially overlapping. I’ve long wrestled with this, but recently the folks at Irradiated Software released some apps that are great at making this easier. These tools all allow you to line up windows with very simple actions. I’m using SizeUp myself, which gives you a bunch of keyboard shortcuts to position a window on the left, right, top, or bottom half of the screen, as well as into the quadrants (pictured below) and on specific monitors. They’ve also got a lite version of it called TwoUp and one that is mouse driven rather than keyboard driven called Cinch.


I don’t know the developer or have any vested interest in this software, but I think it’s a great tool that is especially useful with Pear Note. If you find yourself looking for a tool to make it easier to line up notes next to one another or slides and video, check them out.

Taking notes on your family members

December 29th, 2009

A couple of days ago, my good friend Chris Ashworth (of QLab fame) tweeted this:

Copying down a cinnamon bun recipe over the phone. @PearNote is perfect for this. Once again a hat tip to @c_had for a great app.

I’d never thought of using Pear Note for taking down a recipe over the phone, but it sounds like a great idea to me.

This reminded me of this past summer. My family and I went to a family reunion with 50 or so relatives that I hadn’t seen in more than a decade. Before the reunion, I got a crash course from my mom on the family tree. I copied down what I could as she explained who everyone was and what their relationships were, but I only got a skeleton written. Fortunately, I was using Pear Note to take these notes, including recording audio. So, later when I wanted to figure out the details about a particular person, I just clicked on their name and listened to my mom’s description of them.

Pear Note is great for taking notes in professional and academic settings, but don’t forget about the possibility of using it with your family as well. It may seem weird at first to record your mom or your grandfather, but I think you’ll find it very helpful.

Pear Note 1.3.5

December 11th, 2009

Pear Note 1.3.5 is out. It’s primarily just improving stability and fixing bugs. If you’ve ever had something go wrong during recording and not been able to save the document afterwards (which you hopefully have not), it should be handled much more gracefully now (meaning you’ll be able to save now). There’s also a menu item for opening the Slides and Video windows (it’s under View), in case you have the sidebar hidden. Enjoy!

Pear Note 1.3.4

November 20th, 2009

Pear Note 1.3.4 is now out. It includes some reliability and stability improvements, as well as a couple changes you might be interested in. These are:

Improved process of importing slides and audio/video


Before Pear Note 1.3.4, if you dragged slides or media to Pear Note, it would create a new Pear Note document and import that file into it. Unfortunately, sometimes you might have wanted to add those to a currently open document instead of creating a new document. With Pear Note 1.3.4, if you have an open document, Pear Note will ask if you’d like to import the file into an open document or a new document.

Added PDF Service


Pear Note can import slides itself, but it is admittedly not perfect when it comes to importing PowerPoint. Consequently, many of you open your slides in PowerPoint, print them to PDF, then import the PDF into Pear Note to ensure the slides look exactly as they do in PowerPoint. With Pear Note 1.3.4, this just got easier as Pear Note now provides a PDF Service. This means that there will be a “Send PDF to Pear Note” item in the PDF button in all applications, and if you select it the PDF PowerPoint produces will be sent straight to Pear Note.

Slide navigation during playback

Prior to Pear Note 1.3.4, you could go to a slide during playback and everything would jump to the first time that slide was shown. This worked pretty well, but many of you scan through your slides early, which meant that the first time you saw the slide was not when the speaker was actually talking about that slide. With Pear Note 1.3.4, Pear Note now jumps to the time the slide was shown for the longest duration, which means you won’t fool it into thinking you’re on a specific slide just by scanning around.

Happy Halloween

October 31st, 2009

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween from Useful Fruit Software to all of you who celebrate Halloween.

Pear Note in the news again

October 14th, 2009

Just wanted to point out the nice review of Pear Note over at TUAW today. Thanks very much to Sang Tang there for the excellent write-up. I really love this quote: It’s like TiVo for note taking. I’m going to have to use that in the future.

Taking notes vs organizing information

September 7th, 2009

When Leo Laporte mentioned Pear Note on MacBreak Weekly, he mentioned that he had not tried it out before because he thought it was “another notebook program for the Mac.” There are a lot of notebook applications out there that help you organize information. Some have referred to these applications as Everything Buckets. I will not take a stance in favor of or against these (in this post at least), but will instead just point out that organizing information and taking notes are two very different tasks. Some of the organizers out there try to blur the line a bit by providing a very simple note-taking function in addition to their organizational capabilities (usually a simple text editor), but they are still primarily organizational tools, not note-taking tools.

Illustrative Venn Diagram

Illustrative Venn Diagram

Pear Note is not a notebook application; it is a note-taking tool. It aims to help you take better notes, not organize them. Pear Note also provides search functionality so that if you, like me, are not into organizing your notes you can just search for them when you need them. However, if you’re not like me and you really want to organize your notes, fear not. You can easily use Pear Note to take notes and use one of the information organizers out there (or Finder if that meets your needs) to organize those Pear Note notes. I know there are people using Pear Note in conjunction with Together as well as DEVONthink to do just that.

Unfortunately, I think far too many people dismiss Pear Note before understanding that it is different from the many notebook applications out there. I wish there was an easy way to distinguish “note-taking” from “notebook,” but I have yet to find it. If you have any ideas of good ways to succinctly communicate the difference, I’m all ears.