Oct 312016
 

AnnoPad

AnnoPad (version:1.5.3) or URL Specific Notepad – AnnoPad to mention its full name is a Google Chrome extension that saves notes in a drop down accessible via its icon much the same way as many other extensions.

The interface is simple, click on the icon and add a new note. The URL of the current page is automatically saved with the note. The note can be formatted in bold or italic and be an unordered or ordered numbered list. Notes are saved automatically and clicking the back button takes the user back to the notes list.

It is possible to assign a category to a note however the notes list interface does not show the category. The category is therefore only currently useful in the as you type incremental search. The same search of course finds text in the notes’ content as well. When a page or site is open notes can be filtered to those with a matching address. Saved notes can also be displayed by newest, oldest, page ascending and page descending. The latter two refer to the URLs associated with saved notes.

AnnoPad’s settings are Export to TXT, Export to PDF and Delete.

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Oct 282016
 

(Un)colored

(Un)colored (version: 0.9.1) is a cross platform open source freeware or donationware text editor. It is currently tagged as beta.

It provides a distraction free interface with a toolbar or menu only becoming visible when the user hovers near the top of the window. It also features shortcuts to type or move through a document like Ctrl+1 for a XL header type text and Ctrl+Shift+C to clear formatting. A list of the shortcuts can be seen via the top menu.

(Un)colored-AV

Selecting any text will also highlight the toolbar to format the text. Clicking Alt is the alternative method of doing the same.

What makes (Un)colored more modern is support for emojis and its embed feature. Youtube, SoundCloud and others can be embedded directly into a document.

A document can be saved in HTML  or markdown format. The former supports themes, as in the saved HTML document can have different font sizes or colors. Currently there are four themes, Attitude, GitHub Style, Horizon and White Room.

As the author warns that (Un)colored can trigger antivirus warning, it did so on the Windows 10 machine it was tested on. Avast Virus Lab analyzed and returned a false positive (see screenshot). The more people use it the less likely this will happen in the future.

It is available for Mac OS X, Linux and Windows 7 (installer or portable) or newer and only in 64-bit format.

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Oct 042016
 

cliplogger

At version 0.3 clipLogger is a new, beta software that takes a no frills approach to capturing and storing clipboard content.

Download and extract contents to a folder, the program will create a clipLogger_settings.ini file in the same folder. Using the usual Ctrl+C text content is captured and listed with a time stamp. Files copied or dropped into the program widow will have their full paths captured. It is possible to uncheck one or the other so only text or file names are captured.

The interface is very minimalist. The program settings include system settings like fonts and start up and close to tray behaviour. The program can also backup to a text file but that is of little use as the backup file resides in the same folder with no way to configure location or back up schedule.

A bug seems to duplicate (or more) captured content and the developer does allude to it. clipLogger is one to follow and hope that it continues to be developed.

clipLogger does not requires installation and is around 130KB unzipped. It requires .NET framework.

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Jan 162015
 

OutWiker

OutWiker (current version: 1.8.1) is a cross platform and freeware outliner or notes organizer. It supports plain text, HTML and wiki style notes with various markups.

Start with File—>New (Ctrl+N) and choose one of the aforementioned page types. Either manually or by using the wiki menu or keyboard shortcuts add formatting to your wiki page. The formatting and markup available include bold, italic, horizontal line, font size, preformatted text, code, bullet list, creation and last modified dates, equations (inside {$$}) and others. Wiki pages can be linked to each other as well using page:// – grab a page link by right clicking a page in the tree.

Pages can be tagged and all tags are visible and clickable on the lower left of the program Window.

Files can be attached to a note and an image preview or thumbnail can be inserted inline using Wiki—>Thumbnail (Ctrl+M). The attached files or images can be inserted in a wiki page with a user chosen width. Attached files can be executed or opened from the program using the play icon on the Attachments toolbar.

Pages can be moved and sorted within the tree. Pages can also be bookmarked for easy access when the tree gets larger. OutWiker supports global search of all text and tags and a search page type can be added to the tree to be used as a permanent place holder instead of using the menu or Ctrl+F every time.

The program’s preferences include an autosave setting, default text options and many other appearance settings. One can also set or change keyboard shortcuts for virtually all program features.

OutWiker has a selection of plugins to add features like ‘DataGraph’, ‘Diagrammer’, ‘Table of contents creation for wiki pages’ and ‘Export notes in HTML’. It is portable and available for Windows and Linux systems (ppa:outwiker-team/ppa) with python dependencies.

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Jan 132015
 

elephant

Elephant, currently in rapid development and at Release 7 as of this review, is an open source java based note taker or organizer with an old Evernote type interface. It is no install software and doesn’t use a database, all files are stored and organized in plain text and folders. The storage location is chosen at first launch.

The interface is divided into three panes where notes are parts of notebooks. A preview of notes belonging to the chosen Notebook is visible in the middle pane. The right pane is where the note editor is, it supports several common formatting options, markdown and inline images via drag and drop. PDFs can also be dragged and dropped with inline preview. Tagging and search as you type features make notes organization much more effective. It is also possible to search using Tags: tagname or notebook: notebookname to narrow the search to specific locations. There are keyboard shortcuts for every action such as New Note (Ctrl+N), Move to Notebook (Ctrl+M) and Edit Note Tags (Ctrl+Quote)

Being java based Elephant is available for Windows, OS X and Linux computers. There is more to come but Elephant promises to remain lightweight. The program’s window title is ‘Elephant Premium’ but the author is keen to say that “Premium is free, no ads of any kind”.

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Oct 302014
 

CLIB

CLIB is a relative new entry in the freeware clipboard manager space. It uses a different approach than most others in that the interface and settings are within the browser. In the age of privacy violations and concerns the program emphasizes that while it uses the browser it is not using the cloud in anyway, it is only that the program can be accessed locally at http://127.0.0.1:8822/clib/dashboard.do.

CLIB supports images and text items and does automatically tag them based on source and type, clicking on a saved item shows a bigger preview with an option to delete it, edit captured text or add or change tags. Items can be starred and text copied back to the clipboard, the latter is done by clicking the orange icon beside the star icon. To view full captured images the same orange icon can be used and the image is opened in a new tab.

It is also possible to search items and include # with the search term to search tags. There are two view settings, one as a grid like the screenshot above and the other just one item below the next. The program’s settings are accessed from the drop down menu on the top right. There it is possible to add a user and password to protect saved items. Also it is possible to change hot keys for toggling CLIB on and off (from the default  Ctrl+Shift+Alt+B),  change Ctrl+C to something else and change the program’s snipping tool hot key that is Ctrl+Shift+Alt+F12 by default.

Note that the program runs as a service. CLIB is a 6MB download, requires Windows 7 or newer and works on Firefox, Chrome and Internet Explorer 9 or newer.

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Sep 162014
 

sChecklist

sChecklist is one in the long list of useful software to come from DonationCoder. sChecklist was one of the entries for 2014 NANY and was initially released in January 2014, it is currently at v.1.0.7.

To use sChecklist just unzip and launch. Create a new list via the icon, menu or a right click in the left pane. Name the list and start adding entries – using Ins key or right click in the right pane. New items can also be inserted via the clipboard and then checked when needed. Multiple lists can be also added and existing lists can be duplicated.  Copy and paste works between lists with the item’s checked state retained when pasting it in another list.

It is possible to sort entries by letter or number or to move all checked items to the top or bottom, individual entries can be moved up or down as well using the arrow icons. The program options are Start with Windows, Minimize on startup, Minimize to tray, Close to tray, Close button (X) minimizes, show gridlines in lists (this is on by default), Auto-size list columns and Display last selected checklist on startup.

sChecklist works on XP and newer and it is possible to export lists to a text file.

 

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Aug 312014
 

CherryTree
CherryTree is an open source cross platform notes organizer with numerous features. Crucially it stores notes in xml (or sqlite) files and has numerous export and import options.

CherryTree is two pane and hierarchical. Nodes and subnodes are used to organize notes. A wide range of formatting options make it possible to change the look of everything stored and kept. If it is used for programming code many syntax highlighting options are present with the option to have the notes in a “codebox” as shown in the screen shot above (Edit—>Insert codebox or Ctrl+Alt+C). Everything from C++ to php, LaTex and sql is present. Images can be inserted anywhere and like text can be justified or moved to the right or elsewhere in a node, the same can be said for tables, ordered and unordered lists and check boxes to create to do lists. Text and images can be linked to internal or external locations and even to another node.

Copy/pasting from many applications into CherryTree works and depending on the source images can be pasted directly inside a node as well. Copying and then pasting a number of files from an explorer windows creates nodes for each file.

The find in CherryTree is not as you type but there are separate (Ctrl+F or Shift+Ctrl+F) hot keys for searching in the current or all nodes. Nodes can be bookmarked for easier and quicker access. The import options are for importing from plain text, html, EssentialPIM, BasKet Note Pads, KeepNote, KeyNote, Tomboy, Zim, Treepad, Gnote and others. The export options are to pdf, html and plain text. These options also exist for individual nodes. There are options to sort nodes via the menu or keyboard (Tree menu).

Nodes can be made to Read Only. The program preferences (Edit –> Preferences) cover the default font and colours, the program theme such as changing the background colour to another, the icons to use in the tree pane and the number of backups to keep.

Official downloads for all Windows versions are available in exe and portable versions and these are complimented with deb files and a PPA to add to the software sources lists to keep up with CherryTree releases when using the Linux version. CherryTree is currently at v0.34.1 but it has long been a stable option for note keeping.

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Aug 272014
 

CopyQ

CopyQ is one of the more powerful clipboard utilities available. It offers several ways to manage and work with clipboard items, be they text or images.

Working with the usual Ctrl+C CopyQ keeps items ordered in a list. This can disabled via it’s tray icon or Ctrl+Shift+X. Click on its tray icon to see the program’s main window. The last item copied is always on top and of course in Windows’ own clipboard. The items stored can be moved up and down to bring them to the top and clipboard items can be moved to new tabs (drag them) as a simple sort of grouping. The tabs can be made to look like a tree on the left side of the window as an alternative to the more traditional tab look.

Of course most importantly clicking on item on the list (via right clicking the tray icon) pastes the item into the active window or form.

CopyQ features a whole set of shortcuts for virtually all operations like Ctrl+N to create a new item manually and F2 to edit an item. Each item can have a note attached to it which make it easier to find it but the interface suffers because of this. For example “copied with format” in the screenshot above is a note for the large font clipboard item. Also because the copied text is shown with formatting intact the program window can look confusing and a bit mixed up. Searching for items is done by typing when the CopyQ window is active, just start typing and the list filters down with matching items highlighted.

The clipboard history can be changed from the default 200 items and items unloaded after a certain time period (see History tab in preferences) and the number of items shown on the right click menu can be changed too.

The real strength of CopyQ is in its Commands/Global shortcuts feature (File —> Commands or F6). It can manage tabs, move items to a TODO tab, ignore one character items, decrypt and copy, open in browser, paste as plain text, edit 1st item, ignore password windows, autoplay video when urls match certain criteria and lots more automatically and when matching certain conditions like specific urls and windows. Several operations can be processed together giving CopyQ scripting capability. This section of the CopyQ is worth a look and offers a lot of efficiency improvements for the power user. Command line support makes the program even more versatile.

The option to encrypt clipboard items is available after installing GnuPG, this can be set up in the Items tab of the preferences. The programs’s appearance can also be extensively reconfigured and made to look differently as if to have different themes. CopyQ is available in exe and portable versions and also for other platforms. The non Windows versions may not be as stable, for example the  64bit .deb version tested on a Mint 13 MATE computer does not work when editing a note, the program is killed immediately. This is probably in an attempt to open an external editor (Notepad) that is not available on the said computer.

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Aug 212014
 

Cute Sticky Notes

Despite the perhaps silly and generic name Cute Sticky Notes is a useful desktop sticky notes freeware. The install process is a bit different and somewhat overkill in that it checks online to verify the md5 hash of  its own exe just downloaded and also deletes the setup file after installation is complete, to – as it says – reduce chances of malware.

A default note is launched with the program, new notes can be added by clicking the + on the top right of a note, right clicking on a note or the program’s tray icon. Notes can fold, hide, made transparent and set as reminder or alarm notes by hovering over the top portion of a note. By default notes are ‘pinned’ to the desktop but they can also be pinned to any (program) window.

Clicking anywhere on a note makes it ready to use with a set of formatting options made available, alternatively right click on a note and insert from the clipboard (plain text or not) or add an attachment to a note. It is also possible to drag an image or file to a note. In the case of an image the program prompts and ask if the image is to be an attachment or a background for the note. Cute Sticky Notes also has more than one set of options to change the skin of any individual sticky note and to group the notes into categories.

The program settings (right click tray icon) has options for the default font and configurable hot keys to add new note, hide/show notes and insert text from clipboard. Also via the tray icon there are history and recycle bin windows to use to view, permanently delete or restore notes and an option to back up or restore the notes database. Another feature is the cloud sync. Notes can be uploaded to view and use on other computers and mobile devices, this was not tested but is potentially very useful. Cute Sticky Notes is at version 1.0.0.13 and besides the XP and to 7 version there is also a separate Windows 8 version.

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