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Old 07-16-2008, 12:58 AM
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How are you using Ultra Recall?

Hello all.

I have been using UR for almost three weeks now and with the help of other users and kinook here in the forums, I have learned an amazing amount about how UR works. I've also read through the Help file in its entirety as well as watched the videos on the Kinook web site. That has also given me a lot of knowledge as to how to use UR. Not that I really know very much yet - there's still a whole lot I need to learn!

But while knowing how to get data into UR effectively is good, knowing how to organize and properly manage what I put into UR is another animal altogether. Not to mention exactly what to put into UR!

Looking at the Outlook sample database, I learned about the very simple method of dragging and dropping Outlook data directly into UR. I tried dragging my Contacts folder from Outlook into UR and... Voila! All my Outlook cantacts are now in a folder in UR! I know; pretty damn basic - and dull, I imagine. But I am really at a loss as to just what types of data people commonly use Ultra Recall to store and manage.

Specifically:
  1. What kinds of data do you store in UR?
  2. How do you organize what you put into UR?
  3. I studied the thread about ashwken's data structure and learned something from that: I can create all of my own user folders and "hide" or even delete the standard UR folders that are auto-created when a new database is created. Now THAT is really helpful. I wasn't sure just how far I could stray from the original tree structure created in new databases; I cannot find any reference to that kind of instruction in the Help file or anywhere else. Maybe it is there and I just haven't found it yet. But it is definitely eluding me so far.
  4. How far down can nesting of folders go? I realize that in any tree structure for information management there is a point of diminishing returns, where the depth of the nesting starts to work counterintuitively. But oftentimes specific database applications have a limit built into their design and, though some let you exceed that limit wothout any warning, the more deeply nested folders are not accessible.
  5. Templates. How and when to use which?? I read a thread about using the Document template but sadly I am no wiser now than I was before I read it. I tried once to use it - I think. I wanted to paste some text I had copied and so instead of the usual Insert child>Text that I create in the Notes folder, I tried Insert child>Document in the Imported folder. However that had no rich text features available and was aligned to Center. I could not make it align Left. What did I do? Why, deleted it, of course, and started over using Insert child>Text!!

    Is there anyplace that describes templates and how they work?

OK, that is not really all of my questions, but I could write a book right now. Hopefully, though, this is a start to allow more experienced users to let me and other new users know just how you organize and use Ultra Recall.

Thanks! I know that I truly appreciate any comments made on this.

Jim
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  #2  
Old 07-16-2008, 09:37 AM
ashwken ashwken is offline
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J-Mac,

Let me focus on Templates, for now, as this seems to be one of the concepts that plaques new users (myself included). For this discussion you need to look at the default UR Templates Folder as it contains the examples of the types of Templates available. All of the default UR Templates are considered Core Templates (a term used in the Help file), except the Project Template which is an example of a user created Template (based on Text).

Every Item (node) has a Detail Pane, this Detail Pane is also a Viewer Area. This Viewer Area will be one of three modes:

RTF - which is the basis for Appointment, Contact, Folder, Task, and Text. The Templates - Appointment, Contact, and Task - are special because they integrate directly with Outlook.

Browser (render data files) - this is the Document Template and the types of data files it will render are shown at Tools | Options | Document - MIME and Image and Tools | Options | Browser - file extensions to display. The Doc Type Attribute classifies these different data types (this is revealed in the IA Pane, there was a list some place, or import different types of data to see the various values).

Search - here the entire Viewer Area is devoted to the Serach Dialog.

So, it really becomes a question of what type of data you are bringing into UR (or composing within), RTF or Data, that determines which Template will be (or should be) used.

EDIT: Basically you want to work from a copy of either the Text or Document Template when creating your custom Templates.

With v.3 we saw the introduction of Forms, which bring the Attributes up and out of the IA Pane (Ctrl-4) into the top of the Detail Pane - the Viewer Area begins after the Form. Forms are assigned to Templates. Forms can be added to either a Document or the Text Template.

Assigning a Form to a Template does not assign the Attrbutes to the Template - I'm a bit sketchy on the reasoning here, but as a rule after creating a Template I will set focus to the IA Pane and proceed to <Insert> Attributes to the IA Pane for the Template just created (then create the Form and assign it to the Template). This method allows you to either create new Attributes or pick an existing to assign to the Template.

Note: You need an Attribute in the IA Pane of the Tempalte if you want to use that Attribute for any type of mass updating.

With v.3.5 we saw the introduction of Title Expressions, which are also assigned to the Template.

Also, you can set a custom column display for the Child Pane (Ctrl-3) of a Template.

In addition to these customizations, you can Search by a specific Template:

(Item) is (choose Template from pick list)

You can also change the Template of an Item, as long as the Template you want to change to is of the same "type" as the one you are working with - from the IA Pane look at the Template Item Attribute for a pick list of available Templates. Now obviously switching Templates for an Item doesn't make a lot of sense, but it may in some situations.

As an example, here's a application of this that I recently stumbled across.

Create a series of Text Templates named:

H1 - Article Title
H2 - Chapter
H3 - subChapter
H4 - Section

Create a series of Attributes that correspond to these Templates names, and assign the Attributes so that each Template has the same name Attribute plus the previous named Attribute:

H1 - Article Title: (H1 - Article Title)
H2 - Chapter: (H1 - Article Title, H2 - Chapter)
H3 - subChapter: (H1 - Article Title, H2 - Chapter, H3 - subChapter)
H4 - Section: (H1 - Article Title, H2 - Chapter, H3 - subChapter, H4 - Section)

Create a corresponding Form for each Template.

In usage:

Create an H1 - Article Item and give it an Article Title. Now, copy/paste this H1 Item to itself, creates a Child. From the IA Pane for the newly created Child change the Template Item value to H2 - Chapter, answer NO to the prompt and the new Item will take on the new Template assignment and the value for H1 - Article Title will remian entact.

After giving a value for the H2 Attribute, repeat this procedure to create an H3 Item.

Granted this is not earth shattering, but it is interesting, and it will carry the document structure with the Item, something that may be useful when exporting or printing. I'd like to hear from others who may have used this feature (changing an Item Template).

This could be a helpful thread.

Last edited by ashwken; 07-16-2008 at 11:55 AM.
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Old 07-16-2008, 02:10 PM
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Thanks ashwken!

Excellent written post! This is exactly the kind of info that I was hoping to see in this thread.

Like a lot of aspects of Ultra Recall, the info in your post at first blush looks like quite a bite to chew and swallow, but I've learned to take one piece at a time and get to the point where I fully understand it before moving to the next piece. (I am an excellent multi-tasker in many ways, but unfortunately not with database use/manipulation!)

You are correct in that Template usage is UR is not an area that is easily understood - at least for me. This will help a lot, I think.

BTW, it was your screenshots in the other thread that alerted me to the realization that I can for the most part ignore the default tree structure in a new database (URD) and basically build my own to suit. Please tell me if I am overstating that, or if it is indeed possible to add/delete folders and place them in an order that is most beneficial to the individual user.

Again, thank you for your most eloquent and helpful post!

Jim
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Old 07-16-2008, 03:20 PM
ashwken ashwken is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by J-Mac
BTW, it was your screenshots in the other thread that alerted me to the realization that I can for the most part ignore the default tree structure in a new database (URD) and basically build my own to suit. Please tell me if I am overstating that, or if it is indeed possible to add/delete folders and place them in an order that is most beneficial to the individual user.
You're welcome. I don't mind re-answering these questions since I know how difficult the search function of this board can be. And some of my posts can get pretty muddled - this is an imperfect medium.

Probably a better post to look at would be the second page of this thread:
http://www.kinook.com/Forum/showthre...&threadid=3673
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Old 07-16-2008, 06:46 PM
ashwken ashwken is offline
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Quote:

Create a series of Attributes that correspond to these Templates names, and assign the Attributes so that each Template has the same name Attribute plus the previous named Attribute:

H1 - Article Title: (H1 - Article Title)
H2 - Chapter: (H1 - Article Title, H2 - Chapter)
H3 - subChapter: (H1 - Article Title, H2 - Chapter, H3 - subChapter)
H4 - Section: (H1 - Article Title, H2 - Chapter, H3 - subChapter, H4 - Section)

Create a corresponding Form for each Template.
Oops, I was working from memory and this work was on my home system. There's also a corresponding Title Expression for each Template.

trim(coalesce([H1 - Article Title],'(H1 - Article Title)'))
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Old 07-16-2008, 06:58 PM
ashwken ashwken is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by J-Mac
Please tell me if I am overstating that, or if it is indeed possible to add/delete folders and place them in an order that is most beneficial to the individual user.
Yes, Ctrl-Shift-Arrow Key will allow you to move an Item within the Tree.
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Old 07-16-2008, 11:20 PM
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Thanks again, ashwken.

No, the search function on this board isn't that difficult - but I've searched for the info I am seeking and have not really found that much that helps. Most of it, understandably, is very specific to one particular need or question. I, on the other hand, am looking for somewhat more general information.

Don't get me wrong - there is definitely something of value in almost every thread I have read here. However to try and learn what I would like is kind of agonizing when you get it by reading each and every thread and pick out the gems in them!

An example of the generalized info I am wondering about:

The UR documentation mentions prominently in several places that it can import and/or synchronize with your Outlook data. While I can see having some parts of my Outlook data could be useful, I can't help but to wonder if anyone is actually syncing all of their Outlook data with UR.

E.g., I currently have my Outlook contacts in UR. And I don't believe that any of it is being synced. I was trying to follow the Help file to set up the sync but it wasn't working out very well. So I simply clicked and dragged the Contacts folder in Outlook and dropped it into UR. It beautifully created a Contacts folder in UR with all my contacts data. However I am not certain at all what I would do with my email messages in UR. Well, actually I do have some important individual messages stored in UR, but syncing all my email? I cannot yet see the benefit for me in that. Smae goes for my Outlook calendar data - I primarily use my Google Calendar instead of Outlook. And the Outlook tasks? Worthless, IMO. I use another Web 2.0 application - Toodledo - instead. Microsoft still had not figured out that task management is desireable at all. (I had some long discussions with MS Office programmers on the MSDN forum and many there insist that Outlook users have no desire to "waste" time managing their tasks, and thus they won't "waste" their time on expanding the task aspect of Office!)

Anyway, thanks again.

Jim
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Old 07-17-2008, 03:54 AM
ashwken ashwken is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by J-Mac

No, the search function on this board isn't that difficult - but I've searched for the info I am seeking and have not really found that much that helps. Most of it, understandably, is very specific to one particular need or question. I, on the other hand, am looking for somewhat more general information.

Don't get me wrong - there is definitely something of value in almost every thread I have read here. However to try and learn what I would like is kind of agonizing when you get it by reading each and every thread and pick out the gems in them!
Yes, I should have phrased that differently. The search function itself is not difficult to use, but figuring out which phrase will produce the most relavent results... (maybe google restricted to a domain?).

Yes, when using a message board to come up to speed you just about have to resort to browsing by thread title. This can be time consuming and frustrating, but even the stuff you come across that doesn't have particular meaning when starting out may click at some point later.
Quote:

The UR documentation mentions prominently in several places that it can import and/or synchronize with your Outlook data. While I can see having some parts of my Outlook data could be useful, I can't help but to wonder if anyone is actually syncing all of their Outlook data with UR.
Yes, I've wondered about that myself.

What are the advantages to settings up a folder storage system in Outlook, then bringing that structure over to UR and keeping them synced?

I'm probably not using Outlook to its fullest. Although I do you use the Appointment calendar, but beyond that I'm forced to use Outlook as a Contact Repository because the Multiple Listing Service (Real Estate) we use looks to Outlook for email addresses when emailing reports.

I've turned to UR for Lead Tracking and Listing/Sales Transaction Tracking - in both cases I shoot Contacts and relavent emails from Outlook to UR. In the case of Contacts, as mentioned above, I've got to keep the Contacts in Outlook, but in the case of emails - once I send them into UR I delete the message in Outlook.

I'm anal enough to build nested conversations in UR, but on the other hand it allows me to see a chain of events in perspective (and I need to document everything). But what ends up happening is that the UR database grows in size due to the attachments, which at times are reptative especially in the case of Leads. But this is true whether I store the email in UR or Outlook. I'm still wrestling with a solution to this workflow.
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Old 07-17-2008, 07:18 AM
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One use for two-way Outlook sync is to provide a conduit for syncing UR data with a PDA. Beyond that, perhaps some of the users who requested the Outlook sync feature can chime in.

One way that we have used Outlook integration: Once upon a time we did use Outlook, and now Outlook Express, and we keep all these messages in a URD file, which serves as a single searchable archive of all our email over the last several years.
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Old 07-17-2008, 11:42 AM
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Thanks ashwken and kinook.

Regarding the use of UR as a kind of message archive for searching older email messages, I have applications currently that are designed for doing the same that work very well. Specifically, I use MailBag Assistant (by Eric Fookes) for all POP mail messages, and IMAPSize for my IMAP accounts. Both archive/backup all messages and offer excellent search capabilities. Especially MailBag Assistant, which not only can search but extract email addresdses and make separate lists, etc. Seems like I would just be overly redundant to also keep it all in UR!

(ashwken - you might like MailBag Assistant in particular for its ability to extract email addresses from extremely large databases of mail archives - mine has ~40,000 messages - and similar extraction capabilities for your leads.)

Thanks!

Jim
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Old 07-17-2008, 05:51 PM
ashwken ashwken is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by ashwken
I'm probably not using Outlook to its fullest. Although I do you use the Appointment calendar, but beyond that I'm forced to use Outlook as a Contact Repository because the Multiple Listing Service (Real Estate) we use looks to Outlook for email addresses when emailing reports.
I got to thinking about this, and this is in error.

Our MLS software does not require the use of Outlook, but in fact supports Outlook Express and other third party email clients.
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Old 07-17-2008, 06:13 PM
ashwken ashwken is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by J-Mac
(ashwken - you might like MailBag Assistant in particular for its ability to extract email addresses from extremely large databases of mail archives - mine has ~40,000 messages - and similar extraction capabilities for your leads.)
Thanks for the suggestion and I'll keep it in mind.

Actually there are a number of industry specific solutions available that probably would have saved me a lot of time and trouble over developing something in UR. Some are in line with UR Pro in pricing, where others are two to three times more expensive. Espeically when I had to consider not just Lead Tracking but also office management functions.

But all of those solutions were somebody elses idea of how something should be done, and there was always something missing (and some have moved to entirly web-based solutions, something I didn't want to get locked into). Besides, UR also fills most of my personal needs.
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Old 10-20-2008, 01:11 PM
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I've used UR as a Research Catalog

Seems obvious, I guess, given the name of the product, but I organized the research for my masters thesis entirely with UR. (I actually started in TreePad but attributes in UR are unbeatable.) I created a form to store reference information (which included Y/N fields for things like "Cited?" and publication names so I could track where I got all the papers) and then used the details text to store commentary about the references I found. I spent months sorting through a couple hundred references and then when I got down to my writing, I used a subtree to hold the text of my work. The ability to search all the references I downloaded was invaluable. When I was done, I simply generated my reference section (although the formatting wasn't too cool) by outputting the results of a search for everything I had marked as "Cited".

If I could ask for a feature that would have helped me, it would be to allow RTF formatting of the contents of form fields so that my reference listing would have been a lot closer to perfect without the need for extensive reformatting after I imported it to MS Word. Actually, a true report formatter would have done the trick as well or even the ability to output a web version of part or all of a UR db would be awesome. (This is the one feature of TreePad that makes it amazing for developing long texts over long periods of time.) I'm not complaining, though. UR devours online research problems.
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