Caboodle 1.3 full review

Since I installed Leopard, the Dock’s Downloads folder has become my computer’s lost-and-found department, collecting all my stray Web links, orphaned photos, and errant PDF files. Dejal Systems' Caboodle seemed ready to offer all those random files a neat and orderly home. Unfortunately, Caboodle’s odd, sometimes frustrating ways didn’t live up to its terrific concept.

The program’s admirably simple interface is easy to grasp from the first launch. A navigation bar on the left of the program window lets you create lists of custom categories - the program launches with several examples, including recipes and serial numbers. You can then populate those sibling categories with child entries. For example, a “Recipes” category could have subcategories for entrees, breakfasts, and desserts, each with its own list of dishes.

Each new entry begins as a TextEdit-like window for jotting down notes. In addition to basic text formatting options, buttons on the toolbar open complex but useful menus for creating simple bullet-pointed lists and tables. Caboodle lets you drag and drop a variety of files into each blank new entry, including images, HTML pages, PDFs, Word documents, and videos.

If it can’t read the files itself, it’ll create an alias linking to a program that can. Caboodle can display photos and PDFs and play videos, with a full PDF reader and Safari-style HTML rendering planned for future versions. But I couldn’t resize huge images or awkwardly sized clips to more viewable dimensions.

Unfortunately, adding entries isn’t as convenient in Caboodle as it is in other, similar programs. You can’t simply create a new entry by dragging an image, PDF, or other file right into the category list. Instead, you must create a new blank entry, then drag the file into the empty, TextEdit-like window Caboodle creates for it. This can make compiling categories slow and sometimes exasperating work. (The ability to directly drag and drop files into the category list is under consideration for future versions.)

Caboodle can display photos, but can’t shrink huge images down to an easily viewable size.

Though most documents, including Word files, imported flawlessly, I initially had trouble moving HTML files into Caboodle through the Import command in the program's menus. Within hours of being queried about the bug, programmer David Sinclair responded with a new build of the program that fixed the problem (version 1.3.1, now available from the company's Web site).

Unfortunately, an attempt to export a text file to HTML yielded bad formatting, with a list’s bullet points spilling over into subsequent table cells. Sinclair said this is a known bug; his suggested workaround, exporting the file as a Web Archive instead, worked fine.

NEXT: Sluggish response from Caboodle

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