Omni apps: Home Edition

by Linda Sharps on April 25, 2006

Let me tell you, it's not always easy being a non-technical person in an office of engineers. It's like bumbling your way through a foreign country where everyone knows the native tongue except you.

Engineer: “You'll need to use an ssh tunnel to access that.”

Me: “Okay. So are we talking an actual, physical tunnel here, or…?”

Engineer: “….”

I'm a n00b, what can I say. I'm intimidated by the Terminal (gah, the name alone: terminal!), acronyms befuddle me (TCP? VPN? what?), and AppleScript may as well be that African click language for all of my (in)ability to grasp its vernacular.

On the plus side, I like to think I can provide the lowest-denominator usability cases for our software. Sure, most of our applications can do complex operations and have all kinds of advanced settings, but hey–*I* can use them. Me, the mouthbreather who once clicked an emailed document screenshot…not once, not twice, but three times in a row, each time cursing the software's inability to perform.

The point of this post is actually not to convince you of the amount of oxygen whistling merrily through my skull, but to share some everyday, real life uses of our software in the hopes you'll do the same.

I use OmniOutliner to keep a running tally of household items I need to buy (on my list right now: “Spot Magic” carpet cleaner. Stupid cat), to draft writing projects, to keep track of who got what over the holidays (thus reducing the chance of gifting Relative So-and-So with yet another singing bass fish) (not that I would ever purchase such a corny novelty item), to plan vacation-related to-do items, and to store random bits of research I want to follow up on later.

I use OmniWeb's Workspaces feature to rattle through the giant list of blogs I visit daily; Shortcuts to quickly jump to IMDB, All Recipes, and Weather.com; and site-specific preferences to de-lamify sites with great content but obnoxious presentation.

Now with OmniGraffle, I don't typically spend a lot of time making complicated charts with all kinds of links and Bezier-drawn shapes and tables and whatnot (although I would be remiss in my Marketing Weasel duty if I did not point out that Graffle can obviously do all of those things), but I did make some downright spiffy holiday cards with OmniGraffle, and I'm currently using it to lay out a tile design for a bathroom remodel. And I made a process document for dealing with my eight-month-old son if he wakes up at night. Oh, you think I'm kidding?

Okay, quid pro quo time. If you're inclined, we'd love to see how you're using our apps in your day to day life, be they geeky tech examples that I'll have to have someone explain to me in monosyllabic terms, or otherwise. Hit the Say It! (Don't Spray It!) button and let us know.