Scapple for Mac (née "TheBoard"/"Vellum") - feedback wanted

br
brookter
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Fri Apr 01, 2011 4:02 pm Post

ThoughtBoard.

Like a dart board, except you throw thoughts at it and see which ones stick...

David

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bargonzo
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Fri Apr 01, 2011 4:34 pm Post

Following up on this comment:
Anyway, previously to that I had been thinking that there might be interesting possibilities in the linguistic (if that is the right word) connection between "card" and "map", in words like cartography, cartographer.


How about Chorographer?
"The Chora receives everything and gives place to everything."
source: Chora_L, Jacques Derrida, Peter Eisenman, 1996.


"Chorography is writing that creates complex and unexpected relations from and within a matrix of the autobiographical writing subject."
source: Darren Tofts @ http://www.mcs.mq.edu.au/content/Virtua ... paper.html


http://www.humbot.org/static/new/chorography.html

Not only is it a somewhat obscure term, but it ends in "er."

("It has to be 'The' something. All the great bands start with 'The'." The Committments)
Last edited by bargonzo on Fri Apr 01, 2011 4:43 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Imagine this very elaborate scientific lie: that sound cannot travel through outer space. Well, but suppose it can.

Thomas Pynchon, Gravity's Rainbow

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Sean Coffee
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Fri Apr 01, 2011 4:35 pm Post

Bug stuff (if you can call something in an app this embryonic a bug):

• Once you start making connections, then return to trying to make new, standalone notes, the app forces those new notes to connect to that last one you just made. I can't figure out how to make it stop. You should, I think, be able to make connections midway through the process, then go back to making standalone notes.

• Undo doesn't work when you delete a note. You should be able to get that back, I'd think?

Philisophical Stuff:

• You should always be able to open a new document and start typing right away. If you go the way of the TAB key making stacks of notes, I think the start point on The Board should be the upper left corner. Starting in the middle is a mindmapping thing, and it requires clicking and dragging and moving things about. Which leads me to:

• Prefer not clicking and dragging at the outset. Prefer keeping your hands on the keyboard to using the mouse. In my mind, this app has two stages -- one where you're inputing as much text as you can, and two where you're off the keyboard and using the mouse/trackpad/pen to make links. (I can tell you from recent experience that using a Wacom tablet and pen to make the connections FEELS right.)

• Take some hints from little apps like Byword and Movie Draft SE and Ommwriter in the way they handle interface preferences. In short: there ain't many. They all tend to create theme packages to adjust background/typeface etc. I don't think any of those apps are serious writing tools in the way The Board can be, but I do like the way they do the fiddling for you. Compare this to Write Room, which is great in that I can set it up endlessly, and bad in that I can set it up endlessly. Scrivener needs a ton of interface options because it's a big, robust application. A little app like this one should be aggressively anti-fiddle. If you shipped with Helvetica and dotted lines, I wouldn't complain.

• I think down the line, Dropbox will be your friend with this app.

•God, I don't even want to mention the iPad with this yet, and if you don't want to broach the subject, you should certainly delete this. I do want to say that I'm glad this is starting out on the Mac. It's a very keyboard-y app. I do think if you could open one of these boards on an iPad, make connections and small revisions and sync it with dropbox, that would be ideal. I could see spending a lot of time just typing and typing and typing, then store the thing away and mess with making connections outside my office on an iPad.

If it's not obvious, I really, really like this.

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bargonzo
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Fri Apr 01, 2011 4:52 pm Post

• Once you start making connections, then return to trying to make new, standalone notes, the app forces those new notes to connect to that last one you just made. I can't figure out how to make it stop. You should, I think, be able to make connections midway through the process, then go back to making standalone notes


This happened to me last night as well--except the new notes was attached to several other notes. It happened after I had used Command-X to cut a phrase and make a new note with it. I eventually got it to stop, and couldn't recreate it afterward. I may have hit "undo" and/or "delete" in the process. I will toy around with it and see if I can recreate it.

EDIT: It definitely has to do with the delete button. After trying to delete a letter or two in a note, then creating another note, the new one was connected to all the notes the one I had deleted in. I then tried hitting escape, undo, delete again, and other buttons to stop it, and wound up creating notes that I could type in, but the text didn't appear until I moved out of the note, and it was doubled and backward. Example: I typed "delete"--nothing appeared. I clicked out of the note and saw "eetteelleedd." Very Strange! And I can't seem to get out of that mode.

EDIT2: I can't recreate this on a consistent basis. And apologies to Keith--I know it's way too early for bug reports. I'm truly liking this "little app" that you have created.

EDIT3: Okay. I can consistently replicate this one: "Once you start making connections, then return to trying to make new, standalone notes, the app forces those new notes to connect to that last one you just made." If you delete a note that is connected to other notes, the next note will be connected just like the one you deleted. Type in that note, and then create a new note--that one will be a standalone.
Imagine this very elaborate scientific lie: that sound cannot travel through outer space. Well, but suppose it can.

Thomas Pynchon, Gravity's Rainbow

dr
druid
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Fri Apr 01, 2011 5:58 pm Post

Well, I could keep quiet because everyone else is so enthusiastic, but my thoughts:
It's not for me. I don't slop down ideas and then figure out their connections afterwards.
I start with a main topic, see the sub-topics at once, and work my way through them.
Occasionally I re-order a topic for greater rhetorical or narrative effect.
In fiction, I only have two coordinates, time and space: when/where does this happen?
If I am taking notes on a book, I keep them in seriatim order, beginning to end.
That shows me the structure of an argument or story, how it fits together.
I dunno....maybe I'm too French: La logique est tout.
Anyway, good luck with this, Keith. Maybe it will draw you to the iPad at last!

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Jaysen
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Fri Apr 01, 2011 6:21 pm Post

What I find hilarious is that apollo16 has Vic-k smack in the center of her example!

Think about it …
Jaysen

I have a wife and 2 kids that I can only attribute to a wiggle, a giggle, and the realization that she was out of my league so I might as well be happy with her as a friend. 26 years marriage later, I can't imagine life without her. -Me 10/7/09

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nom
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Sat Apr 02, 2011 1:25 am Post

MimeticMouton wrote:BoardWay is pretty fun, I'm already breaking into theme songs


Bardstorming!


I am so, so sorry… :oops:
Complete and utter NOMsense.
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MimeticMouton
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Sat Apr 02, 2011 1:32 am Post

nom wrote:I am so, so sorry…


...no you're not. Bwah.
Jennifer Hughes
(MM for short)

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nom
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Sat Apr 02, 2011 1:44 am Post

I like it. Like others have mentioned, I think keyboard only entry is very important, especially in the early stage when I'm just getting ideas out. I want to be able to type some text, press enter to start a new note and keep going. Every time my hands leave the keyboard, I stop. And I don't just mean I stop typing, I literally lose my train of thought. This was the only thing that stopped me loving it as is.

My preference would be for Enter to start a new note (this is consistent with some of the mind map apps I have trialled over the years) and Opt-Enter or Shift-Enter for a new line in the current note. Having said that, Tab could work too as long as I could somehow still type tabs in my notes - it irritates me no end when I can't tab a new line to indent it when creating notes.

I really like this and it's timing (for me) is brilliant. I was about to bust out a kludgy old mind-map/concept-map app for looking at the key ideas in my thesis and the links between them. It's one of the few mapping apps I've seen that allows boardstorming (i.e. does not require a hierarchy) but it is so awful to use I've been putting it off for weeks.

Looking forward to seeing what you do with it Keith. I think it's a go-er! :)

PS Long term, this could be a nice entry onto the iPad. Of course, I don't have one yet so there's no pressure; I estimate you have about 12 months before I start getting antsy… :wink:
Complete and utter NOMsense.
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nom
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Sat Apr 02, 2011 1:46 am Post

MimeticMouton wrote:
nom wrote:I am so, so sorry…


...no you're not. Bwah.


:wink:
Complete and utter NOMsense.
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Br
Broken Thought
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Sat Apr 02, 2011 2:18 am Post

Congratulations on Scrivener getting on the App Store. I would rate it up now, but you have to buy it from the store to rate.

As for TheBoard

I think it would benefit from some default headers and other format things, like Pages or Office. Though, I can't really explain why.

I would also like to be able to right click the line connecting two objects and add text for more explanation if need be for their link.

As for the name, feel free to call it Broken Thought. I won't mind :wink:

Hu
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Sat Apr 02, 2011 11:52 am Post

Broken Thought wrote:As for the name, feel free to call it Broken Thought. I won't mind


Hmm. Isn't Unbroken Thought more the theme...? :wink:
'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.'

Br
Broken Thought
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Sat Apr 02, 2011 11:23 pm Post

Hugh wrote:Hmm. Isn't Unbroken Thought more the theme...?


Exactly. That's why it's so beautiful.

pe
pete340
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Sun Apr 03, 2011 9:25 am Post

There's a vaguely similar app for the iPad: popplet. It aims a bit more for cute.

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ptram
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Sun Apr 03, 2011 2:37 pm Post

Very nice draft of a very nice idea! I admit that at the moment I use MindNote Pro in the same way (you are not forced to use the tree metaphor, since you can have as many top-level nodes as you likey).

As with that app, what I would miss in TheBoard (or whichever the final name) is a direct link with Scrivener. "Import" a Scrivener project, and you have the outline as a multi-node map. Change the name of a node, and this change is reflected in the tile of a Scrivener document (maybe not immediately, but after touching a 'Commit' button). Change relations and positions, and the hieracrchy of Scrivener documents is also changed.

You could keep both apps open, and use TheBoard (or another compatible mindmap program) as an extension of Scrivener. Maybe this can be done with something like LinkBack. If would be a bit like the old OLE (or how it was called on the Mac). It could also be extended to Aeon Timeline. A bigger writing environment, made of several smaller pieces (assuming Scrivener can be considered 'small'...)

Paolo