Tag Archives: Journler

WriteRoom and Notational Velocity

A modification to WriteRoom’s SimpleText application has me looking at Notational Velocity again. What I find is a near perfect minimalist integration and text management system that supports long term data storage.

My description of the applications, and how I use them in my infobase system follows after the jump.

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File System Infobase Manager

I’ve posted a complete outline of my File System Based Info Manager. It’s the tool I use to manage all my writing, notes, reference material, bibliographies, and records. It’s based on Alex Payne’s architecture ideas, Noguchi Yukio’s organizational systems, and input from my pals over on the Scrivener Forums.

So far it is one of the most popular posts on dougist.com.

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Shifting Mediums

Of all the artists, we writers are uniquely beset with the chore of dealing with the piles of stuff we produce, and making sure it doesn’t get lost in some tornadoing swirl of trash papers, dog eared towers, or misnamed folders, never to be seen again.

This is not to disparage my friends who are visual artists, they too have vast quantities of stuff, paints, easels, those funny little wooden figures with articulated joints, but their problems are different. A thirteen foot canvas is not likely to just up and disappear overnight, while a 10,000 word story can fall into some crevasse of a hard drive and go missing for years.

I’m also not speaking ill of my friends the performing artists, who’s work is basically geographical. Their biggest organizational issue is making sure they show up at the right place, at the right time, on the right day, hopefully without forgetting their Strad, or Gibson in the cab on the way to the hall.

But we writers, our burden is the crap load of words we have to wrangle. Even if you only do the Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird 300 words a day minimum quota (or the 3,500 I seem to average) a writer can easily develop a whole attic of text, mounds of little stories, herds of ideas, notes, quips and quotes from observation or reading, and it’s easy for stuff to slip off on the wind, which is a shame because that cloud of pages heading over the hill has good stuff in it.

Ah, the trade offs of the different vocations…

When I flip through the files in my writing folders I invariably trip over a little gem, something I forgot, something valualble. The other day I found a wonderful description of a feeble old man stumbling off down a hall, he was fragile and vulnerable like he was made of spun candy, along the way he had to stop and remember where he was going. He was a perfect model for a director in my book.

The natural question is how to keep something like that from being lost…

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Dating DEVONThink

I was all excited. I thought I had found a solution to my vexing Journler problems. Crashes, freezes, all manner of frustrations had pushed me away from the love of my life application. Journler was the app I had been immersed in for the first year of my writing, my first crush, but the application’s solo developer had gone off, and it was clear, the bugs that existed would be problems forever, so I went looking for another.

I wrote “Bye, bye, Journler. DEVONThink is my girl now. She’s not beautiful like you, kind of clumsy actually, but she is smart and will be here for the long haul…”

Now I’m starting to wonder. DEVONThink is an application best described as inattentive to its appearance. It is messy in the way it interacts with others and is more worried about the mad scientist, artificial intelligence core of the program than in adding any real value to how users create or manage data…

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If Mark Twain Had a Laptop

Are we better off with all the writer’s and researcher’s tools on our PCs?

I look down at my MacBook’s desktop, and staring back at me is a monster. A jumble of incomprehensible and expanding piles of electronic icons spill and shuffle around as if the sorter cubbies on top of a roll top desk had just collapsed. I think, if Mark Twain had a laptop this is what it would have looked like.

The nice thing about the physicality of books, printed pdfs, and paper journals is their hard edged presence and volume. Having them piled up around you reminds you of things; like how much you’ve done, and how much you need to do. That volume of paper communicates what you have to do, and more importantly, it gives you a gauge of what you can do.

So where does that leave Sente, Zotero, Pages, EndNote, OneNote, DEVONThink, Together and Journler…

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The Low Fi Manifesto – Data Architecture, and Journler

I’ve been chatting with the folks over at digital complements + about Journler and they pointed me to Karl Stolley’s The Lo-Fi Manifesto.

Reading it reminded me of when I was serving my time in the land of technology management. Back then the Architecture and Planning group reported to me and we were pretty sure that the age of applications and hardware was over. The future was about data. We spent most of our waking hours trying to find ways to undo the mess left from just about five decades of applications dumping data into siloed databases…

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