Tinderbox

Pr
Prion
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Wed May 21, 2008 9:11 pm Post

Michael,

you most certainly are anything but a fool. Considering how much I have learned from you, Amber and the generally enlightened ones, I am glad to have returned a favour. Actually, after writing the post above, it occured to me how much we have accepted that in our digital age the pace at which features change has changed the perceived duration of time. Forever, ha. Since 2005 which is when I switched to the Mac and explored the exciting world of information apps.
Last year I went to a small, unsuspecting museum in Uppsala, Sweden, and to my own astonishment found the most excuisite collection of eqyptian mummies and hieroglyphs, Inca knots and what not. The structure of these information tradition systems have changed so slowly that societies evolved away from it. Rather amusing (and disturbing) to think that it is exactly the other way around today. People even get bored if a program does not evolve quickly enough over time.
I am not one to develop instant hysteria over digital amnesia, but I suspect I am growing old enough to get drawn to plain text systems such as Mulitmarkdown and (why not) plain text. Writing languages other than english, even the question of encoding this plain text (UTF-8, ANSI...) can make this seemingly trivial task interesting.

Back on topic: I usually just highlight the text of interest and hit the shortcut (Cmd closing parenthesis) and it gets tucked away along with the URL.

Prion

ba
bashosfrog
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Wed May 21, 2008 9:24 pm Post

In Devonthink, using the hot keys listed in the DT Services menu makes clipping completely painless. I have DT setup to clip straight to an Inbox, and anything of note gets sent there with the Cmd-Shift-) hot key combination (or, in Mail, the "send to Devonthink" command under the Messages menu.
Fact is, I haven't found anything like Devonthink for absorbing information. I'd like file system integration, like everyone else, but I wait and trust for the wizards of Devon Tech to produce v2 and resolve all the issues that v1 users have been whinging about.

ke
kened
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Thu May 22, 2008 12:05 am Post

bashosfrog wrote: I wait and trust for the wizards of Devon Tech to produce v2 and resolve all the issues that v1 users have been whinging about.


and wait ... and wait ...

Hu
Hugh
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Thu May 22, 2008 9:17 am Post

I've read somehwere on the DevonThink site that the resources that had been devoted to developing a mystery DT spin-off have now been returned to the core task of DT 2.0.

H
'Listen, some quiet night, when you've shirked your work that day. Do you hear
that distant, almost inaudible clicking sound? That's one of your
competitors, working away in the night in
Paris or London or Erie, PA.'

ba
bashosfrog
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Thu May 22, 2008 11:20 am Post

Hugh wrote:I've read somehwere on the DevonThink site that the resources that had been devoted to developing a mystery DT spin-off have now been returned to the core task of DT 2.0.

H


Amen for that. I wonder what Tinderbox would be like now if Mark Bernstein wasn't slogging away on a Windows version. It must be a tough call on whether to diversify the product range and widen your sales opportunities, or focus on making the core product outstanding - and accept that it will have a limited number of buyers, many of whom will gripe furiously over upgrade pricing ...

As a user, I prefer the latter model, as exemplified by Scrivener.

As
AsafKeller
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Thu Jul 30, 2009 6:24 pm Post

AmberV wrote:I just set up a little mailbox specifically for each Tinderbox document (one at the moment), and then using Mail Act-On assigned a keystroke to forward anything destined to that document to this special account.
Amber: Assuming you are using Mail.app, how do you deal with the fact the Tinderbox cannot read MIME-encoded or html? Is there a script that you can use with Mail Act-On to convert the content of the message? Thanks.

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AmberV
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Thu Jul 30, 2009 10:37 pm Post

99.99999999% of the time I have zero use for HTML email. In the rare cases where an HTML email is actually interesting or necessary, I have to handle it manually; usually by copying and pasting the plain-text part. Fortunately most email applications are smart about generating a text part. I don't even have Mail.app set up to view the HTML bit; it drops straight to text by default.
.:.
Ioa Petra'ka
“Whole sight, or all the rest is desolation.” —John Fowles

ri
rickdude
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Wed Aug 12, 2009 1:17 am Post

Going back to Tinderbox, I'm also an ex-user, though I do still get the mailings and always go to the web site to see what the new features are. The last time I got excited about it was when I came across an article describing an "nMemodex" (I think) filing system". I followed the steps and duplicated the system, and used it for a while. Essentially, whenever you create a new note, TInderbox assigns the note a serial number one greater than the previous note. So you just need to prepare a stack of clear plastic files numbered sequentially. Whenever a new piece of paper to be filed comes in, you create a new note, give it a suitable name and some tags, and put it in your filing cabinet immediately after the previous file. I guess you could call it an electronic version of the Noguchi filing system. When you're looking for something, you do a Find on tags or name in Tinderbox, and you've found the serial number you know which drawer it's in.

Regarding its more central concept generating functions, I find I periodically go through these fantasies of what my day should be like. I imagining writing some notes on some interesting papers in my reference manager, then maybe writing a few paragraphs towards my next paper in Journler. I copy all these across to Tinderbox and set up some cool agents to create interesting groupings of notes that help me form clearer ideas. At the same time, all these notes have been synched across to DevonThink, so I can use "See Also" to find some more related passages, and copy the good ones over to Tinderbox. And pretty soon I'm ready to write my latest paper to revolutionize scholarship as we know it.

In reality, though, time devoted to research is all too short and I still find every program switch a little mentally jarring. I find even DevonThink less user-friendly than I think it should be, and I feel I'm re-learning Tinderbox every time I use it. Although I guess my capacity for dealing with multiple sources has increased, research at the computer seems to be becoming a more stressful operation. Occasionally, I feel I might even be better off just with printouts and a wordprocessor.

Each layer of software seems to make sense: Bookends is firmly based on individual reference sources; Journler is for my daily scribblings; DevonThink can hold vast quantities of material and find interesting connections in a fairly automated way; Tinderbox helps to organize groupings of thoughts and concepts in a more manual-feeling way than DevonThink. And then you've got Scrivener to actually write a structured piece of work and Mellel to put it into printable form. And all these tools mean that it's easy to find stuff that I last looked at years ago. And yet something's not quite right. The tool that is easiest to remove from the mix here is Tinderbox and that makes things a bit simpler. What I think I really need is training from people who know all these tools and how to blend them effectively.

Sorry for the ramble!

ba
bashosfrog
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Wed Aug 12, 2009 1:37 am Post

I feel I'm re-learning Tinderbox every time I use it


That's my problem with Tinderbox. Unless you're using it constantly at a level that allows you to learn its language, you have to re-learn that language every time you want to stretch its capabilities. I have decided - several times now - that I can't justify the overhead.

If there was a GUI interface on queries, I'd revisit it, but for me, for now, it isn't a useful investment of time. I can handle complexity if it gives me simplicity, but to really get full use from Tinderbox you need to regularly delve into complexity. I no longer want to do that.

Still, I open it from time to time, look longingly at its possibilities - and then quietly close it again.

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AmberV
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Wed Aug 12, 2009 4:12 am Post

You should drop that feedback over in the Tb forums, I'm sure Mr. Bernstein would be interested in hearing it. As I'm sure you are aware, there is a simple GUI interface for building queries, but it hasn't been substantially updated or re-worked in many many years. I have a feeling that if Tb had a better "query builder" up front, more people might take a liking to it. I see a cross between Boswell's query builder (which is sadly one-off and doesn't allow saved queries) and MailSteward Pro, which has an "Advanced" button that lets users who are "in the know" edit the SQL itself to do much more complex and advanced things if necessary.

I think if Tb kept the single dialogue interface (build the query as the user plays with the GUI), but expanded the capabilities of the GUI itself, it could be a nice blend between the two. Plus, having it all in one would allow power users and programmers (with whom the syntax will already be essentially familiar) to delve straight into complexity if they desire.
.:.
Ioa Petra'ka
“Whole sight, or all the rest is desolation.” —John Fowles

ba
bashosfrog
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Wed Aug 12, 2009 8:04 am Post

You should drop that feedback over in the Tb forums, I'm sure Mr. Bernstein would be interested in hearing it.


I sent Mark an email pointing to this forum.

Hu
Hugh
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Wed Aug 12, 2009 12:32 pm Post

bashosfrog wrote:
I feel I'm re-learning Tinderbox every time I use it


That's my problem with Tinderbox. Unless you're using it constantly at a level that allows you to learn its language, you have to re-learn that language every time you want to stretch its capabilities.


That's precisely my issue with Tb too. My uses of it are intense but sporadic. I feel it could be much more useful if I didn't have to part-relearn it each time.

(Incidentally, does, anybody also think the sources of advice on Tb are dispersed over too many documents and locations? When I do my relearning, I'd really like to be able to consult a very small number of sources, preferably a single comprehensive one.)

H
'Listen, some quiet night, when you've shirked your work that day. Do you hear
that distant, almost inaudible clicking sound? That's one of your
competitors, working away in the night in
Paris or London or Erie, PA.'

Ti
Timotheus
Posts: 426
Joined: Tue Jul 04, 2006 12:35 pm

Wed Aug 12, 2009 4:38 pm Post

My situation is very similar to that of Hugh and bashosfrog. I bought Tinderbox a year or so ago, and since then I have tried various times to make it part of my workflow, but to no avail.
X.12.6; Scrivener; Nisus; LaTeX; Bookends; Devonthink; Lightroom.

ri
rickdude
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Tue Aug 18, 2009 9:32 am Post

My uses of it are intense but sporadic. I feel it could be much more useful if I didn't have to part-relearn it each time.


If it were a bit cheaper, the barrier to casual buying/upgrading without being sure of using it constantly would be lower, too.

cm
cmenice
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Tue Sep 21, 2010 12:57 pm Post

rickdude wrote:The last time I got excited about it was when I came across an article describing an "nMemodex" (I think) filing system". I followed the steps and duplicated the system, and used it for a while. Essentially, whenever you create a new note, TInderbox assigns the note a serial number one greater than the previous note. So you just need to prepare a stack of clear plastic files numbered sequentially. Whenever a new piece of paper to be filed comes in, you create a new note, give it a suitable name and some tags, and put it in your filing cabinet immediately after the previous file. I guess you could call it an electronic version of the Noguchi filing system. When you're looking for something, you do a Find on tags or name in Tinderbox, and you've found the serial number you know which drawer it's in.
!


I'm pretty late to this party, but I find myself in a situation where I'm trying to make sense of some data. I searched on this "nMemodex" term for Tinderbox, but haven't come up with anything. I understand how the system works, but I don't understand how to duplicate it in Tinderbox. I'm an hours old Tinderbox user. Does anyone have thoughts on how this "nMemodex" could be created, or maybe a copy of the original instructions?

Thanks!
Creating is like gold. When I create, I am rich.