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Last post Author Topic: Feature request: Web clipping, permanent note keeping  (Read 9004 times)

rjbull

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Feature request: Web clipping, permanent note keeping
« on: August 21, 2011, 03:58:50 PM »
mouser,

Do these make sense?  What I'm getting at is improving CHS as an application for keeping permanent notes, particularly when they're Web clips.

  • Add, or re-purpose, a hotkey that will act the same as "Ctrl-C copy to clipboard and add to CHS", except that it will send the clip to a user-defined folder that isn't included in the standard Automatic Filing and cleaning procedure?  So that one can easily differentiate clips needed for long-term storage from the commoner transient ones, without having to organise things afterwards?  One might have a series of such folders, selected perhaps by right-clicking on the tray icon.
  • Offer a configuration option to include the URL on a line at the bottom of a clip, so that when you want to paste the clip into a document, the URL automatically comes along with the text, without needing any extra action?

IainB

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Re: Feature request: Web clipping, permanent note keeping
« Reply #1 on: August 21, 2011, 11:39:10 PM »
+1 from me for at least considering this idea from @rjbull.

I am likely to spend a good deal of my time just copying stuff and then just pasting stuff into different data/info storage containers - including PIMs - typically from sources such as, for example, web pages, into OneNote, or InfoSelect, or Gmail. This is almost always done using the medium of CHS. Why not leave it in CHS for that to become the de facto free-format PIM database? I can search CHS pretty fast, I can run some SQL commands on it (if I knew the SQL), and it holds plain text, formatted text (in the last copied slot anyway!), and image data...now the full reference from where the clip was copied!

The trouble is, if mouser did that, then I'd be all over him like a bad rash wanting CHS changed to have all sorts of features/functionality that I would need for it to be my PIM. If CHS is going to be further modified, then I'd suggest that maybe we need to sit down and scratch our heads a bit to help mouser uderstand our multiifold needs better.
But this could be reinventing the wheel
For example, rather than try to morph CHS into something it was never intended to be (e.g., a PIM), do we need to consider the idea of developing CHS as (say) a plugin to (say) OneNote, or infoQube, etc. - so that when you copy something with CHS, it automagically pastes it ino the object of our choice, complete with source references? No more copy/paste. - just copy. That really could be a timesaver.

mouser

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Re: Feature request: Web clipping, permanent note keeping
« Reply #2 on: August 22, 2011, 09:44:28 AM »
I like the two feature requests, and they seem definitely doable without too much trouble.

The first request seems like a very sensible idea.. maybe what is wanted is a both a way to add custom hotkeys to clip and file into a specific folder, and a way to quickly switch the folder where normal clips get filed.  Another related option might be a way to quickly set "tags" to be applied to new clips, so that one could set those tags based on the current task you were working on.. which would let you search and make virtual folders out of clips with those tags.

So for the second request, perhaps the easiest way to do it is to have a special paste mode you can engage/disengage where it will do some work to any clip before pasting it (such as to paste extra info like date, url, etc. and optionally run it through a modifier formatter)?  does that make sense?



IainB's points are the ones that haunt me.. You see for a while I actually planned CHS to be both a clipboard tool and a note taking tool.. that's why there are some features in CHS that might otherwise seem a bit odd like the ability to customize panel layouts on the main window, and hide/show columns for item modification date, etc.

But CHS never really blossomed into a full note taking application, for a variety of reasons..

It's one of those cases where functionally, it seems like a note taking app and clipboard app share 95% of the same functionality, so it's hard to resist trying to make the program do both things.  But the feel of the two tasks is very different, and i'm just not sure it's worth it trying to make CHS into a real note-taking application anymore.  My inclination is to say no, and focus on clipboard functionality.

I think we should say that for now CHS should stick to doing clipboard related stuff, and consider features that would improve that.

But that doesn't mean that CHS can't be made to be a better helper for note taking, exactly as Iain was suggesting.
I'd like to hear more thoughts on how CHS can help and work with other proper note taking tools with a nice export feature.

rjbull

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Re: Feature request: Web clipping, permanent note keeping
« Reply #3 on: August 22, 2011, 03:33:24 PM »
I like the two feature requests, and they seem definitely doable without too much trouble.
:)

Quote
The first request seems like a very sensible idea.. maybe what is wanted is a both a way to add custom hotkeys to clip and file into a specific folder, and a way to quickly switch the folder where normal clips get filed.
I wasn't envisaging quick changing of folders, so much as having Ctrl-C continue behaving as it does now, and simultaneously, in parallel, the special hotkey sending clips to the currently-chosen special folder.  And maybe choosing the current special folder by an item in the right-click tray menu.

Quote
Another related option might be a way to quickly set "tags" to be applied to new clips, so that one could set those tags based on the current task you were working on.. which would let you search and make virtual folders out of clips with those tags.
Actually, my suggestions were prompted by a quick play with CintaNotes, and reflecting on how something of its sort would have helped when I was trawling the Web at work for press releases and such to incorporate in current awareness bulletins.  These often needed editing, or combining where the same bulletin appeared on more than one site, so I always included URLs in order that clients could go direct to the source if they needed to.  From my point of view, I needed a streamlined storage medium, not something that in itself was capable of imposing organisation.  The bulletins were monthly, and it would have been useful if clips could have been tagged by date, so that I could group all those for the current month together for pasting into e-mails or text files.

Quote
So for the second request, perhaps the easiest way to do it is to have a special paste mode you can engage/disengage where it will do some work to any clip before pasting it (such as to paste extra info like date, url, etc. and optionally run it through a modifier formatter)?  does that make sense?
Ideally I'd like the clip to look in CHS like it will when pasted into a text editor, but, assembling the data on the way out through the pasting action would be OK.   I'm not sure that the details in the pasted clip should be controlled by the current CHS layout as such, but, the column selection certainly looks like it gives all the relevant data one might want to include in the final output.  One point, though.  If you combine merge clips, for my purposes I'd want all the metadata (if that's the right term) from all the component clips included.

Erm...  how do you customize panel layouts?  :-[

[Edit 2011-08-25, 14:30] Clarified "combine" as "merge" [/Edit]
« Last Edit: August 25, 2011, 08:34:31 AM by rjbull »

IainB

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Re: Feature request: Web clipping, permanent note keeping
« Reply #4 on: August 23, 2011, 07:51:57 PM »
@mouser:
IainB's points are the ones that haunt me.. You see for a while I actually planned CHS to be both a clipboard tool and a note taking tool.. that's why there are some features in CHS that might otherwise seem a bit odd like the ability to customize panel layouts on the main window, and hide/show columns for item modification date, etc.

But CHS never really blossomed into a full note taking application, for a variety of reasons..
Well, I have read your separate posts where you mention that you had originally considered that CHS could be a note-taking utility. But now - in the light of your comment above - I understand that I was wrong to say (above)that:
Quote
For example, rather than try to morph CHS into something it was never intended to be (e.g., a PIM)
- that is, it was always intended to be a note-taking tool.

Confession: I have been playing around with and trialling CHS as a PIM for a while now. I started doing this after I began to become interested in the implementation (though it was disabled at the time) of virtual folders in CHS, and your frustratingly terse notes about it. Once you enabled them, I was able to appreciate the potential of using virtual folders and SQL (which latter, in the context of using it in CHS, I am slowly learning about).

Now I begin to understand some of the CHS peculiarities - i.e., why it is the the way it is. This is after watching your 15-minute video (which is a very useful intro., I think), and after taking part in some discussions on CHS, and after reading and re-reading various posts across the DC forum relating to CHS, OCR, and note-taking software.

FWIW, my impression is that what you might have originally intended for CHS could be as much as 6 to 8-tenths complete (estimated) as it stands. I would like to be involved in helping the thing get to a finish.

I always thought CHS to be a strange beast for a "clipboard" proggy - it does quite a lot more than just clipboard. For example, it does "Help & Spell", "virtual folders" - which latter you can set with SQL too, if you want - and it has all those nifty settings under "Options".

The Virtual Folders are very interesting.
I have used them:
As virtul folders - in the way intended. e.g., as "auto-tags".
This enables me to, for example, list all clips from Firefox, or all clips to and from OneNote, or all images clipped via OneNote, or anything with the referece "frog" in the text.

Some examples of features that I would like to see added to CHS:
  • Perform OCR on any text in images as they are clipped (similar to ABBY Screenshot Reader, JOCR, r-OCR). (For comparison, images clipped into OneNote are not given an OCR translation, but OneNote does make those images text-searchable.)
  • Condition-Action on SQL-operable fields in Virtual Folders - e.g., IF Thing1="X" THEN set Thing2="Y". (Where Thing2 could be a date field, or a text field, an alpha/numeric variable field, or a logical variable, for example.
  • View displays (adjustable) of, for example, variable folder names in the RH page, with options for the clips to be arranged below each variable folder name, and clip Notes arranged below each clip.
  • Make sticky notes by pinning clips to the desktop.
  • Make different types of "Favourite" e.g., one type to flag clips as being "Permanent"; one type to be used to set a "group to be displayed in quick clips display" (you can then choose which group to use/display depending on the work you are doing at the time); one type set as a group to be used as a stack, so that once the stack has been created just how you want it for the specific steps in a particuar operation, you can always instantly restore it from that group.
  • Tags - use variable folders as tags.

This implies that your tree view is your categorisation tree. You will need to consider a toggle for showing/hiding inherited clips for parent nodes in the tree. I don't think you really need to add add the Tags feature to CHS as the functionality is probably already there in virtual folders. You might need to dress it up a bit is all.

I would like to go on, but I shall spare you.
« Last Edit: August 23, 2011, 08:24:02 PM by IainB, Reason: Added to list of features »

mouser

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Re: Feature request: Web clipping, permanent note keeping
« Reply #5 on: August 23, 2011, 08:28:39 PM »
Quote
I don't think you need to add a Tag feature to CHS. The functionality is already there in virtual forlders. You might need to dress it up a bit is all.

You can also already enable the "keywords" column in the grid and add keyword tags to any clip just by typing in the grid.  The quick search filter will scan this field.  Same goes for the "Notes" column.

(To hid or show columns, click on the tiny icon that looks like = on the far left of the column header; note also you can save and load different layouts of panels and this includes the selection of which columns are visible).

mouser

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Re: Feature request: Web clipping, permanent note keeping
« Reply #6 on: August 23, 2011, 08:52:22 PM »
My argument against reviving the idea of CHS as a general note-taking tool is simply that I don't think it performs this function particularly elegantly from a user interface perspective.  It's just too clunky for this, and to schizophrenic in terms of trying to provide both clipboard and note-taking functions.

Although the underlying operations are very similar, the look and feel demanded by the two different tasks seem too much in conflict.

So I'm fairly decided that CHS should not try to be made into a general audience note taking tool.

But I am willing to entertain adding limited specific functions to the program that people thing would serve a real need, and might saddle the two worlds.

rjbull

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Re: Feature request: Web clipping, permanent note keeping
« Reply #7 on: August 24, 2011, 02:57:58 PM »
I don't know SQL, and don't really understand tags or CHS's virtual folders, so I hope that the more useful features can be accessed without writing code...  I'd like to have at least simple Boolean logic.

As for OCR, that sounds to me a step too far.  That is, a lot of effort required to build something that wouldn't be used all that often.  But as CHS now stores images, and can accept external tools, is there any way of adding an OCR program as an external tool?

IainB

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Re: Feature request: Web clipping, permanent note keeping
« Reply #8 on: August 24, 2011, 09:23:42 PM »
@mouser:
You can also already enable the "keywords" column in the grid and add keyword tags to any clip just by typing in the grid.  The quick search filter will scan this field.  Same goes for the "Notes" column.
Thanks, yes, I had been experimenting with the Keywords and Notes columns.
I think Keywords is for meta-data only and Notes is more reference detail (e.g., contains source URLinformation of images clipped from the web) and useful added notes relevant to the clip text/image.
By the way, I think these are both very useful and easy-to-use features.  :Thmbsup:

Is there some way I can select several clip records in the grid and edit the Keywords field for them all at one go, with the same keyword string (overwriting what may already be in that field)?
If not, then this would be a new requirement from me, I think.    :)

(To hid or show columns, click on the tiny icon that looks like = on the far left of the column header; note also you can save and load different layouts of panels and this includes the selection of which columns are visible).
Thanks, yes, I have been experimenting with the column selector and am learning how to use "Save as Preset" to make the columns that I thus select "stick" for when I next open the grid display.
By the way, I think the column selector and presets make a very useful and easy-to-use feature.  :Thmbsup:

IainB

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Re: Feature request: Web clipping, permanent note keeping
« Reply #9 on: August 24, 2011, 11:16:23 PM »
@mouser:
My argument against reviving the idea of CHS as a general note-taking tool is simply that I don't think it performs this function particularly elegantly from a user interface perspective.  It's just too clunky for this, and to schizophrenic in terms of trying to provide both clipboard and note-taking functions.

Although the underlying operations are very similar, the look and feel demanded by the two different tasks seem too much in conflict.

So I'm fairly decided that CHS should not try to be made into a general audience note taking tool.

But I am willing to entertain adding limited specific functions to the program that people thing would serve a real need, and might saddle the two worlds.
Good, and thankyou for not rejecting my suggestions out of hand. I gather from the above that you have a relatively open mind about it anyway - that is, seeing as you are happy to contemplate how CHS could straddle the two worlds.

I think I am qualified by experience as a profficient PIM user to make some valid comment here.
Experience:
  • I became an "expert user" of the first PIM that I started to use in 1989/1990. It was Lotus Agenda, a relational database tool that provided for hierarchical (or other arrangement) note-taking and reporting (output to printer). That meant you could use it to produce highly structured document hardcopy from different on-screen views of data, as displayed on-screen. It was so flexible that you could make it do pretty much whatever you needed, but to do so required a degree of understanding of logic that probably made it unappealing to the greater majority (a bit like the later Zoot.) It was/is a brilliant tool (I still use it a bit.).   :Thmbsup:
  • I became an "expert user" of Ashton-Tate's Framework III, IV and V - a DOS-based PIM that enabled the creation of files and documents which could be a mixture of text, spreadsheet and database. It was a brilliant tool (though I no longer use it.)   :Thmbsup:
  • I became an "expert user" of the PIM Info Select. I stuck with it because it was pretty good - the best of those that I had been able to find. I still use it quite a lot, but have stuck with version 8 (current version is 10).  It is an excellent product, though currently it seems to be stranded in the design doldrums.  :Thmbsup:
  • I have trialled 50 or more would-be PIMs, Wikis, Sticky Notes and Note-takers, but they all have major limitations as PIMs - with the exception of InfoQube and Zoot, but these too are constrained in their design.

So, though you may say, as you do, above, that you feel that CHS does not perform the function of a general note-taking tool particularly elegantly from a user interface perspective, I would suggest that it does everything else so well that the user interface perspective is the last thing you need to worry about at this stage. Of those 50+ PIMs I have trialled, some were rubbish, and some had very nice UIs, but all (excepting InfoQube and Zoot) just didn't cut the mustard as a truly flexible PIM - including Info Select.   :(

For years I have been trying to find a proper and modern replacement for Lotus Agenda, and I had just about given up hope and was wondering which modern programming language I would need to learn to carry out the development myself, when you belatedly enabled the Virtual Folders feature that you had already built-in to CHS.
When you did that, I started to play with Virtual Folders. The best expression I can think of is that "I nearly fell off my chair with surprise" at the potential power of the Virtual Folders concept and using SQL as implemented in CHS - it was looking a lot like Lotus Agenda v2011!
Sure CHS is still in a developmental part of its life-cycle - or "a state of dynamic change" - but it already works rather well as a PIM, and is a superb clipping tool!   :Thmbsup:
That's why I have been trialling CHS as a PIM.

I would like to assist in the development and as a ß user, if possible.
My qualification for this are technical as well:
  • I have developed programs or program modules in the past using:
  • PAL (the ICL 1900 mainframe Program Assembly Language).
  • FORTRAN 77 (FORmulaTRANslation) on DEC PDP15/30 minis and UNIVAC 1108 mainframe computers).
  • Use of Logica's RAPPORT (FORTRAN-callable RDB subroutines)
  • BASIC (Beginners' All-pyrpose Symbolic Instruction Code).
  • Scripting languages.
  • (and tinkered with Java script.)
  • I am familiar with the development and application of a good deal of Windows-based technology.
- but I have yet to learn to use SQL(*)! I am slowly learning that by trial-and-error, now.

*(Structured Query Language - a programming language designed for managing data in relational database management systems or "RDBMS".)

mouser

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Re: Feature request: Web clipping, permanent note keeping
« Reply #10 on: August 24, 2011, 11:24:05 PM »
As an aside: What I've said before is that I am always open to creating a *new* notetaking/pim tool, if someone could convince me that there is a real need for one that is highly specialized and focused on solving a narrow particular need/approach/workflow/personality.  There are some really good general purpose note tools out there that I have no interest in trying to compete with.  But if someone could come up with a streamlined focused idea for a lightweight notetaker with a specific point of view i'd bite.

IainB

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Re: Feature request: Web clipping, permanent note keeping
« Reply #11 on: August 24, 2011, 11:46:40 PM »
@rjbull:
I don't know SQL, and don't really understand tags or CHS's virtual folders, so I hope that the more useful features can be accessed without writing code...  I'd like to have at least simple Boolean logic.

As for OCR, that sounds to me a step too far.  That is, a lot of effort required to build something that wouldn't be used all that often.  But as CHS now stores images, and can accept external tools, is there any way of adding an OCR program as an external tool?
SQL: I don't know SQL either, but am learning it. The UI (User Interface) should probably be more friendly and insulate the user from having to use SQL unless he/she wants to use it (I would, for example). That's kinda how CHS has the SQL implemented in Virtual Folders at the moment, I guess, but the insulation and the UI-frienliness bits could probably be improved upon.

OCR: Actually, OCR is arguably well overdue and a step in the right direction, rather than "a step too far". That's why I gave the examples above on the subject. Quite a few applications seem to be using OCR to scan captured images (e.g., photos, fax, scanned document images, PDF-based images) to make them text-searchable (where text is detected in the image), rather than transcribe the OCR to text as data. I gather that there is some good public domain software about that can be used to do this, so you don't have to reinvent the wheeel  - for example, for CHS.

Examples of applications that do this "OCR for text-searchable" are:
  • Evernote.
  • Qiqqa (what a brilliant reference management tool that is!).
  • OneNotes (a pretty good PIM).
  • Google docs (can also do OCR-to-text, if you ask for it).

Some applications also make the text in the image copyable to clipboard, but do not actually produce a text output file. This may be as good as full OCR-to-text for most users' purposes.

IainB

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Re: Feature request: Web clipping, permanent note keeping
« Reply #12 on: August 25, 2011, 01:44:17 AM »
@mouser:
As an aside: What I've said before is that I am always open to creating a *new* notetaking/pim tool, if someone could convince me that there is a real need for one that is highly specialized and focused on solving a narrow particular need/approach/workflow/personality.  There are some really good general purpose note tools out there that I have no interest in trying to compete with.  But if someone could come up with a streamlined focused idea for a lightweight notetaker with a specific point of view i'd bite.
Yes, there are indeed "...some really good general purpose note tools out there" and I would not recommend that anyone try to compete with them, simply because most of them are off down the same GP ("general purpose") track and with a moronic design approach that has them stuck in a "fixed tree structure" paradigm and a self-defeating focus on superficial "features" and "look and feel". Info Select v10, for example, has just implemented "The Ribbon" interface, but apparently not because any users wanted it or even asked for it! Oh no, it was the Chief Designer who seems to have thought it would be "a good idea". So the ribbon was implemented (mandatory) and several valid requests to consider their genuine and long overdue requirements for functionality - from users (such as myself, for example) - remained largely ignored. So I and others have walked with our feet.

The major requirements for a PIM would typicaly include:
  • That information/data can easily be captured from anywhere in its databse, and referenced. (Not forgetting email, which is data.)
  • That the database be of as non-proprietary a structure as possible, to avoid dependency.
  • That the creation of meta-data be automated in a rational and standardised fashion wherever possible.
  • That the information/data need not necessarily always be stored in the database, or may need to be secondary copies of the data, if other applications may need to reference the same data or search/index it, or if it is inefficient to store that data because of bloat.
  • That the information/data can be stored in a highly flexible structure for categorisation and identification, such that the structure can be restructured/re-arranged or the information/data be re-categorised or resorted to meet a new requirement for a different presentation or view of that information.
  • That any restructuring, rearrangement or re-categorisation be as automated as possible, thus minimising/avoiding the need to make manual updates or changes to the data or the meta-data, except those necessary to update the data for currency/correctness.

The points I would make, in response to your "aside", are:
(a) that in CHS, you effectively already have a *new* notetaking/PIM tool. You could either branch it into the new tool, or keep it integral with CHS. I would recommend the latter, until you are driven to make them separate (see rationale below).

(b) if, as you say, you need someone to convince you that there is a real need for one that is highly specialized and focused on solving a narrow particular need/approach/workflow/personality, then you have me and a small army of people with like/similar needs. This is not an imaginary army, though it might be difficult to estimate its actual numbers, but you will find them in forums on the Internet, writing disconsolate reviews of these GP PIMs and often decrying the GP PIM rubbish and bemoaning the obsolescence of Lotus Agenda, for example.

The important differences are that Lotus Agenda (by design) and CHS (apparently by accident?!) are lightweight RDBMS tools. I would respectfully suggest that you may be so close to CHS that you could be unable to appreciate the full power/potential of what has been done in CHS already.

Capturing data/content (text/images): This is the rationale for my suggesting (above) that you should keep the clipping tool and the PIM together (consolidated) until driven to make them separate.

Capturing data/content efficiently and effectively is of critical importance - a mandatory "must have" user requirement for a PIM.
However, the GP PIMs are mostly hopeless at efficiently and effectively capturing data/content in a usable form. Typically, you have to go into the blasted PIM, press the insert button or do something specific to prepare the PIM to recieve external input in the PIM's proprietary format, then go to the external source to select/capture the input. And you still can't do it properly. This is why I use the Firefox Add-in "Scrapbook" to capture web pages - there's no better tool. I have to put up with the fact that my database is in disparate islands - the Scrapbook files are one such island. I can search that using Scrapbook functionality (slow) or Desktop search (I used to prefer Google desktop, but Win7 search is pretty good now).

Info Select was a bit different:
  • It has a "cliipper" tool that sits in the Systray with a yellow lightning bolt icon. You select your text/material to copy in (say) your browser, then go to the Systray to click on the lightning bolt, which turns red whilst it is busy doing the copy, and then turns green when it has succeeded. About 98% of the time, it does not work. Mostly it stays red and you have to manually copy/paste the material. Good idea in the desgn, but a failue in execution on the implementation. So nobody uses it now.
  • It also could read and store web pages using its internal browser. This was based on the IE engine, but was broken by new versions of IE, so it is of no use at all now.
  • It had an ability to integrate with and process email. The functionality for this brilliant design idea was poorly implemented and has been broken by newer technology on the input side, so it is of no use at all now. (I think email functionality may have been removed altogether after v8.)

One major lesson there is to have the PIM application control the clipping and input and the conformance to clip format and other input standards. (Get the point?)

OneNote 2007 was a bit different:
  • It has a "Clip to OneNote" button that appeared in most of your applications. You just selected the area (text/image) to copy, pressed the button, and an image clip went to OneNote. This was pretty efficient, effective and useful. However, the "Clip to OneNote" functionality was broken by the Win7 x64 OS, and to make it work now you have to use a really kludgey workaround devised by a clever OneNote MS engineer. I don't use it much now. What a pity.

One major lesson there is to have the PIM application control the clipping and input and the conformance to clip format and other input standards. (Sorry to labour the point.)
« Last Edit: August 25, 2011, 01:58:29 AM by IainB »

rjbull

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Re: Feature request: Web clipping, permanent note keeping
« Reply #13 on: August 25, 2011, 08:29:54 AM »
I don't want to learn SQL, so like the idea of having a nice UI for the main functions, with bare-naked SQL available for those skilled in the art.

I don't see OCR as a must-have.  When I used to have to extract data from scanned-image PDFs of patents, I was content to use a separate application do the job.  The more so, as OCR is often imperfect, so it was better to put the converted text into an editor/word processor for spell-checking and reformatting.

I'm not keen on tags/keywords.  You have to know what you need in advance, and be consistent in applying them.  I'd rather have really good retrieval from title + body text of the clips, which is why I like to see Boolean searching.  If you must have keywords, then yes, it would be nice to be able to apply them to multiple clips at a time.  Also to have a CintaNotes-like feature where you had some kind of drop-down or auto-completion.

I don't expect very close integration with an e-mail client.  There are too many clients  to service them all.  I can either include information through the clipboard, or by exporting from TheBat! and importing or clipping the resulting text file.

It should be possible to store everything within the database, even if only a copy, to make the database portable and easier to back up.

I just want CHS to become a really good storage and retrieval database for information that passes through the clipboard, with an accent on Web clips, as well as a transient clips tool.


IainB

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Re: Feature request: Web clipping, permanent note keeping
« Reply #14 on: August 26, 2011, 11:38:35 AM »
I don't want to learn SQL, so like the idea of having a nice UI for the main functions, with bare-naked SQL available for those skilled in the art.
Sorry, if you thought I was suggesting that anything in this requirement of yours should not be met. I apologise for not explaining myself very well above. I was suggesting pretty much exactly what you say you do/don't want here. No disagreement at all, though I would not use a tautology to describe SQL.

I don't see OCR as a must-have.  When I used to have to extract data from scanned-image PDFs of patents, I was content to use a separate application do the job.  The more so, as OCR is often imperfect, so it was better to put the converted text into an editor/word processor for spell-checking and reformatting.
Sorry again if I did not not explain myself very well above. It's not that I disagree with what you say, it's just that I think we have to strive to move forwards in the use of technology, to use it more effectively and efficiently, and to overcome the constraints of that technology. History has shown that we can do this. That's how we got men on the moon, for example. In our OCR case, I can better explain if I make a comparison: OCR is to data gathering/extraction what push-button dialling was to the telephone. I feel sure that some people may have felt that the push-buttons were an annoying but passing fad and didn't work terribly well, but would we be advantaged nowadays by retaining the circular phone dial? The answer is self-evident - "No". Though I have to admit that I dislike push-buttons on cellphones, because my finger-ends are too large and spatula-like for the smaller buttons, I would not recommend returning to the dials.

I'm not keen on tags/keywords.  You have to know what you need in advance, and be consistent in applying them.  I'd rather have really good retrieval from title + body text of the clips, which is why I like to see Boolean searching.  If you must have keywords, then yes, it would be nice to be able to apply them to multiple clips at a time.  Also to have a CintaNotes-like feature where you had some kind of drop-down or auto-completion.
Sorry again if I did not not explain myself very well above. I share your lack of keeness for tags/keywords, and for pretty much exactly the same reasons as you give. Which was why being able to turn a group or "favourite" into a VF (Virtual Folder) in CHS - by enabling the use of some SQL - blew me away. That's exactly what you need to enable Boolean searching, see? It's what you want, and it was exactly what I had been used to using in Lotus Agenda. VF = Virtual Tag. As a worked example, I decided that I wanted to filter out all those records (clips in CHS) that contained a reference to one of the main religions. So I used my budding arcane knowledge of SQL to write an SQL filtering statement like this:
((Lower(ClipText) LIKE '%islam%') OR (Lower(ClipText) LIKE '%muslim%') OR (Lower(ClipText) LIKE '%roman catholic%') OR (Lower(ClipText) LIKE '%christian%') OR (Lower(ClipText) LIKE '%anglican%'))

A user-friendly UI would turn that into a VF with the name "Religion" with something like this: ("Islam" OR "Muslim" OR "Roman Catholic" OR "Christian" OR Anglican")

For obvious reasons, I want to be able to perform these Boolean searches on date and time fields. I would also want to have Condition-->Action, where Boolean Conditions can be used to result in an Action: e.g. IF ("Islam" OR "Muslim" OR "Roman Catholic" OR "Christian" OR Anglican") THEN Keyword = "Religion". Though you don't really need to do that in this case, because you can simply check to see if a record is a member of a VF/group named "Religion", forcing or setting a Keyword or label like "Religion" has the advantages that you can automate the labelling of many records at once (saves time over manually setting each record to that Keyword) and that once you have done that you can then disable the SQL that did it, thus ensuring that your population of "Religion" records is fixed at that point, unless you directly manually assign other records to that Keyword at a later stage. This has a lot to do with "flexibility" in creating your meta-data - you can meet your data managment needs very precisely.

I don't expect very close integration with an e-mail client.  There are too many clients  to service them all.  I can either include information through the clipboard, or by exporting from TheBat! and importing or clipping the resulting text file.
Sorry again if I did not not explain myself very well above. The requirement is to use emails (some, not all - only those that you feel would be useful) as records in your database. Importing sent/received emails to the database from an email client or from a web-based email service would suffice.
I learned from my experience of Info Select: Version 7 was integrated with Outlook, which was of no use to me as I did not use Outlook. Version 8 started to abandon Outlook integration, and incorporated its own rather good email client. I used that email client to manage most of my email, though I tended to continue to use Pegasus - the email client I preferred at that time - for managing Listserver groups. Info Select 8 enabled you to convert emails (which were in text or html format) to plain unformatted text, at the press of a button - a very handy feature.

It should be possible to store everything within the database, even if only a copy, to make the database portable and easier to back up.
Whenever I read that such-and-such "should" be the case, it usually means that what I have read is an arbitrary, unsubstantiated opinion (unless there is some special law or rule that supports it). The case would seem to be no different here.
I would recommend that we leave the design of the database to the engineers who are building the thing - or, as my mother used to say to me, "Don't teach your grandmother to suck eggs." The engineers are usually far from stupid, and are likely to be able to fully appreciate the need for portability and backup and a few other things, some of which we might not even have thought about, as well.
In the case of CHS, we seem to have the text records held within the database, and the image clips as .PNG files held in a defined folder outside of the database. There will be good theoretical and/or pragmatic reasons for this.

I just want CHS to become a really good storage and retrieval database for information that passes through the clipboard, with an accent on Web clips, as well as a transient clips tool.
So do I, except that CHS looks to me as though it is already a pretty good database to hold clipped data/images, enabling increasingly flexible and sophisticated filtering/tagging, sorting and retrieval - through the use of SQL (that enables Boolean search filters). CHS now retains the source URL of clipped data, and I think @mouser is probably contemplating how best to deal with partial/whole web clips without reinventing the wheel.

Flagging records as "permanent" or "transient" could be done by enabling some of the functionality decribed above - as I put it (above), "This has a lot to do with "flexibility" in creating your meta-data - you can meet your data managment needs very precisely."
« Last Edit: August 26, 2011, 11:47:23 AM by IainB »

IainB

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Re: Feature request: Web clipping, permanent note keeping
« Reply #15 on: August 26, 2011, 09:35:18 PM »
@mouser:
Suggested feature request for "direct/indirect pasting"
(This is from the discussion Re: Any better Clipboard program.)
... I am not sure my opinion on software can help any one... My first concern is if the program is easy to use, and stable. Yes, I have tried many and I have disabled them all - except one of course: "CFi ShellToys Clipboard+". I like this one the best.
1) http://www.shelltoysxp.com/default.asp
2) http://www.shelltoys...om/clipboardplus.asp
On the webpage at the link (2) above, it says:
Quote
Text clips can be sent directly into a word processor, bypassing the clipboard.
This is a good example of the kind of thing that I think has been referred to above. I'm not sure whether this would be easy to build in to CHS, but it's probably the sort of potentially very significant timesaver that I and other users would appreciate having - e.g., to paste clips directly into (say) a specified PIM, or into a specified documentation or note-taking tool. It looks like it could be a much better version of Info Select's proprietary and failed "lightning-bolt" clipping tool that I have referred to previously in this discussion thread.
It would be really handy - using CHS as the medium for directly or indirectly gathering lots of separate clipped notes into a single document - ie., you could do it directly from CHS whilst staying on the CHS grid view to do it, or indirectly via CHS from the source page/document. In either case you would be avoiding some of the tiresome/tedious clip/paste to-ing and fro-ing that you might otherwise be obliged to engage in to achieve the same thing without this feature.
« Last Edit: August 26, 2011, 09:44:47 PM by IainB »

rjbull

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Re: Feature request: Web clipping, permanent note keeping
« Reply #16 on: August 28, 2011, 10:53:05 AM »
@IainB:
I don't think we're disagreeing, but I'm alarmed by your sheer intensity!  :o  I only half-understand your concepts, which leads me to be concerned that, should you have your way, CHS might become too hard for ordinary folk to use.  cf. Ultra Recall, where I have a license for an old version, but never really got into it because it looks too complex.


Further, I have to keep reminding myself that CHS is only one of mouser's projects that he doesn't get paid much for...

rjbull

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Re: Feature request: Web clipping, permanent note keeping
« Reply #17 on: August 28, 2011, 02:17:37 PM »
It should be possible to store everything within the database, even if only a copy, to make the database portable and easier to back up.
Whenever I read that such-and-such "should" be the case, it usually means that what I have read is an arbitrary, unsubstantiated opinion (unless there is some special law or rule that supports it). The case would seem to be no different here.
I would recommend that we leave the design of the database to the engineers who are building the thing - or, as my mother used to say to me, "Don't teach your grandmother to suck eggs." The engineers are usually far from stupid, and are likely to be able to fully appreciate the need for portability and backup and a few other things, some of which we might not even have thought about, as well.
"Should" is here used more technically than morally.  The programmers aren't necessarily the users, and don't necessarily have the same priorities.  I would like to be able to store all data in the one file, for ease of back-up, and portability.  I realise this may not be ideal in some ways.  I suppose the best system would be the ability to set a default storage method that could be overridden on a note-by-note basis.

mouser

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Re: Feature request: Web clipping, permanent note keeping
« Reply #18 on: August 28, 2011, 04:25:47 PM »
Quote
This is a good example of the kind of thing that I think has been referred to above. I'm not sure whether this would be easy to build in to CHS, but it's probably the sort of potentially very significant timesaver that I and other users would appreciate having - e.g., to paste clips directly into (say) a specified PIM, or into a specified documentation or note-taking tool. It looks like it could be a much better version of Info Select's proprietary and failed "lightning-bolt" clipping tool that I have referred to previously in this discussion thread.
It would be really handy - using CHS as the medium for directly or indirectly gathering lots of separate clipped notes into a single document - ie., you could do it directly from CHS whilst staying on the CHS grid view to do it, or indirectly via CHS from the source page/document. In either case you would be avoiding some of the tiresome/tedious clip/paste to-ing and fro-ing that you might otherwise be obliged to engage in to achieve the same thing without this feature.

I think CHS can do what you are asking already.  You have two ways:

First you can set what happens when you double click on a grid item, and tell CHS to send the clip to the last active window when you double click.  That makes it possible to really quickly send a bunch of clips to an application.  So just start your target app, bring up the main CHS window, and start double clicking.
Screenshot - 8_28_2011 , 4_21_25 PM.png

Second, you can use the "send to last active window" button in the memo panel (or choose from the Edit menu):
Screenshot - 8_28_2011 , 4_21_41 PM.png

I should probably add a hotkey too huh?

You can also select a bunch of clips and "merge" them from CHS, with user defined separator, and then paste as one operation.

IainB

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Re: Feature request: Web clipping, permanent note keeping
« Reply #19 on: August 30, 2011, 11:02:32 AM »
    I don't think we're disagreeing, but I'm alarmed by your sheer intensity!  :o  I only half-understand your concepts, which leads me to be concerned that, should you have your way, CHS might become too hard for ordinary folk to use.  cf. Ultra Recall, where I have a license for an old version, but never really got into it because it looks too complex.
    @rjbull:
    Sorry if the "intensity" shows. It's probably really my impatience showing. I have been trained to take a rigorous view towards optimising the ergonomics of computer systems, especially where the improved efficiency and effectiveness of data management could be effected.
    CHS is almost all the way there already. The depressing truth of the majority of PIMs/Wikis/Note-takers/Stickies that I have come across is that they are nowhere near achieving a similar state. They may be good on form (e.g., they look nice), but fall far short on useful data management function.
    I do feel that the UI should simplify things - e.g., like the use of Boolean searches/filters - as long as the facility for people like me to construct SQL statements is retained in the VFs.

    By the way:
    • Where you say "your concepts". None of the concepts I have used are "mine". I gather that they are pretty much bog standard concepts related to RDBMS, and would appear to have been enabled in CHS by @mouser, via the implementation of VF and SQL. Maybe even @mouser does not realise what he has achieved (?) - else why does he have 23 columns on the drop-down menu, where several of them seem to be meta-data fields (e.g., Keywords, Type) and which would be redundant if he substituted "smart" VFs for them.
    • A record will go into a VF:
            (a) If it gets filtered in there (e.g., with a Boolean search)
            (b) If you force it in there (e.g., by dragging/dropping a record into the VF icon.

    Look at this:
    I have set up a child group in the CHS "tree" called "Auto-Tags".
    Under Auto-Tags I have set up several sub-folders (child groups), all with VF selected, and each with a different SQL (Boolean search filter) statement.
    One of these is called "TEST01", and, because I am a fan of the late W. Edwards Deming, I have given it an SQL filter simply: (Lower(ClipText) LIKE '%deming%').
    That filter captured 7 records, 3 of which happen to be flagged as "Favourites", and they are displayed in a blue text colour.
    I then dragged and dropped a separate record - one which does not match that filter - into the VF folder TEST01. That record is displayed in a black text colour, and became an 8th record in TEST01. This forced record is "sticky" - i.e., it will remain in the VF even if I change the filter to exclude all the records currently in the VF.
    If I click on the parent folder, "Auto-Tags", it displays only the single forced record - i.e., the one with black text that was dragged and dropped into the "TEST01" folder. I think that, for flexibility, there may be a requirement here to be able to select whether a parent of VFs will display:
    • All inherited records (i.e., whether forced or filtered).
    • Just the filtered inherited records.
    • Just the forced inherited records.
    [/list]
    « Last Edit: August 30, 2011, 11:19:44 AM by IainB, Reason: Corrections and added image. »

    IainB

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    Re: Feature request: Web clipping, permanent note keeping
    « Reply #20 on: August 30, 2011, 11:29:04 AM »
    @mouser:
    Ah! Thankyou. I had not realised I could already do in CHS what I was asking for.
    Reminds me that CHS is a pretty brilliant invention.    :Thmbsup:
    Still learning/experimenting with it...

    Update: Oops. On my system, double clicking or sending to the last active window (as above) works OK, but, focus immediately transfers to the last active window after each click. Can't see how to stop that.

    Update 2011-09-01 1604hrs: Sorry. I belatedly realised that I could use grid View|Stay on top to maintain focus on grid, whilst multiple pasting.
    « Last Edit: August 31, 2011, 11:04:42 PM by IainB, Reason: Update to the post. »

    rjbull

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    Re: Feature request: Web clipping, permanent note keeping
    « Reply #21 on: August 30, 2011, 02:55:53 PM »
    I have been trained to take a rigorous view towards optimising the ergonomics of computer systems, especially where the improved efficiency and effectiveness of data management could be effected.
    I think you're herding cats.  Everybody has different data handling needs - well, preferences and perceived needs, but often vehemently held.  Have you looked at the immensely long thread on notetaking software?  It eventually petered out without a definitive answer.  There isn't a one-size-fits-all solution.

    Quote
    I do feel that the UI should simplify things - e.g., like the use of Boolean searches/filters - as long as the facility for people like me to construct SQL statements is retained in the VFs.
    I don't want to have to learn another language.  I am/was an experienced Dialog searcher, so am used to constructing Boolean searches, but only using the simpler syntax suggested earlier.  So, please, indeed a simple UI.

    Quote
    • A record will go into a VF:
            (a) If it gets filtered in there (e.g., with a Boolean search)
            (b) If you force it in there (e.g., by dragging/dropping a record into the VF icon.

    Look at this:
    I'm amazed at what you've been able to do with this, which I certainly didn't realise was possible!  :o  One question, though.  Virtual folders are "only" a way of tagging/displaying the data, aren't they?  A particular way of displaying a subset?  In that case, you will presumably lose the data eventually to the automatic purge feature (assuming you have it set).  If so, I refer back to my OP where I wanted a separate hotkey to put the current clip into a special folder that isn't automatically cleaned up, so that data you want to keep stays kept.

    IainB

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    Re: Feature request: Web clipping, permanent note keeping
    « Reply #22 on: August 31, 2011, 01:12:56 AM »
    @rjbull:
    Quote
    I think you're herding cats.  Everybody has different data handling needs - well, preferences and perceived needs, but often vehemently held.  Have you looked at the immensely long thread on notetaking software?  It eventually petered out without a definitive answer.  There isn't a one-size-fits-all solution.
    I'm not trying to "herd cats", and I consider that it is generally true that- as you put it - "Everybody has different data handling needs - well, preferences and perceived needs, but often vehemently held."
    I reckon that you hit the nail on the head with "...preferences and perceived needs". However, what we think we need is often not what we actually need to resolve a problem, but we are too ignorant of our own needs and/or the possibilities of the potential solutions to appreciate that. As the saying goes, "Ignorance is bliss."

    From long experience of business analysis and systems analysis looking at users' business requirements:
    • The first step out of the morass is to guide the user to realising that he actually does not properly know what he needs, or that probably "He's doing it wrong" or "There's a better way" anyway.
    • Unfortunately, that is usually the first hurdle for our egos to overcome and a very big one it is too, because of an internal dialogue - "I do not make mistakes in my thinking, so I cannot be mistaken". But of course the ego can't accept it (what De Bono calls "intellectual deadlock"), so we fall on that hurdle and don't get up again to discover anything new. Highly intelligent people are apparently more prone to this than others. (De Bono.)
    • The trouble is that, "What I need" is an ego-driven statement that all too often can equate to "I want to do it this way - the way I have always done it". This is an egotistically safe approach to avoiding change and especially to avoiding changing one's thinking. So I might (say) irrationally expect to be able to use a new-fangled hammer to perform the same function of my broken old screwdriver.
    • The more our ego-bound statements of "needs" are challenged, the more vehemently we feel obliged to defend them with subsequent rationalisation.
    • All this is safe-seeking ego-driven behaviour, irrational, and very human. We do it all the time. (De Bono et al).
    • If there is any thinking that we should probably not trust without testing and that we could control, it is our own thinking.

    Yes, I have read - and contributed to - interminably long and wandering threads on notetaking software - in this and other discussion forums.
    Yes, they do all seem to peter out without a definitive answer. But to say from that that "There isn't a one-size-fits-all solution" is a non-sequitur, and probably makes an implicit assumption that these dreary threads are seeking such a solution. They are not. They are not seeking anything. The minds of the people (including me) involved in such discussions generally seem to go to sleep as far as critical thinking goes - otherwise the discussions would not be allowed to develop in the way that they do. They are generally directionless and undisciplined rambling discussions where terminology is so ill-defined that you might as well be comparing apples with eggs but imagining them to be one and the same thing. Classic logical flaws. That is irrational discussion (uncritical thinking). For that reason, I generally try to save my cognitive surplus for something where I mighr be able to make a difference. I thus try not to become too involved and otherwise steer clear of them, unless I think I might be able to elicit something useful for myself from the discussion - even parts of a bad apple can be edible, if you are selective. For a good example of what I am talking about here, look at the otherwise unrelated discussion in the DC forum regarding the "fourth Reich" newspaper comment.
    One's opinions, once stated, must be substantiated by the ego at all costs. This can be described as the interplay of a very real-seeming but illusory state called "ahamkara"

    Quote
    I'm amazed at what you've been able to do with this, which I certainly didn't realise was possible!   :o
    I only played with what was there. What is amazing (and impressive) to me is that @mouser had the foresight to design/build CHS with all the embedded functionality that he has - and including the VF/SQL functionality. When he enabled the latter, I was able to play with it, and the potential of it literally blew me away. It also helped to explain (and @mouser has further clarified this) the background as to why CHS is the way it is.
    All kudos to @mouser!   :Thmbsup:

    Quote
    Virtual folders are "only" a way of tagging/displaying the data, aren't they?  A particular way of displaying a subset?  In that case, you will presumably lose the data eventually to the automatic purge feature (assuming you have it set).  If so, I refer back to my OP where I wanted a separate hotkey to put the current clip into a special folder that isn't automatically cleaned up, so that data you want to keep stays kept.
    VFs (Virtual Folders) are filtered views of those records in the d/base that match the criteria of the Boolean search you define in the SQL statement.
    They can be "Tags" ("smart tags" I would call them), so you may no longer need, for example, to have the now arguably redundant separate static "Flag" or "Keywords" meta-data fields (i.e., some of the "column names" in CHS).
    The simplest approach I can think of to avoid data loss from auto-purging of the d/base would be to set a specially-reserved VF to flag all records as "permanent" by default, or under certain conditions. For example (say), you might not want to retain clips (records) captured from your document editing in MS Word, so you could unset the "permanent" tag as the records are created. This is why I asked for the Condition-->Action function of the VF/SQL.
    Having VFs + SQL that enable that could provide an incredibly powerful and flexible tool for automating information management tasks. You could make your RDBMS (CHS) stand on its head and probably not need any extensive coding to do it either, since the coding for that functionality may already be mostly in there. (I'm just supposing, here.)
    « Last Edit: August 31, 2011, 01:39:35 AM by IainB, Reason: Minor corrections. »

    IainB

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    Re: Feature request: Web clipping, permanent note keeping
    « Reply #23 on: August 31, 2011, 10:03:15 PM »
    @rjbull: re Requirements/Needs
    Quote
    Have you looked at the immensely long thread on notetaking software?  It eventually petered out without a definitive answer.
    Interesting. In another discussion on this forum on Re: InfoQube & TreeSheets: Information managers of the future we have:
    Quote
    "Currently, I am most impressed by RightNote.  I can't put my finger on it, but it just seems to be awesome in every nook and cranny that I look."
    It often seems that when we try to articulate our more cogent thoughts to others, we fail to do so because we tend to lapse into what seems to be for us the more normal/natural state of self-actualisation. The trouble with that is that whilst we are self-actualising all over the carpet, we are not in a state of mind where we can get anything useful done in the critical thinking department.
    In an effort to avoid this thread degenerating into the same sort of thing, I have taken the liberty of drafting a provisional summary analysis of User Requirements for CHS

    This might help: I have made a stab at it by adding in the things we have been discussing here and elsewhere on the forum relating to CHS and PIMs.
    If we are interested in helping @mouser by cataloguing our user requirements and requested features in a systematic form, then all we need to do is add them in to the above summary. The document is enabled for public view/edit if you click on the link above. So view/edit the requirements as you see fit. Please try not to wreck the spreadsheet (it's a Google docs spreadsheet) - if you do, I will be able to rebuild it, but it will be tedious to do.
    « Last Edit: August 31, 2011, 11:12:45 PM by IainB, Reason: Correction/amplification of final points re spreadsheet. »

    IainB

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    Re: Feature request: Web clipping, permanent note keeping
    « Reply #24 on: September 02, 2011, 02:38:03 AM »
    I have updated the draft of the provisional summary analysis of User Requirements for CHS

    It now includes columns showing:
    • Functionality required
    • Why this is required.
    • Priority (A/B/C for Mandatory/Highly desirable/Nice-to-have)

    This is according to a recommended tried-and-tested methodology for requirements-gathering, as per the blog post:
    Tip - Defining your Information Management requirements

    If users would like to edit the thing to make sure that it reflects their requirements, then go right ahead. @mouser will then have a pretty well-developed list of well-defined and categorical user requirements to work from.

    Hope this helps or is of use.