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Outlines of outlines

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Posted by Derek Cornish
Sep 26, 2006 at 05:25 AM


Although I don’t use a Mac I have always been interested in their software, which seems to offer a much greater range of writing tools. (Zoot and Grandview are probably my main reasons for not having swapped over.)

For example, I was looking through some of Ted Goranson’s columns on the “About This Particular Macintosh (ATPM)” website at http://www.atpm.com, and noticed that the concept of an “outline of outlines” seems well-established in the Mac field (Ted mentioned Arrange, NoteBook and NoteTaker as using variations of the feature). This is the two-pane notetaking layout where the lhs pane contains an outline tree of topics and the rhs notes pane can be used as a single-pane outliner as well as just a place for notes.

It’s hard to understand why this feature is not implemented more widely in Windows information managers, since the process of thinking about the information collected, rearranging the ideas into logical arguments or narratives and so on, would seem to be important next steps, and most easily carried out within the same software that contains the raw information. I’d particularly like to see this in Zoot.

Incidentally, I was tempted to buy a Mac (one with an older OS) just to try out some of the legacy software he describes at http://www.atpm.com/10.03/atpo.shtml - including David Dunham’s Acta, and Dave Winer’s More.



Posted by David Dunham
Sep 26, 2006 at 06:26 AM


I have a list of 24 note-related apps for Macintosh (besides my own Opal, which is now at public beta 1.0b3, and should be out next month), which doesn’t count multiple levels (e.g. Standard and Pro). Depending on what you consider in the category, there might be more (e.g. I didn’t include Staples).

I didn’t track the Windows ones as closely, but I’ll bet I have around the same number. There are probably more.

Speaking of MORE and Acta, if you buy a new Mac, they won’t run. You’ll need an older Mac, with a PowerPC chip. (Or be prepared to do a lot of hacking with unsupported solutions.) This is a driving factor towards my work on Opal (besides the fact that things like filtering are tremendously handy).


Posted by Derek Cornish
Sep 26, 2006 at 03:15 PM


David -

> You’ll need an older Mac, with a PowerPC chip.

Thanks for the tip. That’s what I had in mind, but glad to get it confirmed.

On the “outline of outlines” theme, one PC software developer has now told me that the main obstacle to implementing outlining in the “Notes” pane of two-pane notetakers is capability of current rich editors. I hope someone finds a way round this.



Posted by Manfred
Sep 29, 2006 at 02:08 AM


You can also use an emulator like Mini vMac. It runs both on the (newer) Mac and the PC. You also need an older operating system. I use 7.5.3 second revision (which is free and can be downloaded from the apple website) and a file that contains the information of the rom of an old Mac (for which you have to have access to the real thing in order to legally copy it).

I did install it on my PC just to run Acta and More. With a little effort you can even print to a PDF file and thus use the results of your efforts on the PC.


Posted by Derek Cornish
Sep 30, 2006 at 02:17 AM


Yes, I did look into emulation, but I thought that it would problably almost as expensive to get the Mac OS and rom legitimately as it would be to pick up a cheap Mac laptop and use that. Less fun, too:-).

I didn’t know about being able to download an older Mac OS for free, though. Interesting…


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