Why I Use SOHO Notes

by Bakari Chavanu Apr 06, 2010

There are several dozen notebook applications for the Mac, including the popular and free Evernote, the classic Mac Journal, and DevonThink. Each of these applications has it pros and cons, and I’ve used them all, but I keep returning to Chrono’s SOHO Notes as my notebook application of choice. 

Before I go into explaining why I use SOHO Notes, I want to say upfront that this application crashed on me, and even after several back and forth exchanges with its support staff, I never recovered the files. After the last crash, I moved to Evernote, and still use it too, but here are some reasons I still prefer SOHO Notes, despite the danger of crashes.

Universal Access
What’s most essential to me about SOHO Notes is that I can add notes and content to the application without the application being open. QuickNote and DockNote features provides very useful ways to add and access content.

I can pull up QuickNote with an assigned hot key, compose a note, and select folder/notebook where I want the note saved.

Similarly, I can use DockNote, which rest unobtrusively on the lower-right corner of my desktop where I can drop content into any folder I assign.

I can also grab selected text from any web page or document using the Services menu or a hot key.

SOHO Notes includes customizing features that make it easier to navigate and organize content. The icon for folders can be customized so that no two folders look the same. Chronos provides a nice set of icons but you can also use a small png or JPEG file to create or your icon for a folder.

Set Alarms

I also like that I can assign a specific time and date for opening a selected note or file that I saved in SOHO Notes. Though this can be done using Apple‘s Automator and iCal, it’s ten times easier to do it in SOHO Notes.

Smart Folders
If you follow my articles, you know that any application using smart folders gets an instant star or two from me. While you can’t manually save notes to smart folders in SOHO Notes, it does gather together notes and other content based on the rules you set for a particular folder. So for example, if I add a bit of AppleScript code to SOHO Notes, it will instantly get put into my AppleScript smart folder, saving me the time of manually adding it to a particular folder.

When you first start using SOHO Notes, you’ll want to spend some getting to know about the various options it provides for customizing folders, font style and sizes, adding tags, shortcuts, and hot keys, and selecting a backup location.

SOHO Notes includes other features that I haven’t used, including blog posting and editing, audiovisual recording, and iPod synchronization.

Chronos has also produced an iPhone and iPod touch app, NoteLife, that can be used as a stand-alone note manager and for synchronizing with the Mac version of SOHO Notes. My testing of the app showed it to be pretty stable, but unlike Evernote, it only syncs over a wireless network, whereas Evernote allows you to uploaded content to its server and it can be downloaded/synced to your Evernote app. Your iPhone/iPod touch doesn’t have to be near your computer to sync content.

Overall, SOHO Notes works great and is very practical. It can be downloaded for a 30-day trial, and the single-user license is $39.99. Evernote is free and provides many of the same features as SOHO Notes, but for my workflow SOHO Notes is more accessible for adding and viewing content.


  • Great article- I was a avid,heavy user of SOHO for sometime.  I started to use Evernote some, but it totally lacked in features compared to SOHO. However, I slowly got pulled over to EN completely solely due to the cloud service and syncing to my iPhone & desktop. And I love the safari clipper. BUT, EN is still way behind in features. It sucks being split between the two, I guess I can’t have my cake and eat it too.

    I tell you an awesome feature that I use is the bookmark notes. It is really great for tracking data from a website that is updated regularly. (top sellers, mortgage rates, product pricing etc)  I create a bookmark note that loads the URL and save it as “live” then I can create archives from that note and save copies by date.

    Turleymuller had this to say on Apr 06, 2010 Posts: 2
  • Turley, thanks for sharing about the bookmark note. I think I overlooked it. And I agree, I have several apps (five screen capture apps!) that I wish could be merged into one.

    Bakari Chavanu had this to say on Apr 07, 2010 Posts: 47
  • You are a braver, more patient person than I.  I loved Sticky Brain and their organizer program, looked massively forward to their updates to SOHO Notes and SOHO Organizer and purchased them without even thinking twice about it when they came out at MacWorld

    Then lived through a year of endless crashes, slowing down of my entire system, finding files from the programs installed in every nook and cranny of my hard drive, slow updates, and to top it all off the place that most of the early adopters looked for help, the discussion forums they ran, were taken down.  Probably because so many of the discussions reflected poorly on the products at the time.

    Shortly after that, I spent a Saturday removing every last vestige of their programs off my computers and have never, ever thought twice about it.  The fact that you say that you are still willing to live with the danger of crashes tells me little has changed in the 2+ years since that Saturday.  I can’t imagine there will ever come a time where I will use there products again.

    Tomeh had this to say on Apr 07, 2010 Posts: 2
  • I agree.

    I loved Sticky Brains back-in-the-day, but SOHO’s support is beyond awful.  A company with a ten year (or more) experience with software does not support a forum for users to ask and answer questions.  Their knowledgebase for the current release comprises eight articles, mainly written last year before the iPhone App about installation and conversion.

    The App is good on a Mac, and flashy (small F), it still has sync problems, twice a month I find all the notes have duplicated themselves (I have 850 notes) and I need to restore from a backup.  Just poor sync, their programmers do not understand the concept that sometimes a mobile will lose connection with the host Mac and that shouldn’t be a disaster.  SOHO’s solution: make it easy to delete your database and restore from a backup.

    Their documentation implies you can sync using MobileMe, but the instruction manaul doesn sya anything about it and there doesn;t seem to be anything in the iPhone client.

    I suspect you can sync computers using MobileMe but not iPhones and iPod Touch’s and they were hoping you wouldn’t notice.

    The good news is I get to write a bad review everything time they bring out another version in the iTunes store and I’m past 10-12 reviews!

    Stick with Evernote, it will take me ten or more hours to convert.

    PS: Why do we like SOHO? It does work and look like a Mac program, Evernote’s compromise is they want to work the same way on Windows and Mac and therefore compromise the Mac interface.  Reminds me of the old Pagemaker vs Quark wars.  Pagemaker kept the typesetters print table layout metaphors too long and Quark created a new space by saying “It’s a computer screen, Dummy, use the mouse!”

    Flack had this to say on Jun 04, 2010 Posts: 1
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