Development Team Led by John Gruber Releases New Note-Taking App Vesper

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Vesper is a new note taking app that also incorporates to-do elements, allowing users to capture thoughts, tasks, and ideas quickly and efficiently. The app comes from newly minted company Q Branch, which includes Apple blogger John Gruber, developer Brent Simmons, and designer Dave Wiskus.

Vesper offers a simplistic user interface that focuses on both quick input and customizable organization, utilizing tags to group items into collections. As the app description states, Vesper allows users to organize and curate notes in "whatever way comes naturally."

vesper
MacStories has published a detailed review of Vesper, comparing it to several other note taking apps available:

Vesper is about collecting thoughts with minimal friction. And not about doing so with a certain specificity in the UI – say, Day One’s emphasis on journaling or TaskAgent’s notebook motif – but in a generalized manner that revolves around one key aspect: speed. I have pondered over the motivation behind Vesper for days, and I’ve concluded that Vesper doesn’t want to be the new Drafts or Day One – rather, its aim is on Apple’s Notes app. The way I see it, Q Branch didn’t want to make an app that identified itself with one facet of note-taking: they wanted one that could scale flexibly for a more generalized use. And this, I believe, has been accomplished quite well.

In addition to offering tags for organizational purposes, Vesper also incorporates drag and drop functionality to allow users to rearrange notes and older notes can be archived with a swipe for storage to create an uncluttered inbox. Both the archive and notes that have been tagged and arranged can then be accessed from the sidebar.

The app supports photos in addition to text, along with an in-app browser. It does not, however, support syncing as it is currently limited to the iPhone.

Vesper can be downloaded from the App Store for $4.99. [Direct Link]

Top Rated Comments

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94 months ago
That post about a $5 app not being expensive makes more sense all of a sudden.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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94 months ago
Can we please stop saying "simplistic" when we apparently mean "simple"? The two words don't mean the same thing. MacRumors, if you're going to characterize a new product like this as "simplistic," then please at least say what you think is wrong with it. And if it indeed is simplistic, why report its release?
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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94 months ago

If there is anybody that knows how iOS 7 apps will look, it's Gruber. So, I think this is a good representation of iOS 7. And it's what 9to5 Mac reported, black, white, and flat all over with a single color to designate what app your in.


Form over function and without any clear indicators as to what is clickable and what is not. I honestly hope there is more to the iOS redesign than this, otherwise it is purely a step backwards in terms of usability.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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94 months ago
If it doesn't sync with my iPad and Mini, then it's not for me! :(
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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94 months ago

He is not a journalist. He expresses his opinions about certain topics, so that he can get ads on his blog, get consultancy fees etc. There is far less conflict of interest here than tech sites receiving advertising from makers of products they review or newspapers taking advertising from car companies they cover. His relationship to the product in question is clearly visible to the public. If he says something about his product, you can either take his word for it or not, fully aware of his financial stake. With the two other examples above? You cannot.

He's quick enough to lecture others on professional ethics!

He's quick enough, for example, when others fail to correctly attribute a source, to start failing to attribute the Wall Street Journal. In a recent example, he linked (http://daringfireball.net/linked/2013/05/21/wikipedia-corruption) to criticism of a Wikipedia editor who had conflicts of interest. He clearly thinks of himself as a journalist and as a reader I expected him to follow some ethics on this.

As for the magnitude of the conflict, he could not have a bigger conflict of interest if he was Elon Musk writing the motoring column. Is he failing to report on great apps because it might threaten his personal gain? Can he even objectively judge what a great app is anymore, or are they now held to some greater standard because he wants to protect his personal profit?

What makes you think he owes it you and must go through the same struggle? Do you unplug all your electronics 2 hours a day in the afternoon to make sure you don't have an *unfair* advantage over developers living in India?

Eh? He had an idea, he got together with his friends and he implemented it into a product. Where is the sullying? Others are covering his product, because he is known for his sharp opinions about software UI design and there are many who are genuinely curious what he would do if he was the designer. Jealous?

My electricity supply is totally irrelevant; Gruber's fame has been built as a journalist/blogger (the line is blurry) and he continues to do that to this day (AFAIK, DaringFireball isn't shutting down). Take a look at NPR's ethics handbook (http://ethics.npr.org/category/e-independence/); they make it clear that you must avoid both real and apparent conflicts of interests (after all, you must remain trustworthy to your readers).

Journalists regularly recuse themselves from coverage on topics where they have a potential conflict (such as the political journalist whose spouse is an advisor to a particular campaign). Similarly, John Gruber would not have been the first journalist in history to forgo a business opportunity because it would have tainted his journalism or independence.

As a reader, I'm upset because it's a major, major ethical lapse from somebody I know should know better. It has absolutely reduced Gruber's trustworthiness in my eyes.

As an app developer, I think firstly that it's wrong for products to be promoted based on celebrity rather than merit, although I don't blame the outlets for covering it - I blame Gruber for getting himself in to this mess. Even that wouldn't be so bad, though, if it wasn't a journalist; that adds gross unprofessionalism to the mix.

Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conflict_of_interest) defines conflicts of interest:

More generally, conflicts of interest can be defined as any situation in which an individual or corporation (either private or governmental) is in a position to exploit a professional or official capacity in some way for their personal or corporate benefit.

If he just wanted to make an app for creative reasons, he could have donated the money to charity, for example, to stop himself (in reality or in appearance) personally financially benefitting from his professional responsibilities as a journalist. Now that he's playing the App game for personal profits, his position has shifted enormously.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
94 months ago
This has definitely reduced my opinion of John Gruber.

Here are a couple of headlines from around the web:

"Vesper, a minimalist notes app from John Gruber and Brent Simmons (hands-on)" (The Verge)
"Development Team Led by John Gruber Releases New Note-Taking App Vesper" (MacRumors)
"Daring Fireball’s John Gruber and friends launch Vesper note capture app" (9to5Mac)

I think it shows an absolute lack of journalistic integrity to use your name and fame to promote a product in an area you're so intimately involved with.

It's also a slap in the face to independent developers (such as myself). Even if you have the greatest idea in the world, with the best interaction & visual design, the best programming, etc - the hardest thing about launching an App is getting the word out (promotion).

Gruber just got more promotion than any of us could ever get; and he did it by sullying his name for a not-particularly-innovative App.

Read any of the reviews I mentioned above (or even MR's own), and you'll notice they have very little to say about the app itself and much more about the people behind it. I've got to say I expected much more from Gruber and I'm shocked he would have the gall to do this.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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