Yojimbo is one of the best info gathering apps for the Mac

By "Doctor Dave" Greenbaum

Yojimbo, according to my Japanese friends often translates to "bodyguard" and that's a good name for a program that keeps and protects the little bits of information that come across our virtual desks on a daily basis.

Yojimbo for Mac OS X is a database of any information you can throw at it. Of all the information-gathering apps, it’s the clear leader in Mac integration and featuring a Mac interface. Bare Bones, the developer of Yojimbo, has a long and rich history on the Mac platform and their expertise shines in this app.  

While information can be added via the standard typing or drag and drop method, Yojimbo also provides hot keys for entries as well as adds itself to the service menu. I was able to keep track of various bookmarks and URLs, right from the menu bar by right clicking. What's the Japanese word for “sweet?”

For me, tracking bookmarks was the killer feature that brought me back to using Yojimbo. I was a previous Yojimbo user, but started using other programs which offered synchronization via the web. With the uncertainty of cloud-based bookmark services, I realized the importance of keeping key information directly on my computer.

Synchronization is nice and I'll continue to use it, but I want to keep a local copy of my data under my exclusive control. I'm concerned not only about free services going away, but I also grow increasingly concerned about keeping confidential data on the web. Yojimbo supports syncing between computers.

Similar to other information managers, Yojimbo uses the collection, label and tag model to allow quick finding and classification of information within its database. An individual piece of information can be listed in multiple folders and be tagged and labelled in multiple ways. Yojimbo handles most data formats such as text, images, PDFs, sounds, and bookmarks.  

Alternatively, instead of storing a bookmark, Yojimbo can actually make a web archive of the file, which is great for offline viewing on an airplane. Two data formats unique to the Yojimbo are serial numbers and passwords. These are securely stored in the program. I'll continue to use my Mac's keychain for my most secure passwords, but I did like storing serial numbers in this program within Yojimbo's structure for quick search and retrieval.

Comparing Yojimbo to other products, Yojimbo's differentiation as mentioned earlier is Mac integration and Mac UI elements. The program simply feels more Mac-like than other programs I've tried.

Additionally, Yojimbo effectively uses the Mac’s function keys to bring up the Quick Input menu or to activate Yojimbo’s dock interface for dragging or direct searching. The latest version (4.0) introduces built-in support for syncing data among multiple Macs, as well as support for fullscreen windows and Retina machines. Yojimbo’s sync service, which requires a paid subscription, provides silent, transparent data synchronization across multiple Macs, making it irrelevant which machine you use to access, add or modify any item stored in Yojimbo.

For those users needing an information manager that takes full advantage of their Mac's unique capabilities, and who don't need access to that information on devices other than a Mac, Yojimbo is a great and obvious choice.