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The Newsroom

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

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!

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!

February 1st, 2011

Hot on the heels of 1.9.2, a new update to Papers for iOS is now available on the App Store. Version 1.9.3 introduces support for iOS 4.3, fixes a number of bugs, and improves scrolling in the landscape mode. The most visible change that iPhone users will see is the new address bar, and the “Login/Authenticate” button which you can access by tapping the address bar (screenshots below). This feature allows you to force loading a web page with EZProxy.

The new browser address bar and "Login/Authenticate" on iPhone

See below for a full list of changes. Hope you enjoy Papers for iOS 1.9.3!

What’s new

  • Added iOS 4.3 compatibility.
  • Added the Login/Authenticate function also to the iPhone (previously only on the iPad).
  • Faster scrolling when viewing papers in the landscape mode.
  • Searching from Scholar, ACM and IEEE Xplore fixed.
  • Do not use EZProxy when browsing the Mekentosj support website.
  • Improved stability with more PDFs which do not conform to the PDF file format specification.
  • Dropbox / iDisk import instructions layout improved for iPad users.
January 26th, 2011

We’re happy to announce the availability of Papers for iOS 1.9.2 in the App Store! This newest release introduces some exciting new features which we thought you might want to see in action. Namely, we’ve added support for PDF hyperlinks, as well as for Table of Contents and improved the workflow with library proxies. Papers for Mac has also been updated to version 1.9.7.

PDF hyperlinks

Many research papers and book PDFs include links within the document, and links to outside resources. New to Papers for iPad 1.9.2, you can follow these links simply by tapping on them, for instance to jump to a figure that is referenced in the text, or to the bibliography. You can also follow links to outside documents. In the below screenshot, the “Supplemental Materials and Methods” link has just been tapped. Papers lets you view the linked supplemental material web page link either in Safari, or directly within the app. Links can also point to other research papers, and Papers naturally creates you a new reference entry for each link you follow, and lets you download the PDF for it similarly as you are used to. Navigating research literature has never been this easy!

Hyperlink support in Papers for iPad

Table of Contents

Some PDF documents also include a Table of Contents. New to version 1.9.2, you can access it using Papers (see screenshot below). A “Go to Page” function is now also included.

PDF Table of Contents supported in Papers for iPad 1.9.2

Login / Authenticate

Accessing journals that require authentication can be tricky when you’re outside an institutional network which grants you access to content. Sometimes you come across research paper links that cannot be recognised by your library proxy. We now improve your workflow in these situations by introducing a “Login / Authenticate” function, similar to what is already available in Papers for Mac. The two screenshots below demonstrate this new function:

Login / Authenticate (before)

After tapping the “Login/Authenticate” button and entering your username and password for the proxy, you can get access to the full-text PDF (tap the PDF link to download the document):

Login / Authenticate (after)

Release notes

You’ll find a complete change log below, including both new features and bug fixes. If you come across any issues, please contact us.

New features:

  • Hyperlink support for PDFs: follow links in the document, or to outside URLs such as web pages or other publications.
  • Table of Contents support for PDFs. You’ll find it as a tab in the Bookmarks view.
  • A “Go to page” function included in the Table of Contents tab.
  • Added a “Login/Authenticate” option in the address bar, which lets you reload the current page through the EZProxy. This issimilar to the Login/Authenticate function in Papers for Mac.
  • You can log into iDisk using either your username or email address.

Other improvements from version 1.9.1:

  • Improved stability and performance with large PDFs.
  • Improved stability with PDFs which do not conform strictly to the specification.
  • Improved document loading speed.- Settings view: keyboard handling improved such that the EZProxy URL field is shown correctly.
  • Fixed the issue whereby the navigation bar would disappear after syncing on the iPad.- Correct handling of text encoding in Google Scholar results: languages with such as Russian, Korean.

Papers for Mac has also been updated to Version 1.9.7!

December 6th, 2010

Today we are very happy to release the version 1.9 of Papers for iPad, and iPhone. This update improves the app in a number ways, ranging from a fresh look and feel, Dropbox support, importing and exporting of annotated PDFs, and all-around stability improvements. We really hope you enjoy using it! Below you can read more about what’s new, and also about what’s coming next.

I would like to take the opportunity to thank Matias and congratulate him with his first mekentosj release. Matias has worked very hard to get all the stuff below in your hands as quickly as he could after he joined in September. After updating to version 1.9 I hope you will agree that he has done a killer job, and we’re sure that this will only be the beginning!

New improved look & feel.

Papers for iOS 1.9 introduces a new, exciting look & feel. Our goal wasn’t just to make Papers prettier for you. Whether you’re reading a paper, browsing your library, Google Scholar search results, or a journal website for a paper, we wanted to give you more space on the screen to concentrate on what you’re doing, both on the iPad and on the iPhone.

Papers for iOS

The most apparent visual change on the iPad is the new sidebar which you can hide by tapping anywhere on the screen. You can simply tap again to bring the sidebar back into view with its navigation, bookmark and sharing controls. The landscape viewing mode on the iPad has also been improved, allowing you to read your papers with a more natural vertical scrolling mode.

Importing papers to your library from Dropbox or iDisk.

You can import papers to your library from either Dropbox or iDisk volumes. Go to “Import papers”, then choose either your Dropbox or iDisk account, log in and browse to the PDF you want to import. We have received a lot of requests for this feature, so we really hope you enjoy it!

Improved PDF annotation support in Papers for iPad

PDF highlighting support has been extended to a far larger range of PDFs in Papers 1.9, so if you previously had problems highlighting PDFs, now might be a good time to try again. Highlights are also merged more intelligently, so you shouldn’t see partial words being highlighted anymore.

One highly requested annotation feature which we’ve added in 1.9 is the ability to import highlights and notes made in other applications to Papers for iPad. Exporting annotated PDFs from Papers is also now possible.

We continue to extend the annotation support in Papers, so stay tuned for further improvements coming your way!

A number of other changes have also made it to version 1.9:

  • All-around stability improvements.
  • Reading password protected PDFs. Passwords for PDFs that you have opened are stored securely in your keychain, so you only have to enter them once.
  • Papers remembers the last opened page in all the papers in your library, not just the last one you had open.
  • Papers remembers the last search keyword in your library.
  • A “Locate with Google” was button introduced to help finding PDFs for reference entries which are missing one.
  • Ability to download papers from IEEE has been restored.
  • Ability to download papers from JSTOR has been restored.
  • Syncing is more reliable. In particular, importing papers from Mail or iTunes functions more reliably.
  • iOS 4.2 support: AirPrint and background applications.

Available via iTunes now

Papers for iOS 1.9 is a free update for existing users, available via iTunes now.
For more info and screenshots see http://news.papersapp.com/papers/ipad

What’s next?

Keeping your Papers library in sync between your Mac and iPad,  iPhone or iPod Touch is one of the key features of the software which we build. Being able to sync is also a substantial technical challenge. There is much room for improvement in how Papers currently handles syncing, and we are indeed already working on a new syncing implementation which we really want to get right. The new syncing functionality which will arrive in a further update should resolve many of the issues that you might have experienced.

In addition to Papers for iOS 1.9, we have also released Papers for Mac 1.9.6, a bugfix release of our popular Mac version of Papers Download from here…

July 23rd, 2010

This is the update everybody has been asking for. In the past 3 months since its release we have been blown away by the reactions we have received on Papers for iPad, but one thing was clear, you wanted the ability to highlight text passages and leave notes on the PDFs. And from today that’s exactly what you can do. It’s intuitive and simple and now makes reading an even better experience on the iPad.

Simply tap and drag to select a piece of text and tap highlight, that’s all there is to it. Highlighting can be very accurate thanks to the loupe that pops up while you drag and text selection is also column-aware. We also allow you to copy the text to the clipboard. In addition you can tap and hold anywhere on the page for a second and a sticky-note pops up to type away. After you’re done a red pin will indicate the location of the note.

Papers for iPhone

But also for iPhone owners there’s exciting news, Papers is now full optimized for iOS4. It supports fast application switching, as well as the razor sharp retina display of the iPhone4. PDFs never looked this good, and even on the relatively small screen they’re a joy to read.

If you already own Papers for iOS this is a must-have update, now available from iTunes. And if you don’t, then it’s time to head over to the app store!

For more information see the Papers for iPad and Papers for iPhone web pages.

June 21st, 2010

We couldn’t be more happy with Matias Piipari joining Mekentosj Inc. to take the iOS versions of our apps to a whole new level.

Back in February last year we launched Papers for iPhone, allowing you to take your personal library of science wherever you go. We were already super excited with its success and the reactions from its users, but compared to that the recent launch of the iPad version has just blown us away. We worked really hard to get Papers for iPad ready at launch day, and to see how much users are loving the app is absolutely phenomenal. We’re sure that especially for those users it will be great to hear that Matias will take this momentum and do his best to bring our iOS apps to the next level! He already has a ton of ideas and we can’t wait to ship them to you in a next version of Papers for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. Check out Matias’ profile page and wish him luck!

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…

May 27th, 2010

We are very sad to announce that Matt Wood is leaving us, after an incredible year working with Mekentosj. We can’t show any of the things he has been working on (except the new web site design of course!), but we can tell you it’s awesome, and we will very much miss him. We will miss his fantastic expertise and his great insights, and we will miss his energy, humour, and his guidance.

The good news is that Matt is joining the legendary Amazon Web Services team, as Technology Evangelist for Europe. It would be hard not to be excited for him at this great opportunity. Matt will remain a great friend for all the Mekentosj crew, and we wish him all the best in this new job.

As an ‘au revoir’, we leave him with this little movie where Charles expresses how each of us felt upon hearing the news: