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Messages - johnk [ switch to compact view ]

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General Software Discussion / Re: Software licences
« on: February 04, 2008, 03:16 PM »
Those n-computer licences make little sense to me, do anyone with a desktop computer AND laptop actually buy two licences of any software?

The problem is, I do (believe in buying the number of licences required by the EULA, that is). I'm not claiming to be the world's most honest person, or anything like that, but I do believe in supporting shareware developers, and sticking to their licences. However if that means buying one licence per machine, then most of the time I probably won't be buying their software at all, I'll just use an alternative product with a single-user licence...

General Software Discussion / Software licences
« on: February 04, 2008, 12:38 PM »
I regularly use three computers -- two desktops and a laptop (and I'm very tempted by the Asus Eee...). I don't think that's unusual these days. But for individuals with multiple PCs, software licences are a headache.

When I evaluate shareware these days, one of the first things I look at is the End User Licensing Agreement (EULA).  And basically, if it's a single machine licence, I'm very unlikely to be interested, no matter how good the software is.

Of course, software developers can use whatever licence they wish. My main gripe is how difficult it can be to find out the licence details.

Two examples: I was interested in buying Backup4All Pro (, but to get the licence details, I had to download the help file PDF and wade through that. And yes, it's a single machine licence.  So that would cost me $135 for my machines (excluding DC discount).  That compares to my current software, SyncbackSE, which costs $30 for a licence that covers up to 5 PCs.  Suddenly Backup4All is a non-runner.

I also recently trialled PageFour ( , the (excellent) text editor aimed at writers. I went searching for the licence details. Not on the web site.  Not in the help file. But I found it in the installation directory. And again it's a single machine licence. Which makes a reasonably-priced piece of software ($35) too expensive for me ($105).

In the case of PageFour, I was so impressed with the software that I emailed the author and asked him about the EULA. He was very positive, recognised the issue, and promised to look into changing it.  I offered him the wording from the licence for Second Copy 2000 as an ideal model:

"One registered copy of Second Copy 2000 may either be used by a single
person who uses the software personally on one or more computers, or
installed on a single workstation used non-simultaneously by multiple
people, but not both."

Which seems just about perfect to me.

The reason for this long-winded post? To suggest there should be some kind of licence scheme where shareware sites have a prominent "badge" on the home page that indicates whether they offer a standard, flexible licence (modeled on something like the Second Copy licence) so that users don't have to waste time investigating the licence for every bit of software they test.  Seems like common sense to me.

Official Announcements / Re: January 2008 Software Drawing Winners
« on: January 28, 2008, 05:15 AM »
I've been away from home for the last few days, with no internet access (not a nice experience). Came back to find a licence for Super Flexible File Synchronizer in my inbox!  Thanks to Tobias, cthorpe and the rest of the DC team.

Black on white or white on black give me headaches.

Way back when I had far too little to do, I experimented with background colours, and found that a gentle lemony yellow got rid of my headaches, brought  harmony to my life, and increased the chances of world peace:


I'm now so used to this that I won't use a text editor if I can't vary the background colour.

Found Deals and Discounts / Re: Automise Lite - 70% off - Bits Du Jour
« on: December 10, 2007, 11:52 AM »
I was one of the folks that grabbed a copy of Automise (1) for $19.95. Today I scooped up a copy of Automise 2 Lite for $14.95. It is definitely worth the price.

I also picked up Automise 1 on the last offer. What are the main benefits you see in having Automise 2 Lite as well? I've looked through the long list of "What's New in Automise 2" but with a program like Automise it's difficult instantly to imagine the real-world benefits of the new actions...

General Software Discussion / Re: Gmail rolling out IMAP Support?
« on: November 05, 2007, 12:14 PM »
Author of the IMAP protocol, Mark Crispin, gives his view on GMail's IMAP implementation:

And a long chat about it at the Email Discussions forums:

Best E-mail Client / Re: Best IMAP Client
« on: July 13, 2007, 02:30 PM »
Moving to an IMAP service has been an eye-opener for me. I thought finding a decent client would be the least of my worries. I thought that IMAP had more of a following than it does (I had the impression that it had a reasonable foothold in the corporate market), so I therefore assumed that any decent email client would be as strong on IMAP as on POP. Wrong. Very wrong.

As I mentioned in the Windows Live Mail thread, I initially used Thunderbird, but found it slow when downloading large numbers of headers. And although it claims to avail of IMAP's IDLE command, it doesn't seem to work for me. In fact, if I leave Thunderbird open long enough, it seems to stop finding my mail completely, whether using IDLE or by regular polling. I use FastCheck ( for new mail notification, which seems to work flawlessly (current version only works with FastMail/IMAP).

Windows Live Mail it is for now, but I'm still searching.

Okay, I finally gave in and tried Mulberry. Yes, it's fast. And yes, IMAP support is wonderful, and beats any other client I've tried.

But...HTML support is very close to non-existent (for emails containing images at any rate). Essentially, to view an HTML email, you have to right-click on the email, select "view current part", and the email will open in your default browser (or any other HTML viewer you have selected). In this day and age, that's just crazy. As I said above, I'm no big fan of unnecessary formatting, but many of us subscribe to lots of email newsletters these days. While some offer a plain text option, many do not. And very often, the HTML versions are a much nicer read anyway.

I did spend a brief few minutes looking through the Mulberry mailing list archive, and it seems HTML viewing was never a priority for the developers. Maybe now that it's open source, someone will do the sensible thing and use one of an existing HTML rendering engines to give Mulberry an inline HTML viewer quickly. Then the program would be an option for those of us who like a little HTML in our lives.

tinjaw -- I'd like to hear more about Mulberry. Although I keep reading that it's the best IMAP client, I've been put off even trying it because I also keep reading that it has a poor/non-existent HTML rendering engine.

Although I am a fan of plain text, and religiously avoid using HTML email myself, the fact is that I subscribe to so many (HTML-based) newsletters now that having decent HTML rendering is important to me.

Once I decided to cut the strings with the awful Outlook 2007 (https://www.donation...dex.php?topic=8770.0), I started to have a good look around at what I really wanted to do with my email.

Well, firstly I wanted to get away from linking my email with my ISP, to make it easier to swap providers. And I wanted to started using my own domain. And I wanted to have my email available everywhere, while using an email client at home/work, so IMAP seemed a good idea.

So to cut a long story short, I spent a lot of time in the wonderful Email Discussions forums ( and decided on FastMail for my IMAP provider. A decent reputation (though not perfect -- they have had extended outages in the past), a lot of useful features, and a lean web mail interface.

I started using Thunderbird as the client, but although it had a good reputation as an IMAP client, I found it slow. Then I happened on a thread somewhere about "Windows Live Mail Desktop" (now just called Windows Live Mail (WLM)-

I normally keep a close eye out for new email clients, but I hadn't come across this (perhaps because I've tried to ignore the whole Windows Live thing, and I don't use Vista). WLM is generally billed as an update to Outlook Express, although it feels more like a cross between OE and Outlook -- but in a good way. It takes the features I liked from Outlook, including the space-saving two-line message list (the Outlook feature I missed most when I started using Thunderbird):

winmail n.png

Best of all, WLM feels much faster than Outlook, and is much quicker than Thunderbird at pulling down large numbers of headers when using IMAP (in my experience, at any rate). Thankfully, WLM appears to use the IE HTML engine rather than the Word HTML engine, as Outlook 2007 does. WLM is still in beta (although I think this may be the new, Google-style, never-ending beta). But it seems stable. I thought it was worth a mention, as there are so many OE users out there who might not realise they have a new option, which seems in many ways to improve on OE (WLM requires XP SP2 or Vista).

General Software Discussion / Re: Outlook 2007 - a rant
« on: June 07, 2007, 07:17 AM »
Well, I just couldn't stand it any more, not for another day. So last night I moved my email to Thunderbird.

I was very impressed with the Thunderbird import wizard. Just pointed it to my Outlook 2007 PST (500MB file), and off it went. Twenty minutes later, all my mail, contacts book and account settings were in Thunderbird, without a glitch. Message filters don't import, unfortunately, but that's a one-off inconvenience.

I'm sure I'll have plenty to moan about in a few days, but at the moment I'm just enjoying the speed of Thunderbird (relative to OL2007, anyway). Syncing with my PDA will be the challenge...

General Software Discussion / Re: Outlook 2007 - a rant
« on: June 05, 2007, 01:21 PM »
Does this help the speed issue:

Thanks for the link, but I have already applied the patch, along with many other fixes suggested on various forums. And the patch didn't really help. One of the reasons for the slowness is that the combination of a new database format and the use of Windows Desktop Search for indexing means that there's lot more writing to the hard disk going on all the time as you use Outlook.

I even read one quote from an MS bod who had the nerve to say that the problem was caused by users' large PST files and that "people shouldn't be using it as an archive"! I know what he means, but on the other hand, back when they released Outlook 2003, they boasted about the fact that the PST size limit had gone up from 2GB to 20GB.

My PST is less than 500MB, and it performed fine in Outlook 2003. Outlook 2007 is the problem. I can only presume that everyone at MS uses some form of super-computer and they never, ever see speed issues.

General Software Discussion / Outlook 2007 - a rant
« on: June 05, 2007, 12:03 PM »
In another thread (https://www.donation...index.php?topic=8734), I praised MS's fine OneNote program, and said it showed just what they can do when they try. On the other hand...

Recently I upgraded to Office 2007, and with it to Outlook 2007. Like many people, I live in Outlook. Which is a great shame for me, because Outlook 2007 is horrible.

The main problem is that it's just slow. Now Outlook has never been sleek and nimble, but 2003 was a pretty good program. Glitch-free, for me, and worked quite well. I am growing old watching emails render in Outlook 2007. It is painfully slow. And when the email finally appears, if you're unlucky enough to open an HTML email....Let me give you just one example.

Here's a daily email newsletter I receive from Variety magazine:


And since I "upgraded" to Outlook 2007, here's what I see:


Why? Well, it took some digging to find out, but apparently MS, in its infinite wisdom, decided to stop using the IE HTML engine to render Outlook emails. Now Outlook 2007 uses....MS Word's HTML engine. Really.

A bit more digging, and I found that this is causing plenty of coders endless frustration:

Now I know that some of you will say that maybe it's a good thing. Maybe we'll see a return to the good old days of plain text emails. And yes, I'm one of the old timers too - I always send plain text emails. Unfortunately, the commercial world does not, and will not. So email newsletters, invoices etc, all in HTML, and all at the mercy of Outlook's new excuse for an HTML engine.

I wish I could just shrug my shoulders and say "it's time to move on". But Outlook, and its PDA equivalent, are ingrained in my life. It's going to take some long-term planning to move away.

Finally, I inquired about how I would revert to Outlook 2003, while keeping the rest of Office 2007. Apparently I'd have to uninstall all of Office 2007, install Office 2003, then re-install Office 2007 without Outlook. Oh, and mail merge would be broken. And one or two other things as well...

Mini-Reviews by Members / Re: Microsoft OneNote 2007
« on: June 02, 2007, 06:16 PM »

I'm not sure the world needs another "is Microsoft good or bad" discussion. As I said in my review, Microsoft-bashing is a popular hobby, and many people will refuse to use their apps no matter how good they might be. Truth is, XP isn't a bad general purpose home-user OS. OneNote is a good program.

Yes, OneNote has limited export capabilities (you can export pages/sections/notebooks to PDF/XPS/MHT/DOC/DOCX as appropriate). Yes, still a heavy MS bias. Some bad old Microsoft habits die hard.

I take a pragmatic view of these things, having used computers in the workplace for the best part of 20 years, and often working in proprietary formats. Most data becomes irrelevant over time, be that days, weeks, months or years. We all make judgments about these things every day. Data you know you'll need forever, or might need long-term, your store accordingly in an appropriate app. Very little data most of us generate falls in that category. Regular housekeeping should expunge data you don't need. The vast majority of the data I have in OneNote at the moment will cease to matter within a few months.

Computers have encouraged the "we should keep everything, just in case" school of thought, and the logic is plausible. Hard discs are cheap. But really, it's the equivalent of the guy who keeps several decades worth of old newspapers in the attic, just because they contain information that might be useful one day. In the end, it's just silly and dangerous.

I'm rambling.  All I really wanted to say was; don't be put off using the best app for the purpose just because of export issues; choose apps based on the type of data (and short/medium/long-term value of that data).

Basically I'm an old-fashioned plain text kind of guy. But I can see real value in apps like OneNote for efficiently storing data with a short to medium term life.

Mini-Reviews by Members / Re: Microsoft OneNote 2007
« on: June 01, 2007, 06:26 AM »
is tagging easy -
i.e. can you use shortcuts in particular - & is it easy then to display only stuff with XXX or YYY Tag

Does tagging work across various "Notebooks" or is it limited?

I don't think you can modify the built-in shortcuts for standard tags, although I may be wrong. If there is such a feature it's buried.

You filter by tags by selecting the "show all tagged notes" feature and then sorting tags by one of a number of options:


Mini-Reviews by Members / Re: Microsoft OneNote 2007
« on: May 31, 2007, 08:13 PM »
Great review, one thing, I've noticed a lot of people compare one note with evernote and was wondering if you had ever used evernote and why/how onenote is superior (if it is)

Evernote was one of those programs that I tried and dismissed quickly. Can't remember why, I'm afraid. I tried so many similar programs, but they quickly slimmed down to a shortlist of three - OneNote, Surfulater and Ultra Recall. These struck me at the time as being head and shoulders ahead of the other contenders. Three programs I would trust with my data, and programs that would help me to be more efficient. And I don't have the energy to go back to other programs now. I'm sure I'm not the only member here who spends far too much time looking for programs that will save me time....

Mini-Reviews by Members / Re: Microsoft OneNote 2007
« on: May 31, 2007, 07:32 PM »
Did you use (or anyone else) OneNote 2003? How have things changed in 2007?
-Carol Haynes (May 31, 2007, 07:10 PM)
Yes, Carol, I used 2003. For a v1.0 product, it was very good, and (unusually for MS) they released a service pack which was effectively a new version and really polished it.

There are plenty of changes in the 2007 version, but the one that really stands out is notebook sharing and automatic notebook sync. Very powerful, and it just works. There is also better integration with other Office programs, use of hyperlinks to other notes in a notebook (a powerful feature that I didn't get around to mentioning in the review), and inserting files directly into notes, which I find useful.

You can get more details on the changes here: http://office.micros.../HA100325701033.aspx

Mini-Reviews by Members / Microsoft OneNote 2007
« on: May 31, 2007, 06:32 PM »
Basic Info

App NameMicrosoft OneNote 2007
App Version Reviewed2007 (v 2.0)
Test System SpecsWindows XP SP2
Supported OSesWindows XP with SP2, Vista, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, or later
Upgrade PolicyVersion licence. Upgrade price $79.95
Trial Version Available?Yes - 60-day limit - see product home page
Pricing SchemeStandalone price $99.95. Also included in various Microsoft Office editions.

Intro: It's the GUI, stupid: Long ago, I remember posting here about how we judge new programs. I recall saying that a new program had at most 10 minutes to leave a good impression or it was dead.

A memorable recent experience showed just how wrong I was. No program has as long as ten minutes to make its mark.

I needed a program to share databases with my wife. We were researching the property market, and we were also planning a holiday. We needed to share information efficiently, seamlessly. No more scraps of paper.

I showed my wife my favourite "information dump" - Ultra Recall ( A power user's program. Robust, scalable and can share databases on a network.

She took one look at the GUI and said no. She hated it. Folders, menus, panes. Old-fashioned. Complicated. Boring. Took her less than ten seconds to dismiss it.

I only had one other program that I thought might fit the bill. Another program I'm fond of. Microsoft OneNote. My wife took one look. I explained the interface (took about 30 seconds). She loved it. Within 30 minutes she was creating a shared notebook on our home server. And she didn't even know we had a server. We've been using OneNote ever since. And my opinion of it only gets better.

Microsoft-bashing has been an international sport for many years. And quite often, they deserve it. Outlook 2007, for example, is driving me nuts. Appallingly slow compared to the 2003 version.

But in OneNote, Microsoft show just what they can do when they listen to customers. It is a triumph, and one of the company's finest products.


Who is this app designed for:

People who need to collect and/or share information. If that's you, OneNote should be on your shortlist.

The Good

There is plenty of competition in this area. But the ease with which notebooks can be shared, the ease with which information can be collected, and the overall elegance of the product set OneNote apart.

The interface: Most people with an ounce of computer savvy will understand the OneNote GUI very quickly (see main screenshot). Notebooks down the left, sections of the selected notebook across the top, pages from the selected section down the right. Pages can also have sub-pages, if you feel the need. Neat, simple, and it works.

Shared notebooks: Use the shared notebooks wizard. Tell OneNote where to store the notebook (on a server, or your own PC). Done. Automatic synchronization. And always available, even when you're away from your network.

How does that work? OneNote always makes two copies of a notebook. In the case of a shared notebook, let's say the main one is on a server. OneNote will keep a second cached copy on your machine. When you log off the network, you continue to work on the cached copy (in fact, you're always working on the cached copy). When you get back on the network, OneNote syncs with the server copy. All seamless. Wonderful. The green sync button (see screenshot) tells you that all shared notebooks are synced with the cached copy. You can also see the green sync symbol on the shared notebooks on the left-hand side.

Adding content is easy. Firstly, OneNote adds a printer driver to your machine. So any program that prints can send information to OneNote. Want to do a screenshot straight into OneNote? Use the global hotkey (Windows+S), drag the mouse over the target, let go. That's it.

Then there's the "Side Note", available from the taskbar:


Just double click on this (or use a global hotkey) and a little window pops up. Paste anything you like into this, and a OneNote page is automatically created.

Or of course you can just type straight into OneNote pages. Pages are freeform. Click anywhere and start typing. Or drawing. Or writing. Or creating tables.

Every new note imported into OneNote from another program gets placed in the "Unfiled Notes" section (see main screenshot). From there you can just drag and drop pages into their relevant notebooks/sections.

Searching: Like Outlook 2007, OneNote uses Windows Desktop Search for indexing. But it also uses an OCR engine so that it indexes text in images as well. I was very sceptical about this, but I haven't managed to fool it yet. This means I'm using screenshots a lot, because it takes literally five seconds, it doesn't interfere with my work, and it's all searchable.

Plugins (or Powertoys in MS-speak): Loads of them. In some cases, they add what should be basic features in the main program (e.g. sorting pages). In others they add useful features such as one-click import from IE/Outlook to OneNote:


For more on plugins see links below.

I haven't even touched on the fancy stuff. (handwriting, audio notes). That's because I haven't used them, and I don't think many non-tablet users are likely to. I use it purely as a text and image information dump. You can tag notes, and tags are customisable. You can create a synced Outlook task from a note. You can send a note as an email, or publish it to PDF. There is power under the bonnet.

The needs improvement section

There are one or two silly annoyances. Sub-pages don't link (group) with pages (i.e. if you move the page, the sub-pages don't automatically move with it. What's going on there?).

Some basic features (such as sorting pages alphabetically) are missing from the main program. But as stated above, Powertoys are filling the gaps.

Why I think you should use this product

Most people who use a computer need an information dump. Because most of us waste far too much time searching for information we have already found in the past. Stick your data in OneNote (or Ultra Recall, or a similar program) and use the power of indexed search. Desktop search programs have made people lazy. Organise your data. Back it up regularly. Make it easy to share your data.

If OneNote came as part of your Office suite and you haven't tried it yet, then have a go. If not, you can download a trial version.

How does it compare to similar apps

I spent far too many weeks and months analysing programs in this category before settling on Ultra Recall as the best power-user's data dump (although I also like Surfulater (, an excellent program that is still developing). But now that circumstance has forced me to use OneNote in anger, I really appreciate its elegance and simplicity. It's too early to say for certain, but I think OneNote may become my default data dump. It's that good.


OneNote 2007 is a fine achievement, and MS can be proud of it. The reason it stands out is because many programs in this category assume (correctly) that most people looking for a program like this are power users. So they cater only for power users. But MS are offering a powerful option that anyone can learn to use in half an hour. And for that reason alone it deserves success. Unlike Outlook 2007.

Links to other reviews and info about this application

A good blog by MS OneNote product manager:

A good review:

Powertoys: http://www.onenotepo...t-of-powertoy-links/

I disagree on this - lots of home users have cheap digital SLRs these days and shoot RAW photos. If you shoot in RAW then you need a way to edit non-destructively if you are to protect your 'digital negatives'.
-Carol Haynes (May 10, 2007, 04:59 AM)
Yes, I think this just reinforces the point brought up earlier in the thread that we all have different needs. There is no one solution. I'd say the vast majority of "keen amateurs" (i.e. those for whom photography is a serious hobby to which they devote much of their spare time) shoot RAW all the time. I haven't shot anything other than RAW in years, and I can't imagine why I'd want to do so. The advantages of RAW are huge. But for the type of home user who only takes pics on holidays and special family occasions, it would be overkill and pointless. And there are plenty of people in the middle ground between those groups. And some of them do shoot RAW.

So just to qualify my previous post, iView (and the DAM book, and the DAM forums) are really for those who are fairly serious hobbyists. Maybe occasional shooters don't need cataloging software at all. Keep it simple.  Stick in IPTC captions as a minimum, use sensible folder structures for archiving, and get a decent image browser than can edit and search IPTC fields. In the end, it's all about the amount of photography you do, and the numbers of images you generate and keep.

I would however, go back to the first point I made above. The average person is taking more pictures. So in 20 years' time, even the casual shooter may have a hard disk full of pics. Personally, this is an area where I'd tend to err on the side of caution and get software that is robust and scalable.

I'm coming a bit late to this discussion, but I've been through the same exhausting process in the last few months. Usual story. I fall into the keen amateur shooter category. Always organised my pics neatly in folders. Very logical. Could find things quickly.

Until now. Just too many pics. Needle in a haystack.

I think one difference between film and digital photography is that the "keen amateur" has software needs (particularly cataloging needs) very similar to the pros. Pixels are free. We shoot more often. We all shoot hundreds of pics at an event without a second thought. Even casual and occasional shooters will eventually end up with thousands or tens of thousands of pics, and they won't have a clue how to find the ones they want.

So it's worth looking at what the pros do. The DAM Book by Peter Krogh ( is a good starting point - a thorough look at the theory and practice of digital asset managment. For what it's worth, he uses iView, Bridge and Photoshop.

If you're not sure you need to go that far, it's still worth taking a look a Peter Krogh's forums (, where they discuss this stuff in great detail. Very helpful.

In the end, I plumped for iView. Nice GUI, fairly intuitive, nice and quick to use once catalogs are built, and a lot of pro photographers have been relying on it for some time, which must mean it's reliable and scalable. It should cater for all my needs for the foreseeable future. As MrCrispy points out on the first page of this thread, MS bought iView and is rolling it out soon as v1 of MS Expression Media. As MrCrispy also points out, views will vary on whether this is a bad or good thing.

On the plus side, registered users of v3 of iView Media Pro will get a free upgrade to Expression Media v1.

I took a look at this but it looks like it's for Administrator type activities. But at 90% discount, it may interest some of you heavy hitters. Certainly not for me.
At this price it's in the "it's probably not for me but I'm tempted anyway" category. They aim it at IT pros, but it looks like the kind of automation tool that might also be useful to expert Windows users - including many people here. At a quick glance it looks like it might be described at "an AutoIt-like tool with a sexy GUI". Would that be accurate?

General Software Discussion / Re: IE7 Rant
« on: November 06, 2006, 07:57 AM »
However, due to minor annoyances and the lack of Roboform support, I have had to switch.

I also gave up on Opera solely because of the lack of Roboform support, as have countless thousands of potential users, judging by the number of forum threads you come across pleading for Roboform support in Opera. On the one hand I can understand why the Opera people don't want to allow extension support. On the other hand, it severely limits their market. Last time I tried Wand, it came a very poor second to Roboform.

Thanks Mouser, and Emurasoft, for my copy of EmEditor. My addiction to text editors is sated (for a little while, anyway)....


currently I am a big fan of both Ultra Recall ( and nevf's excellent Surfulater. Both good in very different ways.

I'd be interested in how you compare them with the other two of superboyac's Big Three, MyBase and Evernote?

I think one of the questions in this area (as others have mentioned) is whether you're going down the "all-in-one" route or the specialist tool route. Both routes have their temptations. Ultra Recall is an all-in-one solution. I think it's a wonderful piece of software, though probably more for data capture than for dedicated note-taking. I find it difficult to find any fault with it, and I urge anyone investigating this area to try it out. Good forums too. But there is a learning curve.

However, if what you really want is a light, speedy note-taker, then I'm not sure I'd suggest Ultra Recall. Again, as others have stated, it's up to each individual to list the features they need, and then examine the alternatives. I keep jumping from specialist programs (e.g. the elegant but expensive Notemap ( for outlining, the well-designed Notesholder ( for on-the-fly notetaking) back to all-in-ones. My main problem is that I can never make up my mind. I waste too much time trying out programs, and not long enough making the most of them.

It's a long time since I tried MyBase, so it might have improved, but I can't imagine it has outpaced Ultra Recall (they have similar structures). And while Evernote looks very interesting, I have not tried it - I currently have a self-imposed ban on trying new note-taking/data capture programs (for the reasons outlined above).

I have spent a small fortune over the years on an endless variety of notetaking and data capture programs. There aren't many I haven't bought or at least trialled. Nothing has ever felt "just right", although currently I am a big fan of both Ultra Recall ( and nevf's excellent Surfulater. Both good in very different ways.

Having said all that, the program I am using more than any other in recent months has taken me by surprise — because I didn't install it either as a notetaker or as a data capture tool. It's Clipcache, one of many clipboard enhancers.

Gradually, I realised how easy it was to capture and organise data in Clipcache, and how adding a note was simply a matter of hitting Ctrl+n and typing. Like all Clipboard enhancers, all you need to do to capture other data (including web snippets) is hit ctrl+c. It handles HTML well. And the new version (3, still in beta - is based on a robust SQL database engine, which cures what some see as a weakness in version 2. I am using version 3. Search is quick and efficient. Layout is based on the traditional and familiar three panel layout - tree, list, preview. Screenshots for version 2 here:

If you want something for quick notes, web snippets and basic data organisation, it's efficient. Perhaps not for heavy-duty use — for long-term stuff or major projects I'm still likely to put large buckets of data into either Ultra Recall or Surfulater (can't decide between them yet). But for "miscellaneous" stuff or casual use, Clipcache has merit.

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