December 21, 2005

I Am Using Bookends, And Its Better Than Pulling Teeth

Well, we've had discussions earlier in the Macintosh Bibloiblog regarding bibliographic software. Primarily, the question has been, can we get by with Bookends, or do we need Endnote. I owned a previous version of Endnote, but I finally went out on a limb, and this time I've thrown my hat & my dissertation in with Bookends. Deciding factor: I like supporting small Mac developers. While I'm confident that at the end of the day it will work, it hasn't been easy. I've got 198 references entered in the bib so far, and I would've hoped for a more robust import strategy from the software. I was reduced to doing way more manual entry than I should have had to do. The very responsive (although mysterious) "Jon" from Bookends support had this to say:

Bookends has no idea of the reference Type it is importing. If you mix books and journals, and they have the same tags, you'll get some data imported into the "wrong" fields. In this case, you need to separate the types before import.
And my response is... "Why?" When I'm collecting references from ATLAS OCLC, I'm not ONLY searching books, or edited books, or chapters of books, or journal articles... that's absurd. It's a program for crying out loud... one of the import fields is telling it what "Type" of reference it is, so let it import data depending upon the type. I think that that is just one illustration of a general observation, namely, that the application is somewhere past infancy, but not yet full-fledged. Since I see in the About box that the program has been around since '88 (???), I guess this really indicates "small operation". This was, for me, the selling point. Endnote was just too bloated.

I've never had an application crash this much on OS X. And that just frustrates me. It's nice that there are several "Reindex/Repair/Rebuild your database" tools, because I have needed to use them a ton on account of the crashes.
I continue to rack up the questions of things that are taking me awhile to figure out how to accomplish. My format calls for using Chicago Manual of Style, supplemented by SBL Handbook of Style. And if I can't figure out how to get it do this in an hour or two, the problem does not lie with me.

Current questions include:

  1. Why so few User-defined custom fields?
  2. Why only two "Source" input fields that can be parsed to assign various data to their appropriate fields?
  3. Where is the expected web page of additional (some being user-created) input filters and bib formats for download?
  4. How about fuller pop-up context help for the NUMEROUS preference & customization dialogs?
  5. Why doesn't the tutorial explain how to make an in-text temporary citation that cites a particular page number? Am I just being egocentric in thinking this has got to be one of the most common needs out there? (It's taking me a long time to figure it out, and I'm still not sure I'm doing it the canonical way.)
  6. Why such a big minimum List View Window width? (This kind of lack of control bugs me.) I can see why the large Single Reference width.
  7. I confess that I am biased against carbon apps. They bug me most of the time. They can be made to flow with Aqua, but too often they don't take advantage of some OS X technologies they could. (ie. no service/spell checking/contextual menus). What on earth was going on code-wise in 1988 or even 1998 that was worth keeping as a holdover for Bookends?
Right now, I think that if I had given Bookends this much of a workover before I decided to purchase, I would've thrown in another couple hundred and went with Endnote. But, I have a good feeling about "Jon's" abilities and his interest in the project, and his responsiveness to feedback. In the long run, I think I WILL be able to work with Bookends, and I think I may end up being glad that I went with it.

December 06, 2005

Apple Store Opens in Sheffield

Would you believe I've never been to an Apple Store? Strange, I know. My wife has been to a couple. There is one nearby here in Kansas City. But I note that Apple is opening their fifth store in the UK.

Looks like the Sheffield phenomenon can now Apple-ize. Have a look at the Apple Store Meadowhall, if you're nearby.

Now with pictures:
I don't really know why I'm covering this Apple store opening; perhaps I'm pining for my first visit to one. I have read that these store openings truly are a sight to see. Blogger Nik has pictures from the store opening at Sheffield.