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Tinderbox 4.6

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Posted by Hugh
Mar 8, 2009 at 11:07 AM

 

Steve

You may be interested in this page, just added to the Tinderbox wiki, which discusses what Tinderbox “is”:

http://www.eastgate.com/wiki2/?LearningCurve

Personally whilst I regret some of its quirks, believe some of the praise of it is overblown and wish its interface were more user-friendly and more part of the OS 10.4/10.5 “family” of software, I cannot think of any other application on the Mac platform which can do all that it can accomplish. (Curio and Personal Brain may come closest for certain tasks, but by completely different routes.)

H

 


Posted by Stephen Zeoli
Mar 8, 2009 at 02:16 PM

 

Hugh wrote:
>Steve
> >You may be interested in this page, just added to the Tinderbox wiki, which
>discusses what Tinderbox
>“is”:
> >http://www.eastgate.com/wiki2/?LearningCurve
>

Thank you for the link, Hugh. Others interested in knowledge management, not just Tinderbox, might also find this article of interest. The basic premise of the article is that the user needs to find the right metaphor for thinking about Tinderbox in order to “get it.” I would agree with this—in fact it is true for most software, I imagine. However, the “web” metaphor suggested doesn’t necessarily make the most sense to me. Afterall, I would say that a personal wiki is much closer to the web metaphor than is Tinderbox, especially since Tinderbox also claims as one of its strengths the multiple ways of viewing information (outline, tree diagram, etc.). Additionally, linking information doesn’t seem as fast and painless as in a personal wiki. In fact, it seems to me that one way Tbx could be vastly improved is to implement a wiki linking scheme.

The other aspect of Tbx, and also seems true of knowledge management application in general is the conflict between comprehensiveness and comprehensibility. Here is what I mean by that:

In this article about Tbx and in articles about other applications, such as DevonThink, we are told that to really get the most from them, we need to load them up with a lot of data. As the author of the article says:

“... the more information contained within a Tinderbox document, the more useful that document becomes. More information, more notes, yields more opportunities for interconnections, more serendipitous discovery of those connections, and more results returned by the program’s agents as they look for those connections.”

This argues for creating just one, massive file (database, document, whatever they are called by the individual developer). Yet, when you do this, you start losing the big picture. With Tbx, having the structured view of an outline is supposed to be as important as having the map view. But an outline of a thousand notes becomes incomprehensible. This is not a specific criticism of Tbx… this is an issue no matter what application you are using. Cross database searching can help with this problem—and I understand that DevonThink 2.0 will eventually have this function. Tbx does not, and that seems to me to be a weakness.

My point, which is really a philosophical one, is that it is one of the challenges of using any of these tools to find the right balance of comprehensiveness and comprehensibility. It is one I struggle with, and one reason I’m so grateful for Zoot on the PC—it provides a strong search function across databases. Despite its lack of a graphic card metaphor, Zoot remains the closest thing to Tbx, in my view.

In fairness, it must be noted that there are tools that can help make massive files more comprehensible… hoisting being one, and saved searches being another. Both of these are available in Tinderbox. 

Steve Z.

 


Posted by Chris Thompson
Mar 9, 2009 at 02:29 AM

 

Stephen Zeoli wrote:
>linking information doesn’t seem as fast and painless as in a personal wiki. In fact,
>it seems to me that one way Tbx could be vastly improved is to implement a wiki linking
>scheme.

It actually does have a Wiki-like linking scheme… you can link words of a note to other nodes and even assign those links different classes (e.g. agree, disagree, depends on). However I can’t figure out how to get the linked words to show up as hyperlinks or highlighted text in the note editing window. There’s probably a way but like everything Tinderbox it’s obtuse. (You can however see the links by pressing the Links button and then Browse links, but that’s obviously not particularly nice.)

>can help with this problem—and I understand that DevonThink 2.0 will eventually
>have this function. Tbx does not, and that seems to me to be a weakness.

DevonThink 2.0 manages multiple databases really nicely. The unified global inbox (meant to be a global inbox across multiple databases) is not yet implemented in the current beta though, as far as I can tell.

—Chris

 


Posted by eastgate
Mar 9, 2009 at 03:52 PM

 

Tinderbox *is* a wiki; CamelCase words are implicity linked to a note with the corresponding name; if the note doesn’t exist yet, Tinderbox makes one.

Conventional Tinderbox links may be hidden until you press cmd-opt, or may be colored as they are in web browsers.

 


Posted by Stephen Zeoli
Mar 9, 2009 at 05:00 PM

 

eastgate wrote:
>Tinderbox *is* a wiki; CamelCase words are implicity linked to a note with the
>corresponding name; if the note doesn’t exist yet, Tinderbox makes
>one.
> >Conventional Tinderbox links may be hidden until you press cmd-opt, or may be
>colored as they are in web browsers. 

Thank you for that correction. That changes my perception some, for sure.

Steve Z.

 


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