Drag and drop, baby!

Apr 3, 2012

It’s now possible (as of version to drag and drop text and images from your web browser directly into Knowsynotes. Another way to save what you’ve learned!


If you drag an image from a web browser into the File List, Knowsynotes will create a copy of that image in the open folder. This is great for an important image or one that tells its own story.

If you drag an image into an open note, Knowsynotes will copy the image to an imgs folder beneath the open folder and then paste a link to the image in the note. So, you’ll see something like this

![ img.png ]( imgs\myimg.png)

Click on the View button to view it embedded in the note. This is good for when the image is part of a larger whole and isn’t really useful on its own.

and text!

If you select some text and drag it into the File List, Knowsynote will create a new note with the dragged text as its content.

If you drag selected text into an open note, Knowsynotes will paste the text into the note at the cursor.

Careful about copyrighted material when you use this handy feature. Assume the information or images can only be for your own personal use unless they say otherwise.

and files from explorer!

Drag files from Windows Explorer to copy them into a folder within your notes.

Use Control - Drag to copy files from Knowsynotes into Explorer (or your email program, etc.).

Spiffy, eh?

CSV files are pretty neat

Mar 28, 2012

CSV files (for ‘Comma Delimited Values’) are spreadsheets where the information for each ‘cell’ is stored in the file as a string of text ending with a comma. Each ‘row’ of the spreadsheet is terminated with an character. Easy-peasy. With this simple organization you can store information as plain text and still be able to display it in the familiar grid of cells that we’re used to.

Knowsynote’s built-in CSV viewer / editor also includes the ability to create links to other CSV files or notes. A history.csv file can serve as the entry point for organizing your class information which may have a schedule list with links to notes taken in each class, or URLs for research online material.

CSV files are everywhere: you can download your banking information or cell phone usage data as CSV files or download the output of online todo list programs (which shall remain nameless ;)).

And, since the files are plain text, in a pinch you can view and edit it in any text editor. This is also useful if the file somehow gets corrupted: you can get in there and fix it. Try that with one of the Big Office spreadsheet files!

There are CSV editing and display programs for most of your favourite tablets and smartphones. For Android devices I recommend CSV Viewer Pro for viewing and Office Suite Pro .

Use %AppSrcDrv% to always find your note

Mar 20, 2012

Here’s a tip to make using Knowsynotes on an external drive or a USB thumb drive easier.

Knowsynotes supports the use of the %AppSrcDrv% variable in the Note Root and Perpetual Notes paths. This variable tells Knowsynotes to change the drive to match the drive the program was launched from. So, if Knowsynotes is launched from the D:\ and the path to a Note Root is:


Knowsynotes will open the note folder at D:\Documents\notes. This trick allows running when launching the program over a Local Network as well!

And it works if you use the PortableApps.com Framework to manage your applications on a USB thumbdrive. Regardless of what drive letter the USB drive installs as, you’ll always be able to access your notes.


Feb 27, 2012

A handy feature of knowsynotes are the three Perpetual Notes buttons to the right of the Multibar on the toolbar. This allows you to have ready access to text notes or spreadsheets that you access often.

Gina Trapani (one of the founders of lifehacker.com) created a simple text file based todo list called todo.txt. Sync the text file to the cloud using Dropbox and then use applications such as the Todo.txt Touch Android or iOS apps to remotely access this list.

I have the first Perpetual Note button pointing to my todo.txt file. It’s easy as pie to edit as text in Knowsynotes and through Dropbox it’s available everywhere.

Adding something to my grocery list as easy as adding a line to the todo.txt like:

apples +groceries

Boom! Done!

I use the todo.txt file as my main inbox and create a variety of current issue lists like +weekend or +trip when gathering info about upcoming travel.

More info at the todo.txt.com website .

Capture text from websites

Feb 19, 2012

If you use Google Chrome as your web browser, I recommend installing the Auto Copy extension.

With this extension installed you can simply highlight some text on a website and it will be copied to the Windows Clipboard. Then, in Knowsynotes, type a title, hit enter and then paste the text. Save.

There is an option in Auto Copy to ‘Include an informational comment’. Add the following format:

[ $title ]($url)  $crlf

Now it will include a link to the URL of the page you saved the text from as part of the text.

Click on the link in View Mode and you’ll return from whence the text came. But, if the site is gone or the page has moved you’ll still always have your local copy! (In precious, future-proof text no less.)

Get the extension here

PS tip: don’t hit Ctrl-C after selecting the text in Chrome when using this extension because then it won’t add the comment text. Just highlight, create a new note in Knowsynotes and paste.

Have fun!

Why plain text?

Feb 9, 2012

Some people have asked why saving documents as plain text files (.txt) is more futureproof than saving them as Big Office Program documents or some other format.

Plain text files been around virtually unchanged the dawn of computing and will likely remain around until the end of computing. Operating systems themselves and the programs and apps they run are written in plain text. The engines of the internet (html, php, perl, etc.) all made up of plain text files.

All major operating systems (Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, etc.) support the basic viewing and editing of plain text files, either natively or with free (or at least cheap), plentiful, text editors.

Even if you never switch from one operating system to another there are big advantages to using plain text files. The Big Office Program format changes with alarming regularity. This years documents may not open in last years version. A older document may open but the formatting could be all messed up. Who knows who the dominant Office Program will be in 15 years and what formats they’ll support. Remember Wordstar and Wordperfect? It’s virtually guaranteed that text files will be readable 15 years from now.

Plain text files are the mp3 of the document world. They may not be as fancy as other formats but you can be certain that next years computer or gadget is going to open it.

Yes, Knowsynotes does include some ‘markup’ for embedding images and links to other documents but these are completely optional and even with these extra tags the file is still just plain text and fully readable and understandable. Editing the document in another editor won’t destroy the links and the objects that are ‘embedded’ are separate and available separately as well.

Online services have privacy backwards

Jan 1, 0001

In his article “Backwards attitude to online identity erodes our power” , writer Stilgherrian makes this comment:

This morning, I phoned to order a taxi, the driver took me into town, a shopkeeper sold me food and drink, CityRail sold me a train ticket, and later today, I’ll doubtless discuss the affairs of the day with strangers in a bar – and none of this commerce will have involved my identity.

The point being that for most of our Real Life, we go about our business without people knowing who we are or tracking our every move. Sure, we may be recorded by cameras here and there but, unless someone makes a concerted effort to seek us out, we are among the anonymous mass walking by the lens.

We have the choice (if we pay with cash) to be anonymous at the grocery store. We may have shopped there for years but still no one knows our name or knows where we live. They don’t entice us to buy cookies by waving bags at us as we walk by because they know we’ve bought other cookies before. The guy at the dry cleaners won’t have information about us supplied by the grocer.

And, despite being strangers, most of our interactions with other people are polite. Even though we’re strangers and could quite likely behave badly and get away with it, we choose to follow the unwritten rules of civilized society and strive to just get along. Over time we have realized that for all of us to live a genial life, it’s better to treat strangers as we would like to be treated ourselves.

We should strive for the same cordial and anonymous ideal online rather than having to trust big companies with private information just on the off chance that we might say something nasty to a stranger.

Someone actually read the study

Jan 1, 0001

In an earlier post , I mentioned a study in Psychological Science that appeared to suggest that writing notes longhand resulted in better understanding than note taking on computer. Now, someone has actually bothered to read the study and it appears that the conclusion wasn’t so much about the method of note taking but the type of information that was recorded.

Since most of the participants could type faster than write, their computer notes were more verbatim, whereas when writing on paper they had to analyze was was being said and just capture the jist of what was being said. Being forced to think about what the speaker was trying to say is what resulted in their better understanding and retention.

Even though there have been numerous more references to the story, they all continue to suggest that writing longhand is better. Likely this is because the study is behind a paywall and the news organizations and websites don’t want to pay to read it themselves.