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Last post Author Topic: General brainstorming for Note-taking software  (Read 506808 times)

rjbull

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Re: General brainstorming for Note-taking software
« Reply #75 on: March 09, 2006, 03:47:11 AM »
And, rjbull, as far as fully indexed searching, well...YES!  Why?  Because fully indexed searching will allow the program to have the search-as-you-type filter

It's the key to FAST and PRECISE text retrieval, including Boolean searches.  It should help with things like proximity searches too, e.g. ACRYL?(2N)BEAD? = find the stem "acryl" (acrylic, acrylate, acrylated etc.) within two words of the stem "bead."



rjbull

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Re: General brainstorming for Note-taking software
« Reply #76 on: March 09, 2006, 04:16:47 AM »
I don't understand what Dialog does...I'm on their page right now.

Superboyac,

Dialog is a large collection of large databases, mostly of peer-reviewed journals and the like.  It includes, for example, about 16 databases on patents alone; plus equivalent and generally large classes of journal databases on chemistry, pharmaceuticals, financial, business intelligence, marketing, general news, agriculture, products, brands and trademarks, aerospace, and I could go on.  For quality of information, it knocks the Internet into a cocked hat, but depending on what you want it can be very expensive.  The company I work for spends about $7,000 per year on Dialog, the great majority of it on patent searches.

One of the good things about Dialog  is a command language that gives you precise searching.  You can build up the search bit by bit, e.g. something like this:

s1  (toner? or developer?)
s2  (acrylic or acrylated or acrylate)(2n)bead?
s3  s1 and s2     #  combine first two searches
s4  s3/eng         # limit to English language only

So that's where I'm coming from, and perhaps you can see why I'm interested in powerful database systems rather than hierarchical trees.  There are few such systems available at low cost.  The only one I can think of is the DOS program Inmagic, which was declared freeware when Inmagic Corp. launched their Windows version, DB/TextWorks.  And if you have to ask the price of that, you can't afford it...

Inmagic links:
Third-party view of Inmagic  for DOS
Inmagic Corp. DB/TextWorks

EverMike

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Re: General brainstorming for Note-taking software
« Reply #77 on: March 11, 2006, 05:17:04 PM »
Hey guys,

I work at EverNote Corp, and have been fascinated by all the great comments on this thread. It's wonderful to be able to read about the things that serious users like and dislike about note-taking programs, including specifics about individual programs that you've looked at personally.

That said, I was a little disappointed to see that EverNote didn't get more coverage and enthusiasm. I'm guessing it's because EverNote was described as having "a unique, quirky navigation style" and -- more to the point -- it only allows you to see your notes in chronological order.

While it's true (today, at least) that notes are ordered chronologically, I thought I should point out the main strengths of EverNote with the invitation that you might want to give it another look.

CAPTURE: EverNote makes it really easy to capture content from anywhere. In the top Tool Bar of web browsers like IE and Firefox, you get a Web Clipper button that with one click sends the current webpage or selected content to a new EverNote note behind the scenes. (In just a few weeks we are adding a Clipper button for Outlook as well.) What's more, you can turn on options to call up EverNote from anywhere with Ctrl+Alt+N, or to send the currently pasted content in the Clipboard to EverNote from anywhere with Ctrl+Alt+V. You can also easily drag-n-drop content or file names directly from the File Explorer to EverNote.

ORGANIZE: In addition to organizing your notes chronologically in one long scrollable tape (so you don't have to open notes one-at-a-time to see what you want), EverNote offers Auto Categories that can automatically categorize notes for you in various ways: by Date (created before or after a specified date), by Content Type (Web clip, Outlook clip, Word clip, etc.), by Content Format (plain text, HTML text, template, digital ink, rich text), by Included Elements (graphic images, photos, encryption, file links, voice notes, video, To Do state, previous versions), by Category State (uncategorized, deleted, history notes, To Do Open, To Do Closed), or -- most importantly -- by whether or not a note contains specific keywords.

Of course, you can also create as many Manual Categories as you like, and assign as many of them (like tags) to a single note as you like, just by dragging the category name(s) to the note. Furthermore, Categories act as both tags and tree structure, since you can have as many levels of subcategories as you like. You can also have duplicate category names in several locations as well as shortcut categories that contain the same notes as the original, and intersection of categories to find all notes that have been assigned one category AND another.

FIND: EverNote makes it really easy to find your notes later, in any combination of the 5 following ways:

* By Auto Category
* By Manual Category
* By Look (scrolling the tape with our special Accelerator Scrollbar)
* By Date (a single click anywhere in the Time Band)
* ...and most importantly, by Keyword SmartSearch, which filters your tape to display found notes literally as fast as you can type.

In other words, EverNote is really a quite simple but powerful program that – once you appreciate the basic idea behind it – is really an easier and more efficient product for keeping your notes.

I know this probably sounds like marketing-speak, but it's really not my intention. I just hope that you'll give EverNote another (or first!) look and post to the forum what you think. Also, you might want to see what Walt Mossberg of the Wall Street Journal says about EverNote at http://ptech.wsj.com.../ptech-20050811.html.

mouser

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Re: General brainstorming for Note-taking software
« Reply #78 on: March 11, 2006, 10:07:24 PM »
welcome to the site mike!
thoughtfull developer comments like this are always welcome here.

ps. if evernote is interested in offering a discount to members here and donating a few copied for us to give away, don't hesitate to email me (mouser@donationcoder.com).

superboyac

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Re: General brainstorming for Note-taking software
« Reply #79 on: March 12, 2006, 02:53:05 AM »
EverMike, thanks for adding to our discussion!  By the way, that would probably be me that made the comments you mention about Evernote.  Don't get me wrong, I think that Evernote, like Surfulater, is an extremely interesting addition to the notetaking category.  My criticism, like the comments I made about Surfulater, are more of just me thinking out loud and brainstorming about how I would like this genre to progress in the future.  I truly mean it in the most constructive manner.

Now that I have the qualifications out of the way...

Evernote, of all the notetaking software I've tried recently, was the one software that made me perk up and say, "Wow, that's really cool!  I never would have thought to do it that way."  Honestly, I think the program has A LOT of potential, and I also believe that it is still in it's primitive stages as far as a highly practical and robust notetaking software.  About the chronological order thing, if you read my original post more closely, I already mentioned that notes can be automatically categorized and manually, also.  What I meant was that even AFTER the notes were categorized, the notes can only be shown chronologically STILL.  I mention this because after using Evernote for a while and amassing a large number of notes, I found that even once the views were reduced to specific category views, I felt that I'd still like to have some manual control as to how to order the notes.  Whether it is alphabetically (with some sort of title text), or just a totally manual placement of notes.  That is really what I meant from my comments.

Also, as far as auto-assigning of categories, the variety of methods to do this is (in my opinion) pretty limited.  I will look into it more, but I'm sure some people here who are more familiar with tags and labeling methods will have better suggestions on what kind of features they would want in something that is automitically assigned.  I can't remember what I tried doing a while back that I felt limited by...if I remember I will post it here.

All in all, Evernote is one of the very few notetaking softwares that I am holding my breath for.  I use it on a Daily basis, but in a limited manner, because of the chronological thing.  I use another software for my main collection of information, but I still use Evernote as kind of my virtual post it...when I don't want to think of how to organize information or just write something down on the run, or to capture a quick web thing, I use Evernote, because I know that I can quickly retrieve it with the best-in-class search feature.  Here's what I would like Evernote to do in the future:

--Have more control over organization of notes displayed.  I understand this can be a complicated problem because unlike typical tree-heirarchy notes, where it's easy to move things up and down, in Evernote, categories and labels are used, so notes can appear in multiple places, so defining a "solid" position for a note is difficult.  Personally, I have no idea what the solution is, I'd just like to see it happen!

--In the tree on the left where the categories are, I'd like to be able to show some kind of title text for each note so I can see which notes are included in that category.  Right now, notes have no titles, it's just the content of the note.  Sometimes, when there are a lot of notes in the category, you're not sure where exactly that note is, or even if it's in that category, and if the notes themselves are large notes, you have to scroll around forever to find it.  (I know the search can quickly filter the notes down, but sometimes you're not even sure what to search for!)

--There's something weird about attaching pictures to the notes and trying to resize them.  Usually they are too big, and resizing them was really difficult.  It should be a matter os simply grabbing a corner of the picture and dragging.  Now, you have to go into fullscreen mode, and do some fairly non-intuitive dragging around the border or something.

For those of you that haven't tried Evernote...try it.  It is truly unique and may be exactly what you are looking for.  By the way, Evermike, Evernote rocks!

EverMike

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Re: General brainstorming for Note-taking software
« Reply #80 on: March 12, 2006, 05:51:19 PM »
Quote
--In the tree on the left where the categories are, I'd like to be able to show some kind of title text for each note so I can see which notes are included in that category.  Right now, notes have no titles, it's just the content of the note.  Sometimes, when there are a lot of notes in the category, you're not sure where exactly that note is, or even if it's in that category, and if the notes themselves are large notes, you have to scroll around forever to find it.  (I know the search can quickly filter the notes down, but sometimes you're not even sure what to search for!)
Superboyac,

Thanks for this feedback. I hope you'll be glad to hear that we have "title view of notes" very high on our list of features that we plan to add in the coming months. In the meantime, I should also mention that there's a Shorten Notes toggle button at the top of EverNote that shortens all the notes displayed on your tape to just a few lines, which makes scrolling much faster.

Quote
--There's something weird about attaching pictures to the notes and trying to resize them.  Usually they are too big, and resizing them was really difficult.  It should be a matter os simply grabbing a corner of the picture and dragging.  Now, you have to go into fullscreen mode, and do some fairly non-intuitive dragging around the border or something.

Yes, our approach is unconventional, and we are planning to get this changed. Currently, as you've mentioned, you go to Full Screen mode for a given note (it's just one mouse click), and then drag the top border of the image you want to resize.

As others explore EverNote, I'll be happy to respond to any concerns, questions, or suggestions for improvements.

Thanks!

superboyac

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Re: General brainstorming for Note-taking software
« Reply #81 on: March 13, 2006, 12:33:07 AM »
Glad to hear of the developments, EverMike.

I have been enormously tempted to transfer all of my main notes to Evernote many times, but I just can't do it yet.  Hopefully, with the new features I'll be more comfortable.  Thanks for you ears!

rjbull

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Re: General brainstorming for Note-taking software
« Reply #82 on: March 13, 2006, 03:57:42 AM »
whether or not a note contains specific keywords.

EverMike,

Do you really mean "keywords," i.e. specially assigned words, or do you mean searching full text for particular words?


superboyac

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Re: General brainstorming for Note-taking software
« Reply #83 on: March 13, 2006, 10:54:19 AM »
Quote
EverMike,

Do you really mean "keywords," i.e. specially assigned words, or do you mean searching full text for particular words?

I'll try to answer for him.  What he meant was, when talking about automatically assigning notes to categories, you can set up a category to include all notes that have certain keywords in them.  So if that keyword is anywhere in the note, that note will automatically be placed in that category.  For example, you can set up a category to include all notes that have the word "rjbull".  If you click on that category now in the list on the left side of the screen, then the notes will be filtered down to all the rjbull notes.

EverMike

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Re: General brainstorming for Note-taking software
« Reply #84 on: March 13, 2006, 11:06:11 AM »
Well said!

superboyac

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Re: General brainstorming for Note-taking software
« Reply #85 on: March 13, 2006, 05:16:43 PM »
Has anyone here used the Zoot software?

It looks very interesting, and I tried it once but never got my head around it and gave up.  Part of the reason why I gave up was because I thought it would be useful as an addressbook, but it turned out to be way too much for just an addressbook.  However, as a general note management utility, it looks like it's very powerful, and I know in the yahoo group, people are very big on it.  Can someone give a quick, in laymen's terms, summary of what is unique about it and why it is useful?

mouser

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Re: General brainstorming for Note-taking software
« Reply #86 on: March 13, 2006, 09:51:26 PM »
zoot looks quite nice. (http://www.zootsoftware.com/)

rjbull

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Re: General brainstorming for Note-taking software
« Reply #87 on: March 14, 2006, 03:34:26 AM »
if that keyword is anywhere in the note, that note will automatically be placed in that category.

OK, thanks; I think I see and that could be quite useful.  But, do you have to know in advance what your keywords are going to be?  Or can you decide at some later date that you need new/different ones and have EverNote build new categories?

superboyac

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Re: General brainstorming for Note-taking software
« Reply #88 on: March 14, 2006, 09:38:37 AM »
Quote
OK, thanks; I think I see and that could be quite useful.  But, do you have to know in advance what your keywords are going to be?  Or can you decide at some later date that you need new/different ones and have EverNote build new categories?

No, you don't have to know in advance.  You can do it whenever.  Once the category is created, all the notes will be automatically placed there.  I think that is the benefit of fully indexed searching (I may not know what I'm talking about here!).

EverMike

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Re: General brainstorming for Note-taking software
« Reply #89 on: March 14, 2006, 01:03:42 PM »
Quote
OK, thanks; I think I see and that could be quite useful.  But, do you have to know in advance what your keywords are going to be?  Or can you decide at some later date that you need new/different ones and have EverNote build new categories?

Quote
No, you don't have to know in advance.  You can do it whenever.  Once the category is created, all the notes will be automatically placed there.  I think that is the benefit of fully indexed searching (I may not know what I'm talking about here!).

One more thing: once the new keyword category is created, EverNote not only tags all past notes you ever created with that keyword; it also tags any future notes with that keyword you might create.

superboyac

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Re: General brainstorming for Note-taking software
« Reply #90 on: March 14, 2006, 05:01:34 PM »
zoot looks quite nice. (http://www.zootsoftware.com/)

Yes, doesn't it?  I'm finding it more and more interesting.  I've been inspired to go through 60 pages of tutorials.  I will post more later, once I have a better understanding of what it can do.

PS (what's with the 16-bit look?  and that price tag?  eesh!)
« Last Edit: March 14, 2006, 05:06:50 PM by superboyac »

superboyac

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Re: General brainstorming for Note-taking software
« Reply #91 on: March 14, 2006, 05:51:06 PM »
Wow, Zoot is awesome.  i don't want to get into a fullblown discussion right now but here's my very quick analysis of Zoot:

Zoot is to information collection (text only) as The Bat! is to email.

Really.

rjbull

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Re: General brainstorming for Note-taking software
« Reply #92 on: March 15, 2006, 04:07:37 AM »
EverNote not only tags all past notes you ever created with that keyword; it also tags any future notes with that keyword you might create.

Thanks!  I still wish the download wasn't so enormous, but it sounds worth looking at.


rjbull

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Re: General brainstorming for Note-taking software
« Reply #93 on: March 15, 2006, 04:17:45 AM »
Zoot:

PS (what's with the 16-bit look?  and that price tag?  eesh!)

I seem to remember hearing that Zoot looks 16-bit because it is 16-bit, and this is one of the issues even long-term users have with it.  That is, it's still waiting to be updated to 32-bit.  I agree it's expensive, but it's competing in the same kind of commercial class as things like AskSam, InfoSelect and UltraRecall.

More on Zoot, AskSam and InfoSelect on John Buckman's outliners page (sadly out of date, but still the best summary I've seen)






superboyac

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Re: General brainstorming for Note-taking software
« Reply #94 on: March 15, 2006, 10:36:00 AM »
Yeah, I've seen that webpage by John Buckham.  It's pretty good, but like you said, old.  I just went on the Zoot forum and noticed that it is indeed 16-bit, and it is an issue with a lot of people there.  By the way, I noticed that nevf posts there also (hey neville!)

Ultrarecall and InfoSelect, I don't know, I'm not too impressed by them.  They do a lot, that's for sure, but I really feel we gotta get out of the whole tree-heirarchy thing.  That's why I'm liking Zoot a lot right now, and why I feel Surfulater and Evernote are promising.

I'm going to try AskSam again.  I tried it before, but, again, I was only looking for an addressbook at the time, so I felt it was too much.  Now that I'm in a different mindset, I'll try it again.

superboyac

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Re: General brainstorming for Note-taking software
« Reply #95 on: March 15, 2006, 10:40:59 AM »
By the way, can someone please explain what the big deal about Ecco Pro is?  I understand that it was an awesome program back in the day, but is it still all that awesome even with our modern expectations?

I've tried it many times, and I'm always left wondering what's so great about it.  Yeah, it's outlining is nice, but the whole thing is so old fashioned, I can't get over it.

Rover

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Re: General brainstorming for Note-taking software
« Reply #96 on: March 15, 2006, 10:56:37 AM »
By the way, can someone please explain what the big deal about Ecco Pro is?  I understand that it was an awesome program back in the day, but is it still all that awesome even with our modern expectations?

I've tried it many times, and I'm always left wondering what's so great about it.  Yeah, it's outlining is nice, but the whole thing is so old fashioned, I can't get over it.
Here lies one of the big problems in UI programming.  Ecco Pro is an example of Functionality over Form.  The foks who still use and swear by Ecco don't want or need eye candy; they want to get a job done.  More than that, Ecco works in a way that they relate to very well.  It makes sense to them.  (You can substitue any old Loved app here.  Word Perfect is a good example).

A lot of bad software starts with the phrase, "Wouldn't it be cool if..."
A lot of really great software starts the same way.  The tricky bit is that the great software also has a good answer to "Why would that be cool?"

So, what are your "modern expectations?"  That it do something really well and solve your problem or that it look like puffed candy and have more features than you'll ever use?  Or something in between?   :D
Insert Brilliant Sig line here

superboyac

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Re: General brainstorming for Note-taking software
« Reply #97 on: March 15, 2006, 11:00:56 AM »
RE: AskSam

Nope, this is not what I'm looking for.  AskSam is more of a document management tool, kind of like the many desktop searches out there, but more powerful, apparently.  So that leaves me with Zoot, as far the "expensive" programs go.  Here's my quick recap so far:

Zoot:
If you're dealing with a lot of just plain text, this is probably the best program, although I still haven't really used it.  Big learning curve.

Surfulater:
The best tool to capture clips, mostly web clips.  But there are plans to turn it into a full-blown notetaking tool also.  Lot's of potential, lots of flexibility.

Evernote:
Very innovative approach, unique interface.  Functions similar to Zoot as far as automatic assigning of categories.  Not as powerful as Zoot as far as organization.  Can capture webclips very well, and has a lot of modern feature not in Zoot, such as outlining and richtext.  Like Surfulater, it's a young program, and it looks like it will be adding a lot of useful features.

superboyac

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Re: General brainstorming for Note-taking software
« Reply #98 on: March 15, 2006, 11:14:32 AM »
By the way, can someone please explain what the big deal about Ecco Pro is?  I understand that it was an awesome program back in the day, but is it still all that awesome even with our modern expectations?

I've tried it many times, and I'm always left wondering what's so great about it.  Yeah, it's outlining is nice, but the whole thing is so old fashioned, I can't get over it.
Here lies one of the big problems in UI programming.  Ecco Pro is an example of Functionality over Form.  The foks who still use and swear by Ecco don't want or need eye candy; they want to get a job done.  More than that, Ecco works in a way that they relate to very well.  It makes sense to them.  (You can substitue any old Loved app here.  Word Perfect is a good example).

A lot of bad software starts with the phrase, "Wouldn't it be cool if..."
A lot of really great software starts the same way.  The tricky bit is that the great software also has a good answer to "Why would that be cool?"

So, what are your "modern expectations?"  That it do something really well and solve your problem or that it look like puffed candy and have more features than you'll ever use?  Or something in between?   :D

I hear you.  No, I am totally against the "cool" UI stuff.  I hate the bubbly, shiny look lots of softwares go for now trying to emulate the Mac style.  I'm more of a simple, functional, minimalist UI guy.

Actually, I'm looking at Ecco right now, and I see what makes it so nice, despite it's old-fashioned look.  It's kind of the same reason why I liked Pegasus so much before I switched to the bat.  Even though the look is old and unconventional, it is highly functional, highly customizable, and powerful.  However, I think I will rule Ecco out of this discussion because this thread is simply for notetaking and Ecco does so much more than just that, and it's notetaking features are not up to par with the other strictly notetaking programs we are considering right now.  This is the same reason why i would also rule out a program like InfoSelect, it just does too much.

You know, it might be interesting for notetaking programs to incorporate Ecco's style of outlining.  Most of the programs now just offer the typical bullet or numbering system that seems to come default with Windows.  If, instead, they used a collapsable, more interactive outliner like in Ecco, I think a lot of users would appreciate that.

patteo

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Re: General brainstorming for Note-taking software
« Reply #99 on: March 15, 2006, 11:38:00 AM »
I have used PIMs for as long as I can remember, eg like Polaris Packrat, Ecco Pro.

They were very good during their time.

Ecco Pro is still an excellent Outliner and I still use it as such. Nothing I know can compare with it's flexibility and ease of use.

I no longer use it other than as an Outliner, although in my past life, I could safely say I lived in it, Contacts, Calendar, Tasks, Notes and all - All my information was in it.

Because of "modern expectations" I hate to say I have migrated PIM functions, I have to admit to Outlook (gulp !) and Pocket Informant www.pocketinformant.com

They make a great laptop/PDA combination because of the Synchronization ability.

I hardly open my Outlook other than to pick up my Gmail so that it would synch with my PDA ( :-[) as basically I can access my contacts, appointments and task and email etc on my PDA.

Basically it was the launch of free Outlook that killed the development of Ecco Pro.

So I would recommend that you invest some time to get used to the Outlining aspect of it.

It's really a great outliner for organising your thoughts because of its sheer flexibility and I find myself keep coming to it even after trying many so called alternatives mentioned in http://www.john.redm....com/organizers.html

See also http://www.prociainc...ccorefugee/alter.htm on why the search was so hard for many.