by Scott Rhoades
Several years ago I gave an alternative word processor a test drive. I don't remember the name of it anymore and it didn't really do what I wanted it to, but I remember that it had one unique feature that I really liked. Attached to every document was a notepad that displayed next to the writing area. This meant that, for each document, it was easy to keep notes right where I wanted them, attached to the file but not actually in it. I thought this was pretty cool.
So I was excited a few years ago when I discovered a little program for Windows called Stickies. On the surface, it looks like just another computer sticky notes program, but Stickies has several features that other free sticky notes apps didn't. (It's possible that others do now. I don't know. I've--ahem--stuck with Stickies because I like its feature set and the improvements its programmer, continues to makes.)
You can already guess my favorite feature, the one that sold me on this app. You can attach stickies to documents. Unlike the stickies you stick all over your monitor, the stickies attached to a document are out of sight when the document is closed, but they pop up when you open your file so the notes are right where you want them, as if they were a part of your word processor's file.
There are quite a few sticky notes apps out there now, including several for the Mac. Most are good representations of the paper kind, and like the paper notes, are always visible on your screen. Others allow you to hide notes, and then open them with some kind of a notes manager, but that's really not much different than keeping notes in another document that you open separately. But being able to attach the note to a document (or Web site, or any other window) increases the usefulness of the notes while decreasing the clutter. That's really cool.