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Author Topic: List of newbie questions regarding software  (Read 36284 times)
Paul Keith
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« on: September 03, 2008, 01:26:20 AM »

Unorthodox Notetaker/To Do:

Is there a better version of Incollector for both Windows and Linux?
Quality:

1. Easy to export
2. None-notepad like (template box)
Problem:

As much as Incollector is my preferred bookmarking and snippets taker because of it's non-writing notes feel and easy on the eyes preview of contents, it doesn't have a one box template where you can just write something without putting a title on it.

How do you use Wiki-style notetakers? (I can’t seem to get my head around on how a wiki-style’d note is easier to read than other kind of notepads. In Wikipedia alone I can find myself clogging my browser with 100 tabs opened all from starting with one Wikipedia article)
Is there a similar but better program than YeahWrite? Often times when I paste paragraphs in Outline mode, each paragraph break gets inserted into an Outline so I have to re-edit it. Also I like the cross between Latex style formatting and word processing because I’ve yet to learn Latex yet.
Other Problems:

I couldn't get YeahWrite to work in Wine but it's probably because I don't know how to import fonts in Wine. At the same time though, I'm also starting to see breaks in my Yeahwrite on Windows. I wonder if it's because I started changing the language for non-unicode programs into Japanese in the regional settings of my Windows.

Exporting is also hard to figure out with all the letters and stuff.

Is there a to do list/notetaker aimed at the “important but not urgent” “Important but urgent” “not important and not urgent” and “not important and urgent” system? I know that this can be done on paper but I’m looking for something like a grid over grid software.
Ex. You create 4 full squares with entries fitting each of these criteria on a specific category but then it zooms out and scales off and handles all your entries into another box.

What’s the best software for organizing quotes? I always seem to fail when using paper, word processors or spreadsheets because the output is not that of a level of an offline quote database. Yes, I love popup wisdom but am looking for something less random and more structured in categories.
Is there a to do list software which can organize a to do list into “must do” and “like to do” column after the entries were inputted? Sort of like ThinkingRock’s process item section. No tagging please.
Backup:

How to determine which free/freemium online file storage is reputable and won’t die down one day. I’ve heard of ftp but I don’t know how those work.
Quality:

Won't suddenly store all your backups if you've become dirt poor and can't afford their monthly subscription services. After all, what's the point of having an online backup service if it's only while your rich or can afford to pay it? Might as well settle for an external hard disk.

P.S. It's only for personal usage.
Currently considering:

Jungledisk
Problem:

I need to shell out cash to test it out.


Writer Tools:

Are there any other free novel writing software besides ywriter4?
Problem:

Novel writing software can be hard to get used to as is so i'm hoping to get a selection of different softwares to see the difference and realize what makes for a quality novel writing software that would work for me.

I’ve never understood word processors and spreadsheets programs. What are the advanced options available to it that might be of use to a casual surfer or writer? I ask this because I can never fathom how a newbie (as in someone with totally no idea except for a keyword) can go to Google and do “internet research” and become slightly less credible than an expert but you tend to hear that many things that require books can be found free on the internet, you just have to go look for it. Unfortunately when I do, it often gets pushed back in a corner of my bookmark or some place else. I know often times it can fall just under sheer determination but I was just wondering if there’s a key in notetaking or using word processors that allow people to do proper research and proper learning especially in this information overload age.
RSS:

What offline rss reader has the best specs or is configured for lots of rss but slow reading (I think online rss readers tend to remove articles of a certain date or number)
I'm currently using Google Reader now but to be honest I'm not really comfortable using it. I much preferred the lightweight feeling of a desktop rss reader outside my browser but when I try to set all my feeds to update, it just slows down my 1gb ram pc.

At first I settled for Opera's RSS Reader but then I got annoyed because I realize I still needed to open a browser everytime and I'm already in tab hell. Then I settled for nfreader and at first it was the lightest rss reader I used but then it slows down too. This isn't helped by the fact that I have a disorganized list of RSS that I'm still organizing that has around 300 feeds. Around 50 probably not so important ones like programming blogs because I don't know how to get into that and hope to gleam some information from those, craigslist and other blogs for monitoring and the usual about.com, wired.com kind of feeds with several categories.

Memory Hogs:

Is there a lighter version of ThinkingRock?
Quality:

Cross-OS
Template Box-Style entering that doesn’t disappear once an entry has been entered (allows for quicker addition of items)
Exportable
Filter Mode or Process Thoughts Filter as the program calls it (This is the key for me to stay organized as notepad like GTD programs are too hackish to make me comfortable to jot down notes on them and leave them be because their structure produce temptations to turn them into black holes)
Problem:

It's a Java program so I can't multitask with it because I usually have around 200 tabs opened which slows down my 1gb PC and I don't know what specs is recommended to alleviate this problem. (100 tabs in Firefox, 100 tabs in Opera sans sessioned tabs)

Research Tools:

Is PDF the key to having a basic highlight/annotation word reader? What else can be used that way? Alternatively, is there a better alternative to the Scrapbook firefox extension for annotating/highlighting webpages and saving them? I can’t seem to quite grasp the export - import option and it’s the only thing I’ve found that can have one kind of highlight overlapping another highlight without hacking a word processor's macro.
Also is there an offline equivalent to Diigo that is just as easy to use?
Problem:

Online applications are slower and needs browser to be opened and highlights webpages only.
I've just found out recently that diigo prioritizes annotated highlights over normal highlights so in the expand view of the bookmarks page, if you try to use Diigo as a cliff's notes viewer of what you want, the end result is that the page is disorganized because the annotated highlight is on top instead of how the article entries are order based on their locations on the webpage.

How do you use Zotero?
I also should probably ask this in the Zotero forums but I'm not sure if this is a bibliographical or citation newbie question or a Zotero question. Also I read a topic here that once praised this forum over Opera's own because it's friendlier so I thought I'd start here for all my software questions.

Customization:

Programs with plugins, is there an easier way to learn them? Besides the new FF3 plugin search, every program with plugins seems to be overwhelming to figure out. Sure, some are manageable because there are few plugins or that a non-expert can differentiate between a plugin that they need or don’t need but once it devolves into something like Miranda plugins or bblean, plugin searching devolves into looking for pages and pages of features trying to sort them out and often times asking for help results into what I need but many of the plugins I want often times come from me not even considering them. (Ex. FF Taboo’s firefox extension) or worse, from me realizing that I don’t need them or I'm so messed up that I don’t realize I need to learn them first but have tried them already. (Ex. Losing Scrapbooks because I never thought of focusing on exporting/importing because at the time I wasn’t educated to the need for backups)
Is there an easier way of previewing RAM without using a RAM optimizer?
How do you use advanced clipboard manager’s options? One of the features or habits I’m looking for is to be able to copy paste multiple entries in any order and then be able to re-arrange them so that each ctrl+v results into the next entry and the next entry being pasted but using basic clipboard managers, I only go so far as two copies before I have to self organize the entries.
Windows Vista: Why do people prefer it over a dual boot Xp and Linux?
I know the common reasons, I just want to make sure I'm not missing something crucial because it seems it should be a disaster but I read people using it.


Applications with the feature “from commandline”? How does that work?
What can I say, commandline tools seems like the most minimalistic programs but I have no idea how to quickly get the frame of mind to use them. File managers especially. I keep reading this real men's file managers over real men's file managers but for the love of God, I'm already losing my vision staring at a dual pane and asking myself "How am I productive because of you?"

Is there a Windows equivalent to PCMan File Manager?
Do you recommend any guides for setting up a minimal OS for a casual user?
I've tried Puppy before but somehow I ended up botching things up and I can't reboot from my session from a livecd and it's not set up for hard disk installation from what I read in the past. Besides that, I find Linux to be a poor minimalist OS right now because you either have to be an advanced user or you'll always hit the deadend of the problematic AbiWord/OpenOffice syndrome.
Meanwhile I'm really aiming for bblean but that is also like trying to tackle a Linux interface. It's taking time and I have to probably have to lurk in their forums to understand all the plugins thing and how it is different from litestep and other things.
Basically what I really want is a free desktop with a PIM, MS Word fast word processor or even better a Yeah Write like fast word processor, both ThinkingRock and Compendium opened and both Firefox and Opera opened each with 1000 tabs (ok, that's a large estimate but it would be oh so nice if there's an OS that can handle that) and have all these small systray apps like Incollector, Pop-Up Wisdom, Antivirus/Antispyware if necessary, launchy, desktop lighter, pop-up wisdom, firstcap, process explorer, ram optimizer and virtual desktop all without slowing down but I don't know how to set this up.

Security:

Public computers. They still scare me because of the threat of keyloggers. If needed to sign into an account, what’s the best option/software to securely do it? Does copy pasting from a password manager really work because I use a clipboard manager and it still captures the entries.
Problem temporarily solved:

I now use LastPass and it has a virtual keyboard so that makes me feel safer but I'm still not sure if that's enough. I would try portable browsers but they can be a bitch to customize and I have no idea how the whole Tor thing works.

What’s the key difference between anonymous browsing and private browsing and are the benefits worth it?
Misc.

What is the 2nd best most efficient and cheapest way to take notes while showering
Obviously I can use my brain but I was wondering if there's a cheap trick to getting a notebook that doesn't get wet without buying a customized one. It seems anytime I have an idea, it's when I'm showering and it can get highly annoying to forget what I write but then again, I still haven't solved the mystery of how anyone could have a dream journal because when I try to have one, all I can do is input keywords with my eyes closed otherwise it becomes too much a bother.

What is a Newsgroup reader?
I think I know what a Usenet group is but I just don't get how useful a reader is when you can just go to a browser and visit Google Groups or Yahoo Groups.

What are some recommended softwares for making forum formatting easier?

I've already tried jotting notes down and re-organizing them but as you can see, with this level of texts, it just too much to format at times and it still comes out jumbled.
« Last Edit: September 03, 2008, 08:14:42 AM by Paul Keith » Logged

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tomos
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« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2008, 02:26:30 AM »

I get the feeling you might be better starting a few different threads ( otherwise we could simply move most of the forum into this thread Grin )
or at least number your questions so it's easier to respond & keep track of who's talking about what - it's actually very difficult to see where you move from one major question/theme to the next

Have you tried the search here -
there's lately been a few good threads about online backup for example, a good mini-review of Jungle Disk
another thread was titled something with Carbonite
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Paul Keith
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« Reply #2 on: September 03, 2008, 02:59:11 AM »

Yes, I have. Actually I've been talking to someone on the DC chatroom and I've pretty much concluded to let this topic stay here for awhile as I try to to separate the threads since I was recommended to post some of the notetaking questions in this thread but I haven't finished reading it.

Thanks for the reference though. I did read both topics and unfortunately neither of them gave any clues as to what would happen if I suddenly got stranded on an island, lost all my money and 50 years later come back to the service. I know it sounds extreme but I just don't see the point of online backup services if their level of reliability is just a costlier external disk that you have to regularly maintain with your wallet.


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tomos
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« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2008, 03:55:33 AM »

I just don't see the point of online backup services if their level of reliability is just a costlier external disk that you have to regularly maintain with your wallet.

it's an interesting point - would you hope that they simply hold the backup until you pay up ?
Obviously better than deleting it all - of course if they do this too quickly they'll get a bad rep very quickly
Impression I get is that people feel more secure with paid backup options than free ones but that's not much help really

- I'm using JungleDisk/Amazon S3 myself - do you know you dont actually need JungleDisk to use S3 backup facilities - there is an open source (I think) S3Drive which works in a similar way - I havent heard anything about in a while but got good reviews over the last couple of years. Cost of actually trying out S3 is minimal unless you're uploading hundreds of GBs straight away :-)
You may have to read terms of agreement etc (scary thought) to find out what happens if you dont pay

Still think you should separate the topics more within the first post - I get a headache trying to read it !
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Paul Keith
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« Reply #4 on: September 03, 2008, 04:40:40 AM »

Quote
it's an interesting point - would you hope that they simply hold the backup until you pay up ?

I don't think that would fly from a business sense (sorry if you were being sarcastic) but to be honest I don't know how these online backup services appeal to anyone in the first place.

It would probably be interesting if they added in something like extra cash = permastorage but I can just see the rich ones abusing that feature and leaving them dry. Also in order for that to be convenient, a company would have to break your privacy by allocating some data as a permanent storage and others on a subscription level and it does seem rather stupid that you would charging your paying customer an additional charge for basically the same purpose.

I did read something like that but I haven't heard of S3Drive before. Based on the screenshots, it reminds me of GDrive using S3. (I'll be honest, I don't really have the techie knowledge to understand what S3 is)

That's my dilemma though. I just don't feel that extra security for paid storage because I'm not notable enough to need extra security and I bet most poor or middle class people are in the same position. I think what these paid services appeal to me is stability and longevity but the model...I don't know. I can't envision an alternative model for a lifetime backup though and for the occasional back-up if not external hard disks, there are lots of free software with syncing features already.

Ex.:

Evernote for Notes
Google Docs for Documents
Topic Scape for Mindmaps
Diigo for bookmarks, annotations and highlights

That pretty much encompasses what I really need to back-up with the exception of some quirky file extensions like ThinkingRock and Compendium exports and I'm just looking for a safety net service of sorts besides my own memory because you never know when these services can fall. That holds true for the back up  service too but that's why I made a thread asking about this.

I think everyone has potentially the capability to have notes and other PC snippets that would be useless to everyone else but would be valuable to them to the extent that their greatest fear isn't to lose these files because someone manage to extract these data because they didn't use TrueCrypt but rather because they fear that one day, they won't be able to gain the luxury of the internet or a PC and that keeping their usb sticks or external hds aren't really the most reliable way to store their back ups especially in a disaster scenario. I probably fall under that and it might sound paranoid but I wouldn't really categorize it as any less different than someone who uses TrueCrypt or other ways to make file access inconvenient for them for the sake of security.

Quote
Still think you should separate the topics more within the first post - I get a headache trying to read it !

Same here that's why I added this last entry:

Quote
What are some recommended softwares for making forum formatting easier?

I've already tried jotting notes down and re-organizing them but as you can see, with this level of texts, it just too much to format at times and it still comes out jumbled.

Any suggestion would be much appreciated. I'm still reading that notetaking thread.

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tomos
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« Reply #5 on: September 03, 2008, 06:52:25 AM »

1. no, I wasnt being sarcastic smiley

(I'll be honest, I don't really have the techie knowledge to understand what S3 is)
about my level smiley
all I know is I can backup stuff there - they did run into some trouble lately with it but people were in general impressed with how they responded (they were very open about the problems & how they were fixed) and nothing was lost.

JungleDisk does make it very simple
The S3Drive makes it very simple too - but I dont know how simple it is to set it up
some screenshots here.  I had a tutorial bookmarked or saved at some stage but cant find it ...
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« Reply #6 on: September 03, 2008, 07:01:50 AM »

re formatting -
one way could be to use the table button

click edit on your post
then select say, the first batch of text

then click the table button (top of image there)
you end up with this
[table]TEXT HERE[/table]

e.g
  • Is there a lighter version of Incollector for both Windows and Linux?

Quality:

1. Easy to export
2. None-notepad like (template box)

Problem:

As much as Incollector is my preferred bookmarking and snippets taker because of it's non-writing notes feel and easy on the eyes preview of contents, it doesn't have a one box template where you can just write something without putting a title on it.
    -
    • How to determine which free/freemium online file storage is reputable and won’t die down one day. I’ve heard of ftp but I don’t know how those work.

    Quality:

    Won't suddenly store all your backups if you've become dirt poor and can't afford their monthly subscription services. After all, what's the point of having an online backup service if it's only while your rich or can afford to pay it? Might as well settle for an external hard disk.

    P.S. It's only for personal usage.

    Currently considering:

    Jungledisk

    Problem:

    I need to shell out cash to test it out.
    but it's not such a big deal ...[/list]
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    Tom
    Paul Keith
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    « Reply #7 on: September 03, 2008, 07:39:28 AM »

    Thanks. I'll try to do that.

    Edit: Phew! How's that?
    « Last Edit: September 03, 2008, 08:15:02 AM by Paul Keith » Logged

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    Lashiec
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    « Reply #8 on: September 03, 2008, 10:17:33 AM »

    Take notes in the shower? What the...? huh. I'll try to answer a couple questions, anyway.

    What offline rss reader has the best specs or is configured for lots of rss but slow reading (I think online rss readers tend to remove articles of a certain date or number)

    I'm currently using Google Reader now but to be honest I'm not really comfortable using it. I much preferred the lightweight feeling of a desktop rss reader outside my browser but when I try to set all my feeds to update, it just slows down my 1gb ram pc.

    At first I settled for Opera's RSS Reader but then I got annoyed because I realize I still needed to open a browser everytime and I'm already in tab hell. Then I settled for nfreader and at first it was the lightest rss reader I used but then it slows down too. This isn't helped by the fact that I have a disorganized list of RSS that I'm still organizing that has around 300 feeds. Around 50 probably not so important ones like programming blogs because I don't know how to get into that and hope to gleam some information from those, craigslist and other blogs for monitoring and the usual about.com, wired.com kind of feeds with several categories.

    We already have a few threads about those around here, but personally I recommend Feed Demon. It's quite fast, with an excellent interface, and various features to control how you read the feeds, and when they should be eliminated from the system, although by default it stores up to 200 entries per feed subscription. It's also the one that gives fewer problems with feeds, others tend to have problems with certain feeds, or ignore parts of them. You can do all the reading inside it as well, as it uses tabs and the IE engine to show them. But feel free to try the rest as well, I also recommend Newzie, for its unique set of features.

    Quote
    Programs with plugins, is there an easier way to learn them? Besides the new FF3 plugin search, every program with plugins seems to be overwhelming to figure out. Sure, some are manageable because there are few plugins or that a non-expert can differentiate between a plugin that they need or don’t need but once it devolves into something like Miranda plugins or bblean, plugin searching devolves into looking for pages and pages of features trying to sort them out and often times asking for help results into what I need but many of the plugins I want often times come from me not even considering them. (Ex. FF Taboo’s firefox extension) or worse, from me realizing that I don’t need them or I'm so messed up that I don’t realize I need to learn them first but have tried them already. (Ex. Losing Scrapbooks because I never thought of focusing on exporting/importing because at the time I wasn’t educated to the need for backups)

    Don't even try to go through all plugins of a certain application, most times you are just losing time. The best approach IMO is to search for a plugin that provides some functionality you need, trying everything is fun for a while, but no recommendable. Like, "Wow, I'd like to do x with the browser", and you go to the plugin page, and search for it.

    Quote
    Is there an easier way of previewing RAM without using a RAM optimizer?

    The Task Manager?

    Quote
    How do you use advanced clipboard manager’s options? One of the features or habits I’m looking for is to be able to copy paste multiple entries in any order and then be able to re-arrange them so that each ctrl+v results into the next entry and the next entry being pasted but using basic clipboard managers, I only go so far as two copies before I have to self organize the entries.

    That sounds like Skrommel's ClipStep. Or try ClipX if you want some basic interface to manipulate clipboard contents, apart from extending it.
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    tomos
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    « Reply #9 on: September 03, 2008, 10:32:58 AM »

    That sounds like Skrommel's ClipStep. Or try ClipX if you want some basic interface to manipulate clipboard contents, apart from extending it.

    that's been worked on a good bit since by TWmailrec -
    http://twm.dcmembers.com/

    first post looks a lot better all right Paul  Thmbsup
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    40hz
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    « Reply #10 on: September 03, 2008, 01:34:17 PM »

    Quote
    Are there any other free novel writing software besides ywriter4?

    re: Writing Software

    (Ah! A topic near and dear to me!)

    Could you narrow down what writing function(s) you're looking for? The Writer's Store uses the following categories, which could give you some ideas to start with:

        * Story Planning
        * Craft Development
        * Outline / Brainstorming
        * Script Formatters
        * Word Processing
        * Film Production & Business

    If you could give me an idea of what you want to do, I'd be glad to make some suggestions. smiley

    re: Zotero


    The best place to look would be back at the mothership itself. Zotero documentation can be found at the following link:

    http://www.zotero.org/documentation/
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    Paul Keith
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    « Reply #11 on: September 03, 2008, 04:04:28 PM »

    Quote
    Take notes in the shower? What the...? . I'll try to answer a couple questions, anyway.

    Yeah, it's something I dare not ask the planner people but I probably should. I just felt like putting it in since many dabble here in notetaking and in the past it hasn't stop sites like Lifehacker which focuses mainly on software to have a topic on it. (Although I couldn't find the topic on Google now. It referred to an uncomfortable for outside while it's raining notetaking utility.)

    Quote
    We already have a few threads about those around here, but personally I recommend Feed Demon. It's quite fast, with an excellent interface, and various features to control how you read the feeds, and when they should be eliminated from the system, although by default it stores up to 200 entries per feed subscription. It's also the one that gives fewer problems with feeds, others tend to have problems with certain feeds, or ignore parts of them. You can do all the reading inside it as well, as it uses tabs and the IE engine to show them. But feel free to try the rest as well, I also recommend Newzie, for its unique set of features.

    Yeah, I've read many of those kind of threads both from within and outside DC. Are you sure Feed Demon can? I've tried it before and it looked heavy in comparison to something like NFreader although I wasn't able to fully try it because I'm using a XP with a botched attempt of removing IE only to find that IE is more than a browser then I had to reinstall it only now it doesn't show images so I never got into fully importing all my RSS into Feed Demon.

    With Newzie, it's just not for me. I've heard of it before, read some of it's past bugs (not sure if it's more stable now) but all those features is most likely going to take it's toll on my system.

    Again I don't doubt you and I don't have adequate knowledge or patience to count how much specific memory consumption Feed Demon uses but I'm rather skeptical because we're talking about a fully featured desktop rss reader possibly being able to consume less memory than a bare bones portable rss reader with the same amount of feeds.

    Quote
    Don't even try to go through all plugins of a certain application, most times you are just losing time. The best approach IMO is to search for a plugin that provides some functionality you need, trying everything is fun for a while, but no recommendable. Like, "Wow, I'd like to do x with the browser", and you go to the plugin page, and search for it.

    The problem with this is that often times there might be a functionality I might dearly need but I wouldn't know of until I switched programs.

    Take the history feature of Meebo which saves previous conversation or a logging feature of a irc client. Little features that I find useful if things go too fast for me or I need to recall something but since I don't have a technical framework to understand how to have this feature in, I often suffer through just reading stuff like "Miranda/Pidgin is the best once you have all this plugins set up or yeah <insert x> Mirc scripts/plugins is awesome without really knowing what these people are talking about since I do want all these great features they're talking about but I'm just an average user who was indoctrinated to messengers with the Yahoo Messenger and used Mirc before because it was a program that allows you to chat that I keep hearing.

    Quote
    The Task Manager?

    To be honest, I don't know where it is in the task manager. I'm using Process Explorer btw. If you mean the default task manager, don't you have to open it first which by the time your apps are eating too much, would be too late?

    Quote
    That sounds like Skrommel's ClipStep. Or try ClipX if you want some basic interface to manipulate clipboard contents, apart from extending it.

    Yeah, those are the applications that led me to ask because I don't even know where to begin with all the features in them. All I use now is Ditto for Windows and Klipper for Linux and the only advanced feature I know of how to use is to set up groups.

    Quote
    first post looks a lot better all right Paul

    Whew! Thanks. That was a pain to redo but at least I've learned something new. I've never tried putting tables before.

    Quote
    (Ah! A topic near and dear to me!)

    Could you narrow down what writing function(s) you're looking for? The Writer's Store uses the following categories, which could give you some ideas to start with:

        * Story Planning
        * Craft Development
        * Outline / Brainstorming
        * Script Formatters
        * Word Processing
        * Film Production & Business

    If you could give me an idea of what you want to do, I'd be glad to make some suggestions.

    Wow...err... I honestly don't know which to choose. I'm just a writer who hasn't really finished a story and one day said "that's it, I'm going to surround myself with the right environment and poop out a passionate turd!" and novel writing software just sounds to me like something that would help instill good writing habits within me at a less costlier price than workshops because I don't know one near here.  I have read articles and books on writing though, I just at this point want to really do what it takes to up the quality and content of my stories aside from just writing often to get better.

    All I know is that a novel writing software based on reading ywriter4 is a story planner and a future editor for when things needed to be changed so that's probably my primary intention when looking for one but story planning is such a vague term in itself. From the way it sounds it can fall under brainstorming either and yet at the same time it can also fall under such vague things like listing down your characters which is something I don't naturally do when I write/type before.

    Craft development is something I haven't heard of before and I don't quite understand.

    An outliner is something I want but not for the reasons of outlining but more for getting a better preview of what I've written which I don't find easy on many tree-based outliners so I'm on the fence with this one.

    Brainstorming...I wouldn't mind suggestions but not having really used a novel writing software with suggested brainstorming before, I'm not sure I really need this because I rarely have problems with writer's block. More often it's writer's idea overload which leads to writer's too much self criticism leading to procrastination leading to unfinished work.

    I probably don't need Script Formatters and Word Processors because I'm not intending to go pro (although it's more like I don't know how to) unless these features aren't what I assume they are which is something that formats my writing to a standard of some sort.

    Film Production and Business... I'm on the fence with this one. If it's something that can help me output a more professional level story than it's always in line with quality and I want that but it can be just again a less competent editor and I already edit my work. Film Production I'm assuming is script writing and while I don't intend to be a scriptwriter, I do want to make a Visual Novel/Ren'ai game using Ren'Py so it's something I want but it's not something I thought of when requesting for alternatives because I thought they were a separate program from novel writing software.

    Quote
    The best place to look would be back at the mothership itself. Zotero documentation can be found at the following link:

    http://www.zotero.org/documentation/

    Yes, I have seen that before but the problem with someone on a non-techie level like me is that often times I drift between "How to use this mode" and "whether to use this mode" because I have no foundation or idea on what the hell the software is about but I'm drawn to the term "researcher's tool" so this documentation never makes sense to me.

    I know it sounds like a bad case of "RTFM" avoidance but I since realize that some people just might need other ways of introducing applications to them to get them hooked and willing to look into it further and some don't because they are hooked but they don't know how to start while in between thoughts, they're wondering whether this is what they're really looking for. I think a good example is a PC user who wouldn't touch Linux because it's complicated but would use it once it's installed for him even though the real reason he's not getting into problems is because he just uses his PC for the basic stuff which most user friendly distroes like Ubuntu already has set up by default (which if he has tried, he would know that it would be just as easy to install as Windows if he did it by himself)

    For me, my main issue with Zotero is the lack of formal background on how to do proper research. You see, I can never tolerate nor understand the value of bibliographies, footnotes, citations, timelines and reports but would be willing to learn those if the right program shows me that this would help me in my research.

    Zotero is the reverse of that. It's the program that gives these options to those who already know the value of all these things and can tolerate them so when looking at the documentation, I can only be left wondering if "This is just Evernote with report and bibliography support" which I definitely don't need but then there's a risk like many seemingly unorthodox programs and services like Opera (from the perspective of a user who's only been introduced to IE), Diigo, Linux, Launchy, Pop-up Wisdom that they can not only be just what I'm looking for but something that would fuel my desire to not only consume information but be able to transform those information into something that would help make me remember and go back to them and value their information instead of just a black hole.


    « Last Edit: September 03, 2008, 04:11:30 PM by Paul Keith » Logged

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    40hz
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    « Reply #12 on: September 03, 2008, 06:21:51 PM »

    re: writing

    Sounds like your heart and head are in the right place. OK, a couple of things. smiley

    1. Scoot over to http://www.writersstore.c...cts.php?categories_id=128 and take a gander at all the stuff they sell. I'm not suggesting you need to buy anything. But at least it will give you an idea of what's out there. Once you have a feel for this class of software, you'll be better prepared to search for freeware equivalents.

    Scope out the various offerings - and Google anything that looks interesting or potentially useful. The product homesites usually have demos you can download to try before you buy. If something intrigues you, take them up on the offer. FWIW - most of these apps are idiosyncratic in the way they do things. If you don't think like they do, you won't be able to work with them - so check them out before you plunk down cash.

    2. Now for some recommended freebies to get you started:

    One app I use a lot for getting things down is WriteMonkey. It's free - and it works the way I need it to for what I need it for.

    http://pomarancha.com/writemonkey/index.php

    There was a bit of discussion about it here at DC:

    http://www.donationcoder.....php?topic=5372.msg121288

    Scroll down to read my post (40hz) and also to follow the responses it got. I love it. Not everybody does.  Wink

    For screenwriting/scripting (including games and graphic novels) you could take a look at Celtx. This is a free script formatter/organizer that is somewhat similar to FinalDraft in form and function.

    http://celtx.com/index.html

    Let me know what you think.  Cool

    (You can also PM me if there's something you want to ask/discuss that would just muddy up this forum thread.)

    re: Zotero

    Quote
    I know it sounds like a bad case of "RTFM" avoidance

    Not at all. And I doubt you'll find anyone at DC that would ever offer that most unhelpful of replies to a question. I just provided the link since a lot of people who install Zotero via Firefox's Add-on feature don't know there is documentation for it.

    If you've looked at the documentation - and it still doesn't make sense, then so be it. You're not alone.
    I have wanted to like Zotero. I have tried to use Zotero. I have installed and uninstalled it a dozen times. But in the end, there is something about it that just doesn't work for me.

    I keep most of my references in an SEO Note file. I simply cut and paste as needed. Not very sophisticated or efficient - but it works for me. Grin




    « Last Edit: September 03, 2008, 06:34:00 PM by 40hz » Logged

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    « Reply #13 on: September 03, 2008, 09:11:33 PM »

    Customization:
    Here in South America a lot of computers are being sold through super markets. They use the gOS operating system. This (linux-based) O.S. is light on resources and comes with practically all a casual user would need. The interface is easy on the eyes (at least to me) And it seems to be a solid base for expanding it to your specific needs.

    For more info: gOS
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    « Reply #14 on: September 04, 2008, 01:11:55 AM »

    from another thread:
    to figure out (in Process Explorer) how much ram your process is using:-

    .. IIRC, it's the Private Bytes figure you really have to look at if you want to know how much the process is REALLY using, since the working set is the amount of RAM allocated to the process + some shared (or to be used) by other processes.
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    « Reply #15 on: September 04, 2008, 04:47:56 AM »

    That sounds like Skrommel's ClipStep. Or try ClipX if you want some basic interface to manipulate clipboard contents, apart from extending it.

    that's been worked on a good bit since by TWmailrec -
    http://twm.dcmembers.com/

    check out that webpage - he has a thread here too (it's probably linked too or do a search) - if you cant figure it out I'm sure he'll help
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    « Reply #16 on: September 04, 2008, 12:22:14 PM »

    For novel writing etc., it is worth looking at Liquid Story Binder and its Forum. Has been on both BitsduJour and GAOTD recently.
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    40hz
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    « Reply #17 on: September 04, 2008, 01:41:50 PM »

    Quote
    What is the 2nd best most efficient and cheapest way to take notes while showering

    I'd suggest getting yourself an inexpensive notes recorder that is voice activated. Shop Staples, Amazon, OfficeMax etc. for selection and pricing. I like Sony, but there are lots of other makes out there.



    Also effective while driving, on long country walks, and when your laptop battery goes dead.
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    « Reply #18 on: September 09, 2008, 07:35:17 AM »

    Customization:
    Here in South America a lot of computers are being sold through super markets. They use the gOS operating system. This (linux-based) O.S. is light on resources and comes with practically all a casual user would need. The interface is easy on the eyes (at least to me) And it seems to be a solid base for expanding it to your specific needs.

    For more info: gOS

    Thanks Shades but I'm just not into gOS. My tech level's on that of a casual user level but I think my requirements run more along that of a productivity/PIM/notetaker searcher and gOS is like the OS version of Chrome on Linux to me. It's not a bad choice, just that it's user interface doesn't bring anything special to me.

    Quote
    I'd suggest getting yourself an inexpensive notes recorder that is voice activated. Shop Staples, Amazon, OfficeMax etc. for selection and pricing. I like Sony, but there are lots of other makes out there.

    I've never had one before 40hz. Could you give me an idea on what quality to look for? The closest I got to a voice recorder was from a PocketPC and that was very clunky both to use and to import data of.

    First Impressions on Several NovelWriting Software based on their Demos

    At first I thought I'd import the screenshots but I've made a mistake and copied them to OneNote so now I don't have a jpg to attach them into. Every one of these I found only through writerstore.com (where a demo was available) and from the replies located here.

    Final Draft:

    Very MS Word like which could be a plus for some people but a minus for me since I never learned MS Word and I barely use Wordpad. Skimming the help file only yielded very basic bookmarking and indexing functions which doesn't really benefit me much as I don't know the basics of scriptwriting. The minimal interface would have been a plus if I wasn't already using YeahWrite and Q10 or even Akelpad as a text editor which are more minimalistic.
    Power Structure:

    Ahh… this is more like it. The beginning options are a definite plus but only because I have never seen anything like it. At the same time, it can be a minus because unless you follow the manual and choose novel format, it can be pretty scary and confusing. I'd really be more comfortable if there were at least some tooltips available while choosing the options.

    I love the font size slider but the size limit really leaves a lot to be desired since I find that 10-15 pt were the only sizes that were readable in my PC.  (1152 x 864)

    It doesn't bother me that much but I would prefer something like 20 pt for when my eyes get tired staring at the screen.

    Drop down category lists are great but I find I need to re-click them instead of the entries being highlighted and allowing me to scroll through them using the mouse wheel.

    The characters view looks like a user friendlier screen of ywriter4 and I'm still not really sure about these kind of things. On one hand, I like the challenge of needing to create depth with my characters and on the other, I find these things really tedious to work with. I just don't feel anything special about a character inputted through these methods. If I need something like this, I feel more comfortable with Compendium's Dialogue Mapping Style of Creating Things because then I could create entire scenarios for a single character and preview it all in one page with my preferred order instead of trying to conform my mind to this tree-based hierarchy which is just not for me.

    Don't get me wrong, I do have a need for these type of templates, Power Structure's way is just the wrong kind of template for me. It's too focused on being rigid, on trying to make a format that would make sense if you show these texts to someone in this screen, on trying to write a biography and when I write, I'm going in the other direction. I write so that the story becomes good enough to be the character's biography. I write as if the character had forgotten themselves and only remembered when they were in a dilemma and in need of remembering who they are. I write asking what is the current state of the character in line with the current story and I connect the dots from there. But Power Structure assumes that I care whether I am in Chapter 1 or not. It assumes I'm more interested in a format that would allow me to create a Dungeons and Dragons character and then transport them into a Chapter-based format. It assumes the problem I have most with stories are in separating the parts so I can import them when my main stumbling block often comes from exporting them.

    Actually the format doesn't prevent me from doing that but it also doesn't help me to begin improving on my story. It's more like now, not only do I have a big bunch of text to deal with, I also have several tabs distracting me from actually writing my story. This can be fixed by copying the text from another text editor or word processor but by then, I'm usually more worried editing my work than spending time separating them into snippets.

    It really comes off more as a professional story marketing program than a novel writing software. All these options can make it easier for editing if you can't find your text but for me, if you can't find what part of your story needs editing then chances are, the to be edited part is not just the problem but also the actual content of the story otherwise why wouldn't I want to reread what I wrote? (Yes, there's time constraints but I find that I have no problem rereading the books that I'm really into.)

    Also if it's only purpose is finding the edited portion, then ywriter4 is free and this isn't so even if this is more user friendly, I think it just doesn't benefit me enough for me to want to pay for it. In the end, I think this is something that I might look back on because the fill in the box approach especially combined with the questions approach can be really addicting but there's a fine line between addicting and helpful especially when it comes to payware.

    Movie Outline:

    Now, right off the bat, I felt the introductory documentation is a whole let better here. It confirms my suspicion that there is a reason for why Power Structure and ywriter4 have a glaring similarity. "Step-outlining", I still haven't been explained enough value from applying it but a word is a better start than a quick start guide. Of course, either programs could have mentioned this later on or in their main sites, but I think it's something a newbie can easily miss that the right way to put it is definitely when the program first begins.

    Overall, the interface looks like a more polished hybrid of FinalDraft and Power Structure. A bad thing in my book because it makes many of the options on Power Structure complicated but at the same time, it's less specific question templates are both a bane and a blessing. On one hand, I'm glad I'm free from the more specific questions Power Structure asks of me but at the same time, many of the questions are obvious and are made easier in Power Structure because they turned these questions into options.

    In the end, Movie Outline preys on the inadequacy of my writing, making me considering on choosing it for the temptation of using it's analyses programs to draw me in but at the same time, I'm not sure if a rejected review from a publisher is much more worthwhile advice.
    Storymind/Storyweaver:

    This is probably the first program I really felt comfortable with. Links to videos (though I never tried them), light and finally a simple offer without trying to paint complexity into the program. At first, I was confused because the whole thing looked like a help file and I thought I downloaded the wrong thing so I went to a different site to download the same thing and I was scratching my head for a while there until I finally got it.

    If there's anything keeping me from buying this, is that I haven't tested it to the end to see whether it was all really worth it but the questions here are definitely less rigid than both Movie Outline and Power Structure and they are written in much more details that makes it more invigorating to answer them than the other two. If there's a con to this program is that it begins assuming you don't have a story in progress and starts you from scratch but that’s also the pro of this program as it's very difficult to be attracted to a program that assumes you already have a story you want to be massacred into a complicated hedge of step outlines.
    Dramatica:

    I'd say this is 2 for 2 as far as checking this applications made by Melanie Anne Philipps. There's just something reassuring about her writing style that clicks with me that the shock of finding out that she has a transgender support site didn't phase me after all. I'm not anti-Transgender but I'm a straight guy and as much as I want to stay as objective as possible, these things should bother me so when it didn't, it in turn gave me more faith that these applications are written by someone who was interested in elevating their story rather than just due to a damn good marketeer. Of course, I've been wrong before so we'll see... (I'm a sucker for infomercials)

    Interface wise, it draws on my curiosity because even though it's different from StoryMind's, it's actually much clearer as an app this time but at the same time, it gives me that Civilization 2 like feel that I just want to click on the buttons and it's probably the first app that really made me want to click on Help even though I find all the description texts, too small.

    All I can say is that I've only tried the StoryGuide in the beginning and I like that it reads like an interactive fiction on helping you to create a story. I also like that from the get go it warns me that the level 3 path would take 3 to 4 days which makes it easy to set aside time when further testing this product.

    All in all, the thing that keeps me from using this is the small fonts, the lack of scrolling through arrow keys and that's it. Among all that I've written about at this point, this made the best first impression.
    Storyview:

    Very MS Word like. Not my thing. A let down compared to Power Structure and FinalDraft.
    WriteMonkey:

    Thanks. It can never hurt to know more about these programs but I already use Q10 so while I do plan to make a feature by feature comparison of these two someday, I'm not really foreign to these types of software and it's a good editing platform to string along with rewriting my story on paper but it's not something that I can live with on it's own.
    CeltX:

    This looks very promising but I can't see it's similarities with FinalDraft but I'm judging purely on the UI. This is definitely something I'd like to get a chance to explore someday but right now, I can't really tap into many of it's options since I don't really understand anything about pre-production and without that, the value of being able to preview something just isn't there. Even trying the sample comic book didn't really give any clue as to how this would help me as the slideshows aren't really any different from creating a comic book panel by panel and putting them all into images. I'm really tempted to request for a guide to pre-production but at the same time, I'm not sure I can absorb the information well. The whole feel of the program just screams "more than one person". I really don't see why I couldn't do what the program offers with any outliner on a single person basis.
    Liquid Story Binder:

    Umm…wow. I need someone to teach me how to work this thing.  This looks like the GIMP of novel writing software and unfortunately I haven't even graduated from Photoshop.
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    « Reply #19 on: September 09, 2008, 10:14:00 AM »

    Nice post Paul.. i'm sure others will find your first impressions useful  Thmbsup
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    « Reply #20 on: September 09, 2008, 10:15:04 AM »

    We should really split up this thread into dif topics since there is some useful information in some of these posts that will never get discovered because of the topic title.
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    « Reply #21 on: September 09, 2008, 10:54:47 AM »

    Quote
    I've never had one before 40hz. Could you give me an idea on what quality to look for? The closest I got to a voice recorder was from a PocketPC and that was very clunky both to use and to import data of.

    I've had the best luck with Sony. They seem to pack the most bang for the buck where I live. Olympus is also a good choice. I hesitate to recommend specific units since a model "year" in this market seems to be about four months. Grin

    I would look for a USB output port and a reasonable number of hours recording time based on how I use it. Anything over eight hours would do it for me since I only use my recorder for notes. And I'm unusually good about copying them off onto my PC. Which leads to another major consideration for me: compatibility with Dragon Naturally Speaking voice recognition software.

    The arguments for and against voice recognition software could flood a forum thread. From what I've seen, it either works for you or it doesn't. For my PC (and my voice), it's a marriage made in heaven. It did take a lot of work to get it set up, but it's repaid itself several times over for me.

    Note: DragonNS is an interesting product that puts me in an unusual position. I use it and I think highly of it. But I would never recommend it to someone. That's because it is somewhat of a crapshoot. It's expensive; there are no demos available; and not everyone can use it. So unless you're willing to risk a few hundred dollars and commit to the time necessary to "train" it, you're better off forgetting about speech recognition.
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    « Reply #22 on: September 09, 2008, 10:59:06 AM »

    +1 in thanks for posting your observations about those notetakers/PIMs/writing aides. Very useful. I had the same reaction to LiquidStoryBinder, by the way  Grin Sadly, I'd already bought it  Sad when before trying it, but it was on sale at Bits du Jour (60% off) Wink I love the GIMP analogy - hadn't thought of it that way myself, but it fits!
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    40hz
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    « Reply #23 on: September 09, 2008, 11:07:14 AM »

    We should really split up this thread into dif topics since there is some useful information in some of these posts that will never get discovered because of the topic title.

    Maybe even a child board with the individual topics under that. Grin

    I get the feeling you might be better starting a few different threads ( otherwise we could simply move most of the forum into this thread Grin )


    I think tomos hit the nail on the head with that one! It's a Salt Doll.Grin

    Quote

    A man was walking on the beach one day, carrying his shoes in his hand. He sat down beside a tidal pool and looked at the shells and seaweed left in it. Then he noticed, just above the water line, what looked like a pile of salt. But the salt seemed to have the form of a woman. Then she opened her eyes, smiled, and sat up.

    "Are you our salt doll who disappeared into the ocean?" he asked. "Or are you now the ocean itself?"

    "I am both," said the salt doll. "I always was."

    "How could you have come back from the sea?" the man asked.

    "My purpose brought me back," she said. "I came back to tell you about the ocean. And to tell all you people something you don't seem to know about yourselves. I am no different from you. You are all salt dolls."

    The man looked down at his bare foot, and for a moment it looked like it was made of salt.

    (Note: this was given to me so I don't know who wrote it. -40hz)

    In the end we are all and forever "newbies." Cool
    « Last Edit: September 09, 2008, 11:10:02 AM by 40hz » Logged

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    « Reply #24 on: September 09, 2008, 11:16:42 AM »

    Deep. No pun intended  cheesy

    Seriously, cool little story, 40hz, thanks for sharing it with us. FWIW, I think that you and Tom are right - this thread is begining to encompass the entire forum!
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