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Messages - JohnFredC [ switch to compact view ]

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General Software Discussion / Re: SQLNotes...what is it exactly?
« on: June 24, 2008, 08:57 AM »

General Software Discussion / Re: SQLNotes...what is it exactly?
« on: June 24, 2008, 07:21 AM »
Even if columnar databases have benefits in certain data situations, the SQLNotes structures which emulate a columnar database model are implemented in a relational model!  So there is always some basic relational overhead behind the columnar model overhead which itself is behind the user's notes data.

SQLNotes must run queries in the relational model first in order to set up the columnar structure in which the users' own data query can finally run!

General Software Discussion / Re: SQLNotes...what is it exactly?
« on: June 23, 2008, 03:16 PM »
Thanks so much for your complete answer to my somewhat snotty (in retrospect) comment.

I think Jet is more efficient with sparse matrices than you give it credit, though.


General Software Discussion / Re: SQLNotes...what is it exactly?
« on: June 23, 2008, 02:29 PM »
Now I see that sometimes by double clicking (or pressing enter twice...) in a grid cell I can "pick" from a list of all the values previously entered in that column (er, "field").  That's close to what I'm looking for but I need the picklist to come from another (not the same) column!  Is that possible?

What does inheritance do?

I prowled around the sndb file a bit.  Clever use of queries and tables to abstract a system on top of the underlying Access data model.  Not clear on the benefit of doing things in such an indirect manner, though.  The SQLNotes schema just adds layers on top of what Access/Jet already does, layers that emulate the existing internal Access "MSys" schema, but with, ultimately, less performance (due to the nested querying required) when ┬»fText (for instance) gets very large. 

Why not just use native Jet tables, creating new tables, fields, and views when you need them via parameter driven code that builds/executes the appropriate SQL statements. IMHO much more powerful/flexible, and with reduced query overhead, too! 

Anyway...  water under the bridge.

Thanks for everyone's patience with my posts. I understand SQLNotes much better now.

General Software Discussion / Re: SQLNotes...what is it exactly?
« on: June 23, 2008, 08:28 AM »
Would this also imply hierarchical organization of the different Grids? I must say that it would be nice. Some of that was mentioned in mantis issue 150, but could be made as a separate issue.

Currently the SQLNotes grids are shown as a flat list (ie. one level of tabs in the UI).  My idea was to show the grids in an hierarchical tree managed by drag and drop.

But see my post above.  Such an implementation is essentially meaningless in SQLNotes if all the grids draw from a common pool of fields stored in a single (logically flat) table.

Demo MHSoftware's InfoStore and build a few "list" nodes to see what was I hoping for in SQLNotes. 

General Software Discussion / Re: SQLNotes...what is it exactly?
« on: June 23, 2008, 08:17 AM »
It occurs to me that perhaps I totally misunderstand SQLNotes and the concept of a grid.  I have been thinking of the grid as a separate data table. 

But more reflection on my part plus that long list of fields in the "field management" dialog now suggest to me that there is actually only one table in each file!

Is each SQLNotes file intended to be a single "flat" data file (table) with each grid being just a defined view into that one table of data? I hope not.  Such an approach is very limiting.

Perhaps your goal is to emulate MS Project, which has (or used to have) that architecture.

I mean no harm.  SQLNotes is beautifully implemented.

General Software Discussion / Re: SQLNotes...what is it exactly?
« on: June 22, 2008, 10:50 AM »

I really really want to use SQLNotes because I can see that it does a majority of the data management tasks that I need.  However, I can't figure out how to do specific things:

1.  Tree/Grid of Grids

The hierarchical grid is great!  But in addition to each grid node linking to a gant chart, html document, etc, I need a definable grid as a node's document type a la InfoStore from MHSoftware.  Is there a way to do this already?  Visualize a tree panel on the left, with some nodes linking to html documents, some to forms, some to gants, and some nodes linking each to "their own" definable grids (or tables, in industry parlance).  That way I could easily group individual grids according to an hierarchical logic.

An HTML table doesn't cut the mustard for me.

2. Designation of Foreign Keys.

Is this already possible?  For instance, in a parent grid, designate a unique key field.  In a related/subordinate grid, designate a foreign key and declare referential integrity between the two.  Ideally, the display control for the foreign key on the subordinate grid would be a combo box linking to a (unique) list of the primary key values of the parent grid.

InfoStore doesn't do the linked combobox/primary/foreign key thing, but perhaps SQLNotes can (or might in the future?).

MS Access allows me to do this, of course, but the SQLNotes interface is so nice and has a so much lower overhead, I'd prefer not to re-invent the wheel if possible.  Besides, implementing trees in Access is a real pain.

Maybe this stuff is already in SQLNotes and I'm just slow to find it?

Thanks for listening!

Mini-Reviews by Members / Re: Mini-Review of FileBoss
« on: June 14, 2008, 10:36 PM »
Hi Dexter
This is intentional and is because FileBoss uses a concept not present in other file managers (at least I haven't seen it - I'm no expert on the others)

FWIW this has been the standard mode of operation used by Altap Salamander for years.

I was all ready to download FileBoss and try it out, but lack of support for thumbs is a killer for me.  Maybe I'll try it out when thumbs mode is available.  Please keep us up-to-date about that!

Screenshot Captor / Thanks and Kudos
« on: May 10, 2008, 10:35 AM »
I just want to say thanks for such a great program.  Over the years there have been a few programs that have stood out as historically significant (for me, at least).  TC, Keynote, a few others.  Screenshot Captor is equally important to me as those other utilities.  A significantly useful tool, well-designed.

Thank you.

General Software Discussion / Re: What's your preferred File Manager
« on: December 05, 2007, 06:27 AM »
If you haven't read the manual you're only scratching the surface of what X2 can do, BTW.

This is my basic complaint about most software: "hidden" behaviors, INI settings completely missing from the interface, etc.

If I need to read the manual, then the user interface has not been optimally designed. Ideally, the interface should be completely transparent for a user familiar with the functional domain to which the software applies.

Living Room / Re: The worst thing about Macs
« on: October 17, 2007, 08:38 AM »
Most people I know who have Macs have zero issues with them.  Zero.  They just work.

On the other hand, how they live with that squirmy little "dock", all those stinkin' floating toolbars, only one menu at the top of the screen (not attached to the current window), Safari (ugh!), and no Total Commander (gasp!), I have no idea.


General Software Discussion / Re: What's your preferred File Manager
« on: September 26, 2007, 03:37 PM »
You can get the latest SC v12 beta(3) here.  It has the new breadcrumbs technology in the panel paths...

I've used the ACDSee tool ImageFox for... I guess nearly 10 years.  It is not free (actually sort of expensive: $30), but works great.  I think development halted years ago, but no matter to me.  Haven't tried it on Vista yet.  Haven't tried Vista itself yet, either.

ImageFox maintains dialog sizes and positions by application.  It also maintains two favorite folders lists, global and by application.  It has a document previewer pane that you can hide if you like (by application also) and place either to the right of the dialog or beneath it.  No access to the Windows Places bar, though, and it doesn't work with Office dialogs.  It also has an aggravating bug where in some cases the shortcut to the folder will replace the filename in the dialog.

Download ImageFox here.

General Software Discussion / Re: What's your preferred File Manager
« on: September 17, 2007, 04:13 PM »
Hi Nudel!  You've responded to a few of my posts over at the Dopus forum.

Not sure what you mean about the panel dividers,

AFAIK there is no way to set the Dopus panel divider percents from a button.  Also, there is no way to control precisely where the panel dividers go when toggling quickview and folder trees off and on.  Dopus uses some sort of "best guess" algorithm instead of letting me specify precisely where the dividers should always display under all circumstances.  Invariably the dividers go in the wrong places for my use.  I'm just tired of dragging them back into position, over and over and over. 

To prove my point, display a Dopus lister in the "Dual Vertical" style.  Set the folder tree dividers/splitters where you want them.  Now go to the view menu and toggle one of the trees off.  Watch what happens to the dividers.  Now toggle the tree back on.  Watch the dividers.

I tried using the Dopus "styles" functionality to set up all possible panel combinations with dividers in the desired positions, but there is no setting I have found that will "keep current paths" when toggling between styles, so that didn't work, either.  Leaving the folder options unchecked in the left and right panel tabs of the Styles config panel doesn't do it, though it looks like it should.

And yes I put in an official bug report/request. The response was to deny that I was even experiencing the issue.

and the preview pane ("quickview") works for both left and right (or top and bottom) file display but only displays what's selected in the most recently active one.

If I highlight a file in the Dopus left panel, I want its quickview to appear in and (temporarily replace) the right panel (it does).  But if I highlight a file in the right panel, then I want the quickview to appear in (and temporarily replace) the left panel (it doesn't). The official response to my official request for this behavior was something like "we don't do that".

To see how tabs should work, look at the SpeedCommander tab properties dialog.  Then you may understand my point of view about the "incompleteness" of the Dopus tab implementation. The only thing missing from the SC tab implementation are a few minor functions I use in the TC tab context menu plus the ability to rearrange the SC tabs with the mouse.

Neither TC nor Dopus (nor xplorer2, for instance) subordinate the folder trees' visibilities to the tabs.  SC does this.  I much prefer that the individual tab control its own tree visibility.  Some tabs don't need the folder trees and it is an inefficiency (not to mention a pain) to always have to toggle the tree off in those situations, then toggle it back on for the tabs that need it.

Etc, etc, etc...

General Software Discussion / Re: What's your preferred File Manager
« on: September 13, 2007, 12:07 PM »
IMHO, naturally:

It depends a bit on whether you have a causal need or a "production" need.  Also, are you a mouse person or a keyboard person?

Please note that my preferences are for dual-pane file managers, with (preferably) or without dual folder trees.  If you just want one that does only a folder tree and a file panel, I hope you "see the light" some day.

If you are a casual user, most of them (including nearly any member of the "Pack"... Enriva Magellan comes to mind) work OK.  I personally think Salamander is really nice, though, even with its limitations.  If you are a heavy mouse user, SpeedCommander has the best tree/folder tab, etc, integration/behavior, IMHO.  Version 12 has a nicely implemented breadcrumb bar functionality, though one can't drag and drop to it (darn!).

If you need "industrial strength"... meaning you work with "weird"  file systems, manage remote servers, or need obscure archivers, or use more/different metadata than that provided by Windows itself, or mostly prefer keyboard over mouse, or want to be able to view essentially any file, then TC (plus plugins... I repeat: PLUS plugins) is the way to go, with the understanding that you WILL have to learn the best ways to use it.  It's the plugins that make TC so powerful, mostly.

On the other hand if you need automation (that is, multi-step file activities) and are not comfortable with writing batch files or using a tool like AutoHotkey (necessary for automating TC, for instance) but are not averse to some coding or code-like scripting, then look at SpeedCommander (built-in VB script object model) or DOpus (limited scripting, but good GUI for what it does do).

And if you are only a casual user without a lot of file management needs who just loves to play with software, fiddling with colors and buttons and menus etc etc then Dopus is your man.  That thing seems to have a setting for nearly everything... except the things I personally need settings for. ;)

If you need Unicode, the landscape changes, though.  At this writing TC, Salamander, FreeCommander, and most members of the "Pack" do not support Unicode.

Cost is another issue, too.  TC is one of the least expensive.  You buy it once, free upgrades forever.  DOpus is the most expensive initially AND you have to repurchase it to keep up with its rather speedy evolution.  SpeedCommander is similar, though less than DOpus.  That's one reason I suggest looking at FreeCommander.  It's still a baby, but is currently free and offers a lot of functionality.

Let me also step in here, though, and say quite bluntly that even the lowliest member of the "Pack" is generally more efficient for file management than MS Explorer.  If you are using Explorer, you're spending too much time doing file management.  Pick another file manager.  You'll be glad you did!

General Software Discussion / Re: What's your preferred File Manager
« on: September 13, 2007, 09:50 AM »
OK.  Here's my list.

Registered.  Open on my desktop continuously.  Use for nearly everything.  Never lost a file.  Most recent versions sometimes slow considerably when accessing network shares.  Has the most responsive/fastest GUI (maybe because there isn't much of a GUI going on!).  Faulty plugins can cause crashes.

Still testing this one but may purchase soon.  Use for unzipping encrypted archives since TC (being Swiss) won't always accept a password (important thing to know, eh?).  Lost one file, once, could have been operator (ie. my) error but I don't think so.

Also am testing the SC virtual file list functionality for making easy backup sets.

Altap Salamander
Registered.  Use occasionally.  Best/smoothest interaction paradigm.  Sheer delight to use, but no folder trees, no folder tabs, no quickview, only 10 folder favorites.  Most stable (no crashes, ever.)  Never lost a file. 

Registered.  Use occasionally.  Spend most of my time trying to figure out how to make it behave like TC or SC.  No luck so far.  Poor folder tab implementation.  Panel dividers don't behave as I want.  Quickview only in right panel.  Never lost a file. Crashes occasionally.

Hoping for improvement, so I test from time to time.  Not enough reliability data to comment.  Plagued with display issues ( I use "large" fonts).

Back in my testing cycle since it now claims to support TC plugins.  So far, wlx (viewer) plugins appear to work OK, content/custom columns (wdx) and file system (wfx) plugins fail (for the ones I have tested).  Haven't tested archive (wcx) plugins yet.

The Pack
I just test the latest versions occasionally to see if they have improved to a level where they might be candidates for my use.  None have so far.

General Software Discussion / Re: What's your preferred File Manager
« on: September 12, 2007, 06:55 AM »
The poll should have been multiple choice for me, because I resort to different file managers for different specific functionality, and the last option doesn't really capture any useful data.  Good start, though.

By the way, that should be spelled "AB" Commander.

My vote: new thread.  Reviews probably wouldn't be limited to file managers.

This could be a huge effort...  it's fun to think about, but is it worth it?  I mean, unless there is enough detail, no one would use the comparison, but who would care to read enough of the detail for it to be useful...?

So maybe a better idea would be some sort of structured Wiki approach with categories of behavior/functionality presented at the front and an ability for users to go in and address each category from the perspective of the file manager they know.  That way the data could grow incrementally over time... but without any one individual shouldering the entire load.

I'll help with the review.

Every TC install resets your Main menu (not toolbar).  The *.mnu files are usually kept in the Language subfolder of the TC main folder.  It is an annoyance, but after every install, re-identify your saved custom menu file from Start->Change Main menu...

Also, keep in mind that the TC default main menu shows only a few of the possible commands (crazy, huh?).  Most TC users customize the main menu.

Fully populated menus are available here and a pack of tools (you may already have these) for customizing TC is available from here.

A little tip for customizing your own menu: you can split the menu between left and right sides of the TC window by placing the HELP_BREAK command in the mnu file where you would like the division to occur.

A little quirk of TC you may have to get used to...  drag and drop copies a file by default (as opposed to Explorer, which moves it, instead).  To move a file in TC use <alt> when you drag and drop.

I personally like TC's behavior better, but then I am big on excessive file redundancy after so many drive crashes over the years.

General Software Discussion / Re: New interesting features for Firefox 3
« on: September 10, 2007, 01:42 PM »
FireFox is OK, I guess, and I like its add-in model.  But if the Mozilla team doesn't implement a full featured page-zoom a la Opera with "fit to width" (not the low rent zoom behavior of IE 7), then all the fancy Addin/GUI/keyboard functionality in the world won't matter to me.

The SC nag screen doesn't appear if you use QuickView instead of View.

I agree with all your points except:

fails to provide me with an alternative to the dual-pane display mode.
You can set the SC panel divider to 100% (or 0%), turn off the tree, maximize the SC window, turn on the thumbs, and have the full screen to organize your thumbs.  Save that as a named layout, put the built-in layout dropdown control on a tool bar and switch to it instantly.  Voila! 

Or even simpler: just put SC's built-in 100% button on a toolbar.  You can see that button (along with other panel control buttons) on the bottom toolbar shown in that SC graphic in my previous post.

I should add that SpeedCommander doesn't seem all that speedy compared to Salamander or xplorer2.  A sticking point for me.

Salamander has by far the slickest/smoothest "seeming" interface behavior and appearance.  It's like silk.  Scrolling long panels of thumbs in Salamander is especially smooth.  The Salamander helper dialogs for copying/moving etc, are also excellent, though they have fewer options than TC's do (the leader in copy exception dialogs, IMHO).  Sometimes the sheer attractiveness of the interface makes using a program more pleasant than another.  Salamander is a joy to use, in that regard.

One nice thing about the Dopus thumbs display is that you can put a slider in a tool bar and resize the thumbs on the fly without having to enter the Options dialog. 

Finally: No problem here with a nag screen if I haven't paid.  I only open programs once between system boots, anyway.

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