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Archive for the ‘Mekentosj’ Category

Happy Holidays from Papers!

Tuesday, December 18th, 2012

Papers Xmas gift
It’s the time of the year when we start thinking about stocking stuffers and silly reindeer sweaters. While whipping up some holiday cheer this month, the Papers team is putting together a Xmas promo for Papers for iOS.

Buy Papers for your iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch for $9.99 between December 20th until December 26th this year. If Santa surprised you with a new iPad mini or iPhone, or perhaps even an iTunes gift card, what better way to start the new year off right than with a copy of Papers for iOS?

Sync your articles between your iOS device with Papers for Mac (syncing with Papers for Windows is in development), but you can also use Papers for iOS as a standalone app.

If you are in the gift-giving spirit, you might consider giving a Papers2 for Mac or PC to a friend. Papers complements New Years resolutions to finally put some order in anyone’s research library, making it an excellent gift for collaborators.

When you decide to surprise someone with a Papers2 license as a gift this Christmas, we will send you your gift-serial with a digital postcard to pass on to the lucky recipient (making it more ‘gift-like’).

Papers2 is the gift that keeps on giving, with a more organized research library, the power of annotations, and Magic Citations. Now that you will both be using Papers, you can also collaborate more easily using Papers Livfe. Even better, Papers is the gift that doesn’t require any gift wrap!

If you are already using and loving Papers2, why not share the love and gift Papers as a Christmas present this year? You can do so by following this link.

Papers for iOS will be available at the promotional price for a limited time only, and is available from the iTunes store.

~ Happy Holiday from the entire Papers team!

Papers Springing into the Future

Monday, November 5th, 2012

A little more than 5 years ago Papers was born in between Alex’s PhD and postdoc. It was a simple application designed to do one thing very well: organize your scientific PDFs, in a way very similar to how iTunes organizes your music files. But like iTunes, we have steadily grown Papers to do much more. And with each new version of the program, we realize how much more we could do, and what potential Papers has to help researchers even more.

But there is only so much a small team like ours can do, and a day really only has 24 hours. It hurts having to say no to really good ideas, or having to delay new releases when other things demand priority.

With the increasing user base, the demands on our small team continue to grow. We have been committed to excellence in development and support for Papers, and we have many ambitious plans for the future. The reality is that the enthusiasm for Papers from the community at times catches up with us, forcing us to look for ways to improve the way we handle support and develop new features.

While we were not looking for a partner, an opportunity arose where we could get the support we need to continue to meet the high expectations we have for Papers. We embraced this opportunity, and we are very excited to announce that Papers is taking a big leap into the future!

We are becoming part of the Springer family.

The fit was a natural one, and we believe that by becoming part of Springer we will be able to offer our users so much more: we can take Papers to the next level, but much faster than on our own. Backed by the second largest scientific publisher we will be able to add features quicker, react faster, provide better support, and open up a realm of new possibilities.

The Mekentosj team will remain in charge of Papers, and continue to develop Papers for each of the platforms we currently support: Mac, PC, and iOS. We will continue to bring you updates, new features, and support. All with the same dedication and excitement you are used to getting from us.

You may still have some questions after reading this news. We are happy to answer them at any time, and you email us. However, your question may already be answered in this Q&A we prepared related to this news.

We are excited about the future of Papers, and we believe that with this new chapter we are able to bring you an even better experience.

~ The Mekentosj Team

Time flies… Papers2 1st anniversary!

Thursday, March 8th, 2012

Time flies when you’re having fun they say. I just cannot believe it is 1 year ago already that we launched Papers2 for Mac on the 8th of March 2011. And what a ride it has been since!

In hindsight, and after having been fortunate to have had that experience as well last year, I often tell people that the launch of Papers2 was just like getting a baby. You think that all the work towards the due date is the hard bit, but you quickly discover that the hard work only starts when the baby is out. And the same was true for Papers2, we worked day and night for over 2 years towards the release, but after that 8th of March the hard work really started.

We were ecstatic with the enthusiastic reactions and excitement of our users, and so happy to finally being able to show everybody what we had been cooking. But there was also the dark side of features still missing from Papers1, changes we made that not everybody liked, bugs and crashes we had missed, etc. We got swamped with feedback and comments, and the next 10 months resembled what can perhaps be best described as white water rafting: we knew we could not change the wild ride we were in, but we did know that we needed to paddle as hard as possible to improve the shortcomings and give it our everything to make all users happy. Over the last year we have delivered a total of 18 (!) updates, and addressed many of the initial problems and missing features [1]. And like after a successful white water rafting experience, it does feel awesome to look back and see where we have come from and the fun it has been.

Completely rewriting an app that is loved by so many users is hard, changing things because you feel it can be done better is risky. Did we make the right judgement? Were people not too used to the way it worked before? Did we pick the right technology? Which big new features should we have focussed on? Some of the decisions worked out really well, for example Magic Manuscripts, the revolutionary new way of citing articles, or the support for many new document types, but others we missed. A good example is the blue tokens to search your favorite repositories. I wrote this feature originally for Paper1 because I always thought that searching should work this way instead of using cryptic tags and codes. And while people seemed to like it, they rarely mentioned this very explicitly in their feedback. So we decided that the blue tokens could be delayed till after the 2.0 and we didn’t expect too many complaints. Boy were we wrong!

With the return of many of the missing parts in Papers 2.1 last december we finally arrived in calmer waters. That is not to say that we’re all done with bringing back missing Papers1 features or fixing bugs, but the time has arrived that we can start looking forward and also focus on adding those features that the new foundation of Papers2 will finally allow us to [2].

To end with a phrase stolen from Apple’s new iPad event yesterday: there’s a lot to look forward to this year.

On behalf of everybody here at Mekentosj.com, many thanks for your enthusiasm and excitement, critical feedback, great suggestions, helpful reports, necessary patience, but above all your relentless support!

Enjoy Papers!

~ Alex

PS. If you want to hear more about Papers, the ideas, the future, etc. Checkout this recent interview at literature review HQ.

[1] And not to forget, released a Windows version of Papers!

[2] If you would like us to build the next set of revolutionary features in Papers, we’re looking for talented Cocoa developers, make sure to contact us!

Love is… contagious:
Announcing Papers for Windows

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

We are very excited to be sharing our Papers love with even more people this Valentines day. For over two years we have secretly worked on a version of Papers for Windows. Now, the time has finally arrived that we are ready for a pre-release.

Papers has an award-winning, intuitive user interface, and we wanted to bring this same ease-of-use to Papers for Windows, while preserving a traditional Windows look. It also has much of the same core features as Papers2 for Mac, but there are some differences. Although we want to have both versions aligned as much as possible, some features are still under development in Papers for Windows. When first trying Papers for Windows, it is important to keep these differences in mind, and they are listed in more detail here.

A version of Papers for Windows has been the topic of many requests from both current users, and those who would like to become Papers users (but didn’t want to buy a Mac). After our Papers2 release, the requests for a Windows version kept pouring in, and we are happy that we can finally announce we have been working on this exciting new release for some time already in collaboration with Scimatic, which is based in Toronto, Canada.

Much like Papers2, Papers for Windows was built from the ground up. This brought with it the challenges you can expect from cross-platform development, as well as the occasional surprise. We made the decision to launch Papers for Windows as a public pre-release, after our beta trials, to make sure any bugs can be ironed out before our official release date in March. At this time, one feature that has not been sufficiently tested is Mac to Windows (and visa versa) compatibility, where a user can point both versions of Papers to the same library. Although this may seem relatively straightforward, from a programming perspective there are a number of difficulties with implementing this functionality and we want to make sure we can sufficiently test this internally, as well as expose it to ‘real world’ situations Papers users will face.

The Papers for Windows journey has been a long and exciting one. Recently, this included two smaller-scale beta releases and some intense in-house testing where we were able to streamline the program more, avoid some major bugs, and made some major updates and changes. However, the best part of the journey is starting now. We hope Papers for Windows will allow some of our current Papers users to take their libraries to work, or home, where this was previously not possible. We also hope to welcome new Papers users who will finally be able to enjoy Papers for the first time on their PC.

~ The Mekentosj Team

We’re hiring! Take your development skills Livfe

Friday, December 2nd, 2011

We are looking for a new addition to our dynamic team! If you love Papers and have kick-ass web development skills, we’d love to work with you.

The Mekentosj team is a group of passionate people who are, despite the fact we don’t work in a central office or even in the same country, a tight-knit bunch. Each of us is very unique, but we share a common passion: creating amazing software for science, and making the Papers experience more awesome.

When we launched Papers2, we also launched Papers Livfe. Now, we are looking for that talented individual who can help us take Livfe to the next level.

If you think you might have what it takes, we look forward to hearing from you! Send us an email at feedback@mekentosj.com from wherever you are, tell us why you want to join us, and tell us three things you’d add into Papers Livfe.

10th anniversary mekentosj

Sunday, July 17th, 2011

Note: the promotion week has now ended

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of Mekentosj you can buy Papers for iOS for half the price this week from the iTunes app store!


Who could have ever figured where some simple brainstorming over a drink on my birthday, now exactly 10 years ago, could all lead to. The following day, July 16th 2001, Tom and I went ahead and officially registered the mekentosj.com domain name. The names Mek and Tosj had become our nicknames in the lab thanks to our boss at the time. As we had a beer on my birthday we came up with the idea of making a website about the eccentric people in the lab we had joined as undergraduate students, a website mainly aimed at the other members of the lab and the institute. It had a page called Chris’ coffee corner after one of the technicians in the lab, a page with the latest lab gossips, and the schedule for the upcoming movie nights we organized (including fake movie trailers featuring other lab members, yes we knew how to fill up our spare time :-)

That summer I had also picked up a programming book and started playing with the free developer tools that came with the brand new Mac OS X that Apple had just released. This led to the first Mekentosj branded app called LabAssistant, a simple egg-timer app to keep track of experiments in the lab. To publish it on our student website was an obvious next step (it is still available to date), and started something we could have never envisioned. The excitement and addiction of getting feedback and enthusiastic reactions from real users, from all over the world was something that even today is still the main reason we do this today. And such the adventure begun, as well as a series of scientific Mac apps that quickly took over the center stage and reason for being of mekentosj.com

Tom came up with a logo and we signed up for the first WWDC, more or less just because we could, and wanted to see a Steve Jobs keynote for real. This was not long after we had released 4Peaks, our sequence viewer that had quickly started to become very popular, especially after we won our first Apple Design Award at the WWDC as a complete surprise.

Up till then mekentosj.com was running of one of these free hosting sites that gave you 1Gb of free bandwidth a month, which seemed enormous at the time. But I remember how slowly things had grown to point where we were anxiously staying within the quotum at the end of each month. And when the ADA news came out it was inevitable and we had to pull our creditcards.

Over the next three years, the second ADA for EnzymeX, and of course the launch of Papers for Mac in January 2007, followed by the third ADA in June brought us to a point I could never imagined. In November 2007, mekentosj.com officially became mekentosj BV, an officially incorporated company.

Today the 1Gb monthly limit we started with would last us less than half an hour, and mekentosj has now grown to 7 people on 4 different continents. The past 10 years have been an amazing story with an almost infinite number of great memories and anecdotes. Yet, I feel it’s only the beginning and to see new adventures and chapters being added to that story every day is what is really most exciting. Here’s to all who play part in those stories, and to all our users who we’ve done it for, here’s to the next 10 years for mekentosj!

16 July 2011

2 years in the making, 85,000 lines of passion

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011

What a ride it has been, from the day we released the first public preview of Papers it was clear where we wanted to go, and today is an important milestone on this journey.

Today we launch Papers2, a project 2 years in the making, in which we poured our heart and soul and gave everything we got. Yes, we; mekentosj has grown into an amazing team of talented people that is just an absolutely joy to work with. We’re spread over 6 locations, we’re all very different, but what we share is a passion for this product and for making an awesome user experience.

Will Papers2 be perfect, absolutely not, will it do everything you have wished for, absolutely not. But you can bet we’ll give it our everything to make it so in the time to come. Above all we hope that despite the glitches, bugs, and missing features, what shows through is that Papers2 represents the next step in this incredible story.

Enjoy Papers2!
the mekentosj team

Papers Geniuses

Monday, February 14th, 2011

They say good news never comes alone, and so it is. We’ve just announced the countdown towards the release of Papers2 for Mac, a moment we’ve been working towards for the past two years. But in those two years time hasn’t stood still and our Papers user base has grown tremendously. To the point where it started taking its toll. Having to answer over 30.000 emails a year, keeping track of 20.000 forum posts, releasing 15+ updates, AND having to build the next major version of Papers is not an easy feat.

We figured we needed help. We needed a Papers Genius. What is a Papers Genius you might ask? Well something like this:

Papers Genius

“We’re looking for a talented and enthusiastic new team member who wants to help us improve every imaginable aspect of Papers.
You would help us provide better support, an awesome website, great tutorials, and guide both new and pro Papers users. And you would be key in helping us launch the exciting new features and products we’ve been working on!”

We had no clue what kind of person would respond or whether someone would respond at all. Luckily we were blown away by the reactions, the next day we received an email from Dan Quintana, a PhD student neuroscience at the University of Sydney, Australia. The description we had put up fit him perfectly, Dan’s a big Papers fan and has tons of ideas how to improve the program. Unfortunately he is still in the beginning of his PhD and therefore couldn’t join us full-time. We’re very pleased that he nonetheless has agreed to help us out a number of hours per week as a volunteer. You will soon start to see the first improved Papers for iOS tutorials that Dan has produced.

Almost at the same time as Dan’s email we received one from Christine Buske, a final year PhD student at the University of Toronto, Canada. I don’t think we could have found a more suitable person as our first official Paper Genius! Christine is a self-proclaimed Papers addict and she couldn’t wait to join us in making Papers even better and help us launch Papers2.

Christine’s story is in many ways familiar to that of many of us; although she kind of liked working in the lab she quickly discovered that it was not the thing that kept her up at night. Instead, she has taken on an impressive list of activities outside the lab, including copywriting, producing TV commercials, translating research articles and marketing materials, and creating her own websites.

All those skills will come in perfectly handy in her role as Papers Genius. It will be exciting to see Christine join the team and work with Dan and all of us to improve Papers. Not only do we now have an official Papers Genius on board, Christine will also without doubt add some necessary girl power!

Returning to our true Love.

Monday, February 14th, 2011
I love papers

If there’s one thing that I absolutely couldn’t have foreseen 4 years ago, it is the enormous success of what the then just released Papers public preview would become. I still remember sending the first test version to Tom asking, “Do you think people will find it useful?”. Now, after 1.5 million downloads, someone, somewhere in the world, double-clicks the familiar red Papers icon every 5 seconds, 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, to organize his or her personal library of research.

Therefore, we couldn’t be more thrilled to finally announce the imminent arrival of Papers2, which we believe will take the program to a whole new level. To speak in Steve Jobs’ terms, this all-new version of Papers comes with no less than 21 “tentpole features”, which we will reveal over the course of the next three weeks towards the release on March 8th.

Despite all the new bling, we believe the program still feels instantly familiar to those already using Papers. We tried very hard to prevent making the program more complex, while still adding loads of new features. We achieved quite the opposite in fact, we think that in many ways the program is easier to learn and use.

So finally we’re returning to our true love, Papers for Mac. What took you so long?!

To some it might have seen that we had abandoned the Mac, that we were more focused on Papers for iPhone and, more recently, Papers for iPad. Some even started mentioning Duke Nukem, and that we lost interest in the Mac. But nothing could be further from the truth. For the last 2 years we’ve been working day and night on Papers2 for Mac, it was just that we had taken on a monumental task, certainly considering Mekentosj was a one-man-band up until only one and a half year ago. That’s not necessarily bad though. Having personally answered each and every email we received (see below what that means), there wasn’t a single pixel, feature or checkbox of which I wasn’t aware what people liked or disliked, what they wanted to see added or improved. And one thing quickly became clear, to get to the next level, we had to start from scratch.

When I originally wrote Papers in between PhD and postdoc I wrote it with the PhD student in mind that I had been in the  recent years leading up to developing the program; a cell biologist dealing with an overkill of journal articles found though PubMed. This is how we designed the program, a world ruled by articles and journals, what else would you possibly need?

As Papers became rapidly more popular I realized how wrong I was, and how many professionals found a use for Papers. And so we started extending the application on a foundation that was never meant to support other types of documents, other search engines, etc. After 2 years it started to slow us down and worse, it started to cause bugs and issues that were hard to resolve. With Papers2 we wanted to change all of that, but it meant we had to start from scratch. We now support 85+ different types of documents, but more importantly, we now have a foundation that allows us to rapidly add more features in the coming months. Will Papers2 contain everything you asked for? I’m pretty sure it won’t, we had to restrain ourselves and stop somewhere, but you’ll see us add new features at a rate not seen before.

Mekentosj 2.0

Mekentosj 2.0

Perhaps as exciting as the upcoming Papers2 for Mac update, is the fact that in many ways March 8th could also be considered the launch date of Mekentosj 2.0. Things have grown over the past 4 years from a fresh graduate scratching his own itch, to postdoc quitting early to start a full time one-man-band, to what is now a small but thriving independent software company with 6 people working from 4 different continents.

And as Papers has gone to the next level, so has Mekentosj. Having to do everything yourself doesn’t scale, and with at least 100 emails ending up in your inbox every day, that quickly becomes painfully clear. Fortunately, over the last one and a half year we saw the addition of some of the most talented team members, and everything we do at Mekentosj has become a team effort, including dealing with support emails (we still answer each individual email personally though!). Today’s announcement is the first publicly visible result of a great team at work, it’s been an absolute pleasure to finally get to the point where we can start showing you what the new Mekentosj can do.

Over the course of the next three weeks we’ll be revealing a new feature every day, be sure to check back regularly to have a sneak peek at what’s coming on March 8th. In addition you can expect a new series of posts here about some of the design philosophies and features in Papers2, behind the scenes on the way we work and what you can expect from us in the future.

We’ve come a long way, and it has been an amazing ride thus far, but it’s only the beginning. We are excited to have you on board as we continue to move forward.
Thank you for supporting Papers!

Papers wins 2010 Ars Design Award!

Monday, June 7th, 2010

WOW! This morning we got the news that Papers has won another design award! Ars technica, one of our favorite websites, decided to hold its own ADA (Ars Design Awards) ceremony when Apple announced it wouldn’t do one for Mac OS X apps this year. Ars asked its readers to nominate the best Mac OS X apps in 5 different categories and we were very happy to see Papers nominated for Best Education app. And then came the announcement on the Ars technica website this morning that we had actually won! We’re very honoured and happy that Papers has now got two design awards behind its name. A big thanks to anyone who nominated Papers!

This means we will soon receive a second shiny aluminum cube! Awesome!

Download Papers from here…