Tinderbox

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vic-k
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Thu Jun 30, 2011 5:37 pm Post

crimewriter wrote:No ice. Just a dash of spring water, please.
As you wish
Cheers :wink:
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As a professional, you, are your one and only asset. Without integrity you are worthless, but with it, you are priceless.

cr
crimewriter
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Thu Jun 30, 2011 5:50 pm Post

@Hugh:
My favourite (of many) is the term “deprecate”, as frequently used in the Tbx forums.


Thank you so much for clearing that up for me. It also took me a few minutes to realise that a 'check' wasn't a tick but a 'cheque'. And I did two years at an American school, so I should know these things. When all else fails I phone my-daughter-the-software-engineer who has a kind heart and great patience -- and makes me find out things for myself -- it's something to do with her upbringing, apparently.

cw
Some quiet night when you've shirked your work because of fatigue or distraction, open a window of your house and listen. Do you hear that distant clicking sound? That's one of your competitors, pecking away at his keyboard in Paris or London or Erie, PA

Hu
Hugh
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Thu Jun 30, 2011 7:22 pm Post

crimewriter wrote:-- it's something to do with her upbringing, apparently.

:)
'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.'

ea
eastgate
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Sun Jul 03, 2011 2:51 am Post

Computer people adopt unusual terms like "deprecate", and bend them slightly to their use. In modern parlance, "deprecate" is not nearly as stern as "deplore"; it just means, "this might have been the way we used to do things, but be warned -- it might not work sometime soon!"

We hope the new tutorial CD (and download) helps clear up some of these mysteries. And we agree about the spring water (though I myself like an Islay neat, thanks.)

Ma
Maelduin
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Wed Jul 20, 2011 8:32 am Post

AmberV wrote:The learning curve is too substantial for most casual users to get in to it.


I'm using the trial version for a couple of days - I've just written a short story draft, and thought I'd try out Tinderbox in plotting the second draft, to see if I wanted to buy the software.

My conclusion is that no, I won't buy it. I'm sure it's probably magic, but at the moment I'm finding it kludgy and Windows-like.

The main reason is not the software itself, but the lack of any simple, direct, step-by-step tutorial to show its basic features. And please don't point me to this http://www.eastgate.com/Tinderbox/video/Planning.mov or this http://www.eastgate.com/Tinderbox/sorting.html or this http://www.acrobatfaq.com/tb_manual/tinderbo/notes.html or any of the other helpful sites about the software. They don't actually do what a basic manual should do; they assume you already know the basics. It brings me back to the time when I moved from an Amstrad to a Windows 3.1 computer; I remember ringing my nephew and geek adviser then, and raving "If I knew how to 'create' a folder I'd be God effing Almighty". It's the same kind of *basic* knowledge of the program that the tutorials don't address.

A couple of examples: the 'map view' of the notes open in a little rectangle in the corner of my screen. I took a look at the Preferences (the usual Mac place to keep tweakables) and could see no way to set its size and readabilty automatically to open to full screen; I made a bunch of characters and then linked them in various ways, and accidentally clicked on something and closed this 'map view'; I opened a new map view and all the characters were still there but their links were gone. These are typical beginner's mistakes - but a good tutorial *for beginners* would have saved them.

I can't help feeling that the makers are shooting themselves in the foot by failing to have great tutorials; there may be thousands of possible customers - hundreds of thousands, even, if they got into the education and civil service markets - who will try out the software for a day, using the existing tutorials, and give up. A software trial should be a seduction, not an obstacle course.

And the money thing, of course. Very, very dear.
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Ve
Vermonter17032
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Wed Jul 20, 2011 2:14 pm Post

Maelduin wrote:These are typical beginner's mistakes - but a good tutorial *for beginners* would have saved them.

I can't help feeling that the makers are shooting themselves in the foot by failing to have great tutorials; there may be thousands of possible customers - hundreds of thousands, even, if they got into the education and civil service markets - who will try out the software for a day, using the existing tutorials, and give up. A software trial should be a seduction, not an obstacle course.


First of all, I agree completely. Eastgate should have better "how's this thing work" videos on their web site for people who are just getting a taste of the program. However, I am not sure if one can ever shake that "obstacle course" feeling with Tinderbox. I've been using it now for about two years, and, while I can handle the basics very well, I still hit hurdles with it all the time. The secret to Tinderbox bliss is not getting frustrated (too much). For me, the advantages of using Tinderbox far outweigh the frustrations, but I acknowledge that wouldn't be true for everyone.

BTW, you may already have checked out my review of Tinderbox on Mac Appstorm, but if you haven't you might find a little more help relating to getting some of those basics. The link is here:

http://mac.appstorm.net/reviews/product ... tinderbox/

Steve

Ma
Maelduin
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Wed Jul 20, 2011 3:20 pm Post

Vermonter17032 wrote:BTW, you may already have checked out my review of Tinderbox on Mac Appstorm, but if you haven't you might find a little more help relating to getting some of those basics. The link is here:

http://mac.appstorm.net/reviews/product ... tinderbox/

Steve


It was among many, many, many pages and sites I visited in trying to get the horrid thing working, and your piece was without doubt the very best.
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Ma
Maelduin
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Wed Jul 20, 2011 3:27 pm Post

An example of the bafflingness: in the screencast http://www.eastgate.com/Tinderbox/video/Planning.mov - intended to teach you to plan a book using Tinderbox - there's the statement "We select the Note button". I couldn't see where the speaker was finding this, and went fishing frantically around the menus. Finally (now too late; I've used up the trial), I realise that he's failed to say "Select the Note button, the little snowflake-like button on that baffling palette with the three tragic rectangles saying "empty, empty, empty", perhaps designed to replicate the barren feeling of trying to get it working without help; and I further realise that this 'Note' button is on a palette quite different from the one I see in the trial version, which is quite different. Dear God.
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AndreasE
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Wed Jul 20, 2011 3:51 pm Post

Yes, there is simply no manual that really works. No walk-through for beginners. A book "Tinderbox for Dummies" would skyrocket the sales, I'm sure, even a small one. Everything you learn about how to use this application (which radiates a strong "wow-supposed-one-would-understand-at-least-the-basics-one-could-do-amazing-things-with-it"-feeling, which is why one does not simply give up and use AppCleaner to get rid of it) you learn elsewhere in the internet, not on their homepage. (It took me a year to find out how to call up "Rename" via keyboard :oops: ) (You use the Enter key, BTW, not the Return key.)

This is why I don't upgrade anymore. Not until I have groked the functionality I already have at hands. Which will take another ten years at least, I think. Until then, I use the version I have to do tiny things with it, and keep on staying miles below Tinderbox' possibilities.

An awesome piece of software, nevertheless. Unfortunately, it seems there was no awesomeness left for a decent introduction.
Last edited by AndreasE on Wed Jul 20, 2011 7:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Ma
Maelduin
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Wed Jul 20, 2011 4:08 pm Post

I'm waiting for the Mac version ;)

What's the Enter key???
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El
ElegantlyMac
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Wed Jul 20, 2011 4:54 pm Post

Maelduin wrote:I'm waiting for the Mac version ;)

What's the Enter key???


That would be Fn-Return for you :)

Ma
Maelduin
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Wed Jul 20, 2011 5:23 pm Post

Ahhhh ssso?
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bargonzo
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Wed Jul 20, 2011 5:40 pm Post

ElegantlyMac wrote:Maelduin wrote:
I'm waiting for the Mac version

What's the Enter key???


That would be Fn-Return for you


I've been wondering that myself. Thanks for the info!

While we're on the subject: Does anybody know if Tinderbox is ready for Lion? The apps-compatible page (http://roaringapps.com/apps:table), which has a pretty exhaustive list, does not know.
Imagine this very elaborate scientific lie: that sound cannot travel through outer space. Well, but suppose it can.

Thomas Pynchon, Gravity's Rainbow

Hu
Hugh
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Wed Jul 20, 2011 5:58 pm Post

On 14th July, in the Tbx Forum Mark Bernstein wrote:

“Short answer: yes.

Technically responsible answer: No one can be certain what will and won't run in an operating system that hasn't shipped yet. We think all will be well, but a list-minute change might upset the cart. If it does, experience suggests that whatever problems arise will likely be fixed in a few days or weeks...”

Since then, of course, a new version — 5.9.2 — has been launched.
'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.'

Ma
Maelduin
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Joined: Fri Apr 25, 2008 7:49 pm

Thu Jul 21, 2011 11:15 pm Post

More weirdness: I went back to the Tinderbox forums to find the questions I'd asked, and the whole discussion (headlined "Teeny weeny screeny") seems to have been deleted. Mind you, maybe this is just because I upgraded my OS to Lion; maybe it did something weird.

I've even tried going into the 'User CP', where it says "This user has 0 posts", though elsewhere in the CP it says I have some. Oddness.
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