Our first release for 2006. An exciting year ahead.

A new year and the first of many new releases await with V1.94, B0.0 ready to go. As each week comes and goes we get more and more people finding out about Surfulater and the terrific capabilities it has to make saving and building knowledge so quick and easy.

For a product like Surfulater to be a success and thrive we need to keep building our customer base, which takes time. And of course to turn folks into customers, we must produce a product they want, one that meets a need and isn’t a pain in the backside to use. It is clear from the feedback we keep receiving that we are on the right track, both in meeting a need and having a product that is nice and easy to use.

One of our newest customers is Ville-Matti Niemi from Finland who wrote the following a few days back.

Hi Mr Franks

Thanks for your email and the fantastic product. My freetime is currently continuing studying utilizing the internet, and Surfulater is the best help i can imagine and ever used. I’ve been using it now for some days and i can say the program is worth every penny i paid for it.

Congrats for a very good, useful and first of all, very well made program.

Best regards and season’s greetings from the snowwy Finland.

Surfulater has proved itself popular in other ways too, with the last release being downloaded a record number over 12,400 times in just over two weeks. Most of these of were from China and other parts of Asia and if you haven’t guessed by now these were people trying to get a pirated copy. The same thing happened earlier in the year! It is very nice to be popular, but this isn’t quite the sort of popularity we are after as it doesn’t help our bottom line and diverts our attention away from what we need to be doing.

I received a great response to my recent post Surfulater, Under the Hood and Down the Road, both in comments, e-mails and posts on other forums. Respondents were impressed to see the level of openness put forward, which is apparently unusual in the ranks of software developers. I’ve always been forthright in my writing as I don’t want folks to think that we might be doing something that we’re not. This blog is a new and interesting way of communicating with you and I hope you get as much out of reading it as I do in its writing.

One area where we are stumbling a bit is getting people to appreciate all that Surfulater can do. When my good friend Sue Robinson suggested the name Surfulater, I took to it straight away, and I still think it is a great name. The problem is Surfulater does more than just save content from web pages, especially with all the new clipboard capabilities that make it so easy to capture information from other Windows Applications. Plus you can manage other information like todo lists, contact lists, music catalogues etc. The name “Surfulater” is a bit of a hindrance to get the broader message out, something we just need to keep working on.

I’m excited about seeing where Surfulater goes in 2006. Number one priority is not to deviate from our overriding goals of keeping Surfulater simple and staying focused on what Surfulater is all about – capturing information so you have a permanent record all in one place where you can easily find stuff again.

Fundamental to Surfulater’s future are suggestions from our users, so please do give us your thoughts. It won’t cost you a cent and the rewards could be… well, rewarding.

Surfulater V1.94, B0.0 released

A new year, and a nice new release to get everyone off to a great start. There are two specific new capabilities in this release I’m very pleased about.

Earlier in the year my good friend, musician and software developer Russell Robinson mentioned he wanted a way to easily add more content from a Web page to an existing article. You can of course use Copy in the Browser and Paste in Surfulater, but this is a bit clumsy and takes more steps (and time) than one likes. Russell suggested adding a new item to the Browser context menu, something like “Surfulater: Append content to Article”. While I basically liked the idea there were two points against it. First Internet Explorer has a limit to the number of items that will fit on its context menu, and once you exceed this, items fall off the bottom and can’t be used. Next I feel there is a need to keep the decision making process within the Web Browser as simple as possible. The more “Surfulater: xxx” menu items we add, the more the user has to stop and think about which one to use, which gets in the way of what we are trying to do. In the end I added Russell’s request to the todo list to ponder on some more.

The next call to action came from John Rivera’s Forum post Adding web content to an existing article. My first reply was along the lines of what I said above, but fortunately for us all John persisted and suggested adding “Append clipboard contents here” within Surfulater itself. I really liked this, as it fits nicely with the new Clipboard Hotkey and “New Article from Clipboard” features and doesn’t add more clutter to the Web Browser context menu. Further it has an extra advantage in that you can append the contents of the clipboard to any field in an article.


Append Clipboard to Field

The bottom line is you can now quickly and easily add more content from your Web Browser, a Word Document etc. to an existing Surfulater article. Thanks Russell and John.

The next new feature I want to mention is Attach File… which makes it easier to attach a file to a Surfulater article. Attach File uses a File|Open style dialog where you select the file you want, press OK and it gets added to your Surfulater knowledge base, appearing in the Attachments field. You can still use Windows Explorer + Paste to attach files, but the new method provides a quicker and easier way to permanently save files inside your Surfulater database.


Attach file to the current Article

Other changes in this release affect menus and toolbars, with new items added to both and a new toolbar layout.

The Article menu now includes Send To…, Go to the Search Results, plus the new Attach File…


Surfulater Article Menu

If you’ve been following my writings you’ll know how much I’m trying to keep Surfulater as uncluttered as possible. Adding the Article menu to the main menu bar (in the last release) wasn’t an easy decision, as it only duplicates items already available elsewhere and I don’t much like duplication. In the end I decided it was worthwhile having, especially for new users, as it puts some commonly used commands where they can’t easily be missed.

The ability to add content from the Windows Clipboard has been on the todo list for some time, but I have to say I didn’t realise how important and truly useful this was and how pleased I am with Clipboard capabilities added in the last release and this one. These latest features expand Surfulater into new dimensions for saving content from most any application, beyond its main role of saving web content. Together with the ability to attach files, you can truly keep all of the information that’s important to you, in one easy to find spot.