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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 ( 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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