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Jewish World Review
Feb. 23, 2007
/ 5 Adar, 5767
Note taking for Windows, updated
In the early days of PC computing, there were all sorts of little programs
that made life easier. One of the more interesting was Borland Software's
Sidekick, which, over several iterations, let people keep vital
information at hand on their computers. Press a keystroke or two and,
presto, the data was there. I had a work colleague in the early 1990s that
could not be separated from his copy of the software.
Well, Sidekick is long gone; many of its functions replaced by other
features in Microsoft's Windows and/or other products such as Outlook. Sic
transit gloria, as they say.
Still, it would be nice to have some pop-up features now and then, Such
as, well, a way to take notes on the fly, and then use that information at
another time. You can do this in a word processor, just open a new window.
And there is a "notes" feature in Outlook, but, then, you must have
Outlook running, switch into the program, call up a new note and then
enter your text. That's a lot of steps, and for many, simpler is better,
In their spare moments, some programmers at Logos Research Systems in
Bellingham, Wash., came up with just such a program. It's called
NoteScraps,the price is $20, and it's available for users of Windows XP
and Windows Vista. You can use the software in "trial" mode, though that's
limited to 10 such notes.
I don't have Vista on a PC, yet, so I had to make sure that Microsoft's
".NET" computing framework was installed first. Doing that took
about 10 minutes; then the download and install of NoteScraps. So far, so
The notes are, well, the electronic version of sticky notes which dot many
of our desks, computers and even our paper day planners. Typing on them is
simple and easy, and each note "shrinks" in the program's window as you
add more. The text is always available and can be selected, highlighted,
and copied into a Microsoft Word document, or another application.
It's kind of a toss-up between using existing tools and something such as
NoteScraps, whose demo video boasts, "there's no menus, just your notes."
And that's true, there are simple commands to create and search a note,
and all notes, date and time stamped, are kept in one file on the PC, easy
to find and export as needed. Overall, however, not having to take many
steps into Outlook's notes feature is an advantage.
Will NoteScraps be the great deliverance for PC users? I don't know, but
there is a parallel product in the Macintosh world which might give a
clue. The Mac OS X operating system has long boasted its own "Notes"
program, which many Mac devotees swear by as incredibly useful and
reliable. That should offer some hope to NoteScrap's developers: they
might well be onto something.
Just one glitch, so far: for some odd reason, the registration code sent
to me didn't "take" when pasted into the "unlock" section of the program.
I'll keep trying, though, since once unlocked the program seems capable of
an unlimited number of notes, which is certainly a good thing. You can
find more about it at www.notescraps.com. If you're a Windows XP or
Windows Vista user, I'd certainly recommend your checking it out.
A VITAL VISTA GUIDE ... David Pogue, a renaissance man if the computer
business has ever produced one, has authored what may be the definitive
guide to Microsoft's new operating system: "Windows Vista, The Missing
Manual," $34.99 from O'Reilly Books, www.oreilly.com.
Mr. Pogue's writing is clear and clever, and his ability to make tough
subjects easy evokes envy. If you're trying to make sense of Windows
Vista, you need this book. It's that simple.
Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.
JWR contributor Mark Kellner has reported on technology for industry newspapers and magazines since 1983, and has been the computer columnist for The Washington Times since 1991.Comment by clicking here.
© 2007, News World Communications, Inc. Reprinted with permission of The Washington Times. Visit the paper at http://www.washingtontimes.com