Looking to organise

Ro
RobertB
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Thu Dec 18, 2008 4:14 pm Post

I'll try and explain how I use VoodooPad but I don't use it just for research/writing. I put all kinds of disparate information in there. Essentially, if I come across something I want to remember, it goes in VP. Since I can encrypt the whole document (I use Pro), sensitive info. goes in as well.

I use the ReadMe bookmarklet (available at http://www.flyingmeat.com/voodoopad/bookmarklet.html) which basically puts a link and timestamp plus any selected text onto a page I can later go back and check out. This is what has really set VoodooPad apart for me. Before I would print out entire articles to PDF and save them to my hard drive and they would just accumulate until going through them appeared too daunting of a task. Now I can select a bit of text and use this bookmarklet and come back later to see if it's worth pursuing further.

I set up my Index page like a homepage for a website with several links.

For example:
ReadMe (for a link to the page where the bookmarklet sends all the links)
ScratchPad (a link to a page I use for typing out some quick notes or storing a snippet of text)
Reference (a link to a page that has links to a page for software registrations, software and OSX tips I want to remember, etc.)
Research (stuff that will probably go elsewhere)
Record (things I need to track like PTO days)

I think you have to really kind of think of your document as you would an actual website/wiki in terms of laying out your own hierarchy, but you can always quickly search and find the things not in your current layout.

To me VoodooPad is sort of an easy access bucket for stuff. While most stuff stays in the bucket, some stuff moves on to a Scrivener project for research or elsewhere depending on what it is.

Not sure if that helps explain or not but I'm afraid it's the best I can do at the moment.

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Sean Coffee
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Thu Dec 18, 2008 5:20 pm Post

I have, it seems, finally figured out how to use VoodooPad!

VoodooPad 4 now has this feature called "The Bucket", which allows you to make notes and append them to an open VP document. This works nicely for me, because I now use VP as a writing notebook -- a place to jot down quick story ideas, lines, names, etc. The Bucket lets me do this from any app, as long as I have my main VP notebook open (the digital equivalent of having writing utensils on you.)

I keep my VP notebook open in a designated "Spaces" space so I can get to it, but it's out of the way most of the time.

I've attached the home page for my VP notebook (which I called "Nerd Engine") for reference. Each one of those underlined subjects links to a separate page. Some of those pages are just lists (like if you click on "Titles", it takes you to a list of titles), some are pages of dates-of-entry that themselves link to new pages, those containing the writing itself. For an example of the latter, you might click on "Correspondence!", which would throw you to a page full of dated entries like "2008 12 05 Letter To Lauren**". Click on that one, and it takes you to the text of an email I wrote to my sister, which I'd deemed worthy of saving.

As for that bucket feature, now -- no matter what app I'm in -- if I think of something I want to add to my notebook, I hit Command Shift 7 and it opens a little pane. This pane allows me to jot down whatever's on my mind, and append it to whatever VP page I choose.

Anyway, that's what I do. I'm sure it's nothing new -- and probably EXACTLY the way something like Together works. Just thought I'd offer.



** This date stamp is created via a TextExpander shortcut. So what I have here is a system that utilizes TextExpander, Spaces and VoodooPad -- the Golden Triangle of Apps I've Always Thought Were Cool But Had No Use For Until Just Now.
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br
brett
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Fri Dec 19, 2008 1:22 am Post

I've tried posting this twice only to have it disappear, so apologies if it turns into a double or triple post. And for American-ising, er, -izing, the subject head.
Thanks so much to both of you for taking the time to describe your methods in detail. It really helps clarify for me how VP might fit into my work flow. I especially like the automatic tracking of URLs for clipping sources. I can't remember if I've already Wish Listed that feature -- it'd be very helpful and time-saving to have the web source of any clipping show up in the Get Info window of TextEdit and the Document Notes or Document References of Scrivener. And it's fascinating to see how VP uses the web/hyperlink metaphor so cleverly for info organizing.

I'm trying to decide whether VP or the like will work for my style of writing. I've already whittled away 3 apps I admire (OmniOutliner, Mellel, DevonNote) from my workflow and rely solely on Scrivener, TextEdit/Bean, and the Finder for all my info organizing and writing. Step 1: clip info from Safari or Mail to TextEdit or Scrivener (using Services), or start a new TextEdit or Bean file for every random jotting. Step 2: Move info clipped to or jotted in TextEdit to Scrivener via Services, or drag / save to the appropriate folder in the Finder. This way all my info will always be easily accessible regardless of what happens to whatever app I'm using. (EagleFiler's reliance on the finder instead of a proprietary database is one thing that appeals to me about it, but I still can't see what it'd give me that my current system doesn't.) I also like to store my files to where they need to be ASAP, as I hate to face the accumulated clutter of random info buckets. Using Finder + Scrivener just removes one layer of places I can lose info.

I know my method sounds ridiculously rudimentary, and i'm willing to buy software if it will significantly increase the efficiency of oft-repeated info organizing tasks -- that's why I bought Scrivener and the others in the first place. But as much as I"m tantalized by new apps, I tend to be more of a Simplifier than a Clutterer (a shame, as most of the successful arts types I know fall into the latter category), so I guess I just need to figure out whether VP would actually save me any time. Thanks again for the help for your fellow Scriveners, and keep the advice coming.

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George the Flea
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Fri Dec 19, 2008 4:47 pm Post

brett wrote:I've already whittled away 3 apps I admire (OmniOutliner, Mellel, DevonNote) from my workflow and rely solely on Scrivener, TextEdit/Bean, and the Finder for all my info organizing and writing.


If that system is working for you, and you don't find it difficult to find things or keep organized, then don't waste your time looking for other options. Unless you have a need that you are working to address, exploring productivity apps can very quickly become an end to itself and a huge time sink. Of course, sometimes what seems like it's working is just working because you haven't discovered the awesomeness of other software/workflows, but if that's the case you usually know it as soon as you read the basic feature list of an app. (VoodooPad may be an exception to this rule; I myself couldn't conceive why I'd want to use VoodooPad initially. Then I downloaded it and ended up buying it after about 15 minutes. It's a fantastic piece of software.)

I just need to figure out whether VP would actually save me any time.


I use VoodooPad in two ways. First, it's where I store all of my world-building for larger fantasy/sci-fi worlds. The auto-linking is fantastic. If you have a large amount of info that you're generating on one topic, VoodooPad deserves a serious look.

Second, I've been developing a scratchpad for VoodooPad 4 for storing random thoughts, URLs, etc. as they come up. I'll be sharing the details on Tagamac sometime soon, but the short version is that it's possible to use VoodooPad as a random dumping ground for general info, but file libraries like Together work better and are easier to setup (then again, I'm biased because I love tags and VoodooPad's tagging is subpar at best). Your mileage will of course vary.

The benefits of something like Together or EagleFiler is that they give you organization options that are faster and require less organizational overhead than the Finder. For instance, I can hit a single hotkey, type a couple tags, and never worry about organizing that particular bookmark again with Together. The tags don't have to exist beforehand, and if I never use them again, oh well. Together/EagleFiler can also make searching a specific group of files faster because you're not Spotlighting the whole computer.
Find me online at Beckism.com

so
sorrel
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Sun Dec 21, 2008 10:08 pm Post

This is alarming news--I have approximately 800 entries in Journler. I downloaded MacJournal again; I always liked it somewhat better than Journler, but at the time I made my decision, Journler was free and MacJournal wasn't.

Bodsham said that importing entries from Journler was relatively easy. I tried and found it (so far) quite difficult. Meaning I have not yet had success. It just in effect imports a link that will be opened in Journler, which doesn't really solve the problem. Besides, when I stop using software, I like to delete it entirely.

Is there another way besides copying each entry?
sorrel

bo
bodsham
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Sun Dec 21, 2008 10:11 pm Post

Export from Journler saving each entry in its own file sorted by year, month and day. You will then get a folder with individual files and sub directories. You should be able to import these into MacJournal by just dragging them in - at least that's the way it worked for me. But I wouldn't switch from Journler myself if I had loads of stuff in it already. I don't think it's about to stop working.

I see there is a new version of Devonthink out too which looks a lot simpler to handle and has some advantages in terms of the quality of imports of html. A bit more expensive though perhaps.

Hu
Hugh
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Mon Dec 22, 2008 9:04 am Post

Here's a little snippet collector that I've not seen mentioned before: Shovebox (http://www.wonderwarp.com/shovebox/). (This may of course be because of my relative ignorance rather than the software's relative invisibility.)

An initial opinion:it doesn't stand comparison with heavyweights like DevonThink or Circus Ponies, or even Together or Eaglefiler, but as a lightweight, always available transit station, accessible with hotkeys from the menu bar, it seems efficient. Perhaps the most interesting thing about it is that it will file jottings according to customisable rules. It can export as rich text. But I haven't used it for long, so cannot vouch for its long-term reliability and stability.

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.'

Hu
Hugh
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Fri Jan 02, 2009 3:00 pm Post

Shovebox review here: http://www.atpm.com/15.01/shovebox.shtml. By the way, one point in its favour is that it works in Scrivener's full-screen mode.

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.'

dr
druid
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Fri Jan 02, 2009 3:56 pm Post

ShoveBox is an easy way to store URLs and bits of texts and images. It also exports all that data in forms that Scrivener and other programs may use. Unfortunately, it does not display the data, only the URL or path to it. I like the new Sorter in DevonThinkPro better. Everything you drop in its tray shows up in the InBox, and you may set it up for specific projects as well. Plus, when you open the dropped items, you see the contents instantly.

Hu
Hugh
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Fri Jan 02, 2009 5:20 pm Post

Hi Droo

I too like the idea of the new DT Sorter (though in the current beta the practice leaves something to be desired - invoking Keycue and the Scrivener full-screen kill it). But as far as I can see, Shovebox does display data too - not too neatly, but it does it, and it's always accessible.

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.'