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Author Topic: Best program to manage information collections?  (Read 9160 times)
MrCrispy
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« on: February 19, 2008, 05:06:21 AM »

That was probably not a very good title for what I have in mind. I'm trying to get organized and want to collect various bits and pieces into one nice collection that is easily manageable - this info comes from web pages, blogs, notes etc. e.g.  collections of software ideas, fitness routines and tips, recipes, personal finance etc. An imp feature would be a classification system (tags/folders etc) and context - e.g. if its a web page it would get the latest copy, update rss feeds etc.

I find I'm just not able to keep track of all the different places and things tend to get lost. Right now I mostly use the Firefox extension scrapbook because its so easy to use. I also have OneNote but am not very good at it. I've read the huge note taking thread and am also considering UltraRecall but it seems complicated.

Is there something which can do what I want? Maybe not even a single program but a good workflow.
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tomos
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« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2008, 05:29:13 AM »

hmm,
quick comments -
I'm using Evernote, Surfulater and now, SQL-Notes

Evernote more for ideas, uncategorisable stuff, scanned/photographed text cause you can search the text, notes on projects in progress (work), writing (scraps of things - I want to start using wikidpad for writing and ideas though but havent had the time to really get into it)

Surfulater is super when you're organising things, you can "clone" stuff but not tag (yet) e.g. perfect for "fitness routines and tips, recipes"

SQL-Notes (beta) if you've got a lot of overlapping areas of interest I reckon it wont be beaten. Armando thinks it's not difficult, I'll just say it's getting easier as beta progresses - it's very usable now btw.
Could possibly replace the other two here but when stuff is clearcut I actually like having it on different programmes -
e.g. in Surfulater I have:- info on software from web, photoshop tutorials, info about setting up new pc, etc. and even thoughSQL-Notes could already easily do this...well, I have a liscence for Surfulater and it's actively developed so nice to be involved there, also I have a nice colour scheme on it Kiss tongue)
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Tom
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« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2008, 08:27:31 AM »

I can't really offer a solution -- but I am looking forward to the responses. I use Ultra Recall and OneNote. I have bits of information in Surfulater, Evernote...

As I said in another thread, I have reached the conclusion that I am over-engineered for my needs (I am sure many people on this forum are in the same situation -- I imagine I'm not the only one who ends up using software because it's cutting edge stuff rather than based on a real need).

So I am trying to simplify. Find one quick, light, flexible, robust program to cater for all my information management needs. Easier said than done.

I thought that maybe I could live in a note-taking program (so long as it has a robust structure and global search). I am trying that out with AM-Notebook -- a nice program, there's lots I like about it, but I think if I'm going to limit myself to one program, a simple note-taker won't be the one.

My latest mad theory is that a powerful clipboard enhancer (with basic note-taking capability) such as ClipCache Pro or Clipmate might be the answer. I have used Clipcache for some time and it's become my default program for storing web snippets.  The latest versions of both Clipmate and Clipcache use a decent database to store data, so they should be robust enough for long-term storage.

I'm only starting to test this idea. Certainly Clipcache captures clipboard data reliably, and it's very easy and quick to create and edit new text notes. The text editors in both Clipcache Pro and Clipmate are both very basic, but this is all about simplification...However, no tags or categories in Clipcache. Maybe a simplification too far. Clipmate has virtual folders, which is a step in the right direction.  The search goes on...
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yotta
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« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2008, 11:28:05 AM »

look up My Help in the dopnationcoder GOE competition
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wraith808
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« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2008, 02:36:56 PM »

I'm using Ultra Recall, and I love it.  Not complicated at all from my usage, though it has more features than I'm using.  I'm also contemplating the purchase of Surfulator when it is on BDJ later this week.  One I can definitely recommend *against* is SnippetCenter.  The only thing it was useful for was making me stop impulse purchases on BDJ...
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ashwken
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« Reply #5 on: February 19, 2008, 03:36:12 PM »

I am also using Ultra Recall and reccommend it for the purposes you describe.

The forum is active, and we're expecting a beta for v.4 towards the end of the month - version update comes with a price, might want to factor this into any purchase plans, usually available at discount soon after release.
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tamasd
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« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2008, 11:20:35 AM »

The forum is active, and we're expecting a beta for v.4 towards the end of the month.
What is supposed to be in v.4 ? I didn't catch any discussion about upcoming major version on UR forums.

As for the original question, I also recommend UR. MyInfo from Milenix might be of consideration too, I particularly liked their tagging system.
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ashwken
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« Reply #7 on: February 20, 2008, 01:56:16 PM »

What is supposed to be in v.4 ? I didn't catch any discussion about upcoming major version on UR forums.

See the bottom of this thread for the comment from Kinook on v.4:
http://www.kinook.com/For....php?s=&threadid=3429

See the Road Map for planned inclusions:
http://www.kinook.com/For....php?s=&threadid=3204
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tamasd
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« Reply #8 on: February 20, 2008, 03:49:57 PM »

Thanks a lot, I remember that thread but it didn't occur to me they are speaking about next major version, I thought it was about another minor update.
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superboyac
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« Reply #9 on: February 20, 2008, 04:41:56 PM »

SQLNotes.  No question.  This program can do anything.  And by anything, I mean if it can't do it from first glance, fiddle with it some, and it can probably do it.  I don't think there's another product on the market that comes close to the versatility of SQLNotes right now.  There's already an enormous thread here on the program (probably the longest thread at DC right now).  I've meticulously  tried out a lot of notetaking and PIM programs over the last few years, and as soon as a couple of new features are implemented in the beta for SQLNotes, I'm going to transfer ALL of my info into it.  That's everything.  Texnotes, EverNote, Mybase, addressbooks, random custom databases I created while using SQLNotes...everything.  And it can handle everything beautifully.  I'm telling you, I'm going to write a song about that program.
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Armando
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« Reply #10 on: February 20, 2008, 11:21:34 PM »

I agree with superboyac (well, in terms of managing information collections). I'm going to transfer most of my stuff in there too... when it goes out of beta, when the (minor) quirks are ironed out, and when it's easier to import exotic stuff.

I personally find SQLNotes very addictive. I'm already leaving EverNote behind (don't use it anymore), and soon it will be Outlook.

Armando thinks it's not difficult, I'll just say it's getting easier as beta progresses

 Grin actually, I'd say that the underlying principles, etc. are simple to grasp. But there are many many many subtleties I'm still trying to understand.
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« Reply #11 on: February 20, 2008, 11:39:21 PM »

…As I said in another thread, I have reached the conclusion that I am over-engineered for my needs (I am sure many people on this forum are in the same situation -- I imagine I'm not the only one who ends up using software because it's cutting edge stuff rather than based on a real need).

Huh? huh  I have no idea what you are talking about here!?!?  (Hehe - Then again... tongue   Grin    )

So I am trying to simplify. Find one quick, light, flexible, robust program to cater for all my information management needs. Easier said than done.

I thought that maybe I could live in a note-taking program (so long as it has a robust structure and global search). I am trying that out with AM-Notebook -- a nice program, there's lots I like about it, but I think if I'm going to limit myself to one program, a simple note-taker won't be the one.

I do use AM Notebook, and have been using the Pro version for a couple years now.  I really like it as a notes application, except the lack of clipping capability cripples it WRT information gathering.  Of course Martin's Local Website Archive and Website Watcher help to gather info for me.  (Again... So many applications, so little time!!)

I also have Evernote 2.2 Pro and OneNote 2007 for clipping.  Why so many note-taking apps?  Oh.... I don't know -- doesn't everyone?   cheesy

Jim
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mouser
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« Reply #12 on: February 21, 2008, 10:48:53 AM »

The longest running thread in DC history deals with this:
http://www.donationcoder....um/index.php?topic=2362.0
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ivanv
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« Reply #13 on: February 22, 2008, 03:28:40 PM »

I use MediaWiki. It's a pain to setup and to make it work exactly like you want, but that's the beauty, it can work exactly as you want.

I use several plugins that make managing my info a breeze (like a form that automatically creates a page based on the data I enter).

Maybe not exacly what you want, but I thought it was worth mentioning.
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gallozzi
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« Reply #14 on: February 22, 2008, 08:01:40 PM »

Information storage is not very helpful if you cannot easily retrieve it. What about that interesting data you saved today; will you will able to instantly retrieve it from your collection of thousands of notes five years from today? The answer is YES, if you are using "Personal Knowbase." THERE IS NO OTHER PROGRAM LIKE IT! And the price is just $39.95. But don't take my word for it. Download the trial and find out for yourself. To find what you've been looking for, visit:
http://www.bitsmithsoft.c...m/?source=P30420718301501

--Chuck
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mouser
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« Reply #15 on: February 22, 2008, 08:14:26 PM »

people, if you post an affiliate link, which we discourage here, you at least need to say clearly that you are making money from people visiting with your link.
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tsdragon
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« Reply #16 on: February 23, 2008, 12:26:33 AM »

I've been using the free version of Personal Brain for a while and I like the way it's always handy, but it can be cumbersome at times, the free version has some annoying limitations, and the Pro version is VERY expensive.

TopicScape is cool, but graphics intensive and cumbersome.

I've been looking at Surfulator and used the DC discount to buy it. It's great for organizing larger pieces of information, but not so good for tiny snippets.

I've never found one I really felt comfortable with. I'm going to try some of the recommendations here.

What I really want is an information manager:
  • that is always available, discreet, but pops up when I need it
  • that I can drag and drop URLs, images, text, etc, into when I want to make quick note of something,
  • that is easy to organize
  • that allows me to format entries in any way I like
  • that can cross-reference or cross-link items into multiple topics
  • that is quickly searchable
  • that can link topics to programs and files
  • that is easily navigated
  • etc, etc, etc.

Don't want much, do I?
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wraith808
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« Reply #17 on: February 23, 2008, 08:11:05 AM »

UltraRecall seems better for non-related (or semi-related) bits of information, and it seems to have most if not all of what you're looking for.  Google notebook might also be an option, though I've not delved deep enough into it to know.

And mouser, maybe it would be a good policy to have to edit posts to remove affiliate links?

So you (or some admin) would edit his post to have http://www.bitsmithsoft.com/ in it instead of the affiliate link?
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wraith808
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« Reply #18 on: February 23, 2008, 08:23:55 AM »

@tsdragon

Before I download PersonalBrain, a couple of questions:
1. What are the annoying limitations that it has?
2. Is it normally just a minimized window?  Or does it minimize to the tray?
3. When minimized, how do you use it?

TIA for the info!
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thomthowolf
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« Reply #19 on: February 23, 2008, 10:25:08 PM »

What I really want is an information manager:
  • that is always available, discreet, but pops up when I need it
  • that I can drag and drop URLs, images, text, etc, into when I want to make quick note of something,
  • that is easy to organize
  • that allows me to format entries in any way I like
  • that can cross-reference or cross-link items into multiple topics
  • that is quickly searchable
  • that can link topics to programs and files
  • that is easily navigated
  • etc, etc, etc.

Don't want much, do I?
I have to say that your list is a perfect description of evernote.  I have been using it since early beta testing, and I have to say that it meets every requirement on your list (with the possible exception of the etc, etc, etc
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cleroy
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« Reply #20 on: February 25, 2008, 04:57:14 AM »

I use a TiddlyWiki for just this purpose - work fine for me.

Freely available from http://www.tiddlywiki.com/
« Last Edit: February 25, 2008, 05:06:02 AM by cleroy » Logged
Perry Mowbray
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« Reply #21 on: February 25, 2008, 06:04:53 AM »

I, like tomos and most people here, use a few different applications, probably depending on what I'm trying to store.

What's missing, at least for me, are the links between the disparate systems.

Some, like SurfuLater and ToDoList, offer the ability to link to items within their data with special urls (what are they called again?): at least that functionally gets you from one to the other...
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