Hi nevf, good to see you post again. For those not familiar with nevf, you should read his writings, because he talks about the philosophy behind his designs, which is interesting because a user can follow how an author implements the features in his software.
I've just tried the most recent Surfulater version. It still looks like Surfulater has the best underlying foundation for being the best note-taking software to date, but there are still things that are lacking, I think. The reason I say this is because the "engine" under Surfulater is obviously very flexible and can do a lot of cool things, especially being able to change the virtual tree structure. But there are a few issues that I've talked about before that still make me wish it were a little different. And I suspect that a lot of what I say is pretty subjective, so please, everyone, chime in and let me know if you agree/disagree with my points:
--Surfulater's edit mode/pencil thing is much better now. But it's still just a little annoying simply because there IS an edit mode. I think edit mode should be assumed for all things. So I should be able to click right in the area and begin editing. Not even the fraction of the second that I have to hold the mouse. It should be immediate. All other outliners and note-takiing software do it this way and I think most of us expect it. Evernote is immediate, mybase is immediate, all the dozens of regular tree-heirarchy programs are immediate, I think Suruflater should be immediate also if it is to be a note-taking application.
--Basic Interface. I'm still not a fan of the header columns for every note (title, description, comments, etc.). I just don't like the space that is used for it and the structure it forces me to have (just listen to my part of the podcast!). I'd rather have a completely blank slate. The headers may be good for organizing collected webpages, which was Surfulater's initial purpose, but for notetaking, I think we want just a blank slate. And nevf was kind enough to make a "note" template for me, but even that had to have a row taken up just for the header that said "note". I know it's very picky, but still. For collecting notes, I like the interface to be as compact as possible and just the blank rectangle that is immediately editable as soon as I click on it.
--The scroll design. Surfulater and Evernote both implement a scroll design. Surfulater's design is more advanced because it can be sorted many ways, not just chronologically like Evernote. but I don't think the scroll works for me. I like to see just the one note that I'm focuse upon. However, I know that other people love the scroll, and I can't deny it's practical usefulness. So I'm just being really personal here. I guess what I'm saying is, I don't like the scroll, but if I had to use a scroll, I like the way Surfulater does it.
--Focus "jumping". In Surfulater, when you edit a note, the screen jumps to position the note you are editing automatically to the top of the screen. I find this frustrating. I'd rather just have the screen stay wherever it is when I decide to edit a note. This is especially annoying combined with the fact that it is a scroll display, so if you edit something at the bottom of the page, then all of a sudden it jumps to the top, and you kind of lose track of it for a split second.
--Webpage capturing. This is probably just a problem with me or it should go under the official "bug" thread on the Surfulater forum, but I'll just mention it here. I've always had a problem having the pictures show up when I capture content from Surfulater. I always get the broken red "x" icon for pictures, I don't know why. The same content appears fine when captured in Evernote or Mybase (for an actual example, I just recently tried capturing the frontpage content of cnn.com). I think Evernote captures webpages the best out of all three programs, I've never had problems with it. Another thing I like about Evernote's handling of captured webpages is that once the page is captured inside Evernote, it handles like a note instead of still acting like a webpage. For example, when the cursor passes over a link, it doesn't turn into the hand (where one click will send you to the webpage). The only way to follow a link is to double-click on it. Both Surfulater and Mybase do the opposite with captured pages. It still acts just like a webpage with the one-click hand thing. I don't like that because once I'm out of my browser, my mentality reverts to double-click mode. For reference, I also did not like when Windows introduced the web-like one-click mode for the Windows user interface, where everything in Windows acts like a webpage. I hated that and turn it off always. I have trouble when people have it turned on their comptuers, and you forget that single-clicking a file will actually open it and if you just want to select it, you just leave the mouse briefly hovering over the item. That's how I feel with applications that bring the webpage feel to the software. That's why I prefer Evernotes handling of captured content to Surfulater or Mybase. I am also positive that I may totally "old-school" in my thinking on this, and there are tons of people who think otherwise.
In conclusion, I love Surfulater, and I love the design that is at the foundation of the program, but I have major trouble committing to it because of several minor, superficial issues. I really feel a lot of physical space is wasted in surfulater because of the headings and other interface elements. I know that when I use the typical outliner like Keynote and Mybase, I can fit 3 times the amount of text and content on one screen than I can with Surfulater. I even feel Evernote is just a tad bulky also, but not as much as Surfulater since it doesn't have any headers and stuff.