First Impressions: Yojimbo for iPad

October 22, 2010

I was thrilled to find an email in my inbox Tuesday about Yojimbo for iPad (iTunes) and Yojimbo 3.0. I didn’t have any expectations for it, and it was a nice surprise. As I wrote about a few weeks ago, I’ve reworked how I use Yojimbo so that it is really only a resource for design work on my laptop. But I was still thrilled and bought it without hesitation.


Here’s my first round of impressions after a few days of use, and they are easily broken down by positives and negatives:


  • I have almost 2000 notes in Yojimbo, and I can carry them anywhere. If I get phone call from a client and I don’t have my laptop, I have immediate access to all my project notes. That’s worth $9.99 to me. It’s also useful to have project notes on the iPad, laying on the desktop next to me so the big screen can stay devoted to Photoshop.
  • It looks like Yojimbo. There is not a learning curve…all my notes sync as they look on the laptop, and all my folders and collections sync over in the same order. (Web archives would make or break it for me, and they work great.)
  • Once it’s paired up, sync is automatic. Anytime I open Yojimbo on the same network as my laptop, it syncs. The initial sync took a while, but the updates take only a few seconds. I’ve seen a few complaints that it can only sync over a local network, but I prefer that for a database as large as Yojimbo. I’m not updating it as often as something like OmniFocus.


  • There is a significant bug that isn’t syncing tag collections correctly. Any tag collections based on more than one tag don’t work right. (The screenshot above shows 1006 items in my Design: Current collection, but it should only be 60.) I’ve received confirmation from support that they are aware and this will be fixed in an upcoming release. But, that seems like a huge bug to make it through a beta testing process. Until this is fixed, my usefulness for Yojimbo is somewhat limited.
  • There is no creation or editing of notes. I’m hopeful they add this, but haven’t seen anything from BareBones either way. Ideally, I also want to be able to add tags to my untagged notes.
  • It eats up a lot of storage space – not the app itself, but the notes. My database is almost 1gb. I bought a 32gb iPad thinking it would be useful for movies for the kids on road trips. (And it is!) Now I’m glad I have that extra storage for everyday use as well.

My impression is that Yojimbo was rushed out the door with to respond to competition from Evernote, and, soon, DevonThink for iPad. (That impression may be wrong, mind you, but not a great first impression either way.) I’m not going to complain about what’s missing (other than the syncing bug), but I’m hopeful that this is just a glimpse of what is to come for this app.

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