Those who know me well know that I have a huge passion for that broad category of software I call "thinking tools". One such tool that has long seemed worth a look to me (I have a fairly extensive collection of such software), is an app called Tinderbox which, though supposedly a Windows version is in the works, only runs currently on the Mac. I've never quite found nor yet created the thinking-tool app that is still "in my head", but Tinderbox seemed, looking at it from the outside, to have a number of the attributes I've always thought were essential: multiple ways of viewing the data/notes, caters well to emergent structure as opposed to strictly predefined structure, etc. I'll probably write more about Tinderbox later, but I mention it here because it's basically the main reason I've been interested in checking out the Mac platform to begin with -- it's conceivably seemed like it could be the "killer app" that would make the Mac platform a necessity to me. (I'm been running mostly Windows, currently and historically).
Mark Bernstein of Eastgate Software is the creator of the app, and I've been following his blog for some time (My two-sentence review: Thoughtful, well-reasoned, and "civilized". He sometimes uses words about food that I have to look up to understand. <g>). His book The Tinderbox Way is marvelous read, articulating many of the thoughts and inherent design tensions involved in architecting such a tool. I actually bought the book before I ever saw the software first-hand.
At any rate, the short version of this story is that I finally broke down and spent a couple hundred bucks for an old Mac G4 so I could check out Tinderbox personally. I have quite a bit to share about the details of trying to set up a "Virtual Mac" that you can run from within Windows... but more on that later. For now, say "hi" to my new friend, Highlander:
A while back I posted about Onfolio getting swllowed up by Microsoft. I bought Onfolio (the app, not the company <g>) a while back, and then got left high-and-dry when they moved into the MS Live camp. >:(
Since that time, I've found a superior alternative, called Web Research Professional. It used to be called ContentSaver back when I was first shopping for such a tool (and, unfortunately, bought Onfolio instead). It's come a long way since then! For the quick capture of web pages and snippets from the Web, it's hard to beat. WAY faster than Onfolio was too, btw.... (which was painfully sluggish at times).
At any rate, if you're in the market for such and app, check it out.
Tonight, working on transforming non-linear thoughts into a structured report for a client, I found myself once again freshly stirred to build the writing / thinking tool(s) I wish I had.... ...but, I found this list of PIMS and outliners while looking for a way to use the mousewheel in ECCO. It's a nice list.
(katmouse is your friend, btw -- lets you use the mousewheel anywhere).
Digging through files on hard drive tonight, I came across a folder of OneNote files, and once again found myself lamenting the "black hole software" phenomenon. (Last time was here). (...and just for the record, Chris Pratley (reader: see the comments on the very first link in this post), I was (and still am) one of those people who doesn't use OneNote precisely because it is blackhole software.. <g>).
Does anyone know if OneNote has fleshed out the API any further at this point, and / or made it easier to get to the OneNote data? Basically what I'm after is being able to get an any and all single notes, separately.
Read a good post a while back over on Christopher Hawkins' blog, called "Starting in the Middle and Writing," which touched on one of my favorite subjects, the process of developing thought(s) from random musings-in-the-middle to sequential ready-to-present writing. I used to write regularly against a deadline (though you'd never know it from my blog posting of late <g>), and have always been amazed at how "non-linear" the process is, and always has been, for me.
Slowly but surely I am developing some software tools to aid the process, but I'm still amazed at how far there is to go --- and how much opportunity there is --- in the area of creating tools which help humans forge their thinking. I think that amazement is one of the reasons I am prone to occasionally (or not so occasionally) ranting when I see so much wasted programming energy spent developing dancing search puppies or some such nonsense --- there is so much useful work to be done that requires creative skill and energy, why waste it so?
But I digress.... thanks, Chris, for the post and the open comments; I learned about two very cool things from the thread that followed: