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Author Topic: List of newbie questions regarding software  (Read 38296 times)
Paul Keith
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« Reply #25 on: September 09, 2008, 12:02:53 PM »

Thanks everyone. I'm glad I can contribute and I hear you but so far no luck.

I'm testing a new format after luckily being pointed to the personal area by mouser and finally discovering a forum writer around the same day because I got lucky with the keywords in Google.

Unfortunately several problems rear their head up. The writer isn't compatible with all the options on DC and it has the wrong previews. I'm glad I tested it before I finished writing all the text because the large format which looks large in the in-built preview screen becomes extra large in DC and I had to change the size to make them less intrusive in DC. (Largest size = 14, large size = 7)

Aside from that, this is probably the first topic of this magnitude that I've been able to test because I remember in a different forum when I made like just a list of 10 questions, the person replying told me that I probably wouldn't get any replies because I was asking too many questions so in the case with this, it took me a long time to dare to ask these questions and also to register on a forum like these where I have a tendency to ask these length of questions again. It didn't help that many software kept updating and I find my questions kept changing that it really was DC's friendly community (I've been an on and off lurker) that gave me the courage to try this again.

As for the new format, I intended it to be a table of contents topic where topics that were answered would be at the top, topics that were partially answered below and then finally old topics + some new additional topics I've thought of and each area would be all separated by a reply so I can permalink them to a separate new topic and only paste back the useful comments on to the thread but this is harder than it sounds.

I'm also considering how to separate these questions but many of them (to me) are so directly related that I risk repeating myself or posting another link just to connect both threads to provide the full context. I really want to avoid a case where I forgot to ask the question because everything wasn't in front of me.
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40hz
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« Reply #26 on: September 09, 2008, 12:08:33 PM »

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!

I think Mssr. Keith should start a blog. He writes well; his questions and observations are both intelligent and interesting; and he has the rare gift of "knowing what he does not know."

I'd bookmark him. smiley

P.S. Thank you Paul. You bring a lot to the forum! Thmbsup

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Paul Keith
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« Reply #27 on: September 09, 2008, 12:12:49 PM »

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.

Damn, model "year" is kind of short. What does a USB output port do? I tried Googling but the images don't ring a bell.

Yeah, speech recognition is overkill to me since what I mainly want is something waterproof that can be used in the shower, probably something with a long battery life and something bare bones but sturdy and would last a while. I really don't mind jotting down my notes since I will probably be using this more often for quick notes and 1 or 2 mid-length conversations which is more to help me remember the conversation rather than for turning it into text.
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Paul Keith
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« Reply #28 on: September 09, 2008, 12:30:00 PM »

I think Mssr. Keith should start a blog. He writes well; his questions and observations are both intelligent and interesting; and he has the rare gift of "knowing what he does not know."

I'd bookmark him. smiley

P.S. Thank you Paul. You bring a lot to the forum! Thmbsup

Thanks to all of you too. I wouldn't be here if it weren't for all of you making this a great forum to post in.

As for a blog...thanks for the suggestion but the few articles I've tried have not done well enough to reach the finished status.
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Grorgy
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« Reply #29 on: September 09, 2008, 12:40:15 PM »

The USB output just lets you connect the notetaker to your PC through a USB port, dont have to play around trying to record it onto the pc some other way.  Mine came with some bundled software to make the exchange easy.

Short model years can be good, I got a superseded model for less than 1/2 its original price, ok its not quite as flash as the newer models but its better than the ones at the same price i got this one for  Wink
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Paul Keith
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« Reply #30 on: September 09, 2008, 12:54:18 PM »

Oh, I see. Good point. I guess I hate them because it can be a pain for consumers to choose especially when no one knows what to look for and am short in cash. Take MP3 players for example. Those gave me a headache because early on I was just given a player as a gift and I had little liking to music but then I had to stick my nose where it doesn't belong and I went down hell just trying to become an audiophile after I found out that the "sound" can be better based on the format but that there were even these things called lossless formats and there was an app called Rockbox and then there were customized music stations like Pandora and Last.fm. That whole ordeal led me to wearing a tinfoil hat on hardware ever since. It was so bad to this day, I have nightmares adding any hardware into my life other than ones that sell bare bones right to the point features and even those nowadays have some little quirk that separate them from each other. 
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40hz
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« Reply #31 on: September 09, 2008, 01:01:17 PM »

re: Voice Recorder

Quote
What does a USB output port do? I tried Googling but the images don't ring a bell.

Sorry. The USB cable works in conjunction with the supplied Digital Voice Editor software. It allows you to archive and organize your voice notes. (It does not do voice recognition.)

From Sony:
Quote
Overview of Digital Voice Editor Version 3.1 functions:

    * Saving and adding recorded messages:
         1. Save messages recorded by the IC recorder onto your computer hard disk by messages or by folders.
         2. Add messages from the computer to the IC recorder.
    * Editing recorded messages:
         1. Divide a message into two messages or combine up to five messages into one.
    * Converting file formats:
         1. Convert the file format of a message saved in the computer and save it as a new file.
         2. Convert a message recorded by the IC recorder into an MP3 file.
    * CD burning function (CD Burning Tool for DVE):
         1. Add messages from the Digital Voice Editor or Windows Explorer window to the CD Burning Tool for DVE window, and then burn the data to a CD-R/RW as an audio or data CD.
    * CD recording function (CD Recording Tool for DVE):
         1. Convert a CD track into a file format compatible with the Digital Voice Editor software and then save the converted file on a computer hard disk.


One thing I also use my Sony VR for is to test the sound and flow of dialog. I try to have someone read any dialog I've written. In a pinch, I'll do it myself. Amazing how something that looks so good on a page sometimes sounds so awful when you hear it read back to you.

I have found this is especially useful if I can get my friend Alexis to read back sections of dialog or narrative belonging to a female character. Men and women seem to use language differently. It's hard to define exactly how. But most women can spot when a guy is putting words in a female character's mouth. Hearing a character speak in the appropriate gender's voice helps me catch a lot of subtle differences and improve my characters verisimilitude. Robert Heinlein seems to annoy a lot of women with his dialog. I've often heard women say, "All his women sound like men - no woman would ever talk like that." after reading a Heinlein story.

Considering the number of women I've met who don't enjoy Heinlein's female characters - and the number of guys who do  - there just might be something to this. Grin
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superboyac
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« Reply #32 on: September 09, 2008, 01:01:57 PM »

Whoa mama!  I just saw this thread.  You are crazy Paul!  I'm going to have to set aside some time in my schedule to read this thing.

Seriously, though.  I like your ambition.  But a lot of this stuff is around the forums here somewhere.  It's easier to deal with this (at least in forums) if you break it down as much as possible and address one issue at a time.  But there's always a time and place for large general threads also, so whatever.  I'm one to talk, I've started two enormous threads here myself!

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Paul Keith
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« Reply #33 on: September 09, 2008, 11:32:09 PM »

Quote
One thing I also use my Sony VR for is to test the sound and flow of dialog. I try to have someone read any dialog I've written. In a pinch, I'll do it myself. Amazing how something that looks so good on a page sometimes sounds so awful when you hear it read back to you.

I have found this is especially useful if I can get my friend Alexis to read back sections of dialog or narrative belonging to a female character. Men and women seem to use language differently. It's hard to define exactly how. But most women can spot when a guy is putting words in a female character's mouth. Hearing a character speak in the appropriate gender's voice helps me catch a lot of subtle differences and improve my characters verisimilitude. Robert Heinlein seems to annoy a lot of women with his dialog. I've often heard women say, "All his women sound like men - no woman would ever talk like that." after reading a Heinlein story.

Considering the number of women I've met who don't enjoy Heinlein's female characters - and the number of guys who do  - there just might be something to this.

Thanks for the tip! Alexis must be quite a gal to be able to mimic a wide range of voices. Haha, that's another thing I might need to search for.

I've finally got my feet wet and opted for Olympus instead of Sony because of their reputation and am considering the DS-50 but it is quite pricey and still no sign of whether it can handle being held by wet hands. What do you think?

Quote
Whoa mama!  I just saw this thread.  You are crazy Paul!  I'm going to have to set aside some time in my schedule to read this thing.

Seriously, though.  I like your ambition.  But a lot of this stuff is around the forums here somewhere.  It's easier to deal with this (at least in forums) if you break it down as much as possible and address one issue at a time.  But there's always a time and place for large general threads also, so whatever.  I'm one to talk, I've started two enormous threads here myself!

Haha, yeah, I'm only at page 6 on your General Brain-Storming on Notetaking Software thread but I don't know about many of these. Maybe I'm just using the wrong keywords but the ones that I know have been discussed before like Online Backups, I need more opinions on and the ones that I ask, I don't find many topics of.

Take for example an offline version of Diigo. I still can't find any alternative to it, I'm almost considering trying to experiment with Surfulator or other web capturing tools in combination with that page but boy, web capturing, that's another head scratcher. Outside of annotation capabilities and highlights, I still haven't found an application that really has a separate preview mode from edit mode that can handle large chunks of data without printing or exporting it to a .txt and exporting that .txt to a PocketPC. (The Kindle is just overpriced on my end in relation to it's value.)
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gtoal
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« Reply #34 on: September 10, 2008, 05:14:31 PM »

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)

Personally I made wiki-like notes with a text editor, then run a makefile to convert my notes into HTML with a little utility I wrote.  It's lightweight but it does all I need.

http://www.gtoal.com/src/hakihaki/hakihaki.c.html (drop the .html for the plain source)

G
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Paul Keith
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« Reply #35 on: September 11, 2008, 12:52:51 AM »

Thanks gtoal but how do you use it?
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tomos
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« Reply #36 on: September 11, 2008, 02:28:54 AM »

Thanks gtoal but how do you use it?

this might help:
have a look at the review of Wikidpad notetaker review here at dc

I'm completely ignorant of them but Perry & others tried to explain it to me - here

I'm presuming that Wikidpad is similar in how it works to other wikis but maybe not - seems very popular here anyways
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Tom
Paul Keith
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« Reply #37 on: September 11, 2008, 04:40:21 AM »

I read the links tomos but I still don't get it. Saying it's not an outliner only confused me but it could be because I'm not sure whether the text there refers it to being not an outliner = not a notetaker or not an outliner = not tree-based hierarchy like.

Some of the core issues that confuse me with it are:

-The lack of specific and concrete samples
-The lack of specific and concrete samples WHILE seeing someone access it after a long time has passed

As for being confusing, I don't know if you're familiar with Tomboy Notes which is pre-installed at least in Linux Mint by default but if Wikidpad is confusing I recommend trying that one out because it doesn't require any syntax. You just set a link and basically you can move towards the next page of an article per se that normally wouldn't be the next page.

It can be also used as a novel writing software which is probably why ywriter4 was also recommended. In essence, it's very much Wikipedia for yourself.

Sorry, if you know this already. I'm not sure if you wanted to know about the program, didn't really care for the program or were referring to some of the advanced stuff within the program which I also don't know because I never tried it long enough.

Another similar example but different approach to Wiki-style notetaking is found within Compendium. An aspect which it calls transclusive linking. The core idea is basically you can paste a section into another section and have the information sync between it. The benefit is basically an item that can be on two folders without needing to be organized through tag filtering thus the convenience of a more orthodox approach to information accessing.
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tomos
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« Reply #38 on: September 11, 2008, 04:44:48 AM »

... if Wikidpad is confusing I recommend trying that one out because it doesn't require any syntax ...

so are you saying that you understand technically how to use Wikidpad/wikis, but want to see how it is used ???
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Tom
Paul Keith
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« Reply #39 on: September 11, 2008, 05:11:24 AM »

Well not technically (I didn't bother to learn the syntax) but basically, yes.
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40hz
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« Reply #40 on: September 11, 2008, 10:37:38 AM »

... if Wikidpad is confusing I recommend trying that one out because it doesn't require any syntax ...

so are you saying that you understand technically how to use Wikidpad/wikis, but want to see how it is used ???

Well not technically (I didn't bother to learn the syntax) but basically, yes.

Yeah, me too. I am beginning to think I'm the only person in the world that doesn't "get" wikis.

I've read the literature (The Wiki Way et al.). I've played with them. I've set them up for other people. But there's something about the whole wiki concept that I just can't seem to get my head around. Does that make me some kind of control freak? tellme

Maybe somebody who is a wiki-wonk could start a new thread to try and enlighten those of us who frankly admit to being clueless.

(BTW: I wanted to say 'paradigm' instead of concept - but I'd probably be dragged out behind DC headquarters and stoned to death with dead hard drives for uttering that word.) Wink
« Last Edit: September 11, 2008, 10:42:45 AM by 40hz » Logged

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40hz
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« Reply #41 on: September 11, 2008, 12:23:21 PM »

re: Voice Recorders

I've finally got my feet wet and opted for Olympus instead of Sony because of their reputation and am considering the DS-50 but it is quite pricey and still no sign of whether it can handle being held by wet hands. What do you think?

Can't speak from much experience on Olympus since all I own is one of their micro cassette recorders. That being said, I was very happy with it - and still have it. I'll probably give it to my Mom now that I remember I own it. She likes to record things - and cassette tapes are about as complex a bit of tech as she'd be willing to put up with. Grin

I am currently using a Sony ICD-P520. It's been discontinued and superseded by other models. It does what I want it to do, and I got it for something like $25 at my local Staples' close-out counter.

One MAJOR caveat with Sony is their software. They're DRM freaks so their software has some issues when you want to burn files to CD. I guess they're worried about people recording a Brittany Spears concert. You can burn to CD, but it's a major pain.

You also MUST use their software to access recordings on the device. That would have been a showstopper for me if I knew about it beforehand. Unlike a friend's Olympus, this Sony doesn't come up on your PC as a mass storage USB device. So you can't just drag and drop files. Still, for twenty-five bucks I can't really complain. Too much anyway.

I have gotten the 520 moderately wet (rainy day walking) without ill effect. I doubt I'd want to make a habit of it however.

Talking to people I trust, there seems to be a consensus that Olympus products are a much better way to go. That will probably be what I buy when my 520 finally dies or I have some extra money to burn.

Quote
Alexis must be quite a gal to be able to mimic a wide range of voices. Haha, that's another thing I might need to search for.

She is, although she doesn't do much in the way of dramatic interpretation. She just reads it back in that precise contralto of hers and I take it from there.

As far as searching, I'd suggest getting one of those tall outdoorsy redhead types. Got me one of those and never regretted it. Look for versatility and performance. The particular model I've have is perfectly at home either in an English saddle, or slamming out some serious blues on her Fender Strat. Goes from zero to Stevie Ray Vaughan in under four seconds flat!

Check what's available in your area. Highly recommended! Thmbsup

.
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Paul Keith
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« Reply #42 on: September 11, 2008, 12:55:54 PM »

Quote
Maybe somebody who is a wiki-wonk could start a new thread to try and enlighten those of us who frankly admit to being clueless.

Yeah, I second that. Would be well appreciated to see a screencast that expands beyond this video.

Quote
BTW: I wanted to say 'paradigm' instead of concept - but I'd probably be dragged out behind DC headquarters and stoned to death with dead hard drives for uttering that word.

Haha, sounds like a great story to tell the kids.

Update:

I still haven't begun any new reorganizing as the whole new format's really making me procrastinate. Makes me wonder how programmers could handle making an entire site as just seeing that one BBCode page for just an hour is driving me nuts.

Anyways, I'm just writing this here in case anyone knows of a simple solution because I'm back to the dark days of when I was searching for a PIM (only this time I'm really looking for a PIM than a notetaker) and the more I move, the more I sink into the quicksand of features and my search for an offline Diigo has morphed back into looking for an app that combines the web capturing capabilities of Surfulater/EverNote/Scrapbook FF along with their highlight and annotation capabilities combined with the features of IdeaMason (who knew that program was hidden in a topic about diaries) and a way to print the data within them into a self formatted book for easy reading. (so yeah, it's also technically a novel writing software now.)

Frankly, I'm not sure if a program like that exists so I'm trying to stay the course of an offline Diigo but if you guys have anymore ideas even if they're through combining several different programs, please reply.

Quote
One MAJOR caveat with Sony is their software. They're DRM freaks so their software has some issues when you want to burn files to CD. I guess they're worried about people recording a Brittany Spears concert. You can burn to CD, but it's a major pain.

You also MUST use their software to access recordings on the device. That would have been a showstopper for me if I knew about it beforehand. Unlike a friend's Olympus, this Sony doesn't come up on your PC as a mass storage USB device. So you can't just drag and drop files. Still, for twenty-five bucks I can't really complain. Too much anyway.

Yeah, I read this review before switching over to preferring Olympus.

Quote
As far as searching, I'd suggest getting one of those tall outdoorsy redhead types. Got me one of those and never regretted it. Look for versatility and performance. The particular model I've have is perfectly at home either in an English saddle, or slamming out some serious blues on her Fender Strat. Goes from zero to Stevie Ray Vaughan in under four seconds flat!

Check what's available in your area. Highly recommended!

Haha. Unfortunately we don't get much redheads here. A blonde is rare enough but advise taken into consideration.
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40hz
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« Reply #43 on: September 12, 2008, 07:33:16 PM »

re: Writing Tools

eeeek! Can't believe someone hasn't has mentioned Storybook yet! It's free and open source.

http://storybook.intertec...g_page=home&g_lang=en

Curt had a post sometime back about it:
http://www.donationcoder....11917.msg103468#msg103468

I found Storybook's interface and methodology to be a little cumbersome. But there are two people in my writer's group that think it's the best thing to happen since White-Out. MBW trying out.  Wink

I'm currently in the process of getting my arms around Liquid Story Binder. I got a free copy a while back. I really want to like this app. Consequently, I'm putting a lot more effort into using it than I normally would for this type of software. My usual procedure for selecting writing software is to give the candidate app about a week's worth of exercise. If it seems useful - and it doesn't encounter any showstopper issues - I'll usually keep it. Otherwise the superb Revo Uninstaller makes it's appearance, and the little bugger is history.

Some things I like about Liquid Story Binder are:

   Can be run from a USB (I'm big on portable apps.)
   Uses non-proprietary file types (RFT,TXT,etc. Great for sharing with my Mac & Linux cohorts.)
   Nice outlining features (Do all my brainstorming in outlines)
   Full screen minimalist editor (aka WebMonkey - one of my favs)

and finally
   
   That drop-dead gorgeous (to my eyes anyway) interface. It invariably turns a few heads whenever I'm out someplace. Perfect for striking up tech conversations; or (to return to our previous 'searching' discussion) breaking the ice with that random attractive intellectual type seated across from you. Thmbsup (We get inspired and motivated however we can! Grin)

LSB gathers so many neat things under one roof that I am really bent on using if I possibly can.

In case you're interested, my current Writer's Suite is:

Software:

  - Dramatica Pro - IMHO the single best piece of software for writing that's out there Kiss

  - WebMonkey - the ultimate no-frill first draft editor

  - PowerWriter - a writer's outliner on steroids

  - Microsoft Office Word - the ubiquitous text tool

  - FinalDraft - the sui generis script formatter. (No point fighting it. It's what gets used in 'the biz.' )

  - SEO Note - yet another tree-based notes organizer. (I just happen to like this one.)

  - PrimoPDF - Your basic PDF generator. Adobe Acrobat without the tariff!

  - FileHamster - version control for when you don't need something as powerful as Subversion

  - Allway Sync Portable - folder synchronization tool. Perfect for USB flash drives.

  - USB Disk Ejector - excellent utility. The safest, easiest  way to unmount your flash drives.

  - A drawer full of reference CD/DVDs (dictionaries, encyclopedias, e-books, etc.)

  - Dragon Naturally Speaking - voice recognition software. (See my caveats in earlier post above)

Non-software:

  - My home library - as you might guess, I have a huge number of books!

  - Digital voice recorder

  - A ring full of 2 & 4 GB USB flash drives. One project per drive for when I'm on the road.

  - A big box of index cards of various colors

  - 3 Corkboards (homemade) and a big box of pushpins

  - The biggest magnetic whiteboard I could afford

  - Post-It Notes - used in conjunction with a whiteboard, it's an unbeatable combination

  - Pilot G5 gel pens in various colors. (IMHO the best pens in the world!)

  - Gevalia Coffee - my favorite poison. Ridiculously expensive. (and worth every penny as far as I'm concerned!)

Wetware:

  - A bunch of 'writerly' friends - to bounce things off (and share a Guiness with)

and

  - Alexis - my Blast-proof BS Detector and personal 'reality check' Grin

Wish list:

  - One of those new subnotebooks to replace my aging Compaq laptop.

My current favorite is the MSI Wind. (What I actually end up getting will be determined by what's out there when I finally get around to buying one. I've been dropping hints since the holiday season is coming up. Be interesting to see if anybody takes the bait. Grin)

So there you have it! Cool






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« Reply #44 on: September 13, 2008, 04:18:18 AM »

Woah man, very nice! I'm jealous. Always wanted a space large enough to host a library but I couldn't afford it.

Yeah, I can't believe I missed Storybook also because I've read that topic before. I think it was the java software that gave me amnesia but the app is surprisingly fast at least when I tried the sample but it looks like a jazzed up ywriter4 so I ended up back to it.

If sharing suites might help, here's mine currently:

Currently considering:

Storyweaver and Dramatica Pro just like I wrote in my first impressions

Currently trying to replace:

YeahWrite which replaced MS Word for me both due to speed and the fact that the color lay-out and portability makes my text flow. At times it even beats Q10 for jump starting on a story because I could just spend hours looking at the non-traditional and less strain on the eyes screen.

Incollector for snippets collecting. It might not replace EverNote for web capturing but the box based and tag based design feels more comfortable to me than the toilet paper design or sticky notes design of other applications.

Compendium for outlining. Tree-based hierarchies just don't do it for me. I feel more at home with a structure I can pattern myself.

Q10 for the nostalgia and the memories typewriting sounds give me.

ywriter4 in case I ever need to re-organize in a rigid structural way.

and finally the ubook reader for the final "read aloud" test.

Coincidentally this also functions as my productivity suite and notetaking suite currently. I know many of these are repeated points but I thought maybe posting this could help spell out better to people of what I need and the type of person that I am.
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anne_r
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« Reply #45 on: September 13, 2008, 06:35:17 AM »

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.

Well, I haven't used either XP or Linux, so I can't say if Vista is better or inferior to those. All I can say, is that I've had Vista now for 1,5 years it has not crashed once.

I repeat that: Windows Vista has NOT crashed once in 1,5 years.

I have had no problems installing my old, favourite software (I still use Word 97  smiley). No problems with drivers or peripherals.

Of course Vista needs lots of RAM and such. You can't install it on any old computer. That's what I've heard people complain about.
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suleika
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« Reply #46 on: September 13, 2008, 06:46:07 AM »

Have you tried all-weather paper?  There are a lot of products out there.  For the odd short reminder I have a chinagraph pencil in the shower (aka grease pencil or wax pencil) and write on directly onto the wall - it cleans off perfectly.

Yeah, speech recognition is overkill to me since what I mainly want is something waterproof that can be used in the shower, probably something with a long battery life and something bare bones but sturdy and would last a while. I really don't mind jotting down my notes since I will probably be using this more often for quick notes and 1 or 2 mid-length conversations which is more to help me remember the conversation rather than for turning it into text.
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Paul Keith
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« Reply #47 on: September 13, 2008, 07:13:18 AM »

Have you tried all-weather paper?  There are a lot of products out there.  For the odd short reminder I have a chinagraph pencil in the shower (aka grease pencil or wax pencil) and write on directly onto the wall - it cleans off perfectly.



I've heard of the paper but I really didn't feel like they were an affordable option especially for short note taking but a chinagraph pencil, there's something I haven't heard of before. What are the things to look out for when buying such a pencil?
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40hz
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« Reply #48 on: September 13, 2008, 09:49:00 PM »

Compendium for outlining. Tree-based hierarchies just don't do it for me. I feel more at home with a structure I can pattern myself.

Thanks for mentioning that. I thought I knew every outliner out there, but this is a new one for me.  Thmbsup

I webbed over to their homepage, and while I was happy to see that they have since released Compendium as a free product, the download links no longer work. You get a 404 no matter what. I tried e-mailing, hoping that maybe this is a temporary case of a bad link on the site.

From the feature list (it has a few unique ones), Compendium may be the general outliner application I've been looking for.

Fingers crossed...

Woah man, very nice! I'm jealous. Always wanted a space large enough to host a library but I couldn't afford it.

Don't be overly impressed. Library is a bit of a misnomer. It more closely resembles a medieval monastery book collection than your local public library.

I do have a nice little office area with several shelves of books neatly arranged and within arm's reach. But the bulk of the "library" is spread promiscuously throughout the rest of my living space. There are piles and rows of books in every available room and storage space.

The thing that makes this arrangement work for me is a very nice little library program from Norway called BookCAT. It's published by FNProgramvare.  ( www.fnprg.com ) Complete documentation and a fully functional evaluation copy are available for download.

Quote
BookCAT is a powerful book collector database program which will help you catalog a book collection of any size. BookCAT is used by book-lovers, schools, churches, clubs, and business libraries. Using BookCAT you can quickly catalog your books by downloading information from the Internet. BookCAT will help you track what you have in your library, where it is (including books out on loan) and the total value of your collection.

BookCAT has a comprehensive set of fields, enabling you to catalog a wide range of information: author, title, publisher, ISBN number, publish date, number of pages, editor, original title, translator, binding, edition, type of book (fiction, non-fiction, etc.), category and sub-category, purchase date and price, current value, condition, status (own, want, for sale), personal rating, owner, location, keywords, awards and nominations, comments, synopsis, reviews, and more.

Other features include customized entry fields, a loan module (to keep track of books on loan), flexible searching, a report designer, more than 80 pre-defined report formats, a HTML generator, a sample data base to get you started, pop-up menus for quick feature access and navigation, and comprehensive context-sensitive on-line documentation available at the touch of a button.

About a year ago I bit the bullet and got my entire collection entered into BookCAT.

I was motivated to do so by two separate 'incidents'. The first was the discovery that several irreplaceable books I owned were missing. I vaguely remembered loaning some of them out, but I couldn't even begin to recall to whom or when. (I'm suffering from the early stages of an affliction called AGE.) The other 'incident' was my discovering that I had duplicate copies of a dozen or so fairly expensive books (SAMS and O'Reilly titles!). Apparently, I bought, forgot I owned, and then re-bought some books! Not the most cost effective way to do things.

Getting the books entered took about two weeks of parttime effort with me crawing from place to place with my laptop and a cup of coffee when I had nothing better to do. It wasn't as big a chore as it could have been because the program supports online information lookups using the ISBN number. Pop in the ISBN and you can download all the publisher details into your database.

Using a database for a book collection is liberating. Retrieval is the critical issue - not storage. Once you have a reliable reference and location tool, the whole issue of physical storage and organization becomes almost moot.

Now it no longer matters where I put a book - or who I loaned it to. I can even keep my lesser used titles in numbered boxes up in the attic. And they don't even need to be organized or categorized before they get put away. Titles can be shelved, stored, and stashed at will. I can find any title quite quickly as long as I keep its current location updated in the database.

One interesting feature: BookCAT uses MS Access as its database. The documentation that comes with the program gives full details on the database table structure. This allows for extensive customization of the application should you have sufficient expertise using Access.

A fine program. Not free, but at $40 US it's very reasonable. Highly recommended. thumbs up thumbs up
« Last Edit: September 13, 2008, 09:52:03 PM by 40hz » Logged

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Paul Keith
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« Reply #49 on: September 15, 2008, 09:04:50 AM »

Well, I haven't used either XP or Linux, so I can't say if Vista is better or inferior to those. All I can say, is that I've had Vista now for 1,5 years it has not crashed once.

I repeat that: Windows Vista has NOT crashed once in 1,5 years.

I have had no problems installing my old, favourite software (I still use Word 97  smiley). No problems with drivers or peripherals.

Of course Vista needs lots of RAM and such. You can't install it on any old computer. That's what I've heard people complain about.

Hi Anne, sorry I missed this post of yours. If it's not too much hassle, besides stability, could you point out one possible plus of Vista over XP? I'm really considering upgrading my PC entirely but I've heard Linux has some problems with 64 bit which is keeping me from switching to it entirely (also my Linux partition currently won't boot so that's leaving a sour taste in my mouth right now and I'm pre-occupied with this topic to pay any attention to the problem) and Vista as far as I've heard has still no exclusive functionality going for it yet. Not to say that stability isn't important but I'm really looking for something to convince me to switch to it besides it's hardware support.

Quote
Thanks for mentioning that. I thought I knew every outliner out there, but this is a new one for me. 

I webbed over to their homepage, and while I was happy to see that they have since released Compendium as a free product, the download links no longer work. You get a 404 no matter what. I tried e-mailing, hoping that maybe this is a temporary case of a bad link on the site.

From the feature list (it has a few unique ones), Compendium may be the general outliner application I've been looking for.

Fingers crossed...

Hmm... the download link seems to be working for me though I didn't test it because I have to input another e-mail again.

http://kmi.open.ac.uk/pro...m/download/indexAlpha.cfm

I only downloaded the Windows version though.

I wouldn't try the app looking for an outliner though. It's just not that kind of program... Closest I could call it's outlining capabilities are that it's an outline exporter but there's really no easy way to really get any kind of full outline view from it.

Instead what you get is a dashboard/file explorer with optional visible arrows connecting each item to the entry that gets people into mistaking it as a mindmapping software even though it's not and it can be very difficult to see everything all in one screen like an outliner. Why it works for me though is that often times I can't see anything other than titles from a traditional outliner and all the text makes my brain hurt and in Compendium, the file explorer style just makes it easy for me to browse through reference files and reference texts much more conveniently than I would in a real file explorer because of the arrows. As a stand alone outliner though, it would probably give me a headache once I go beyond notetaking as the tagging system there is mostly for search filtering rather than browsing and you would probably overclutter your bookmark just to get to a quick node.

Ex.

Say you have Introduction followed by Features by Quick Start in a normal outliner/notetaker. When you want to switch to them, it's just as easy as opening a sidebar to get the tree or the tag cloud. In Compendium, the sidebar requires some right clicking just to get to that entry. If you want to manually switch pages, you also have to remember your previous pages because if you close the window, you might not be able to return to that page unless you close all the other windows unless you have a set up a My Documents Folder in your bookmarks (which the program calls a node) so you can't really quickly switch between information unless you index a text file and write the outline there or over-abused the in-built multi-page text editor to find what you want but it's like reading a windowed notepad with back and forth buttons. Both still are inferior to an outliner program. Not to mention there are certain import and export features in the program that are still buggy but I haven't confirmed with the makers yet on what is the most stable way to back up your files.

However, say you're not sure how many flaws and features your story character or project has. Then it becomes a better outliner in the sense that instead of a text box where you put in their flaws, you can create a node pointing that to the character and because it's not restricted to a text box, you can then point those flaws to a Chapter and then you have a visual pattern for your character's growth or your project's pros and cons. This makes the program great for having a default set of templates which you can surround with answers and structure it in ways that makes you view it your way.
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