Surfulater V2.00.20.0 Released – Balance is important

Developing a product of any sort revolves around many different inputs and ideas. One that is all important is listening carefully to customer feedback and doing your best to meet your customers needs. Balance is also important, you simply can’t go and add every feature that everyone suggests or you’d finish up with a product that no one would want to use and you’d probably be broke because you’d put way too many resources into its development. I mention this because the latest Surfulater release, V2.00.20.0 is all about meeting customer needs.

As products evolve and more people start using them, they may be put to use performing tasks the product designers hadn’t ever considered. This is certainly true of Surfulater. In fact I’m sure I don’t know the half of what people are using Surfulater for. This isn’t too good from my point of view, but it speaks well of Surfulater that so many people find it, not only capable, but well suited to handle a variety of tasks above and beyond its core competencies.

The prime enhancements in this release revolve around the ability to reorder content in the Knowledge Tree using a new Advanced Article Sort, along with the ability to change the Date Created for Articles. Advanced sort enables you to sort the entire Knowledge Tree, or a Folder and optionally its sub-folders. Sorting can be done by Article Title or Date Created, in either ascending or descending order.

To access Advanced Sort right click on a Folder in the Knowledge Tree and select it from the context menu as shown here.

Folder Context Menu  Advanced Sort Dialog

Select from the various Sort options and then click Sort.

To change the Date Created for an Article right click on it and choose Set Date created from the menu.

Set Date Created menu and Date Picker

Choose the new date from the date picker window or click on Today or None, the latter leaving the date as is. When the current date is selected the time is set to the current time, otherwise it is set to 12:00AM.

These new capabilities are useful when you use Surfulater as a Journal or simply wish to move articles in time.

While we are talking dates one thing I’ve personally wanted in Surfulater is to be able to set Reminder or Follow Up dates in articles. Sometimes when I capture content I know I don’t have the time to read it then and there. The ability to pop-up a reminder in a week or so would be very handy here. Alas no one else has requested this yet, so it sits on the sidelines awaiting.

For the other changes and bug fixes in this release see the Release Notes in the Help or on the Forum.

True Stories

I’ve collected some great stories from Surfulater users recently and with their permission I’d like to share some with you.

Hi Neville,
It has been a while since I’ve emailed you about your product but I just want to say that it has been over two years since I purchased Surfulater and I find myself using it for everything from research for work and graduate school papers, to my kids homework assignments, to keeping recipes, tracking travel information,etc. I do a lot of purchasing on the internet and I use it for those tasks also.  For school research I use it to track the results from my first line of investigation, eventually transferring some of the information into EndNote once I have made my final bibliographic selection.
I have a very short list of software products that I recommend to colleagues, friends, and family and Surfulater is always on my list.
Great product…still going strong!
Thank you,
Fiona Best

Why I bought the program: In the late 1960s, I took photographs for a Chrysler Motors comic book in which my parents had the only speaking parts. I still have an old, mouse-chewed copy of that comic book; the comic was published on the Internet two years ago, but taken down after only a month on-line. I wish I’d made a copy.

Finally, I hope Surfulater can help me to organize some of the mess of Internet
pages and illustrations I already have stored on my computer. This is something
I need more than a web spider or another note-taker.


I thought I’d let you know that the reason I decided to purchase Surfulater after weeks of researching and testing different type of Web research management tools is because of your courteous and fast response to all my questions (not so common to see great customer service these days especially I wasn’t even a customer yet) and also the features that I was looking for in tool like this seem to be missing from the others (there were a few things also missing from Surfulater, but I’ll mention them later).  I literally have tried or looked at all the similar software out there.  I’ve tried Onfolio, NetSnippets (which has stopped their development), Web Research Professional (it came down to this one and Surfulater), Evernote, General Knowledge Base, iMiser, Furl, and quite a few other ones. 

Another big reason that I decided to purchase Surfulater is also because that you seem very open to the input to your customers’ suggestions and endeavor to improve the product.  The active and continual development of this software convinces me that this software will continue to get better.

A. Chang.

I’ve always encouraged users of our software to tell us what they honestly think about what we’ve delivered so far and where we are heading and I’m very pleased that quite a few do. At the same time there are many folks we never hear from, which may be a good thing or then again, may not be. It’s just as, if not more important, to be told any bad news, so we can ensure we address issues in the best way possible. Our support forums along with e-mail provide effective means to have these conversations.

If you’ve been holding back, reluctant to contact us why don’t you go and do it now. If we never hear from you, how can we meet your needs.

To Vista or not to Vista that is the ?

I was never able to find the time, nor the motivation to try the Vista Beta releases, so it wasn’t until the real release before I laid my hands and eyes upon it. I’ve been using Windows and developing software for it since Version 3.0. In fact I’m in the midst of a big cleanup at present and stumbled across the Windows 3.0 Floppy Disks this past weekend. Oh the memories.

Back to the hear and now and I have to say I was really impressed with Vista. It was without doubt the quickest and easiest install of any Windows version that I’ve ever done. What impressed me the most was it was able to install and work with a range of nVidia Video and nForce LAN drivers without me lifting a finger. On Windows XP on the same hardware I need to manually install these drivers from the CD that comes with the Motherboard. Installation of RAID drivers has also greatly improved and you no longer need to create and use a Floppy Disk during the initial Window install. The motherboard on this PC has Dual Video (monitor) support which I was never able to get working properly with Windows XP. Again Vista had this working from the get go.

Vista itself felt really nice to use. There are a variety of subtle improvements like the “Back” button which makes it easy to backtrack through Control Panel screens. And far more comprehensive Hardware and Software monitoring capabilities. Also things seemed smoother and seemed to work better. For example  I always seem to have problems getting Networking to work, but on Vista it just worked.

You’ll hear and read a lot about UAC or User Access Control. These are windows that pop up and require confirmation before you are able to do most any Administrative task. They clearly can be annoying, however UAC along with the new Protected Mode in IE7 should go a long way towards stopping Malware, Trojans and other undesirable software from infecting your PC and making your computing life a misery.

Vista has a very attractive new User Interface called Aero which I think looks great. You also get a neat 3D Task switching display, with the window for each running application stacked in a 3D space. Each small window shows what each application is doing in real time. So if you are watching a movie for example, you’ll see that in its stacked window.

Back to my opening question: To Vista or not? My plan was to run Vista on the new PC I built for Cherryl,  however after a few days of futility I succumb and installed Windows XP. What was the problem? It was simply that I wasn’t able to get several of her mainstream, can’t live without, applications running. Now take note that I’m not putting Vista at fault, nor these applications, as they weren’t Vista versions. The problem was there weren’t Vista versions of these programs available at that time. A Vista version of one has just been announced, but not the others.

Now you may be lucky and your Non-Vista programs will work or more likely appear to work on Vista, however from what I now know after doing the work to updating our software products for Vista, is that there are some quite fundamental areas which must be addressed for software to work correctly on Vista. For example programs can no longer write to any files in the “Program Files” folder or any of its sub-folders. Vista gives installation programs special permissions to store files on these folders, however when applications try to write to them, Vista makes mirrored copies of the files in the “Application Data” folder and writes to these instead. This can quickly get very confusing with multiple ‘different’ copies of the same files in different locations.

These changes aren’t in fact entirely new. Programs that are designed correctly for Windows XP and therefore run properly in Limited User (Non-Admin) accounts, should also work properly in Vista or at worst may need only minor updates.

So my advice is, if you want to run Vista, only do so once you have Vista compatible versions of all of your mainstream (can’t live without) applications. Anything less isn’t going to give you that WOW experience and will likely cause you some degree of grief.