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Author Topic: Software Catalog - What Are You Using & How Do You Like It?  (Read 16786 times)
J-Mac
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« on: July 30, 2008, 02:22:14 AM »

OK, I'm getting tired of using Excel for managing my installed software, latest versions, registration codes, license expiration dates, etc.  Maybe I'm just getting lazy   embarassed  , but I would love one that scans and pulls in as much info as possible.

I was involved in the discussions last year including WhereIsIt? and SoftCat, but a lot of other members were oscillating back and forth trying to decide between these two and a few others.  The threads all seem to end the same way - no real definitive answers as to what is working well and what it not.

If anyone cares to post about their experiences regarding usage of these tools, like does it scan all possible locations, what info does it pick up from its scans, how good is the available reporting, etc., I would be forever grateful!  smiley

Thanks!

Jim
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TomColvin
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« Reply #1 on: July 30, 2008, 11:00:29 AM »

I've used SoftCAT for years, not only to track what I have installed, but also programs that I simply find of interest [tho not installed].  A few months ago, I upgraded to SoftCAT PRO, which I REALLY LIKE!  I routinely snip online reviews and past them into the Notes Tab, and grab screenshots whenever possible for the Screenshot Tab.

Having all of this information immediately at hand is, to me, invaluable.
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CWuestefeld
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« Reply #2 on: July 30, 2008, 12:35:19 PM »

Software registration info goes into Evernote, because it's so easy to clip from whatever the source -- email, web pages, etc.

Once in a blue moon I do an inventory of what's installed using Belarc Advisor. But I don't try to keep any real, accurate listing.
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J-Mac
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« Reply #3 on: July 30, 2008, 12:59:56 PM »

I've used SoftCAT for years, not only to track what I have installed, but also programs that I simply find of interest [tho not installed].  A few months ago, I upgraded to SoftCAT PRO, which I REALLY LIKE!  I routinely snip online reviews and past them into the Notes Tab, and grab screenshots whenever possible for the Screenshot Tab.

Having all of this information immediately at hand is, to me, invaluable.

Thanks Tom.  I do remember that last year when this was being discussed that I checked and found that SoftCAT only scanned the Start Menu and Program Files directories, and not any other folders, like where I might have standalone non-installed-type programs that I use.  Do you know if that is still true?  Or can it scan anywhere on your computer for program files?  (I have quite a few applications that do not install themselves in C:\Program Folders, but instead run directly from wherever you click the .exe file.)

Much appreciated!

Jim
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J-Mac
superboyac
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« Reply #4 on: July 30, 2008, 01:06:32 PM »

Me too.
I put the registration info into whatever my current notetaking program is.  Most likely, I'll move them all into SQLNotes.  SoftCat is cool, but you can pretty much modify SQLNotes to do the same thing (minus some conveniences I suppose).

I also have used Belarc in the past to get a summary.  There was another program that I'm forgetting right now, that will scan your computer and give you a summary.
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J-Mac
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« Reply #5 on: July 30, 2008, 01:27:50 PM »

Software registration info goes into Evernote, because it's so easy to clip from whatever the source -- email, web pages, etc.

Once in a blue moon I do an inventory of what's installed using Belarc Advisor. But I don't try to keep any real, accurate listing.

Yeah, Belarc shows me a lot of good info, but not really in a fashion where I can use it for anything other than looking at it.

I have also used several other programs that show what is currently installed, like:

  • SIW
  • jv16 Powertools
  • ccleaner
  • My Uninstaller
  • Revo Unisntaller
All of those show a list of installed programs that can be copied and pasted into a text file (I use Notepad++) and then the text files can be opened in Excel.  Last year I did this with all of the above and then created a spreadsheet in Excel with a separate worksheet tab for each set of data.  Then I compared what each application had found.

Surprisingly they were all fairly consistent, though there were omissions on all of them.  Plus none of them new about the programs that are not installed permanently in Windows, of course, nor know the serial/registration codes.  I also usually save registration codes in Evernote and OneNote 2007 (Hadn't decided which would be my permanent long-term clipper program. With Evernote 3 taking a different turn, it looks like Ultra Recall might be the one). So I have a lot of the codes in the Excel sheet, but some are actually reg or license key files.  (In Ultra Recall attaching the key files is simple).

But all-in-all, it is a lot of work to maintain this.  Understand I am trying to do this for my desktop computer, my notebook, and a new computer I got for my wife.  And something like reinstalling the OS on each at least every year or two makes it even more fun!   huh ohmy

With all the amazing utilities that are available, you would think that tracking installed software and all its attributes/data, serial codes, version tracking, installer files, etc. would be a popular one.  But there are virtually none that are dedicated to this.  I would think that such a program would be worth a lot on the market, but in reality not many people would probably be willing to part with their money for this - only geeky folk like DCers!

Thanks!

Jim
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J-Mac
J-Mac
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« Reply #6 on: July 30, 2008, 01:37:28 PM »

Me too.
I put the registration info into whatever my current notetaking program is.  Most likely, I'll move them all into SQLNotes.  SoftCat is cool, but you can pretty much modify SQLNotes to do the same thing (minus some conveniences I suppose).

I also have used Belarc in the past to get a summary.  There was another program that I'm forgetting right now, that will scan your computer and give you a summary.

But SQLNotes won't scan computers and locate all applications, right?  That's the feature I'm seeking.

Thanks!

Jim
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J-Mac
TucknDar
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« Reply #7 on: July 30, 2008, 02:07:07 PM »

Not that I use it myself, but there's a free (OSS) app called data crow which seems like quite a powerful collector (and more) application. I've installed it and it's pretty cool, but I've only just scratched the surface of what it can do. It's written in Java AFAIK, which I usually despise when used for desktop apps, but this one is actually fairly fast and the UI isn't too bad, IMO.

Anyway, this is from the data crow website:


edit: Btw, I'm currently working on a list of my software licenses in ListPro.
« Last Edit: July 30, 2008, 02:09:01 PM by TucknDar » Logged
ashwken
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« Reply #8 on: July 30, 2008, 04:00:44 PM »

Me too.
I put the registration info into whatever my current notetaking program is.  Most likely, I'll move them all into SQLNotes.  SoftCat is cool, but you can pretty much modify SQLNotes to do the same thing (minus some conveniences I suppose).

I also have used Belarc in the past to get a summary.  There was another program that I'm forgetting right now, that will scan your computer and give you a summary.

But SQLNotes won't scan computers and locate all applications, right?  That's the feature I'm seeking.
J-Mac,

You mentioned above that you have much of this information in Excel, and I know you're playing with UR, except for the scanning thing it sounds like you may have 80% of the data already cataloged in Excel, moving it into UR is pretty easy.

On the other hand, I do hear what you're saying.
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superboyac
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« Reply #9 on: July 30, 2008, 04:20:13 PM »

But SQLNotes won't scan computers and locate all applications, right?  That's the feature I'm seeking.

Thanks!

Jim
Yeah, that's true.  I don't do a full blown catalog of the software I use yet.  I just have the shareware that I've paid for.  Basically, I have a short list of software and their registration codes.  I don't keep track of all the freeware and hundreds of other applications that show up in belarc like java and all that extra stuff.  I guess if I were trying to be really complete, I'd need scanning abilities.

I'm curious how well these scanning programs are actually.  I don't even keep my software in a program files directory.  What does it do for applications that have multiple exe files?  Geez, if I catalogued everything, it would be a huge list.  I'd like to know how you guys manage all of this, that's interesting.
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tinjaw
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« Reply #10 on: July 30, 2008, 09:41:09 PM »

If you simply want to see what you have on you computer, I suggest Application Inventory from FunDuc. It just finds all you exe's and grabs the relevant info about them.

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« Reply #11 on: July 30, 2008, 09:56:33 PM »

I've used Belarc as well as AppGet a couple months back when I was coping with an eminent hard disk crash.  They were useful, but my conclusion was rigorous updating of SoftCAT PRO is the best route, backing up the database of course to several locations.
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J-Mac
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« Reply #12 on: July 30, 2008, 11:54:18 PM »

...
J-Mac,

You mentioned above that you have much of this information in Excel, and I know you're playing with UR, except for the scanning thing it sounds like you may have 80% of the data already cataloged in Excel, moving it into UR is pretty easy.

On the other hand, I do hear what you're saying.

Hi Ken.

Yeah, I would rather be able to scan automatically if possible since I am trying to track installations on three computers.  As for the Excel spreadsheet, that only covers my desktop computer - not the others.

As for using UR to store what I already have in Excel, that would be easy enough to put in there, but I guess my understanding of UR is lacking enough that I can't see what benefit that has.  UR has no inbuilt spreadsheet functionality, nor can it even be used to create tables other than very rudimentary ones that seem to be limited with very few attributes.  I have created a few but then discovered that I cannot do even a fraction of what I can do with tables in Word and other apps.

I guess I could just drag or import the Excel file there and then, what? View it in UR? Could I actually do anything with it in UR? Edit it?  Add programs to it?  Add in programs for the other computers?  or would I also need to complete those in Excel and pull it into UR?

UR so far appears to be just OK for storing clipped info in it - as long as it is not a web page! - and... well... I still haven't figured out what else it is good for.  I really wish the UR forum had more info about how to use the program.  Kinook's documentation sure doesn't help at all.

It is hard to believe that none of the ambitious developers out there have tackled this kind of application yet.  It must be a lot harder than I initially thought.

Thanks!

Jim
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J-Mac
J-Mac
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« Reply #13 on: July 30, 2008, 11:57:46 PM »

I've used SoftCAT for years, not only to track what I have installed, but also programs that I simply find of interest [tho not installed].  A few months ago, I upgraded to SoftCAT PRO, which I REALLY LIKE!  I routinely snip online reviews and past them into the Notes Tab, and grab screenshots whenever possible for the Screenshot Tab.

Having all of this information immediately at hand is, to me, invaluable.

Hey Tom,

When you mentioned SoftCAT PRO, do you mean SoftCAT Plus?  I can't find a PRO version anywhere.

Thanks!

Jim
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J-Mac
ashwken
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« Reply #14 on: August 01, 2008, 08:05:15 AM »

Yeah, I would rather be able to scan automatically if possible since I am trying to track installations on three computers.  As for the Excel spreadsheet, that only covers my desktop computer - not the others.

As for using UR to store what I already have in Excel, that would be easy enough to put in there, but I guess my understanding of UR is lacking enough that I can't see what benefit that has.  UR has no inbuilt spreadsheet functionality, nor can it even be used to create tables other than very rudimentary ones that seem to be limited with very few attributes.  I have created a few but then discovered that I cannot do even a fraction of what I can do with tables in Word and other apps.

I guess I could just drag or import the Excel file there and then, what? View it in UR? Could I actually do anything with it in UR? Edit it?  Add programs to it?  Add in programs for the other computers?  or would I also need to complete those in Excel and pull it into UR?
Yes, for the number of systems you want to track scanning would be a big plus, especially if you want some real depth and detail for each system.

Regarding UR, Excel, and Tables

You wouldn't necessarily want to drop the native Excel file into UR, what I envisioned was creating UR Attributes to match the Excel column headings, export to csv from Excel then import that into UR. Your "spreadsheet-like functionality" would come from the grid display in the Child and Search Panes, granted these grid cells are not yet editable. There is a sample UR database - Software Inventory - that may give a glimpse into the possibilities.

I believe that similar functionality is available in sqlNotes.

Yes, table creation and manipulation in UR lacks a number of features, you've just about got to create and populate the table in Excel or Word before bringing it into UR (as RTF), and even then it would be more for presentation purposes.
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PPLandry
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« Reply #15 on: August 01, 2008, 09:11:14 AM »

I believe that similar functionality is available in sqlNotes.

Yes, table creation and manipulation in UR lacks a number of features, you've just about got to create and populate the table in Excel or Word before bringing it into UR (as RTF), and even then it would be more for presentation purposes.

UR is a great program and definitely more polished than current state SQLNotes, which is in beta. However, this is an area where IMO SQLNotes has an edge over URp.

In many aspects, you can consider SQLNotes as Excel with outlining capabilities, as the outlining tree supports formatting and has user-defined columns (text, date, number or checkbox types). The outlining grid is fully editable, printable and exportable. Equations can be defined between columns (i.e. fields or attributes in URp) and between rows (hierarchy based calculations). Item properties (color, backcolor, font, icons) can be determined from field values. Pivot tables and charts can also be used to summarize your info. Finally, as in UR, a rich text pane (HTML in SQLNotes, RTF in URp) is available to enter rich text content.

p.s. I'm the author of SQLNotes, so I cannot guarantee impartiality  Wink
« Last Edit: August 01, 2008, 09:58:41 AM by PPLandry » Logged

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« Reply #16 on: August 01, 2008, 09:15:49 AM »

SoftCat Plus' default settings scan the start menu and the Program Files folder. However, you can set it to scan anywhere you want. I don't use it anymore (though I did buy a licence - anyone surprised?) because I really wanted something to scan and store the serials and licensing information. What I use now, and have used for years, is a special Clipmate folder to store serials and any unlocking passwords and Evernote for receipts and confirmations. Often Evernote stores the serials as well, if the vendor includes them in the receipt. To back it all up I use Acronis True Image.

Tom's description of his use of SoftCat Plus sounds intriguing, though...
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J-Mac
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« Reply #17 on: August 01, 2008, 10:59:16 AM »

....  Regarding UR, Excel, and Tables

You wouldn't necessarily want to drop the native Excel file into UR, what I envisioned was creating UR Attributes to match the Excel column headings, export to csv from Excel then import that into UR. Your "spreadsheet-like functionality" would come from the grid display in the Child and Search Panes, granted these grid cells are not yet editable. There is a sample UR database - Software Inventory - that may give a glimpse into the possibilities.

I believe that similar functionality is available in sqlNotes.

Yes, table creation and manipulation in UR lacks a number of features, you've just about got to create and populate the table in Excel or Word before bringing it into UR (as RTF), and even then it would be more for presentation purposes.

Thanks for the info, Ken.  Where are instructions for "creating UR Attributes to match the Excel column headings"?  This is one of the areas where UR seems to aim the documentation at users who already know UR well!

Thanks!

Jim
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J-Mac
J-Mac
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« Reply #18 on: August 01, 2008, 11:04:24 AM »

SoftCat Plus' default settings scan the start menu and the Program Files folder. However, you can set it to scan anywhere you want. I don't use it anymore (though I did buy a licence - anyone surprised?) because I really wanted something to scan and store the serials and licensing information. What I use now, and have used for years, is a special Clipmate folder to store serials and any unlocking passwords and Evernote for receipts and confirmations. Often Evernote stores the serials as well, if the vendor includes them in the receipt. To back it all up I use Acronis True Image.

Tom's description of his use of SoftCat Plus sounds intriguing, though...


Hi D.  I remember last year I checked and SoftCAT only scanned the Start Menu and Program Files directories. I just posted in their forum however and Fredrik says that now it will scan anywhere you ask.  Might be time to give it a try.  (Can't evaluate, though - did that last year so I don't believe it would install a trial again; I could locate & delete the registry key preventing that but I'm certain that is a licensing violation.)

Thanks!

Jim
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J-Mac
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« Reply #19 on: August 01, 2008, 11:06:01 AM »

....
UR is a great program and definitely more polished than current state SQLNotes, which is in beta. However, this is an area where IMO SQLNotes has an edge over URp.

In many aspects, you can consider SQLNotes as Excel with outlining capabilities, as the outlining tree supports formatting and has user-defined columns (text, date, number or checkbox types). The outlining grid is fully editable, printable and exportable. Equations can be defined between columns (i.e. fields or attributes in URp) and between rows (hierarchy based calculations). Item properties (color, backcolor, font, icons) can be determined from field values. Pivot tables and charts can also be used to summarize your info. Finally, as in UR, a rich text pane (HTML in SQLNotes, RTF in URp) is available to enter rich text content.

p.s. I'm the author of SQLNotes, so I cannot guarantee impartiality  Wink

Thanks Pierre.  Sounds like SQLNotes (Haven't renamed it yet??) is really coming along!

BTW, I'm sure all here know who you are!!  smiley

Thanks!

Jim
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J-Mac
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« Reply #20 on: August 01, 2008, 11:39:17 AM »

Thanks for the info, Ken.  Where are instructions for "creating UR Attributes to match the Excel column headings"?
I'm a bit hesitant to hijack this thread into a UR discussion, but...

UR Help: Application Components | Dialogs | Attributes Dialog

UR Help: Application Components | Dialogs | Attribute Properties Dialog

UR Help: Application Components | Wizards | Import Wizard | Select Source | A delimited text file

Beyond this I would have to go into more detail then I think appropiate here.

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ashwken
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« Reply #21 on: August 01, 2008, 11:43:20 AM »

In many aspects, you can consider SQLNotes as Excel with outlining capabilities, as the outlining tree supports formatting and has user-defined columns (text, date, number or checkbox types). The outlining grid is fully editable, printable and exportable. Equations can be defined between columns (i.e. fields or attributes in URp) and between rows (hierarchy based calculations). Item properties (color, backcolor, font, icons) can be determined from field values. Pivot tables and charts can also be used to summarize your info. Finally, as in UR, a rich text pane (HTML in SQLNotes, RTF in URp) is available to enter rich text content.
Yes, sqlNotes has a leg-up in many areas, it will be interesting to see what developes in the future for both programs.
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tinjaw
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« Reply #22 on: August 01, 2008, 11:53:38 AM »

Can't evaluate, though - did that last year so I don't believe it would install a trial again; I could locate & delete the registry key preventing that but I'm certain that is a licensing violation.)

Quote from: darwin
I don't use it anymore (though I did buy a licence - anyone surprised?)

J-Mac,

Buy Darwin's license from him.
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J-Mac
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« Reply #23 on: August 01, 2008, 12:10:09 PM »

Thanks for the info, Ken.  Where are instructions for "creating UR Attributes to match the Excel column headings"?
I'm a bit hesitant to hijack this thread into a UR discussion, but...

UR Help: Application Components | Dialogs | Attributes Dialog

UR Help: Application Components | Dialogs | Attribute Properties Dialog

UR Help: Application Components | Wizards | Import Wizard | Select Source | A delimited text file

Beyond this I would have to go into more detail then I think appropiate here.



Thanks Ken.  We'll have to find an appropriate place then.

BTW, this isn't the kind of thing you have to explain to me back behind the wood shed or something, is it?   ohmy   Wink

Jim
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J-Mac
J-Mac
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« Reply #24 on: August 01, 2008, 12:10:57 PM »

Quote from: darwin
I don't use it anymore (though I did buy a licence - anyone surprised?)

J-Mac,

Buy Darwin's license from him.

Now there's a plan!!

Jim
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J-Mac
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