The Hang of the Thing (16 Oct 2001 )
Australian film theoriest Adrian Miles writes that he suddenly has gotten the hang of this thing. He observes how aliases let you keep information linked to several different contexts."Information when it becomes knowledge shifts contexts, and Tinderbox agents are precisely this" little multiple context builders. "
web journals and the news (21 Sep 2001 )
Recent events have highlighted the value of personal Web memoirs as news sources. We don't merely want packaged sound-bites from CNN; we want to know what's happening, and we want to know how people feel.
Link Widget (31 Aug 2001 )
Small interface changes can alter the way you look at familiar tasks. In the latest Tinderbox release, the selected note features a small gray link widget. Want to make a link? Just grab the link widget and pull a link out of the note -- just like grabbing the end of a piece of string.
Under the hood, this needn't be very different from the way we've always made links: in place of the Link Tool on the toolbar, we've got link widgets in the views themselves. But the feel is very different, and now link-making feels like like just another kind of map-making.
The new link widget revives an idea from the old Java Hereford project, but the impetus came from seeing some promising Hypertext '01 demos. Eastgate hopes to have Hypertext 2001 Proceedings shortly; be sure to set aside some reading time.
Explorer (25 Aug 2001 )
The new Explorer view lets users explore structure and text in a single window. The left-hand pane displays a map or outline of the document, while the right-hand pane displays the text of the currently-selected note.
The Explorer view turns out to be especially interesting for an unexpected reason. Navigation is extremely snappy. Because the Explorer needn't adjust the shape of the window or create a new window, moving from place to place in the explorer is almost instantaneous .
Laptop-friendly (21 Jun 2001 )
This week started with a 2-stop, Boston-to-LA marathon on Monday, returning back on Wednesday. That's a lot of peanuts. Much of the time, I wrote development and planning notes in Tinderbox. Tinderbox (like Storyspace) is laptop friendly; it doesn't waste a lot of power or spin your disk without reason.
Multiple selection. (16 Jun 2001 )
Every development project finds itself on a lee shore at some point. This week, we've been heading full-tilt for the reefs, despite very late nights and plentiful application of smoothies, scotch, and every tool we could throw at the problem.
Even with code breaking all over the place, new entries, and a new log page all took less than an hour to build and upload. (It took that long because the code had to be fixed, recompiled, tested, and restarted in the middle of the job; your results may vary)
Outline icons. (12 Jun 2001 )
Tinderbox makes it easy to make lotes of notes very quickly.. Often, you'll create a bunch of notes at once, returning later to review, expand, and revise. Tinderbox has become so good at this, in fact, that UI detailing is taking on a new importance.
For instance, Tinderbox now lets you have long titles for notes. Sometimes, this means you can say everything you need to say in the title. But it's important to know what (if any) additional text is inside a note. We've just added an experimental feature to outlines that makes it easy to see a lot about the contents of a note.
There's a lot of information here. The color of the icon border reflect's the note's color, which people often use to indicate a note's urgency or topic. The number of lines of text reflects the amount of text in the note. Notes that have just been modified are tinted bluish-gray; after a day this fades to white, and after that the note gradually yellows. A week-old note is off-white, a month-old note is beige, and a year-old note is distinctly yellow.
This squeezes a lot of information into a very small space. Things may well change; the icon may be telling us more than we need to know, and drawing thousands of these icons prove too costly. For the time being, it's an intriguing little feature.
Getting Organized (27 Jun 2001 )
Traditional Web logs make it easy to publish today's news, but discard old news into a heap of chronologically-organized debris. That's wasteful; old notes are interesting for what they say, not because they happened to appear on February 14.
Tinderbox provides lots of tools for organizing notes into topical categories. Today, I set up a few new pages -- a page about "making notes", another page ("Lab notes") for development news. These pages have a new template; they use some elements from the main page, but use them differently.
To move a note from the main page to a topic page, I simply drag it from the Index into the appropriate topic. It takes only a second or two, and there's no danger of fouled-up HTML from cutting and pasting. Setting up the new pages took perhaps twenty minutes.
Modular writing (2 Jun 2001 )
Each section on this page is automatically generated from a separate Tinderbox note. Some sections, like this one, are assembled from a bunch of notes which Tinderbox gathers, connects, and exports for sharing.
To add this note to the "Weblog" section, I simply dragged it out of my collection of "private notes", and dropped it into the page. In a week or two, I'll drag it off this page and into the archives. (I can have Tinderbox move it automatically when the page gets too big or when the note is too old, but sometimes it's just as easy to drag things by hand)
Notice that I'm not limited to one "Web log" on a page. The suggested reading section to the left, for example, is also assembled from a collection of notes, which I can change or extend as I like.
Made with Ceres (1 Jun 2001 )
This page was made with Tinderbox, Eastgate's new spatial hypertext tool for making, analyzing, and sharing notes. The Tinderbox project is now six weeks old.
Tinderbox runs on the desktop (or laptop), so you can use it anywhere. It lets you make notes quickly. You can move them around in the map, view them in charts and outlines, arrange and rearrange them swiftly and flexibly. Each note can have its own HTML template, or it can share templates with other notes; the tells Tinderbox how to share the note on the Web. (The template doesn't need to be HTML; Tinderbox can share notes with XML, RSS, and more)
Tinderbox has Agents that constantly scan your hypertext, collecting notes that match their criteria. An agent might collect all the recent notes, or all the notes marked as urgent, or look for notes about aardvarks. Agents help automatically organize your notes.
Here's a screen shot of this site. The Tinderbox file for this site was created at 11:14 this morning, the screen shot was taken at 12:02. It's now 12:18.