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Messages - johnk [ switch to compact view ]

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Found Deals and Discounts / Re: Possible Large Directory Opus Discount
« on: December 15, 2005, 11:47 AM »
Directory Opus is *by far* the best file manager I've tried.

I'd second that. I also paid full price for a licence, and I've never regretted it. Superb piece of software.

Mini-Reviews by Members / Re: My new favorite pen
« on: December 10, 2005, 11:08 AM »
I absolutely hear you about the joys of filling fountain pens and loving them. Having a good quality fountain pen in your hand and writing with it is SUCH a treat. My only complaint is that I usually have too little to write!

Eh, yes. This is a fundamental problem with modern life, and the real reason why a passion for fountain pens makes no sense whatsoever. I spend my life in front of a variety of PCs. The bulk of my "writing" seems to be signing countless documents at work, or attending the odd meeting.

But even signing a document is much more fun with a fountain pen. On top of which, when someone sees you writing with a fountain pen, it always seems to start a conversation. And however nice they might be to you, it's obvious they think you might just be ever so slightly mad...

Mini-Reviews by Members / Re: My new favorite pen
« on: December 10, 2005, 04:57 AM »
All these posts about pens, and so far no one has mentioned fountain pens.....

Pride of place goes to my Pelikan 605, the best nib I've ever used and an absolute bargain at only $99. It even came with a dinky little stand. But I have a couple of lovely Filcaos as well. How many people today know the great pleasure of the ritual of filling a fountain pen; learning to treat a pen with care; cleaning it; loving it.

Madness, insanity, I know, I know....

Living Room / Re: The Great Firewall Hunt ... frustrating ...
« on: December 03, 2005, 02:33 PM »
Neat bit of marketing...any Sygate and Kerio users tempted by Outpost can get a 50 per cent discount (higher than the normal competitive upgrade discount):

General Software Discussion / Re: software i love
« on: November 17, 2005, 12:33 PM »
and do i hear you volunteering to spearhead the review of hierarchical note tools (outliners)?  i do think it has the potential to be the most important review on the site.  :)

You ask so nicely, Mouser, it makes it very difficult to refuse. You must use the same tactics to get those big software discounts  :)

If I can make some time in the next few days I'll do an outline (how appropriate) of categories and programs that  I think ought to be covered. I'll see how far I can take it.

General Software Discussion / Re: software i love
« on: November 17, 2005, 08:43 AM »
hierarchical note takeing apps are one of those programs like wsw that many people dont use and which i consider to be one of those kinds of apps that can make such a difference.. so they really need a review and advocacy.

This is resurrecting a really old post, but I've only just got around to reading this thread, and note-taking apps are one of my obsessions. Of course a lot depends on what you mean by a note-taking app.....

I agree with Mouser that there are so many programs and sub-categories that it's probably impossible to do a truly comprehensive review, or even overview, but I also think it's one of those categories that many people are not even aware of. That's a shame, because properly used these programs can be a great benefit to productivity.

As an example, I would not be without Ultra Recall (a great program to dump data in), Onfolio (a very powerful web research and publishing tool), Treepad (a traditional tree-based note-taker), Bonsai (a robust outliner that excels if you need to sync with your Palm). Then there's Notesholder for the short-term stuff...maybe I have too many of these programs. But they all serve a purpose.

And I'm forever evaluating/re-evaluating other options. At the moment I'm looking at Surfulater, a very promising program in the same category as Onfolio, but one that takes a very different approach. And I'm almost breathless with anticipation of the next version of Zoot....

If you share this minority passion, it's worth visiting if you have not already done so. Although the group is called Outliners, conversation ranges widely over information management apps, and it contains some of the best conversations on the web on this topic.

Ultra Recall:      Onfolio:
Treepad:          Bonsai:
Notesholder;     Surfulater:

Or maybe just

And now for something completely different.....

Find And Run Robot / Re: ActiveWords and Find&Run Robot
« on: October 13, 2005, 06:52 PM »
In a way it's unfair for me to compare AW and F&RR - I've been using AW for years, whereas I tried F&RR for the first time today! However, that's generally how we judge new software. A quick 10-minute try-out, and we like it or we don't. It's a brutal world out there...

I won't repeat what others have said about the different approaches. I like the AW system of using user-defined shortcuts for each activeword. You quickly develop a system for setting these. I have dozens of them and use many regularly - not just for launching programs, but for text replacement, launching specific's a serious boost to productivity if you use it to its potential. (For example, now that Donation Coder is a site I regularly visit, it has an activeword - I just type "DCD<spacebar>", from any program, and I'm taken to the Donation Coder web site in my default browser.

The momentum behind the program means there are many specialist "Wordbases" (collections of activewords) designed for carrying out tasks in specific programs, provided by the ActiveWords team and by other users. And finally, there's the ActiveWords scripting language (http://www.activewor...riptinglanguage.html) for those who really like to dig deep. I never thought I'd use the scripting feature (I'm too lazy, generally), but I have - it does expand the possibilities.

F&RR is a different approach - more focussed, less wide-ranging. And although I'm generally a big fan of the "small is beautiful" approach to software design, I think in this case ActiveWords depth and complexity is its strength.

General Software Discussion / Re: Macro programs - advice sought...
« on: October 12, 2005, 07:15 PM »
As others have said, it does all depend what you want a macro program to do, but for the basic turbo-charged keyboard shortcut program I really like Activewords. Nicely designed program that's surprisingly powerful when you get to know it, and has a helpful community. $49. ( for details. I also use Macro Express.

In fact if I had to name the programs that keep me wedded to Windows, Activewords and Macro Express would be two of them. I'd be hard pressed to think of many others - maybe Roboform. All three do wonders for my productivity.


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