I was recently reading an article on the O’Reilly Network about “Freeware Gems for Mac OS X” and found it interesting. One of the neat things about OS X is that it has spawned a whole new wave of development and applications. The great thing about OS X is that it combines the Mac with Unix in a pretty package. You can admire and use the system mainly on the surface or dive into development and manage stuff with the command line. The most interesting free app in the article is an address book called SBook. SBook was created by Simson Garfinkle in 1991 for NeXT (which OS X owes a lot to).
I’m actually quite happy with the built-in address book in OS X and I love how I can use iSync to keep my address book on the machines that I use and my Handspring Visor in sync. But I thought that I’d try out the program as I like Simson’s writing and if he went to the trouble of reviving a program I should try it out. What intrigued me is how he mentions in the description that the search algorithms are quite paoerful and that they are very fast and parts of them made their way into Mail.app and the OS X built-in address book. So I tried it and really like it. I love how it’s a free-form address book, so you don’t need to fill in certain fields. It figures out what is what… a name, a business, an email address, a phone number, etc. So you can type lots of notes explaining things and mix it all together however you like. Then you can go to a Web site, send an email, dial the phone, or print an envelope or label. It’s fast and searches almost instantly. You can even drag pictures into it! I think that this is going to be my address book of choice soon. I still miss a feature of Apple’s Address book such as being able to look up a map by clicking on an address, but I’m sure that it will show up soon.