Friday, April 15, 2005

Omni This and Omni That

A few weeks ago I mentioned an app called OmniGraffle, a gorgeous looking and quite complicated piece of software for creating flowcharts. As I said at the time: the full blown version is quite expensive but you can download a fully functional version for free that's only limited in that you can't have more than 20 things in any single chart.

Last night I went back to the Omni Group site and tried some of their other software. The first I tried was Omni Outliner Pro; it's the same deal—a fully functional download limited to 20 entries, only this time we're talking about a list maker; make entries and then slide them up or down to re-arrange them, or left and right to make them children or parents.

I have another app called DeepNotes that does just this, but with Omni Outliner Pro you can also drop images, links, movies and other objects as embedded new entries right in the list. You can also format the list's appearance in a million different ways. Personally I prefer the clean approach, but lots of folks like to assemble scrapbooks full of clippings (I'm talking real scrapbooks and real clippings) when they're pondering or researching something, so here's the ultimate digital scrpbook for those people.

I'm probably missing something; there's probably some very compelling other use for this thing. Either way—it's great fun to play with and looks fantastic, but for arranging ideas I'll stick to DeepNotes for now.

The next thing I tried from Omni Group was OmniDictionary which is a window that pops up, either independently or via the services menu, by which you can look up the definition of a word. It does this by searching various online dictionaries, but by navigating to the Mac OS X DICT page at you can download a complete package of dictionaries for use offline.

The package was pretty huge at 36 megs, but it's oh-so great having a dictionary literally built in to the OS. All in all, a pretty productive night...


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