The idea of electronic sticky notes is far from new, but the team behind web project Stikkit (www.stikkit.com) say their sticky notes are different from anything you might have encountered before.
Stikkit notes are "intelligent", they say. They can understand what kind of document you’re trying to write, and automatically turn it into a "to do" item, a calendar entry, or a bookmark.
Sign up at stikkit.com and you’ll see what they mean. Create a note with a date on it, and it becomes a calendar entry. Create a note with some kind of list, and it becomes a series of todo items.
The idea is that you don’t have to think about the context your data needs to be in; you just type what’s on your mind, and Stikkit works out the context bit for you.
To be honest, Stikkit is a little slow to use (it flashes up a little "Thinking" logo when it’s, um, thinking), much slower than any desktop application.
A lot of effort has gone into making it look great, but at the expense, in my view, of some usability.
Having created a note I was unsure how to make it disappear. It’s not immediately clear what all the controls do, and I found myself hovering over them to see if any explanatory text appeared (thankfully it did).
The system has been designed so that you’re always looking at a virtual sticky note that doesn’t (indeed, cannot) change size or shape. when there’s too much information to display at once, a mini scroll bar appears inside the note.
Some people will like this and some won’t – personally I find it very irritating.
There are bugs, too. A newly-created note showed up in my list of notes as being 12 hours old.
Having created it, I wanted to change the note title but could find no way of doing this. The site forgot I was logged in, too, forcing me to log in once again.
Criticism aside, Stikkit is very new, and bugs are inevitable in new software.
It’s certainly worth investigating if the idea sounds good to you, but I’d wait a little while before using it for any vitally important information.
Protopage (www.protopage.com) is a long established alternative. It offers some of the same features, but without the "intelligent notes" concept.
But that doesn’t mean Protopage’s notes don’t do clever things. A note can be just text, as you’d expect, or contain photos, links, even news feeds from other websites.
Signing up is free, and lets you create your own private (password-protected) Protopage site. Here you can bung as many notes as you like, keep them organised, colour-coded and customised.
There are very few bugs to bother you, and the whole thing works very efficiently. It’s a great way of keeping snippets of information synchronised between different places and different computers.
Since Google bought weblogging service Blogger (www.blogger.com), there’s not been much sign that the new owners were investing very much in it.
Not until recently, anyway. There’s now a shiny new version of Blogger, which users are being switched to in small batches.
The posting interface hasn’t changed much, but there are some very nice new features.
The most important of these is the ability to add labels, or keywords, to posts. Better yet, it’s very easy to go through all your old stuff, adding labels to dozens of posts at a time.
At long last, after years of development, Microsoft’s replacement for Windows XP is nearly with us.
The Windows Vista code was completed in the past few weeks, and has now reached the stage where it gets sent off to computer manufacturers.
A great many features got dropped from Vista’s list while it was being built, prompting much criticism from dedicated Windows users.
The finished product needs a fairly high-spec, modern computer, and comes in a myriad of flavours. See microsoft.com/windowsvista for more information.