Scott Love on the Genesis of AquaMinds and NoteTaker
NoteTaker is a third generation outline and information processing tool. Its genesis is the result of my "personal computer" journey beginning at Stanford University where I first used an Apple II system and then continued on from my early industry days at Apple Computer (Apple //e and Macintosh) to working on MORE at Living Videotext. Clearly, the category owes its first innovation and roots to Dave Winer (who in my opinion, created the category first) and to Doug Engelbart's original Augment System that suggested productivity tools must encompass the process of thinking and organizing ideas and information across networks. Hats off to Dave and Doug for showing the way. So, it was inevitable that the next generation of "thinking or idea processing" tools would begin to emerge again.
I've been asked many times why I started this company and why I chose to develop and design a software product such as NoteTaker at this point. In some respects, NoteTaker happened first and then we decided to build a company around it. NoteTaker is all about my life long passion for using outline and information processing tools on personal computers. With one's daily use of Internet-based applications for communications and information gathering, it's more relevant than ever before. Information processing tools enhance personal productivity and allow for organizing ad hoc information and ideas in one place. It has always been a goal of mine to put information at your fingertips and NoteTaker is our expression of that goal.
Over 12 years ago, during my NeXT days, I saw tremendous potential for re-visiting the information processing space utilizing NeXTSTEP. At that time, NeXT was using an amazing screen display system called Display PostScript from Adobe that radically improved the screen's visual fidelity. It was the intent of NeXT to achieve near print/publishing quality rendering on the screen such that text came alive in most the realistic fashion ever. And it did. At the same time, NeXT was developing a wonderful indexing and retrieval system for text and documents called Digital Librarian that could not only index full text documents and news feeds but also present the text as if it too were typeset from the original. When I left NeXT to co-found Millenium Software Labs, we incorporated and used many of these powerful ideas in NoteBook, an award-winning program that brought information processing and outline processing to NeXTSTEP users. It even incorporated NeXT's Services for dynamic creation of clipping and searching. And, it could actively index all of your content in real-time. Over 10 years ago, NoteBook was very much ahead of its time in a very limited market.
When Millennium eventually dissolved, I received the right to use the source code for NoteBook. When my new team started working on NoteTaker over two years ago, we thought a mere port of NoteBook's essential features to OS X was possible. It was not. Otherwise, NoteBook for OS X could have shipped right away minus all of the advanced features you see today in NoteTaker.
OS X changed all of this. It required a different approach. Instead, writing for OS X required that we start with fresh thinking, and provided the environment that would allow us to work with the Internet and at the same time, seamlessly with rich multimedia content. As a result, today we have dynamic Clipping and Search Services, in-line voice memos, web page display, web notebooks and OPML output which allows even more customization as users begin to tell us how they use NoteTaker with their information.
NoteTaker is a a vastly improved and re-engineered code base and technology with many new features that evolved during development to create this third generation outline processing, information processing tool of choice. It is decidedly not a copy or clone of NoteBook and for good reason. NoteTaker incorporates my 20 years of experience and direct design involvement with related products including: Dave Winer's ThinkTank, MORE and Ready! and now the latest creation, AquaMinds' NoteTaker. The journey has just begun as we have also announced our cross-platform plans for NoteTaker and even more support for open architecture XML file formats. Stay tuned as the evolution continues.
Scott Love, President and Co-Founder, AquaMinds Software Corporation