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Taking notes in something other than TB (Read 15697 times)
Andrew Saffer
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Taking notes in something other than TB
Jul 22nd, 2009, 8:28am
 
I have just hired a virtual assistant who works on a PC.

What's the simplest way for me to have them prepare notes for me to throw into TB?

Thanks, Andrew
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« Last Edit: Jul 22nd, 2009, 8:36am by Andrew Saffer »  
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Mark Bernstein
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Re: Taking notes in something other than TB
Reply #1 - Jul 22nd, 2009, 9:41am
 
Text files?  Emails?  Much depends on how you prefer to work.

Tell us more about your virtual assistant, and the project?
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Allan Tsai
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Re: Taking notes in something other than TB
Reply #2 - Jul 22nd, 2009, 12:13pm
 
If you need well structured outlines I've found OPML files to import nicely via drag and drop.

On the Mac side I've used OmniOutliner to great effect (using export to OPML). However since your assistance uses a PC he/she can give one of these freeware options a try:

http://editor.opml.org/
http://buzz.sourceforge.net/
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Tinderbox 4.7.1
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Paul Walters
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Re: Taking notes in something other than TB
Reply #3 - Jul 22nd, 2009, 6:49pm
 
"Simplest" would be put notes in a text file, divide notes with a string such as "-----", drag the file into Tinderbox, then explode based on that delimiter.  Make it a little fancier by using Dropbox to pass the note file back and forth between you and the VA.
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Mark Anderson
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Re: Taking notes in something other than TB
Reply #4 - Jul 23rd, 2009, 4:03am
 
I'd let the nature of the content drive the choice of tool(s). If you recall the project we recently worked together (initially here then off-list), that started off being about battling app/process constraints and was solved by using different tools in a way that better fitted the task. The same process here should allow you to see what sort of input you need to handle which will indicate the type of tool needed; the two obvious scenarios - there may be more - are simple short texts or longer one that already include some organisation/hierarchy. Also, do you need to be handling accents and normal a-z type characters? If so, you'll need to a more care in the transfer as encoding comes into play.

Your realistic choice of source app is probably also limited by the apps/tools the VA already has unless you'll provide (buy) others for them.

The potential trouble with using something like Word which many PC users will have installed is that plain text (or even RTF) is not the default format so saving in the right format is prone to operator error; upside is the VA gets spell checking and more drafting features.

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Andrew Saffer
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Re: Taking notes in something other than TB
Reply #5 - Jul 23rd, 2009, 4:35am
 
After reading everything this wonderful forum has come up with, I guess I'm looking for an online outliner that can export or cut-and-paste easily into TB.

I can't insist that the VA install anything. That's part of the gig.

If anyone has a suggestion, that'd be great. Thanks so much, Andrew
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Andrew Saffer
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Re: Taking notes in something other than TB
Reply #6 - Jul 23rd, 2009, 5:18am
 
It looks like loosestitch.com will create an outline online and then let you export it to OPML. I'll let you know how it goes. Thanks, Andrew
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Mark Anderson
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Re: Taking notes in something other than TB
Reply #7 - Jul 23rd, 2009, 5:41am
 
I've not had time to make and test the OPML part but it looks like LooseStitch or Checkvist might be the thing for you; both are free. It seems there aren't many online offerings to choose from - especially free and requiring no tech skill on the part of the user. I note, for more tech users, that Checkvist has an API thus offering the prospect of using autofetch or runCommand()+curl to pull content though it would need cleaning before use. Form Andrew's use I think creating an actual OPML file that he can add to TB seems the sensible route/level of tech, and of the two offerings above, I think LooseStitch looks the better fit (assuming OPML works as expected!).
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Re: Taking notes in something other than TB
Reply #8 - Jul 23rd, 2009, 6:31am
 
I got curious, here's specimen OPML from LooseStich in a TBX: OPML_test.tbx.zip.

Here's the raw OPML as opened in TB (see step #8 below):



To make this I:
  • Signed up for a free LooseStitch account.
  • Opened the default outline - it has some specimen content (including indented/nested items).
  • I added some new content, logged out.
  • Loggen in from my PC added some stuff, looged out and logged in again from the Mac.
  • Clicked 'Share' tab.
  • Clicked OPML icon.
  • OPML file automatically downloaded. Neat! (I'm in Safari 4.02, on 10.5.7 FWIW)
  • On my Mac, OPML files have a TB icon , so double-click and I'm looking at the TBX saved above.  Of, course it could have been dragged into an existing TBX or content dragged/copied from the new TBX to an existing one.


To test sharing, I've emailed Andrew Saffer an invite from the above outline to test the sharing aspect (though I'm not 100% certain that got sent. Even without that with the permalink for the outline and the password any number of people could access (though I'd doubt more than one person can access - fro editing - at the same time.).

The oultine notes come in just as titles. IIRC, that's great for Andrew as he tends to use title-only notes.  For others, and agent could doubtless clone the text. How? put all the OMPL content in a container, here for example called "Process" (any name will do):
AgentQuery: descendedFrom(Process)
AgentAction: $Text|=$Name  (the |= ensures we only get one copy of $Name in $Text)

Interesting, I leaned something today. I hope this helps...
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« Last Edit: Jul 23rd, 2009, 6:36am by Mark Anderson »  

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Derek Van Ittersum
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Re: Taking notes in something other than TB
Reply #9 - Jul 23rd, 2009, 9:10am
 
Wow, this looks like a great way to keep working on ideas when I'm at my  office, which only has a windows machine, and then dump them back into tinderbox.

This got me experimenting with exporting OPML from tinderbox to see how easy it was to place a tree from a tinderbox document onto loosestitch.  It seems the examples from the wiki are all several years old.  From what I've read, opml export isn't too complicated, but I'm still a TBX novice without any experience exporting (in addition to lacking any XML knowledge).  Has anyone created a serviceable OPML export template to share?    

I realize loosestitch isn't going to be a perfect "sync" option between windows and mac for sharing a tbx document, but I think it will work well enough for letting me draft at the office, and bring the notes back to the full TBX later.
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Andrew Saffer
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Re: Taking notes in something other than TB
Reply #10 - Jul 23rd, 2009, 9:53am
 
I can't believe that I actually contributed something to the Tinderbox community, if only by igniting others (the competent ones!) curiousity!

I'm gonna ask people to call me "Mark" for a few days in honour of this moment...  Wink
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Mark Anderson
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Re: Taking notes in something other than TB
Reply #11 - Jul 23rd, 2009, 10:01am
 
@Derek. Ah looks like we need an OMPL export demo TBX.  Ah, OK, I think the answer is to take the above demo and add templates to it to re-ex[port the OPML - if we get a 100% match then all is good.  Give me a little while.

@Andrew. I do wish you wouldn't ask useful questions, I'd get through my real work much faster!  Grin
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Re: Taking notes in something other than TB
Reply #12 - Jul 23rd, 2009, 5:26pm
 
OK, here's a demo of the round trip: OPML.zip (Fixed URL - see note below)

It was created in v4.7.1.  There is some good and bad. There is an issue (described in the TBX in the above ZIP) if the exported text uses characters other than low ASCII (e.g. using accented characters and the like). Other than this limitation and not being able compute expansion states (in OPML format) , the process works surprisingly well.

The zip includes an OPML from LooseStitch (it just happened to be what I used), a TBX based on an import of said OPML, re-export of the same source data (with problems!) plus a simple demo of an export without encoding problems.

Not mentioned in the demo is paragraphs. From what I understand, OPML works best - or rather travels cross-app most safely if the 'notes' are one paragraph only (they may be many sentences) and also don't try and hold half a novel per note.

I hope this helps for those investigating OPML with Tinderbox.
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« Last Edit: Jul 23rd, 2009, 6:10pm by Mark Anderson »  

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Andrew Saffer
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Re: Taking notes in something other than TB
Reply #13 - Jul 23rd, 2009, 5:55pm
 
Hi Mark,

There are too many t's in your http of OPML.zip, so it's tricky to download. Firefox didn't know what to do with it, but Safari showed me the address, and I saw the error there.

Just to let you know.

Thanks, Andrew
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