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Messages - mwang [ switch to compact view ]

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Many thanks to mouser for starting the thread, and sorry for being late to the party. I'm busy, and it's mostly for the same reason I no longer frequent this forum.

Another big reason, as mentioned by some others: my main desktop is a Mac (a hackintosh to be exact) nowadays. A macbook air and two Android devices (a phone and a pad) take turn accompanying me on the road, and my server is a linux box. Windows? I still use it occasionally, but only in a virtual machine.

I'm not a programmer. I came here to find software not heavily promoted elsewhere, and more importantly, to find software reviews written by real users, and from time to time could share my experiences with others. Having used mostly mac software the last few years, however, little on the forum remains relevant to me, and there's even less I could contribute.

I do check out the forum from time to time, but the frequency has declined; so does the average length of stay. I thought of saying hello a couple of times, but the longer I've been away, the harder it is to say hello. It doesn't mean I don't miss you guys. As many have said, this is a great family.

Happy Birthday, DC!

I got here when I was searching for a replacement for Ditto (again). I tried CH+S a long time ago (when I first joined DC, I think), but gave up as soon as I realized it didn't support unicode, despite being impressed by its feature set.

So, mouser, could you please consider addressing the issue in the near future, pretty please?

General Software Discussion / Re: EditPad Pro 7 - released
« on: May 18, 2011, 09:23 PM »
Finally see "Full support for Unicode" listed as a major improvement, so I might give it a try this summer. Hope they do the same for AceText as well.

I ran into unicode-related issues when I tried it (v. Can't say more than that as I uninstalled it quickly. I really wish software authors would be more up-front on unicode comparability.

Thanks a lot, Paul. I found this program a while back on freewaregenius, but didn't have time to try.

Revisiting freewaregenius and Nemo's homepage the site just now, and found myself wondering what's so good about looking at files in a calendar. I decided to check here first before installing it, and found your review. Well written indeed. Much appreciated.

My only complaint with it so far is that i can't figure out how to easily hop in and out of levels in a hierarchy using keyboard shortcuts.
Tried ESC (out) and Shift-Enter (in)? It's certainly unorthodox, for TreeSheets uses the more traditional keys for other purposes. Be careful with ESC, though. When in the middle of editing, ESC means cancel, and everything you've typed would be gone. Hit Enter first, and then ESC to back out one level.

General Software Discussion / Re: Any better Clipboard program.
« on: February 10, 2011, 02:45 AM »
Oscar's File Renamer is fairly old.  It's true the most recent version is dated 2007, but I think that was just a minor fix when he resurrected an older program.  So, take a look by all means, and I think it's a useful adjunct to other file renamers, but I wouldn't guarantee it does unicode.
Just want to report back that I finally got around to check out Oscar's File Renamer. Indeed it's very convenient, but it doesn't do unicode unfortunately.

Edit: I then dig around a bit in XYplorer, and found out that it has a rename method called "Edit Item Names ...", with which I can pretty much do what I would like to do with Oscar's File Renamer. Not sure when it got this (I often upgrade XY without knowing what's new). It's nice.

I don't have the kind of extensive experience and knowledge demonstrated by others here, but I've been using a Linux server for several years (from Redhat to Mandrake to Fedora to Ubuntu currently). I have never tried Win Server so I can't compare, but I'm very happy because:

1. it's rock solid; never crashes unless the hardware fails (see the next point).

2. it works on very old hardware, so when the server dies, I get to buy myself a new desktop, move my old desktop to my wife's desktop, and then move hers to server. This happens every few years, very good excuse for buying new hardware and trying a new distro. :)

With a good backup practice, switching servers is easy.

3. No need to pay big bucks for server software. I learned Postfix, Spamassassin, Dovecot (for email) and Samba (for Windows file sharing) first, then BIND (DNS) and Apache (web), and then gradually onto other stuff. All standard stuff on *nix land, with plenty of reference material and easy to get questions answered.

4. Easy to manage remotely. My server sits next to my desktop on the floor, but it has no monitor, no keyboard/mouse attached to it. All I need is Putty (except when setting up a new system of course). I edit all the config files with my favorite editor on Windows; no time (and no need) to learn EMACS or VI.

General Software Discussion / Re: Your most used SPECIAL programs
« on: January 02, 2011, 12:31 PM »
I guess it may be due to the lack of Unicode.  :tellme:
I don't have surfulater installed anymore so I can no longer test, but from memory clipping web pages with unicode content isn't a problem. As cyberdiva said, it's the search function that has unicode issues.

General Software Discussion / Re: Your most used SPECIAL programs
« on: January 02, 2011, 06:35 AM »
Is Surfulater's license transferable? If so, you can have mine, Curt. After waiting for more than a year, it still doesn't support unicode, on top of other issues.

For now I use OneNote. May give IQ another shot (tried and failed several times already) when I have time to learn it properly, but that may never happen.

Anyway, you could have mine, for free, or donate whatever amount you see fit to DC.

General Software Discussion / Re: Any better Clipboard program.
« on: December 30, 2010, 11:14 AM »
I use the numbered key WinKey+ Numberpad 1-0 which gives me the last 10 pastes easily accessible. It's in the options and darned convenient.
I have something similar, and yet the problem isn't remembering the hotkeys but the order of the clips.

And thanks to rjbull for mentioning Oscar's File Renamer. Will take a look. If it's what I think it is, then it's something I've always been looking for. (I use batch files, too, but the trick doesn't work with unicode file names.)

General Software Discussion / Re: Any better Clipboard program.
« on: December 28, 2010, 07:10 PM »
Ditto is unbeatable in its search function, which makes keeping a huge number of clips feasible. The most current version removed the "named copy/named paste" function, which I liked but wasn't very reliable.

The only shortcoming for me is the lack of a pair of hotkeys to load the last/next clip without popping up the main window (which takes the focus away from other application, annoying when renaming files, etc.), aka power paste. I have to settle for the hotkeys for the 10 most recent clips, and usually can only manage to remember the proper order for about 5.

For those with power paste like functionality, Clipmate doesn't support unicode. Arsclip does; so does Clipdiary (another shareware) and the newest version of Clipcache pro.

But I keep coming back to Ditto.

Tried Evernote? Anything wrong with it?

General Software Discussion / Re: My favorite software! What's yours?
« on: November 05, 2010, 09:19 AM »
Yes, Proxomitron has stayed on my system as well, though that also means I can't find a replacement after all these years.

By any chance the "Allow files in this folder to have contents indexed in addition to file properties" option is unchecked (disabled) for your Documents folder, Darwin?

That doesn't seem right. Turning that option on tells WDS to conduct full-text search for non-indexed files. If a document's content is found only when the option is on, IOW, it's not indexed.

No, "real-time suggestion" includes Auto-Expand part.

Thanks for your reply, and I apologize for misunderstanding the option. One reason why I misunderstood is my main Chinese IME (Yahoo奇摩輸入法) is already on the "DISABLED" list, but "real-time suggestion" remains "enabled" (i.e., "real-time suggestion" prompt keeps popping up even when the IME is on). I therefore thought the option was only pertinent to the "Auto-Complete" function. A bug perhaps?

(A side note: "Keyboard Layout Manage"--the title for the section where this option is found--is an odd phrase, for "manage" is a verb. You may want to use "management" instead.)

Now, let's assume the option works as expected. IOW, "real-time suggestion" is disabled when my IME is on. That would defeat the purpose of using a text-expander for me. Yes, I can still use "alt-left" to bring up the Auto-Expand list, but that's much less useful for it requires two extra keystrokes. When the list get longer, moreover, choosing the right one gets harder. To me, the best part about the "real-time suggestion" function is the constant surprises it gives me (ah-ha, I had this phrase defined). No such luck if one can only use alt-left to use the Auto-Expand function.

Due to the bug (assuming it's a bug, not another of my misunderstandings) mentioned above, currently "real-time suggestion" does keep giving me prompt when my IME is on. But then there's the other issue I described earlier:

When I hit the trigger key, Typing Assistant would issue a series of backspace to remove the abbreviation. And yet when typing with an IME on, the key strokes wouldn't generate output to the application immediately; they are held in a buffer. Instead of wiping out the abbreviation, as a result, Typing Assistant ends up deleting text that should be kept.

I hope that makes myself clear. I want a text expander that does text replacement ("Auto-Expand" with "real-time suggestion" in Typing Assistant terminology) properly when my IME is on, without any of the problems I mentioned earlier in this thread. It's a tall order, I know. That's why I was pleasantly surprised when I first saw Breevy accomplishing it.

But what do you mean about grouping?  You can sort Typing Assistant's lists by Shorthand or by Full Text, but you meant something more than that?

By "grouping" I mean organizing text-expanding definitions into folders to ease management. PhraseExpress does it best currently (but most others have something similar). See screenshot below:

Notice the last sub-folder under the English folder called "tag", which is grayed out? It means auto-replace definitions filed in that folder is currently disabled. They are shorthands I use only when I'm tagging articles, hence usually disabled.

Breevy has folders, too, but for now there's little one can do with them.

Typing Assistant even has a "Keyboard Layout Manage" option for the user to define in which keyboard layouts Typing Assistant is enabled or disabled. By default, East Asian IME are disabled for Typing Assistant.

To mwang: Thanks for trying Typing Assistant. Do you notice the "Keyboard Layout Manage" option in Custom Settings?

Yes, I did see the option, but it's only for the "real-time suggestion" function (which, of course, makes sense). My previous posts should make it clear, however, that I'm trying to find a text expander (the "auto-expand" function in Typing Assistant) that works when an IME is on. Disabling Typing Assistant (the "auto-expand" part) when an IME is on kind of defeats the purpose, don't you think?

OK, I tried their newest version (v.5.2) just now, and in no time I was reminded of yet another IME-related compatibility issue often seen in text expanders that I forgot to mention:

When I hit the trigger key, Typing Assistant would issue a series of backspace to remove the abbreviation. And yet when typing with an IME on, the key strokes wouldn't generate output to the application immediately; they are held in a buffer. Instead of wiping out the abbreviation, as a result, Typing Assistant ends up deleting text that should be kept.

I don't blame Typing Assistant for not seeing the IME. After all, it's difficult to know if another program is running--enabled, to be exact, since IMEs are in general loaded at startup. All text expanders I've tried work only when there's no IME on, not just Typing Assistant.

That makes Breevy amazing, however, for somehow it works with my IMEs.

Another small issue with Typing Assistant as a text expander is the lack of flexibility. E.g., you can't organize text replacement pairs into groups, making them harder to manage.

Thanks for contacting the author, however. It's appreciated. And I hope he does come and comment in person.

I'm surprised Typing Assistant doesn't work.  I don't know where the author's based, but his name looks Chinese to me.  So, I'd have expected TA to do the right thing, especially as you can configure Auto-Complete by various keys other than space.  I generally use the digit in the popup list, but maybe that doesn't work in your situation.  I'll e-mail the author.

That's interesting. I didn't know that. I have to admit I tried Typing Assistant a while ago (v5.0, not the current v5.2). I have used PhraseExpress the longest, since it's freeware (for personal use). The others I tried are shareware, so the trials weren't as extensive. I might have missed something. Thanks for taking the initiative. Hope there's good news so I'll have another choice.

There's a load of programs that do some of all of what Breevy does: e.g. Phrase Express, Typing Assistant, Comfort Keys, Instant Text, IntelliComplete, Type Pilot/Speed Pilot, and many others, plus roll-your-won with AutoHotKey.  Some of them are free, or free for personal use, others have been offered at DC or BdJ discounts  <hint>.  What do you see as Breevy's special strengths compared to the field?

Though I haven't used them all, I did try a few, namely PhraseExpress (7.0.153), Typing Assistant (5.0), Direct Access (1.x) and Macro Express Pro ( And I've just started using Breevy (2.50) today. One thing immediately stands out: Breevy is the only one that works (most of the time) when an East-Asian text IME is on.

An IME (short for Input Method Extension) works much the same way as a text expander: it intercepts keyboard inputs and convert them into East Asian text (Chinese, Japanese or Korean). And to mimic regular typing experience, all IMEs use the space key as the "break" to separate one word (character) from the next. As a result, most text expanders run into troubles when an IME is on (i.e., when the user is typing Asian text), for they are competing with each other to interpret the same keyboard inputs.

With Breevy I can opt to use a "trigger key" at the end of an abbreviation to trigger the replacement, so it won't mess with regular Chinese or Japanese typing (never tried Korean here), at least with the IMEs I use. The critical part is, when I do hit the "trigger key" (Ctrl in my case) to trigger a replacement, Breevy cleans up the keyboard buffer properly afterward so the IME in use isn't confused.

Other programs I've tried (PhraseExpress e.g.) also have this feature, but none of them works reliably when an IME is on (i.e., hitting the trigger key didn't always get me the replacement), and none of them cleans up the buffer properly afterward.

Suppose I define "em" as an abbreviation for my email address, e.g., while "em" (plus space) in one IME I use gives me "江" (which is a Chinese word meaning "river"). Now when I type em and then hit the trigger key, others either

1. couldn't deliver the replacement, or

2. leave the inputs in the buffer after the replacement so when I hit the space with the intention to add a space after my email address, the IME outputs "江", or

3. through some mysterious keyboard sequences turn off my IME so I have to turn it back on to continue typing Chinese.

Breevy is the only one that does it right. Bravo!

Just got the news in email. Many many thanks!

General Software Discussion / Re: have you tried mind maps?
« on: February 25, 2010, 11:19 AM »
I use Freeplane (a Freemind fork) and XMind regularly. I've also stopped using Powerpoint and use Freeplane/XMind instead for presentation. Ever since I started doing that (about more than a year ago), there are always people approaching me after my presentation to inquire about the software.

ImportExportTools (MboxImport enhanced) Most powerful mail import/export tool for Thunderbird. (Thunderbird is quite weak in this regard. E.g., it opens .eml files fine, but can't import them into mail storage.) Can't find it on, has to go to the author's homepage, which has dozens of Thunderbird extensions.

LookOut To deal with TNEF encoded attachments from Outlook.

Remove Duplicate Messages (Alternate) If you receive a lot of duplicate messages.

Show InOut If you like to put in/out mail (to the same person, e.g.) in the same folder.

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