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Mars Report:

Stapler: A Barely Functional To-Do List

Published December 5th, 2006

Stapler: Foldable multi-document single-file to-do list

Stapler SoftwareOriginally downloaded 3/20/06. This looks like yet another new, totally unique take on the problem of organizing yourself on a computer. The company, Blue Technologies, has a very clearly written vision for the product, and it definitely makes me want to try it out. The downloadable demo is fully functional.

Update 12/5/06. Well, this application’s icon is a lot more interesting than the software itself, I’m sorry to report. The description makes Stapler sound somehow mysterious and innovative, but actually, it’s a step backward in to-do list technology. The Stapler metaphor is very apt, because using Stapler is a lot like stapling a bunch of notes together without any organization. Every once in awhile, you might riffle through the stapled stack and mark something “done,” but otherwise you have no way of locating notes, setting priorities, or rearranging them in any way. Sorry, that’s just not going to help anyone get their to-do list done, folks. Here’s my brief list of pros and cons:



  • Uses Sparkle for updates
  • Supports use of ruler and word-processor text formatting for each “thing”
  • Automatically dates each thing and adds a “done” checkbox
  • No Help file
  • You can’t label each “thing”, so when the thing is folded, you can’t tell what it is.
  • No search available.
  • No sort options.
  • No meta data at all, except the auto-added date and “done” flag.
  • The date’s granularity is no smaller than a full day, so you can’t tell when during a day a thing was added or done.
  • You can’t even rearrange the items in your list by drag/drop, although there’s a menu item you can use to move items up and down the list.
  • Stapler has no integration with OS X services, so you can’t get information into it other than direct typing or cut/paste.
  • Stapler stores each item as an RTF file inside its application package, but you can’t export individual items as RTF files (or any other kind of file), for that matter.
  • You also can’t print individual items… it’s either all, or nothing.

A Few Stapler Items

It’s really hard to imagine why anyone would pay $10 (7.5 euros) (or anything at all) for Stapler. It does so very little and doesn’t even function very meaningfully as a to-do list. There are plenty of alternatives, so even if you like the icon, look elsewhere.

Version as tested: 1.1.

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