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Author Topic: General brainstorming for Note-taking software  (Read 391984 times)
mouser
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« Reply #25 on: February 26, 2006, 04:00:59 AM »

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nevf
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« Reply #26 on: February 26, 2006, 04:50:58 AM »


I wonder if it would be useful or even practical to combine the typical heirarchical system with the labeling system somehow?  Or have both options available in the same program?  Does anyone think that's even possible, without causing mass confusion, or a breakdown of the organizational system?

High on the todo list for Surfulater is the addition of tags/keywords in addition to the existing tree, and a range of ways to view content based on tags. It will be very interesting to see how this pans out use wise, but I have high hopes. Time and users will tell. smiley I certainly don't expect mass confusion. Some folks will use tags, others the tree, and some both.

FYI Surfulater has the ability to store the same article in as many folders as you want, with there only ever being one physical instance of the article. This resolves the common problem of what folder should something go in.
 
I've written several pieces on my blog and the Surfulater forums about the limitations of tree's, especially as they get larger and larger. I've also spent quite some time looking at alternative ways of displaying tree's such as 2D & 3D graphs but IMO they don't help much. If you had 21 inch or bigger monitors it might be a different story.
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kfitting
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« Reply #27 on: February 26, 2006, 06:34:59 AM »

Tags are what note taking programs need most!  I use Opera M2 for email and they use a database approach to email also.  It's awesome to just create a filter and look at the mail that fits the criteria... no moving, no hassle.  Note taking software ought to allow the user to throw stuff in, make a few connections, then allow the user to go back edit those relationships and create new ones.  The same bit of information should be able to be viewed from anywhere the user determines it's useful.  That's the biggest problem with Keynote now (though i still use it everyday!).  I have posted on this subject so much I'm probably boring those who have seen it before, but this is one feature that note-taking programs should implement soon!  Take a look at Novo Libero, or Neomem for examples of programs going this route.  TreeDBNotes has a limited function called password/contacts which mimics in those two special cases... they ought to expand it.  They already use a database backend, let's use it!!

Kevin

Kevin
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nevf
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« Reply #28 on: February 26, 2006, 02:09:54 PM »

i was certainly impressed with surfulater but after some use i do miss features that i would have thought basic requirements.

nudone, could you please elaborate - thanks.
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Neville Franks, "Save anything you see on the Web or on your PC" with Surfulater
nevf
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« Reply #29 on: February 26, 2006, 02:56:00 PM »

Hi nevf, I hope I didn't offend you with any of my comments...

Let me ask a couple of questions:
1)  Could you provide a more detailed description of what Surfulator is specifically designed for?  It would help us sort out it's role among all these information collection programs.

...

superboyac, I'm not easily offended and have been in this business far too long to let things get to me. And anyway there was nothing to offend in the first place.

Surfulater's prime goal is to allow information from the WWW to be captured, permanently saved, and then easily found again. It is a tool that anyone who spends any time using the Web to research information would find usefull. On top of that it lets you annotate, edit, and link related content together to build a web of related information. It includes a very fast full text boolean search engine, so you can find information quickly and easily.

On top of that Surfulater comes with a variety of Article Templates such as Contact List, Music Catalog, Todo List, Code Snippet etc. which enable it to be used as a PIM. End users can add their own templates or modify the ones we provide. Down the track we'll be include template editing capabilities within Surfulater. In essence this enables Surfulater to be used as a flexible free form database.

Surfulater also enables content to be gathered from other Windows applications via. the Windows Clipboard. You can create new records using a Hotkey or easily append clipboard content to existing records. And you can attach or link to any files on your PC. Attached files are stored within the Surfulater database. These can be Word documents, ZIP files, PDF files etc. Click on the attachment and it is opened in its native application.

This range of capture and gather capabilities make it easy to bring together diverse content from a variety of sources, to one place where it can be managed, organized and found.

Surfulater is built on top of a very powerful and extensible engine that enables us to develop the product into new areas and add new capabilities we may not have even thought of yet. Part of this is its use of XML for the main database and HTML for presentation. XML means your data is open and accessible vs. locked away in a proprietary database. And of course HTML is very good for presenting information. You can read more about this in "Surfulater, Under the Hood and Down the Road" http://blog.surfulater.co...e-hood-and-down-the-road/

I've been writing and using Software for a long time and am sick of all the developers who seem to think that the more features they add and the more ways of doing something the better. Another goal with Surfulater is to keep it as simple and as uncluttered as possible. I've written about this in my "Creeping Featuritis" blog post at http://blog.surfulater.co...6/17/creeping-featuritis/ and other places.

An important factor for software developers is that they have to have a need for their product in their own lives. They have to be using it on a daily basis and have to intimately understand their users needs. They also need a long term commitment to their products and customers.

I have lots of plans for Surfulater and you will see it build on its existing core to open it up to new uses and enable more ways to access and organize information. Stay tuned.

For more information visit the Surfulater web site http://www.surfulater.com, the blog http://blog.surfulater.com and the support forums http://www.softasitgets.com
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nudone
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« Reply #30 on: February 26, 2006, 03:38:05 PM »

i'll try to spend a bit more time with surfulator this week and then i'll post my suggestions. truth is, that when i went back into surfulator the other day i found it actually did what i was saying it didn't do. another truth is, that i've not made the effort to get to grips with all the features of surfulator so i wouldn't be surprised if i've missed out on a few other crucial features. my previous comment about basic requirements not being met is therefore a bit unfair.

i shall attempt to add a few worthwhile suggestions in a few days.
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superboyac
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« Reply #31 on: February 27, 2006, 11:03:43 AM »

Hi nevf, glad to hear you're open to discussions.  Cool!

So, thanks for the description of your software, that really helps.  However, from playing with surfulater and reading your description and plans for the future, I have to say that I'm pretty much convinced that you are going to be in pretty much direct competition with Mybase.  I just don't see it otherwise.  The only major difference so far is that you started out with the idea of capturing content as the basis for the program, and the other features were added later...whereas Mybase went the other way, where they started out as a information organizer, and the web capturing tool came later.  So needless to say, Surfulater is more advanced as far as a capturing tool, and Mybase is more advanced as an information organizer.  TO the end user, though, the two programs perform almost identical tasks, and hopefully, one of them will become the undisputed leader (hopefully!  So at least we can have some peace of mind! ha).

Personally, I like the direction you're headed with Surfulater, and your philosophies behind it.  I will use Surfulater a bit more, and then I will write more about what I feel is missing and what are it's strengths right now.  I wasn't too clear from your blog, but it looks like you're not going to be able to avoid making Surfulater a full-fledged notetaking program.  My reason for this is the following:

Let's assume Surfulater is the best way to capture information from the web.  Unless Surfulater is ALSO not one of the best notetaking programs, then where are we going to store and organize the information?  Are we going to use Surfulater to capture the information, but then port it somehow to another program that is a more powerful notetaking application or organizer?  I don't think so, that would be very frustrating.  Anyway, I'll have more thoughts on this later.
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« Reply #32 on: February 27, 2006, 04:46:45 PM »

Let's assume Surfulater is the best way to capture information from the web.  Unless Surfulater is ALSO not one of the best notetaking programs, then where are we going to store and organize the information?  Are we going to use Surfulater to capture the information, but then port it somehow to another program that is a more powerful notetaking application or organizer?  I don't think so, that would be very frustrating.  Anyway, I'll have more thoughts on this later.

That is exactly the dilemma no one has been able to resolve yet.  Right now you have to use a program like NetSnippets/OnFolio/Surfulater with a program like MyBase/KeyNote/WinOrganizer.  Programs like OneNote and TexNotes have been headed in the right direction, but I must say TexNotes is so much bloat, I find it very frustrating to use.  I couldn't agree more with superboyac, you can't have two programs managing your information - clipboard use, notetaking, webclipping and file clipping all fall together, it's exactly where OneNote is heading (although i doubt microsoft will get it right, because they don't understand the idea of making things fully customizable or flexible from the users end).  Anyways, here is to the second wave of programs trying to get this right, like MyBase & Surfulater, hope they can do it.
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superboyac
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« Reply #33 on: February 27, 2006, 07:14:10 PM »

True, vegas...I totally think TexNotes is bloat and does way more than is necessary.  I was impressed with OneNote at first, especially considering it was a Microsoft product, but then I discovered these other smaller sharewares and I thought they do it much better.  (Funny thing, I actually got a free Onenote from MS last year...that was pretty cool).  WinOrganizer is okay also, but it does too much also, and I feel like it has a bit too much emphasis on style rather than content.

Mybase and Surfulater seem to hold the most promise at this moment, as far as the future of these programs is concerned.  I know mouser was interested in tackling this category (bold move!), so you know if he did it, it would be done right.  I'm a Keynote fan, so as it stands right now, I feel that Mybase is "there" more so than Surfulater.  But after reading about Surfulater's future, I have a feeling that it will be there in the future also.  (Like I mentioned before, I will have some additional comments about Surfulater later.)  Surfulater is far more advanced as far as capturing information than Mybase, but since I'm not doing too much more than just text clips anyway, I'm not at a point where I need to capture a lot of complex type of information.  Sometimes, if I can't capture a webpage, all I need to do is copy the text usually.

But, the last couple of days, I've really become convinced that the capturing tool has to be complemented by a full-featured notetaking application...and with me, personally, the note-taking features take precedence over the capturing.  What I mean by that is that if I had to choose between one or the other (notetaking or capturing), I would give up capturing before I gave up notetaking.  And I think a lot of former Keynote users would feel the same way, because Keynote had no capturing abilities whatsoever, and it is considered one of the best applications in this genre. 
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« Reply #34 on: February 27, 2006, 08:01:44 PM »

I like where this discussion is going... because I too am in favor of the note-side of things!  Real quick note:  Keynote did have capturing capability.  It was a fledgling start but compared to many other apps of it's time it was special.

But, I have to jump back on my soapbox, sorry!  Note programs need to be able to store and relate information... this ought to be the primary function.  I should be able to build very rigid structures (a la Keynote) but I should also be able to build weak relationships and strengthen them over time.  And now, before I go off on a wild-eyed tangential dream (and repeat myself!)... I go.

Kevin
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superboyac
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« Reply #35 on: February 27, 2006, 11:05:33 PM »

Quote
I like where this discussion is going... because I too am in favor of the note-side of things!  Real quick note:  Keynote did have capturing capability.  It was a fledgling start but compared to many other apps of it's time it was special.

But, I have to jump back on my soapbox, sorry!  Note programs need to be able to store and relate information... this ought to be the primary function.  I should be able to build very rigid structures (a la Keynote) but I should also be able to build weak relationships and strengthen them over time.  And now, before I go off on a wild-eyed tangential dream (and repeat myself!)... I go.

Kevin

Ah yes, the tag/label thing.  I do agree with this also.  It would be extremely powerful to be able to build relationships instead of just a simple heirarchy.  I think the fundamental difference here is that a note won't be restricted to one location, but can be shared between several categories.  Like a note about Screenshot Captor can be under the categories of "Windows Utilities" and "Graphics Utilities", but the note itself is a single note, not copied in two places.  That is powerful indeed.

This is what Evernote can do, but Evernote is still somewhat restrictive in it's approach because while you can have categories like you mentioned, the fundamental sorting method in it is strictly chronological.  So if you have, say, hundreds of notes, it can be a bit messy to use because even if you go to a single category, it's difficult to find a note if their are a lot of them, because they will simply be displayed top to bottom in chronological order.

So I guess we want our cake and eat it, too!  We want to be able to have the traditional heirarchy, but we also want the notes to be governed by relationships.  Here's what I propose:  the categories or labels can be structured in the tree/heirarchy format, but the individual notes can be placed in multiple branches of that tree.  Again, I think Evernote is a living example of this right now, if you want to try it out.  Maybe Gmail can do this also...confirmation BrotherS?

PS  I wasn't aware of Keynote's capturing abilities!
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brotherS
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« Reply #36 on: February 28, 2006, 02:19:28 AM »

Here's what I propose:  the categories or labels can be structured in the tree/heirarchy format, but the individual notes can be placed in multiple branches of that tree. Maybe Gmail can do this also...confirmation BrotherS?
Google Mail does show the labels in a alphabetical order, and you can label every email with as many labels as you like - I don't label some at all, many get one label, and then some get two or three labels.
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nevf
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« Reply #37 on: February 28, 2006, 05:30:35 AM »

... It would be extremely powerful to be able to build relationships instead of just a simple heirarchy.  I think the fundamental difference here is that a note won't be restricted to one location, but can be shared between several categories.  Like a note about Screenshot Captor can be under the categories of "Windows Utilities" and "Graphics Utilities", but the note itself is a single note, not copied in two places.  That is powerful indeed.

Surfulater works this way. There is only ever one physical instance of a 'note', but it can be in as many tree folders as you want.

Surfulater also lets you link related 'notes' together so you build a web of related information. This is very useful.

Quote
So I guess we want our cake and eat it, too!  We want to be able to have the traditional heirarchy, but we also want the notes to be governed by relationships.  Here's what I propose:  the categories or labels can be structured in the tree/heirarchy format, but the individual notes can be placed in multiple branches of that tree.  Again, I think Evernote is a living example of this right now, if you want to try it out. 

I don't see a tight connection between the hierarchical tree and tags (labels, keywords whatever).

Tags are separate organizational method which can be used in a variety of ways. For example you get a list of all tags and selecting one shows all notes which include that tag. Tags could also be used in conjunction with filtered tree views. In this mode the tree would only include notes that included a certain tag or tags. With a good implementation of tags some folks might not even use the tree.

Time to go get some sleep.
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« Reply #38 on: February 28, 2006, 05:44:55 AM »

"PS  I wasn't aware of Keynote's capturing abilities!"

Sorry if I misunderstand your sentence here, but I'm interpreting it as you want to know more. (?)  If you already know or have since found out, please disregard this post!

If you go into the Keynote options, there is a whole panel for clipboard capture.  Basically Keynote watches the clipboard and captures the clip as it comes in.  There are some format modifying that can be done, and then the clip is sent straight to the active Tab in a new note.  My main problem is that the new node cannot be named on the fly.  Even if a dialog box popped up that you could type the name in would make it more useful in my opinion. 

Kevin
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superboyac
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« Reply #39 on: February 28, 2006, 10:00:50 AM »

Quote
"PS  I wasn't aware of Keynote's capturing abilities!"

Sorry if I misunderstand your sentence here, but I'm interpreting it as you want to know more. (?)  If you already know or have since found out, please disregard this post!

If you go into the Keynote options, there is a whole panel for clipboard capture.  Basically Keynote watches the clipboard and captures the clip as it comes in.  There are some format modifying that can be done, and then the clip is sent straight to the active Tab in a new note.  My main problem is that the new node cannot be named on the fly.  Even if a dialog box popped up that you could type the name in would make it more useful in my opinion.

Kevin

Now that you mention it, I do remember that clipboard feature.  I guess I never used it at the time.  Thanks!
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« Reply #40 on: February 28, 2006, 10:15:04 AM »

Quote
Surfulater works this way. There is only ever one physical instance of a 'note', but it can be in as many tree folders as you want.

Surfulater also lets you link related 'notes' together so you build a web of related information. This is very useful.

Ah!  I didn't realize this about Surfulater at first.  Now I see some of the sophistication in the program.  Very cool!

Quote
I don't see a tight connection between the hierarchical tree and tags (labels, keywords whatever).

Tags are separate organizational method which can be used in a variety of ways. For example you get a list of all tags and selecting one shows all notes which include that tag. Tags could also be used in conjunction with filtered tree views. In this mode the tree would only include notes that included a certain tag or tags. With a good implementation of tags some folks might not even use the tree.

Time to go get some sleep.

You know, I think I agree with you here.  As my notes grow more and more in number, I'm becoming weary and tired of the whole heirarchy system.  In fact, when I'm too lazy and can't figure out exactly where a note is supposed to go, I place it in a temporary branch called "unorganzied notes".  Then I go back and place them in the correct branch later.  Of course, I wouldn't have this problem if I could assign the note multipe tags.  So, I think you've hit the nail on the head here.  But that being said, and correct me if I'm wrong here nevf, Surfulater doesn't seem to use a strictly tagging system.  It seems that Surfulater has the ability to place the note in multiple folders, but the folders are still arranged in the typical tree structure.  Maybe I am understanding this concept differently than you.

The way I am thinking about it is like in the PowerMarks program (for bookmarking internet sites).  I'll post a screenshot of it later, but in that program, there is no tree structure at all anywhere.  Instead, for each bookmark, you assign keywords (optional), and you can have the keywords displayed all in an alphabetical list in a pane on the left.  Once you select a keyword, all the bookmarks that match it will be displayed in the main pane on the right.  You know, PowerMarks might be a really good example of how to make a powerful notetaking program!  It would be kind of like Evernote in function, only better, because it would handle large amounts of notes a little more traditionally like Surfulater or Mybase and Keynote.
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« Reply #41 on: February 28, 2006, 10:44:03 AM »

I mostly agree with you... except I think that trees should still be an option.  If you're trying to write a book or write an outline you want only certain nodes in a certain order.  The final implentation should allow both.  You should be able to throw things in, but then "hard assign" them as needed (they would still be in the database pool for other groupings, but that one group would always contain it).

Kevin
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superboyac
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« Reply #42 on: February 28, 2006, 10:59:42 AM »

Quote
I mostly agree with you... except I think that trees should still be an option.  If you're trying to write a book or write an outline you want only certain nodes in a certain order.  The final implentation should allow both.  You should be able to throw things in, but then "hard assign" them as needed (they would still be in the database pool for other groupings, but that one group would always contain it).

Kevin

True...no one can complain if both options are available.  I'd love having the flexibility, that's for sure.  I think Surfulater kind of is an example of this sort of flexibility.  You can view the notes in the typical tree with all folders and notes displayed in the tree, or with just the folders displayed, and you can even see it in chronological format.  So it offers several different ways of looking at the same data.  In that respect, Surfulater offers a solution to the problem I have with Evernote, where you can really only view the data in chronological sorting.
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« Reply #43 on: February 28, 2006, 01:08:55 PM »

superboyac, Surfulater doesn't have tags at all yet, only the tree. When tags are added they will indeed work much the same as Powermarks, but do more than that.

The tree will still be there just as it is now. If you want to organize in a hierarchy go for it, if you want to use tags then do, if you want to have the best of both a hierarchy and a tags system you can. Nothing will force you into one approach or the other. I'm personally really looking forward to seeing how this works in practice.

Anyone who has worked with large tree's quickly gets frustrated. You can spend more time "working the tree" than getting useful work done. Surfulater provides several tree views such as with/without notes, only notes in a specific folder etc. which help a lot, but large tree's are still a hassle. If it gets too hard to categorize and organize information then people stop doing it and end up with a whole lot of content in an "unorganzied notes" folder as you comment on.

I've also spent some time researching automated text classification systems. The idea here is that new notes could automatically be placed in to specific folders based on their content. After talking to various people, I've decided to put this on the back burner for a while as indications are such systems don't work all that well. Further they'd most likely only be used by power users. That said I'm still interested in this, as well as too many other things. Grin
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« Reply #44 on: February 28, 2006, 02:34:46 PM »

Just a quick note on this.  During the last few weeks I downloaded a ton of programs (including the ones discussed at the beginning of this thread).  I don't see what the interest in MyBase is?  I installed this program and promptly uninstalled it because I didn't see anything I wanted to use. 

In my view (perhaps different from yours because I am an architect/law student).  I want a nice UI and easy access to my information.  The information is what it is all about.  As far as a text only programs there should be not discussion.  There are a ton of text editors that all do the same thing.  What is important is a tool that will allow you to gather information from everywhere (the web included) organize it (usually trees) and link it. Obviously the ability to grab information from the internet is important (because there is so much information out there) but you need to also be able to use simple text or import from other sources, docs, pdfs, etc. 

With this said, I am placing my bet on Surfulater.  I down loaded this program with about 20 others and it is still installed.  My process for evaluating is as follows:
1. Go to download.com and do a general search so you get as many results as possible (then do it again so you do miss it)
2. Go through the hundreds of results, read the descriptions, look at screenshots, visit homepages, and finally download promising programs.
3. Install all the promising programs (I do it while I am searching)
4. Gather all the new shortcuts on the desktop, and open each of the programs
5. If the UI sucks - uninstall the program
6. Take a closer feature look at each of the remaining programs.  Can you import the information you want? Does it work well with other programs? Can you input data easily (i.e. is the structure of the program not so restrictive that it takes to long to input simple date), etc, etc,

I did this, and have already deleted many "promising" programs.  Surfulater is still running and here is  why:

It is a web companion yes, but I can also use it to input practically anything else with the attachment and clipboard utility.  To understand the features you'd have to try it.  A good quick view of the possibly it to look at the help section - it was created in the program and is obviously not just clippings from the web.

Here are a few features I loved:
1. I can create many different "books" (that's what I am calling them).  I have created, Projects, Personal, School, and AEC.  The books are displayed as colored tabs along the top so I can quickly switch between each, and in each book I can have as many articles and folders I want. 
2. It is the best for capturing web articles.  I can download just the part I selected, the selection and the page (which appears as a thumbnail by the imported selection), or the selection and a link to the page.  The title automatically is inserted as well as a link.
3. Here come the best features - accessibility to data - to any note I can add comments, a reference, attachments, or "see also" (which creates a bi directional link to another article. 
4. Visibility - I have never seen this feature but I love it.  Next to each of the items noted above there is a minimize button so I can hide, the article and just view my comments, links, etc.  Also if I click on the "Roofs" folder I can see all the sub articles instantly without having to select each separately.
5. The clip board tool.  I am working on a project with about 100 pages of restrictions, and I am using Surfulater to organize these.  I scanned the document into PDF format.  When I read something I need to reference, I select it and copy it, then I go to Surfulater and create a new article base on this selection, then I put in my comments, i.e. what we are going to do to comply with the requirement

Anyway the possibilities are endless.  I really never write reviews for programs, but I am just extremely impressed with Surfulater.  I haven't found a program quite like it, and if you guys really want the best editor  - information compiler- possible, I would at least try it.  I still don't understand what you liked about MyBase.  I chose "General knowledge Base 2.2" over MyBase, and even that has been replaced by Surfulater...did I miss something?  I don't remember being impressed.
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superboyac
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« Reply #45 on: February 28, 2006, 11:46:43 PM »

jgiebeler, that's quite a first post.  I want to address all of your points, but I will start with your perprlexed comments regarding Mybase.  First of all, I can totally understand your reasons for asking what's the big deal about Mybase, because sometimes I find myself asking the same thing.  Here's what the good thing about mybase is:

1.  It's a very clean, FAST, efficient interface.  I know you made a point about user interfaces, but Mybase really does have a good interface.  It's not too bubbly and bulky, and buttons and the notes themselves don't take up too much space.  It runs fast, and the screen is kept very clean.  This is obviously subjective, but that's how I feel.  I'll talk about this more later, but I find Surfulater to be much more bulky than Mybase and the notes take up way too much space in my opinion.  And if you look at the other programs available, Mybase really is one of the very few that keeps their interface slim and efficient.  This is also why I think many Keynote users will like Mybase, because Keynote itself was also very slim and efficient.
2.  While it is true that Mybase is just a simple, heirarchy notetaker, the password feature is really holding me hostage to it.  You can assign a password to individual branches, and you just can't do that with Surfulater.  So that's a big plus for me.  I'll admit that Surfulater has a more advanced organization options, but the password can only be applied to the entire file, not to individual branches.
3.  Mybase has a very simple and effective way to link attachments to the file, it just lists it in a separate pane in the note, in a grid.
4.  Mybase also has a clipboard monitor, which I don't use, and it has several little utilities that make the program a little easier to use.  It has a utility to sort notes, it also has a special import/export utility.  There's a lot of little things under the hood that make it really nice.  And they are very practical things, not just fancy doodads.  And don't forget Mybase's web capturing utility, which is nice, although you can't edit the captures like in Surfulater.

So I completely understand your comments about Mybase.  The bottom line is this:  Mybase does simple notetaking very well, that's it.  It doesn't have the advanced options of Surfulater nor it's capturing ability, but that is where we might differ in what we need and how we want to use it.  When I collect information, it's just simple text, I'm talking minimally formatted (mostly unformatted) notepad-style text.  It's just information.  I don't capture too many webpages or other things that have pictures and styles to them.  I don't even use attachments all that much.  So, Mybase is better for me in that respect.  Now, like I said before, I am becoming weary of the tree structure because I'm feeling the need for something more progressive like in Surfulater, but until my other needs are satisfied first, I can' switch over yet.

Anyway, I will soon mention some more about Surfulater and my thoughts on it.
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superboyac
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« Reply #46 on: March 01, 2006, 12:16:43 AM »

OK, since I'm already thinking about it, I will begin to post some of my comments about Surfulater:

--Surfulater--

First of all, I read the blog you (nevf) wrote about Surfulater's future and everything, it was excellent.  Now, most of my critique of Surfulater is hinging on the fact that the program will eventually become a full-fledged note-editing program.  If not, that most, if not all, of my comments will be out of context and somewhat useless.  I say this because I just don't see how I can use one program to capture a whole bunch of information, but then I can't add my personal notes about related items and separate items in the same program.  Information is information and I would like it all to be in the same place.  Okay, that being said...

Let me first start off by saying that I'm not a big fan of html/xml/java being used in standalone applications as it's core.  However, it is done right in Surfulater as in A-book (which I reviewed earlier), so even though I don't prefer it, I'm okay with it when it is used in a creative and useful manner.

Part of what I don't like about Surfulater is that it is not yet ready for taking notes in an efficient manner.  Sure it can capture anything from anywhere, but what if I just want to write a little paragraph or list?  I am restricted by the handful of templates that are there (clipboard, contact, code snippet, etc...).  And the templates are too bulky for me.  I don't need all that big title, references, and large borders on the right side.  I just want a blank area to type a little bit of text.  So, that's one of the reasons why I wouldn't use the program at this point.

Anyway, I'm too tired to write anymore right now.  But that is my complaint of Surfulater so far.  It's just not a notetaking application yet, and I need that more so than it's spectacular ability to capture content.  Let me put it this way, if you need to capture a lot of content without traditional notetaking (like you would in Keynote) than Surfulater is a great program for you, as in the case of jgiebeler, who sounds like he has to collect a whole lot of information from the web and other places.  But if you're looking to organize a lot of simple text and little bits of information, you will be frustrated with Surfulater, it's just not meant for that yet. 

So to bring this discussion all the way around to basic note-taking software, I will still assert that Mybase is closer to this goal than Surfulater.  Capturing is only one part of notetaking, and it is an add-in (a luxury) at that.  By that I mean that capturing is not the main goal of notetaking, so that shouldn't be the focus of this software genre.  It could be the feature that makes one program better than the other, given that all else is equal, but it shouldn't be the primary focus.  I think Surfulater's method of organizing it's articles with the multiple folders and (future) tags, is something that should be mirrored in a notetaking program also.  That will bring this genre to the next level.
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kfitting
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« Reply #47 on: March 01, 2006, 05:57:05 AM »

A quick comment:  you and I are on similar pages superboyac.  I agree with your primary needs and also your admitting that there are other needs out there.  Have you looked at NeoMem (http://www.neomem.org)?  I dont use it because it is deficient in some areas but it is an interesting example of an information manager.  Like you said before (I think it was you), we want our cake and eat it too.  This genre could be so powerful... it's just so hard to fit everything in!

Kevin
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nevf
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« Reply #48 on: March 01, 2006, 05:59:09 AM »

superboyac, don't let it be said that I'm not up to a challenge.

1) Close Surfulater.
2) Download Surfulater.SurfulaterPatch and unzip the enclosed Surfulater.SurfulaterPatch file into the directory Surfulater is installed in.
3) Start Surfulater.
4) Use Article|New Article|Note
5) Let me know what you think.

Note that I haven't thoroughly tested this template yet and suspect there may be a small problem.

Keep in mind this can be changed to whatever you want. Right now I've just included a single "Note" field which uses the full width of the content window and grows in height as required. Click on the pencil as usual to edit.

You will see one of the benefits of Surfulater's use of HTML and its Article Templates before your very eyes. Grin

The layout of articles and addition of new templates is open ended. Pretty anything you can dream up as a layout for an article can be accomplished. At present you need to write the raw HTML, which is fairly easy, however down the track you'll see the ability to create and layout templates from within Surfulater. Powerful stuff indeed IMHO.

Re. jgiebeler - he has just purchased Surfulater and I mentioned he might be interested in this discussion. I had no idea of the end result, and am pleased to say the least. I've put his post on my blog with his permission. See: http://blog.surfulater.com/2006/03/01/evaluating-software-from-a-users-perspective/
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Neville Franks, "Save anything you see on the Web or on your PC" with Surfulater
superboyac
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« Reply #49 on: March 01, 2006, 11:31:48 AM »

nevf, I tried the patch, and it works!  Yes, that is what I was talking about as far as a simple note article.

I think I understand the flexibility and power that the html offers in this program, but I still don't really like the way it "feels".  It's such a subjective and stubborn issue with me, I'm embarrassed to even mention it.  It's like my reason for not liking the way a Mac feels compared to Windows--it's nothing really functional or practical.

For one thing, I'm not a big fan of clicking the pencil to edit the note, or the fact that if I highlight the text in the note and overshoot the mouse pointer past the border of the note, then I'm out of the "editing" mode of the note, and I have to click the pencil to get back in.  It's little things like this that always make it difficult for me to embrace programs using the html/xml/java language instead of C++, or whatever the other language is (I'm not a programmer, so I don't know the details).  I know that programs written in C++ "feel" faster to me than programs written in html or java, if that makes any sense whatsoever.  I have the same issue with A-book, which uses html templates (similar to Surfulater I believe) to display it's information.  In fact, the whole "look" of the program is similar.  But , like Surfulater, it does it's job better than the other programs available.

So here's where I stand on the issue.  It seems like Surfulater is headed in the right direction as far as becoming a good information collection and notetaking solution.  I'd have to decide if I was able to deal with the small, personal annoyances I have with the interface and "feel" of the program, or should I just go with another program that feels better to me, but will probably not offer the progressive features that Surfulater has.

Like I said before, I'm getting tired of the Mybase/Keynote/typical tree heirarchy, but those programs feel very "fast" to me when I use it and combined with a couple of other minor features, I would lean towards using it instead of Surfulater.  But I also know it the back of my mind that the future of these programs won't be as dynamic and interesting as Surfulater.  But, right now, using Surfulater feels a bit sluggish to me and I can't commit totally to it yet.

What do you think, nevf?  Do my statements make sense to you, or do I just sound hard-headed?
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