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Author Topic: Note-taking Software for Windows (FREE)  (Read 9205 times)
note-taker
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« on: April 05, 2010, 02:55:43 PM »

Hi,

Here's a simple note-taking software program for Windows XP, Vista and 7 and it's FREE.

Its key features and capabilities includes the following:
* Support either online and offline use (for offline use what if you don't have Internet access at some point or you want to avoid distraction)
* Instant flash card making (helps with memorizing important stuff)
* Notes organization (for knowledge/information access efficiency)
* Concept Mapping (a way to transcend knowledge into insight)
* Contextual Wikipedia reference (expand knowledge contextually)

Download the latest bleeding-edge version (June 10 2010):
http://www.knowledgenoteb...nowledgeNoteBook_v299.exe  (100MB)

Installation Instructions:
(1) Close all programs before installation.
(2) Click on the knowledgenotebook_v299.exe installer and then click on Install (use the default C:\Program Files directory for destination).
(3) When installation is complete, wait for about a minute or a little bit longer, the screen may appear to freeze but it does not, the Knowledge NoteBook software will launch with IE browser automatically. Please note, you are recommended to switch to Firefox after installation.

Assurance:
Industry Review
Venturebeat ran a story titled "A laptop app for  students who can’t stop typing" about us (Feb 19, 2010).
Industry  Recognition
Nominated as technology rising star of NCTC and received letter of congratulation from Virginia Congressman Bob Goodlatte ( March 31st, 2010).

We welcome constructive and thoughtful feedback!

Knowledge NoteBook
Roanoke, VA 24018

http://www.knowledgenotebook.com

Post last edited: June 11 2010


* KN_main_menu.png (34.02 KB, 1005x589 - viewed 365 times.)

* KN_Concept_Mapping.png (78.88 KB, 1021x500 - viewed 355 times.)
« Last Edit: June 11, 2010, 12:47:13 PM by note-taker » Logged
mouser
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« Reply #1 on: April 05, 2010, 03:05:08 PM »

Welcome to the site Don! Great to have you posting here -- this looks like something that DC members would be interested in for sure.  thumbs up
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rjbull
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« Reply #2 on: April 05, 2010, 04:08:24 PM »

Hmmm... features look just that bit different from many others, enough to be interesting.  But...
  • 100 MB download?  I thought UltraRecall was big enough, and that's only 10 MB. 
  • KN = "knowledge notebook" expires in 30 days, then you have to ask for a free license, albeit that's then in perpetuity?
  • You have to turn UAC Off?  At least, the installation instructions say turn UAC Off, but they don't say whether KN will work properly thereafter with UAC On.
  • KN forces IE during installation, and IE7 or later is the primary browser, even if Firefox is permitted?
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40hz
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« Reply #3 on: April 05, 2010, 04:52:43 PM »

Hey Don!

Looks very nice.

And a welcome addition. As you've probably noticed, there's a lot of note-taking 'app junkies' here.

100 MB download?

Yeah. Wow! (Ah, what the heck! Disk space is cheap enough these days. Grin)

I'm guessing the bulk of that 100M is the MS Access Runtime, with the balance taken up by Ghostscript - or whatever other API/library combo is being used to generate the PDF?

 smiley

« Last Edit: April 05, 2010, 05:02:26 PM by 40hz » Logged

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note-taker
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« Reply #4 on: April 05, 2010, 05:24:33 PM »

@rhbull,

First off, thank you for your kind words and excellent questions, please see embedded answers below.

•100 MB download?  I thought UltraRecall was big enough, and that's only 10 MB.
The FAQ section mentions that the KN itself is only 1 MB, however, the software
comes with a web server, a web scripting language (Railo) and some other stuff like
an Access database, hence, they adds up.
 
•KN = "knowledge notebook" expires in 30 days, then you have to ask for a free license, albeit that's then in perpetuity?
This is a way to engage users.  When we say it's FREE it is free.  A decent company
will stick to its words.

•You have to turn UAC Off?  At least, the installation instructions say turn UAC Off, but they don't say whether KN will work properly thereafter with UAC On.
The instructions say "you may want to..", which implies that you don't have to, meaning, a user can leave UAC on to successfully install Knowledge NoteBook.
How could we word it better (clearer)?

•KN forces IE during installation, and IE7 or later is the primary browser, even if Firefox is permitted?
Two reasons for why defaults to IE:
a) Each Windows OS comes with IE (reduced risk of installation issue).
b) Some key KN features functions bettter or only with IE.

Yes, I'm aware that Firefox is more popular with the target market.
A suggestion to them is:
Why not use IE for KN only while having fun using FF or whatever other browser
of your choice?

Thanks again and keep questions/comments comming.
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note-taker
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« Reply #5 on: April 05, 2010, 05:27:32 PM »

@40hz,

I hope you're not jumping guns... see my response to @rjbull for the 100MB file size, yes, your gues-ti-mate is close... (besides, it's just one time download with fast speed connection)
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40hz
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« Reply #6 on: April 05, 2010, 05:52:21 PM »

I hope you're not jumping guns...

Never! We're 'gun free' in my house Grin

Besides, I don't have a problem with file sizes. Especially since I don't have an HD on any machine I'm regularly using that's sub-500Gb to begin with.

Quick question: do you (or are you planning to) support links like in a wiki?


-----

PS: my belated personal welcome to Donation Coder. I think you're gonna like it here. These people are great.

I also wasn't joking about the huge interest in note taking apps. Take a look at the General Brainstorming for Note-taking software discussion:

http://www.donationcoder....ic=2362.msg16135#msg16135

It started back in 2006 and is still going today; butchers in at 33 pages worth of forum posts; and has experienced 220,500+ "hits" since it's been started.

thumbs up

« Last Edit: April 05, 2010, 06:03:51 PM by 40hz » Logged

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note-taker
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« Reply #7 on: April 05, 2010, 06:53:41 PM »

@40hz,

Sorry I was too quick in "shooting out" smiley  and thanks for the welcome.

"Quick question: do you (or are you planning to) support links like in a wiki?"
Excellent question!  If you install KN to an installable Windows box you'll see how wiki is being leveraged (contextually)... and this is just step one for 'organic' knowledge extension...

On your guys being BIG on Note-taking software discussion, that's AWESOME!
Give me a bit of time to "settle down" here...

Best,

Don

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rjbull
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« Reply #8 on: April 06, 2010, 02:23:37 PM »

•100 MB download?  I thought UltraRecall was big enough, and that's only 10 MB.
The FAQ section mentions that the KN itself is only 1 MB, however, the software
comes with a web server, a web scripting language (Railo) and some other stuff like
an Access database, hence, they adds up.

Eesh!  That's not just the tail wagging the dog, the dog's a chihuahua and the tail's a Great Dane!  ohmy
 
Quote
•KN = "knowledge notebook" expires in 30 days, then you have to ask for a free license, albeit that's then in perpetuity?
This is a way to engage users.  When we say it's FREE it is free.  A decent company
will stick to its words.

Your choice, but it sounds odd, a bit like something that was once shareware and is now freeware, but where the author hasn't bothered to remove the licence requirement.

Quote
•You have to turn UAC Off?  At least, the installation instructions say turn UAC Off, but they don't say whether KN will work properly thereafter with UAC On.
The instructions say "you may want to..", which implies that you don't have to, meaning, a user can leave UAC on to successfully install Knowledge NoteBook.
How could we word it better (clearer)?

My scenario is of routinely running a user account under Vista Home Premium.  Installing anything means temporarily elevating to administrator, i.e., Windows wants me to put in the admin password.  Once installed, most programs then run correctly under the user account.  I think I wanted to be clearer about whether KN would do so too, or whether certain features were only available under an admin account, so it was always best to run KN as admin, which is an extra step and a nuisance.

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note-taker
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« Reply #9 on: April 06, 2010, 05:39:31 PM »

@rjbull,

Quote
Eesh!  That's not just the tail wagging the dog, the dog's a chihuahua and the tail's a Great Dane!
Ahe, funny smiley

Quote
Your choice, but it sounds odd, a bit like something that was once shareware and is now freeware, but where the author hasn't bothered to remove the licence requirement.
We'll stick to what we say, it's totally FREE.  In the meantime, there's a business reason for it, we could talk about privately if you'd like.

Quote
My scenario is of routinely running a user account under Vista Home Premium.  Installing anything means temporarily elevating to administrator, i.e., Windows wants me to put in the admin password.  Once installed, most programs then run correctly under the user account.  I think I wanted to be clearer about whether KN would do so too, or whether certain features were only available under an admin account, so it was always best to run KN as admin, which is an extra step and a nuisance.
Interesting point on security with lesser account.  My concern is even as admin equivalent user the Vista and even 7 keeps complaining / asking for confirmations all the time, which is extremely annoying.  A guess is, the majority of the users use admin equivalent account, your thought?

Thanks.
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Paul Keith
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« Reply #10 on: April 06, 2010, 09:02:23 PM »

This is an interesting software because it can potentially be an image organizer but I'd seriously re-consider this:

Quote
When the software expires in 30 days you simply follow instructions and we'll send you license code to continue its permanent use.

It may sound like nitpicking but none of your competitors have this as far as I know.

In a way this can be even more troublesome than an adware app because you have to sort of "invest" in an app even when trying it out.

Compendium had a register to download mechanic and it nearly turned me off so I'm sure you'll probably lose alot of potential downloads just due to this especially when you have an app that on first impression is like Evernote with a slightly better ui, ability to not always consume online connectivity and is not an advanced flash card app using SRS (at least I didn't see it in the introduction video)

I'm also skeptical about the comments you have under the VentureBeat article. It says someone uses it over OneNote but alot of the comments sound like astro-turfs although I may be over-estimating the knowledge level people have with notetaking software features but it is a bit glaring that you use it to compare only with Word rather than other popular notetakers.

All in all, I don't mean to jump the gun but it's a bit of a red flag when the emphasis of an app is that it's free but it's not convenient free. Seeing as you already have positive responses and not a bad website design and name, maybe you do have the marketing to make this product more popular but again I'm skeptical. Feature-wise there's just very little compelling act to download this and go through the 30 day process but your direction seems to go along the lines that it's so good that once you use it, you'll want to go through the hassle of getting the license and make it permanent but if not enough people download and generate that buzz, it's not going to work either.



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note-taker
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« Reply #11 on: April 06, 2010, 09:34:45 PM »

Paul,

Thank you for your input and thoughts.  It seems in your view and also that of rjbull's that the 30 days switch to permanent use is a hassle that would seriously discourage people from downloading it... let us ponder over it a bit and then decide what to do...

The other point you raised about why only compared with Word, we've conducted serveral surveys with college students in the last few months, the first time, about 512 of survey takers, the second time, about 300 something, mostly in Virginia, about 80% of the answers to the survey question of "What software do you use to take notes with computer" is Word, hence, from business perspective, "attack" the weakest element first...

Don
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note-taker
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« Reply #12 on: April 06, 2010, 09:36:07 PM »

Also, we seem to send a wrong message somewhere somehow on "when the emphasis of an app is that it's free", it's not our emphasis but rather an extra.
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Paul Keith
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« Reply #13 on: April 07, 2010, 11:29:49 AM »

Yeah, it's an unfortunate part of the culture at least from a person who has tried several notetaking software point of view.

Nowadays if something is free it's not really seen as an extra. I don't know whether that rings true in the mainstream sense but people are so used to free in the internet nowadays that you can't really tweak the model of how people consume free software or if you do, the less hassle the better.

Word is what most people refer to because "notetaking" is a very niche cult. If MS didn't release OneNote few would even re-consider the idea that notetaking is a separate system of input because few really put in that much text notes to their work and even though I have no academic background, I think them not totally going against Word speaks to that volume that it's more of a "blind" standard than the top enemy to use for feature vs. feature comparison as far as impressing the circle.
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« Reply #14 on: April 07, 2010, 12:08:37 PM »

I'd like to make a few comments here:
a) It seems rational to try out a piece of software in earnestness for a few times or better for a few days and then to discuss its merits or deficiency.
b) On Free or not.  Reasonably intelligent students who use computer to take notes would take some time to check out a few such software tools to see which one fits him/her better.
c) On competition, everything has competition and they are not usually a zero sum game.
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rjbull
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« Reply #15 on: April 07, 2010, 04:03:15 PM »

Quote
Your choice, but it sounds odd, a bit like something that was once shareware and is now freeware, but where the author hasn't bothered to remove the licence requirement.
We'll stick to what we say, it's totally FREE.  In the meantime, there's a business reason for it, we could talk about privately if you'd like.

I see that posts since mine have continued that theme...  Both convenience and trust matter here.  If there's a genunine reason, fine, but I'm automatically wary if a company/author whose reputation I don't already know adopts a slightly unusual "registration policy."  No offence meant, but you're new to me and this is the Internet.

Quote
Quote
My scenario is of routinely running a user account under Vista Home Premium.  Installing anything means temporarily elevating to administrator, [...]
Interesting point on security with lesser account.  My concern is even as admin equivalent user the Vista and even 7 keeps complaining / asking for confirmations all the time, which is extremely annoying.  A guess is, the majority of the users use admin equivalent account, your thought?

I just don't know.  I'm doing an IT support course, and thought I'd better run things the way one is supposed to in Vista.  But it's such a pain that I'd not be surprised if most people gave a blood-curdling scream of frustration and turned UAC Off. 

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Paul Keith
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« Reply #16 on: April 07, 2010, 04:16:40 PM »

No, I didn't mean to say it is a zero-sum game. Just that the marketing and the overall expectations have become a zero-sum game as far as notetaking applications go.

People just get tired much faster of putting their notes in an application, realizing it doesn't work and finding out they have to start all over again. On the flip side, it is precisely this lack of zero-sum effect, which allows such discrepancy between casual, academic and hobbyist notetakers that causes each group to be receptive to a zero-sum hype from a notetaking application.

That's why the further down the road this becomes, the more effort it takes to convince others to even click the download link and test-run such software. For some of the ones who tried many other software, they could even simply dismiss it just from viewing the feature list because they've already tried many other software and have a comfortable estimate of the pains they encountered.

That's why it's important for your group to seriously re-consider the "free as bonus" approach. I have no business knowledge to flat-out say there's some missing link in your marketing or approach to your software but in my opinion there is something you guys may be missing if you can on one hand say you gave a survey where Word (a word processor and not a notetaker) is the most dominant software being used and then in another post assume people should be rational and reasonably intelligent in choosing their notetaker software.
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40hz
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« Reply #17 on: April 07, 2010, 05:14:01 PM »

I think we may be getting little bogged down in wording here.

 I don't really see all that much difference in the note-taker "request free reg key" and all those "free" apps that require registration either to download or unlock.  And there are a lot of those out there.

As far as getting locked into a note taking app while trying it out...well...that's gonna be a potential problem with any of them if you decide it's not for you.

Besides, that's really not all that different a situation than you'd have if you wanted to switch your email, database, or office suite - so I'd hesitate to call it a unique problem.    

Just my two.  smiley
« Last Edit: April 07, 2010, 06:38:59 PM by 40hz » Logged

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cthorpe
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« Reply #18 on: April 07, 2010, 08:35:03 PM »

I don't really see all that much difference in the note-taker "request free reg key" and all those "free" apps that require registration either to download or unlock.  And there are a lot of those out there.


And of course, there are a few programs out there that require (or at least required) regular re-registration at the site's forum if you didn't want to pay.  I know for a fact that they are well known and well loved around here.

Let's see if I can find that information....   Wink

Quote
The software from DonationCoder.com is free for personal use. The reason we require people to download a license key from us is to get them to take a look at our website and think about whether they might be willing to make a donation to this site.


    In order to encourage people to really consider making a donation, we have adopted a somewhat unusual policy for people who do not donate:

        * The free license key generated here will remove the reminder nag from the program for 6 months.
        * After 6 months the reminder will come back and you must return to this page to generate a new license key which will last for another 6 months.
        * After 1 year from your initial signup you can return to this page for a permanent non-expiring license key.
« Last Edit: April 07, 2010, 08:38:12 PM by cthorpe » Logged
Paul Keith
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« Reply #19 on: April 08, 2010, 08:20:30 AM »

Actually speaking from a non-DC veteran member, such mechanics have turned me off from using many of the applications in DC. (Including Auto-Hotkey apps being detected as viruses)

The reason I use some DC apps are because I couldn't find exact alternative apps that would fill my needs but that is something notetaker applications have a luxury of.

A good example of a DC app which I rejected so flat out that I didn't even install it was FARR. The advanced features didn't appeal to me as I'm not a heavy techie user and I opted for Slickrun until I preferred the indexing of Launchy until Launchy became too heavy, I finally got an account and license key on DC and felt welcomed by the community before I even stayed with FARR.

I'm not the main audience though so that's alright but it shows how even the most mundane of setbacks can hurt your potential audience.

Another major example: many on DC here have expressed dissatisfaction with Evernote's online approach (especially the disappearance of critical features) and dropped it but many may have adapted it for those same reasons.

Another further example: many dropped Google Notebooks as soon as the announcement that it was going to be kept online but not updated anymore even though prior to that many were satisfied by the current set of features.

Quote
As far as getting locked into a note taking app while trying it out...well...that's gonna be a potential problem with any of them if you decide it's not for you.

Besides, that's really not all that different a situation than you'd have if you wanted to switch your email, database, or office suite - so I'd hesitate to call it a unique problem.

Most don't switch e-mail, database or office suite. When it finally came time to switch why did OpenOffice seemed a viable alternative? Because outside of piracy there wasn't much of an alternative for free office suites out there.

There are tons of notetakers out there. More importantly notetaker isn't a category that can't be replaced by a non-notetaker app like Word unlike those other examples.

Even when a person would opt to getting locked in once or twice, it eventually gets tiring.

Some of the more experienced testers or people with actual work to do probably has a "test load" they just copy paste and often they do that because an application is totally free or a priced app has a killer feature that actually made them want to test it regardless whether the app is free or not. (Even then it takes a hardcore notetaking searcher to do that and that was prior to OneNote being bundled in MS Office)
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« Reply #20 on: April 08, 2010, 11:11:25 AM »

Quote
Another major example: many on DC here have expressed dissatisfaction with Evernote's online approach (especially the disappearance of critical features) and dropped it but many may have adapted it for those same reasons.
C1: A loose interpretation is almost like half good half bad.
(C for Comment)

Quote
Another further example: many dropped Google Notebooks as soon as the announcement that it was going to be kept online but not updated anymore even though prior to that many were satisfied by the current set of features.
 

C2 = C1

Quote
Some of the more experienced testers or people with actual work to do probably has a "test load" they just copy paste and often they do that because an application is totally free or a priced app has a killer feature that actually made them want to test it regardless whether the app is free or not. (Even then it takes a hardcore notetaking searcher to do that and that was prior to OneNote being bundled in MS Office)
More importantly notetaker isn't a category that can't be replaced by a non-notetaker app like Word unlike those other examples.
If the following goals of learning and its process makes sense,
1) Capture knowledge and information most effectively
2) Organize them well (for most efficient access)
3) Encoding (layman term: turn them into yours)
   and Use them effectively (doing well with exams is a Key Objective in this regard
   for students)
4) Portability and Life-long Learning ...
Then one knows Word was not cut for that.  Now, if you are talking about creating a
proposal or the like, of course Word or other word process is the right choice, for others consumption Presentation is important otherwise not really.

Speaking of "killer feature", we can only speak of Knowledge NoteBook (KN) (it may sound biased):
* Innovative Flash Card Creation (not our words but users)
* Concept Mapping (virtually all male users LOVE it and the latest version
has improved its process to make it no brainer.  I don't exactly understand that part
though why all male users love it so much but have not heard anything back
from female users about it other than one I showed it to her and she said "cool".
* Contextual Link to Wikipedia (a valedictorian commented, "I've NEVER seen anything
like this, very cool!"

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« Reply #21 on: April 09, 2010, 12:14:30 AM »

@note-taker: Thankyou for your initial post and subsequent comments on this.
As an avid seeker of the ultimate PIM (Personal Information Manager) and Note-Taking or Information-Gathering tool, I read this discussion with keen interest.
I have gone over all the information provided on the website (http://www.knowledgenotebook.com/).
My conclusion is that Knowledge Notebook certainly looks very interesting - very impressive too - but, because of several of the points raised in the discussion and the website, I am rather reluctant to try Knowledge Notebook out. I shall defer the idea of trialling it for now, until some of the apparent constraints are sorted out and you are able to be more open about your strategy for the marketing and development of KN. (i.e., I shall adopt a "Wait and see" approach.)
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« Reply #22 on: April 09, 2010, 07:30:47 AM »

@IainB

Quote
My conclusion is that Knowledge Notebook certainly looks very interesting - very impressive too - but, because of several of the points raised in the discussion and the website,
I'm confused by the above contradictoary statement.  On one hand, you stated
"very interesting - very impressive too", my guess is you formed such an impression based
on this thread as well as the KN website, but then, you also stated
"because of ... and the website", you seem to have an issue with the KN website,
what's it?

Quote
you are able to be more open about your strategy for the marketing and development of KN
Many of us have been users of software program of one kind or another, how many of us
have demanded the software program "manufacturer"/provider to share that type of
proprietary business secrets before using the software?  Probably less than 1/100.
Disclosure of your identity seems a reasonable call or pm may be helpful.

Quote
until some of the apparent constraints are sorted out
Please be more specfic, if you were referring to some of the nitpicking, please
check comment by 40hz 
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Paul Keith
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« Reply #23 on: April 09, 2010, 08:05:25 AM »

Quote
Speaking of "killer feature", we can only speak of Knowledge NoteBook (KN) (it may sound biased):
* Innovative Flash Card Creation (not our words but users)
* Concept Mapping (virtually all male users LOVE it and the latest version
has improved its process to make it no brainer.  I don't exactly understand that part
though why all male users love it so much but have not heard anything back
from female users about it other than one I showed it to her and she said "cool".
* Contextual Link to Wikipedia (a valedictorian commented, "I've NEVER seen anything
like this, very cool!"

Killer features doesn't equal exclusive or appealing features though. It's features that for some reason has the magnetic power to convince users to switch from their default apps and stick to yours.

Albeit these are the features that made me want to try this app (minus the last bit about contextual link) but in order for those to be killer features, it should convince users to try it despite the barrier of entry. (In this case the 30 day license key system.)

This depends from person to person and a single person sample is insufficient but at the same time, it has kept me from trying your software for this reason and that much is true.
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note-taker
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« Reply #24 on: April 09, 2010, 12:12:27 PM »

@Paul Keith,

Put it bluntly.  If a potential user hesitates because this simple 30 days free license key requirement (a simple email to the software provider would suffice to obtain the key, 2 minutes or even less to get it done) despite a substantial interest then we're sorry that person would be out.  Has the user's privacy been violated by sending an email to the software provider?  I don't think so.

Even Google anf Facebook would require users to sign up for some service, 2 minutes or more and they may ask for more info.

btw, it's not a "30 day license key system" but rather a simple necessity.


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