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Software to save & retrieve incoherent information

Quite often I find myself doing something which I know I have done before but not for quite some time and so hence have forgotten how I did it. What I am after is some software where I can enter a quick summary of how to do something, maybe against some keywords (one that came up today: disable Visual Studio source control integration), and can then query six months later when I have to do it again. Sort of like a mini-knowledge base if you like, where the entries could relate to anything at all. Does anything already exist or am I down to knocking something up myself in Access or something?

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Frankly, knocking up something in Access sounds like your best bet even if there is something else out there. It took me an hour to create a personal bug-tracker that fit my own tastes, and I'm still using it three years later.

Fernanda Stickpot
Tuesday, March 30, 2004

I had the same problem.

There are many programs which do this - for example KeyNote, Chimp Notes, etc.

However, I use text files, HTML files, DOC files, etc, and search them using a program which allows boolean searches.

There are several search programs which work well.

My advice is not to attempt to create directory structures or to attempt to organize the information.

The organization you will give it will quickly become obsolete.

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Start a weblog. Post your info. Let google find it.
Then when you want to retreive the info 6 months later, ask google.

The nice effect of this is other people with the same problem will find your answer as well.

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Or you can use a small wiki web just for yourself. You can access it from anywhere which is a big advantage.  Some wikis have search functions.

It will help you keep the information logically connected, so from the "disable Visual Studio source control integration" page, you can quickly link to other VS stuff, other source control stuff etc.

I use it to keep my HTML/PHP snippets together and up to date.

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

> other people with the same problem will find your answer as well.

And bang goes my "competitive advantage" ;-)

I quite like the wiki idea (particularly as I would otherwise have to install something at work, which is a big no-no). Thanks everyone.

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

I had the same problem. So I wrote my own!

Its on the Internet so I can access it from home, work, on holiday etc.

There is an Intranet version for people/companies that want to be in control of their data.

You can try it if you want, its:

It also supports sharing folders for collaboration and creating organisational knowledge bases etc.

(there is one feature missing at the moment, the ability to move items around - which I am working on at the minute.)

Tim H
Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Best 'random note filer' I've come across is Notational Velocity. So easy to use that you don't even have to save!

David Roper
Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Notational Velocity sounds cool.  Too bad I don't have a Mac.

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

When I'm working through some unintuitive task that I might need to repeat later, I just start a new file in my text editor (which is pretty much always open anyway), type in each step as I perform it, save the file with a meaningul name, and check it into a directory in CVS where I keep such stuff.

It seems to work quite well, and using the CVS repository for storage also means that I don't need to install software on multiple machines and worry about synchronization.

John C.
Tuesday, March 30, 2004

I have the problem too. I can't always name files descriptively enough which will help me remember what it was a year from now... Even if I could, then I have the problem that sometimes the same info needs to go under multiple folders.

Weblogs are nice, but do you really want the entire world to read all your info, thoughts, etc? For example, there might be business ideas that you want to keep to yourself.  If it is online but safe behind some kinda password, that's better I guess, but security online is sometimes a moving target. You think you have it until someone proves you wrong.

I am in the process of writing an application. One of the things it does is help you organize information, especially the kind of information you tend to write on a post-it, stick in a small text file or whatever, stash away and need it say in 6 months, but can't find it or can't even remember what you called the file.

We'll see how it goes...  :)

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Take a look at Zoot

extremely powerful and flexible text-only freeform database.    I like it a lot

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

oops.  didn't finish the last one.

In zoot, you have Folders (which are item collections) - each item can be assigned to as many folders as you wish. You may define rules (based on item contents or attributes) which make folder assignments automatically.  Also, you have ability to clip contents from other applications (e.g. web browsers) directly into a Zoot database of your choice.  Incremental search in current database and global search through all databases are available as well.  Also sorting, filtering, ...

It is a VB6 application though so no rich text formatting, no embedded images, no unicode (my main complaint) -- yet

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

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