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Hello, Rael (= the developer), Hello, prospects (and "you" sometimes means the first, sometimes the latter, but that will be evident from respective context),

I'm currently extensively trialling RN. Some first observations:

a) There should be a forum to ask questions in. (It's not mandatory for such a forum to be integrated in your site, so there are solutions which would cost you nothing.)

b) Why have Tree shortcuts different from general standards, i.e. "bold" is "Alt b" here, instead of "control b". The SCOPE of the shortcut will determine its action, so there is no problem to change it to the standard shortcut, and that I did, but there are many such idiosyncrasies in your shortcut assignments, i.e. there is a lot of manual tweaking work to do for a new user. (This Alt b instead of control b just being one example among many.)

b) Tree: I miss "italic" and "underlined" (but there is a color and background color formatting).

c) Tree: If I change shift enter to Ins (by "Special"), for "Add child note", this does not work then. Of course, the change is a matter of taste / personal appreciation, but the assignment should work if it's offered by the "Special" list of possible key assignments.

d) Tree: If you select an entry with the mouse, instead of by kb navigation, it will become underlined, even when you then change the selection to another entry/item. This is visually awful, and distracting. (And if there is any sense behind this, i.e. if "it's a feature, not a bug", please make it available by option only.)

e) "History" and "Recent" are totally awful, since those lists are populated by all those dozens of items you just touched a fraction of a second, by kb tree navigation, so those lists become totally useless since for identifying those "real finds" there to which you would like to navigate, using those lists as a "shortlist", you would have to read dozens of irrelevant "false hits". Solution to this problem is very easy: Just have items entered into those list JUST whenever they did appear for more than one second or such on screen (which is not the case for items "touched" by navigation only, and perhaps better, for more than 2 seconds (= opening of parent items), and even better, make it an option for the user to determine the length of display necessary in order for items to be included in those lists; I would probably choose 3 seconds then.

f) The looks: RN is currently one of the worst-looking outliners/PIM's out there (except for my possible missing possible adjustments?). I really beg you to have a quick look at some competitors, in order to do something about this. Tree, content (with title/tags), history/search panes, you imagined it "purist", but it's just ugly. As a first step (if you want it purist), please consider abolition of all those thin lines / thin frames, and the grey background. Especially, the title and tags frames, above and beneath the content field, are almost unbearable, as are the "lines" made up from the grey background between them and the content frame, and between tree and content frame, and between the latter and the search/history frame. (I'm speaking of its visual appearance in XP here.) Of course, such inferior appearance / visual appeal greatly harms the commercial outlook of any program, so it's important to work about it.

g) RN is MUCH, MUCH better than I had ever thought (except for the fact that a db-driven PIM should offer clones of course), but the help file does not reflect the power of this program (neither do the menu entries), and I invite newcomers/prospects to have a thorough look into the virtually endless "Tools-Customize Shortcuts" list, by which the hidden power of this fine program can be fully appreciated: There are many hidden gems there to be discovered! (It is one thing to just pretend, "RN's rtf editor is much superior to Ultra Recall's", e.g., but it's quite another thing again to discover the virtually endless possibilities in RN's editor(s), incl. not only tables, but extensive, powerful manipulation facilities for tables, too.)

h) The Boolean search problem (and I don't have to tell you how important such functionality, even without NOT or NEAR, is, for not getting endless hit tables). As said, there is a gulf between the power of this fine program, and what the help file tells you about it, and I obviously did not try ANY POSSIBLE variant in my extensive trials with the search function. In fact, from my understanding, and from the help file, it seemed "Fast Search" was something LESSER than "full-featured" search, but in fact, for the time being, it seems to be the only search flavor that correctly processes AND and OR search terms. (And my fault being, I seem to have left out this "Fast Search" in my frenetic search tries, and I'm indebted to PIMlover, from, to have very kindly mentioned this point to me. So, yes, indeed, AND and OR WORK, for the time being, but just in this special variety of search you would have had a tendency to overlook, possibly, from reading the help file. (It goes without saying that I hope for extending this functionality on all three search flavors.)

i) There is no distinction in search between "just tree titles" / "just in the tree" and "overall" / "tree and content". If you remember just some key word(s) in the title, such a distinction would be more than helpful, since it would spare you perhaps dozens of "false hits" within the hit table, through which then you would have to unnecessarily browse in order to find that one item you would like to work on, or you need to access for reading.

j) Import and Export seem both very limited at first sight, but they both present file hierarchies (even of rtf, and possibly html files, not trialled yet) to be built from the tree, and to build the RN tree from, and some other outliners/PIMs offer similar functionality, and those also offer special competiting formats, and that means that for many outliner file formats, you will be able to import your stuff into RN, and even to export your RN stuff into competing offerings, whenever the necessity might arise to do so. (Of course, I'll have to check the quality of html/docx export, which at the end of the day are the most important features in this respect, in order to further process the "product" you produce, from your stuff, in an outliner/PIM.)

k) I do not think (yet) the tagging function(s) is/are quite neat, but that's perhaps (partly) due to my possible misunderstanding of parts of it/them, but even then, the possible fact that I don't intuitively grasp that functionality, even with the help of the help file, should indicate that some work on this feature (group) could not do any harm ;-)

l) Tree: F2 currently opens a full-fledged item properties dialog, whilst in most cases, you would just like to adjust the item title a little bit, e.g. for eliminating a typo; so the regular F2 for "edit title in tree" function would be very welcome, and the current properties dialog could be opened by shift-F2 or whatever.

All this being said, I redirected Rael, the developer, to this thread, in order to comment here, as long as he will not have got a forum on his own, and anyway, I'll post more findings about RN here, and I invite fellow users to do so, too, since from my experience, positive observations should be shared widely, and criticism should be made public, too, in order to sufficiently motivate the respective developer to amend sub-standard functionality.

As for the above, point e) would need immediate attention, since the current absence of a usable history function (or then, the presence of a history function that forces you to navigate by mouse only!!!) makes this otherwise fine program almost unusable... and then, point f), the looks, seems to be primordial to me. ;-)

General Software Discussion / Re: Micro-review: Scapple
« on: April 20, 2014, 02:14 PM »
"Um...I think I may have figured that much out already."

"There are also some free concept mappers out there, such as Visual Understanding Environment (VUE) (which I prefer) and CmapTools."

(Cf. my kind asking for some details on both, let unanswered.) With all due respect to both cited posters, and I use that term on purpose: If I had said,

"There are also some brilliant if comparatively expensive text processors out there, such as Word Perfect (WP) (which I prefer) and Word.",

you would have called me an impolite egomaniac/fool, and you would have been right.

I think that whenever several but similar sw categories are mixed up, one should have the right to remind ourselves of some differenciation criterion, and whenever a poster brings in such similar sw offerings, especially when they ain't as universally known as MS Word is, e.g., some details should be brought in, too, instead of just blabbing, and worse, of forcing really interested parties into finding-out-for-themselves, from start to finish.

Just compare the posts of some of us here, with such no-content posts as the above, left un-amended, and it will become clear as day to you that some posts are constructive, whilst others just steal your time, especially in light of the fact that their authors, even when kindly asked to improve them somewhat, remain silent, i.e. remain stuck on thair blabbing-only position.

At the end of the day, it's a matter of style, and a matter of mutual respect, and yes, I feel entitled to speak openly on this matter, with regards to MY communication style, which is not based on "see what I know" but on "here's what I happily share". Some younger posters here should perhaps think about that for some minutes. And again, on purpose, I happily add a


Ok, I did my first steps with Syncovery now, and I would like to share my experience, the bottom line being, buy as soon as possible, even full price, it's the very best sync tool out there when we speak of "consumer sw", i.e. of all those tools between 0 (free) and about 200$ or even some bucks more (i.e. I don't know the "prof. / corporate" programs in the higher 3-digit, or in the 4-digit price range, but I intimately checked almost everything "below" that quite other sw category.

(And yes, for "GoodSync", I only can speak for the "2Go" version, but that one (and their "customer service") is so bad that I can simply not imagine the "regular" version might be THAT one better, and "2Go" was like throwing my dollars into the loo.)

Now, let's start again from the beginning. There are some "prof." sync tools (the most "relevant" of them being ViceVersa Pro (as said, very beautiful imo), and BestSync (which is reputed "even more stable stan VV", according to some)) that all have one point in common: Paying users have been begging, for years, for "intelligent" processing of file AND folder renames AND moves, TO NO AVAIL. (Why this is an important feature, see above, and yes, I admit it, if I rename 1200 jpg pics (in groups, e.g. by FreeCommander, an almost-splendid file commander which I always prefer to most paying ones, which I own, too), then move them, from some inboxes into (intermediate or final) target directories, then, technically, it's not THAT important if they are recognized, by Syncovery, as renamed and/or moved, or if some dumb competitor just copies 1200 "new" files (of which not a single one is new in fact), then deletes 1200 "old" ones, but for serious work, let alone corporate settings, this can make a VERY BIG difference, of many hours, let alone the above-mentioned file consistency problems... but even for 1200 .jpg pics, it's a RELIEF to have them just renamed/moved within the target directory: IT'S NEAT, YOU KNOW?! It's work as it should be done, instead of crappy detours, and yes, I'm aware that not everybody will follow me here... ;-)

Now for Syncovery, which is in a class of its own. My very first tries had been desastrous, but I beg you, don't let you be put off by such misleading, false experience, and please let me explain to you how to avoid such beginner's mistakes, in order to wholly profit from Syncovery from day one on.

First of all, the help file is not outstanding yet, and you will have to search for "tracking", in order to get to the relevant help page, "Smart Tracking" (= if you search for "smart tracking" instead, no hit will show up).

Then, I'm not fond of its profile set-up, divided into "Step 1...6", i.e. into 6 consecutive dialog frames: Some "help" is right there, but not enough help for a Syncovery beginner, and there is no "Help" button, and pressing F1 will NOT give you any context help.

Now don't take me wrong: Yes, for me, (functionally sub-standard; standard for synch sw being set by Syncovery!) ViveVersa has got some visual value I can only describe with difficulty: For me, it's one of the most beautiful Windows programs, just like I consider Storyist (Mac only, unfortunately), the most beautiful sw out there currently (and considering neither my own nor FreeHand 4 ain't available anymore), but then, the term's of "design" is twofold: visual, AND functional, and on that latter aspect, VV (I'm speaking of the free version here) is brilliant, too: Its preview pane is "View: All, Matched,
Unmatched, Newer and Older, Excluded", and then, there is "Method: Align Source and Target, Augment Target, Refresh Target, Update Target, Update and Force Target, Prune Target".

I convene for these "Method" options, you first will have to have a brief look into the help file, but from then on, everything will become soooo easy! Whilst in Syncovery, that succession of 6 dialog frames, even with additional frames, depending on your options, well... I'm not really fond of such a gui choice, and which clearly set me astray. Hence my begging for some better way to this in Syncovery, and yes; I'm aware that in VV, there is a distinction between "general option" and then "compare what with what", and then "how to compare that", whilst in Syncovery, everything is done within the respective comparison profiles". Also, you should be aware of that help file recommandation that for any working rename/moving monitoring, there should only be ONE profile accessing the folders in question (if I understand that well), so my initial, multiple profiles d: > s:, d:\1 > s:\1, d:\2 > s:\2 weren't perhaps the very best idea of doing things here - in fact, since with Syncovery, any unnecessary copy-plus-delete now will have come to an end, integral synching of the whole hdd will be much less of a problem than with "competitors" before, anyway...

Now let's assume you have some working directories on drive c: or d: (but even synching from usb stick i: to usb stick j: or whatever will work without fault), so in "Step 2", your synch direction will be "Left to Right". Then, in "Step 3" dialogue, there's a real problem. According to Tobias, the (very kind and helpful) developer, even "Standard Copying" will work, more or less, for correct checking of renames/moves (and that's why even for that radio button, the check box "Detect if files have been moved" is NOT greyed out"), but I cannot back up this: In fact, for me (again, Syncovery beginner, so I might have made other mistakes there), this setting was a horror experience (= as bad as with GoodSync2Go: totally worthless).

No, forget "Standard Copying" for the time being, brashly opt for "Smart Tracking" (or then, "Exact Mirror", of course), and you will see that the button "Configure" will not be greyed out any more, in that very "Step 3"; of course, you will check the "Detect if files have been moved" check box (and which includes renames, too; I had big doubts about this, but it works tremendously fine). Also, you will check the radio button "Adjust location on right-hand side".

You will click on that (now activated) button "Configure", and for "Moved Files", you'll check "Right Side", and for "Deleted Files", you'll either check "Delete permanently", or "Move into folder for deleted files"; for "Conflicting Files", I currently have set "Do nothing / label as conflict", and notwithstanding my comments on the visuals of VV, I can assure you that it's a delight to visually check the Syncovery preview; just compare with the total mess in GoodSync, and you'll immediately grasp how superior Syncovery's visuals are (and even from a functional pov that is ;-) ); for the last tab there, "Detect unchanges files on the right-hand side" seems to be the appropriate option.

And with those settings/options (subject to possible optimization hints from Tobias), you'll get a perfect result, and it's a joy to check for this fine and outstanding program's intentions in the preview pane. For the corporate world, Syncovery offers some special versions, and I'm perfectly aware now of the interest of such versions: You can safely assume that even for several hundred dollars/euros, there's nothing superior on the market out there.

Syncovery is one of my best software buy ever, and even at its original price, it would have been a steal.

My kudos to this brilliant, functionally totally outstanding program, even if both the gui and the help file stay unchanged, and even though that would be, marketing-wise, a shame. ;-) There are few sw categories in which one single offering makes the competition pale; thanks to Syncovery, synching is one of those select few.

And here for my unavoidable going-on-your-nerves P.S.: I did some programming again, this Easter Sunday, and again with listening, again and again, to one of the very best pieces of music available on YT, Lisa Stansfield at Ronnie Scott 2003 - Google's YT currently being Google's ultimate apology for serving us such crap as cnet downloads as first hit. ;-) (And yes, people interested in ace sax performances should also have a look into and especially into the title "Amerika" there, or, cut out from there, here: )

General Software Discussion / Re: Micro-review: Scapple
« on: April 05, 2014, 02:33 PM »
"And I don't find mind maps all that useful for the way I work."

Again, neither Scapple nor the two other applics mentioned by Andus above are mind map creators, and whilst not bothering you with replicating my lengthy developments of the difference between MM/outlining/horizontal outlining(Warnier) and then just scribbling ideas on paper, and putting them into various groupings/connections (I did that both in the UR and in the outlinersw fora), forgive me to contradict you, decidedly, on both plans:

- Scapple et al. (or sheets of paper) are in another category than MM/etc. (MM being for presentation purposes, above all other possible use)

- NOT putting down good ideas (be it on paper, be it wherever it goes), when not having finished some project, is just throwing three quarters of those ideas into the bin, forever, since later on, they will NOT present themselves again (or then, just in part, without also telling you their respective core connections, which might have been the much more valuable part of that idea); from this second point, you might deduct: have some "writing down" device ready everywhere (incl. your nightstand, in your car*, etc.); use it!; for Scapple-or-similar applics: have the respective files in IMMEDIATE access** whenever your pc's on.

* = the car aspect would mean, use some traditional device (like I do: I've got SEVERAL such Sanyo full-metal devices (= effect's like with a beautiful pen) with traditional tape, but alternatively, there are tapeless devices), NO iPhone, since even when you don't do/receive a call with it, just just it, in most European countries, you'll be in for a 3-digit euro fine if catched

** = by macroing, by loading with every Windows start... and that definitely makes a big part of Scapple's attraction, since it's lightweight (cf. Mind Manager, and cf. MM's hindrance of your thinking)

Lately, I even created an AHK macro (Alt-F8) that from everywhere, will create me a new, empty .txt file, within the fraction of a second (except for my typing the file name) in my standard folder, and (by default) beginning with "0" = "ToDo, unassigned yet" (or then, I change that into 1...9), to put down any idea I might get anywhere, without leaving my current applic frames (and I only get an error message when my idea will NOT have been stored behind the scenes).

I understand your point: Don't over-develop further projects, instead of realizing your current ones. But then, don't discard any possible idea for those further projects. Btw, that's differenciating a CEO (or then, his head of strategy) from his staff: He'll never have to wait fore implementation chores, before creating something new - and that's why maximized delegation possibilities, for creative people, are of utter importance.

For any better/additional idea, I would, that goes without saying, give full credit.

This being said, my musings certainly are of general interest, since even if you do just SOME macros, here and there, with any (free or paid) tool, the same probs will quickly arise, although to a lesser extent.


Now, as stated before, I've heavily been into AHK macroing lately.

Thus, I have to copy with numerous sw's internal key shortcuts / shortkeys, and also with their respective menu shortcuts (Alt-xyz).

And of course, I always try to assign identical / similar commands to the same shortkeys, in different programs, i.e. I either re-assign the original shortcut (if such re-assignment is available) to my "standard" shortkey for that function, or I intercept the (un-re-assignable) shortcut of a given applic, and then reassign it to my standard AHK shortcut for that function.

Now, bec of various internal shortcuts in many progs, such a system will quickly create an almost incredible mess: In many progs, I've got hours and hours to work on re-assigning their multiple internal shortcuts, or to simply get away with them (which is a pity, and which is in order to not them interfering with my AHK macros... ok, with AHK, this is technically not possible, thank God, i.e. AHK key (combination) assignments will prevail, but I', not able, from my personality, to "overwrite" internal shortkeys, without bothering about such things, so I have to look them all up, one by one, and notwithstanding any further development of my macro system: so you easily understand all this is a conceptual nightmare...).

As described here, trying to overlay your personal macro system, to your set of possibly 100 applics and tools of any kind, is virtually impossible, so what can we do?

In this connection, I tried various ways of administering at least my own macros (let alone the internal shortkeys of every given prog), by sorting in spreadsheets, by doing comments in my macro lines, then filtered by editors/regex, etc. - chaos it remains, and for every changes in my macro system (which occur daily), I would have to search for possible incompatibilities (with native shortkeys) in dozens of applics. As said before, it's a nightmare.


So, what's a viable STRATEGY to macroing?

I've adopted this one: For every applic, I delete/reassign/note any Alt-Fkey combination, i.e. I do NOT accept any alt-F-key shortkey in any of my applics: I "need" them for my own macros, and this comprises Alt combinations.

Then, for every applic that is NOT "calculation", i.e. except for calculators, spreadsheets, statistical sw and so on, I "sacrify" the numkey block, and whilst /, *, -, +, numenter and numcomma/dot have global assignments, the ten digit keys there are all available for individual shortkey assignments of the particular applic in focus; it goes without saying that wherever possible, I assign often-used commands to numkey keys, whilst lesser-used commands "go" to Alt-Fkey keys.

Also, I've sacrificed the 4 keys F9 to F12 to "global scope", i.e. have reassigned any applic-specific key assignments from them to some other key (combination); the same is true for "special keys" like "PrintScreen", "Pause" and such.

This is to say that I deliberately refrain from doing "mnemonic" key combinations like "control-alt-p" and the like, instead heaving to memorize some "Num9" for some command, in order to not have to endure the above-described chaos, triggered by happily mixing up your own macros, and "native" applic-bound short-keys all over the "place" = all over your keyboard.

To tell you the truth, for the time being, I have also preserved (i.e. not yet reassigned) a dozen or so shift-control-xyz key combinations, all for global var(iable) toggles of my AHK system, and that obliges me to also check for such shift-control-combinations in any of my applications, but from my experience, in most such applics, these are very rare, so perhaps I'll even maintain those.

I also have got a Cherry 4700 keypad, since it's the only low-price keypad out there which is "programmable", i.e. to which keys you can reassign other key combinations which then will be interceptable by AHK: shift-control-alt-a... in my case, i.e. cramped combis never ever originally assigned by any applic of my knowledge.


From the above, you see that my point is, try to separate, as far as possible, your own macro system (which you will have to memorize, more or less, notwithstanding the fact that at the beginning, and for rarely-used commands, perhaps in rarely-used applics, you will need some sort of reference table system, be it on screen, be it on paper), from any possible shortcuts from your various applics - use (perhaps) shift-control keys, use alt-F keys (and yes, for special commands not that much similar to commands in other applics, why not assign them to "unused" Alt-combis in that particular applic? = nor yet assigned to a (useful-to-you) command there, neither (and especially) to a menu shortcut over there)... and be brash* enough to sacrifice your numkeys in every applic where you won't enter digits but here and then anyway - and any macroing will become so much more straightforward for you!

* = How come some Continental knows such terms? Well, it's a remembrance from an Auden poem in Visconti's Conversation Piece (1974, and no, not on YT (yet))

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