Tinderbox Forum

Next zoom meetup: 2020-08-22

The August 15 Zoom was fantastic, and there was a lot of sharing, and Mark even started to help clear up the topic of creating and using timelines. Thank you to Mark and Bruce for sharing!

I’m going to create a new meetup for next Saturday. I see that 9a PDT works well for many, but not all. Is there any flexibility in the time for others? For now, we’ll assume:

Saturday, August 22, 2020 at 9:00a PDT

There was talk about Lewis sharing a more complex timeline issue.

For Lewis and anyone wanting to share their screen: If you need to keep your original data private, consider creating a copy of the Tinderbox file, then anonymize the data—but in a meaningful way that any corrections or suggestions still make sense when applied to your actual file.

Looking forward to next week! :wave:

PS: We had a suggestion that we record the Zoom session. I’m not sure if we can at the free level, but if so, I will only do it if everyone agrees. Feel free to message me privately if you would prefer the session not be recorded. Remember, though, that anyone can record a screen on their own computer and take screenshots as well.


I am sorry that I was not able to dial into this one in real time.

Did anyone happen to record it? In any case thanks for putting it together.

Thanks for setting up the previous meet and this one!

I mentioned last time that I was working on a tool. Not yet ready for release, but it is in a demo-able form, so I’d like to request five to ten minutes for a quick demo+feedback. In keeping with the “timeline” theme, I will try to get something timeline specific in there as well.


i don’t have a problem with it per se, but maybe we should clear it first with mark? :grinning:

I’m mostly here to admire. So sure. Keep in mind: lots of beginners, and lots of people know little or nothing about scripting.

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woo hoo! thanks, mark! can’t wait!

I will keep that in mind. If a solution is packaged well, it should hide all complexity from the user anyway (except, possibly, that of installation).

Looking forward to Saturday.

On a different (ominous) note, it does feel to us in the Bay Area right now that we are living in a giant Tinderbox (that also happens to be on fire). Hell hath no fury like 2020.


It looks like topics for Saturday’s session have been identified but if there is time this week or at some future point, perhaps folks could begin to discuss typical errors that novice users tend to make. This kind of discussion could be of use when designing tutorials.

Here are 2 issues that I have had this past week but that I have sort of solved. I say “sort of” because I feel like I have just stumbled on some fixes. Also, perhaps my somewhat lengthy explanations will show the kinds of seemingly haphazard problem solving approaches that I, a novice user, tend to make.

(1) I wanted to import some survey responses that I had in an EXCEL spreadsheet. I tracked down some helpful information on Mark Anderson’s Reference file, I.e., https://www.acrobatfaq.com/atbref8/index/Import/SpreadsheetTab-Delimited.html
What I was stymied about was how to get the relevant response in the text area of a note. In addition to the target response there were a number of background indicators, i.e., attributes. After failing a few times, I read Anderson’s explanation a bit more carefully. He pointed out that the default is that first “column” of a spreadsheet becomes the name for the note. Given that apparent clue, I tried to put the target response as the second column and then as the final column. Needless to say that didn’t work. Anderson also mentioned that, as typical, the first row of the spreadsheet becomes the names of the attributes. So finally, the thought came to me to name the target column as "Text:. And lo, that worked.

While I modified my CSV file so that I only had 1 target response, the survey has probably 10 relevant items. Being lazy, I thought that perhaps I could simply label two columns as “Text” and have both of the text responses be included within the note. Obviously that didn’t work. But also, somewhat to my surprise, it looked like Tinderbox took the second instance as “Text” but not the first.Then again, perhaps it took the first instance and when it encountered “Text” again, it overwrote the first instance. Is this what really happened? Is there a way to “combine” notes - either in terms of the text and/or attributes?

I assume that many new users have some existing data. If so, perhaps it would be useful to have a series of videos/tutorials showing how to import data from various type of sources, e.g., databases such as DevonThink, note apps, word processors, etc.

(2) Once I got my items into Tinderbox, I wanted to visually label them within the map view.I wanted to use badges but the only place I could find information was in the tutorial. However, what I wanted to do was have multiple badges on each note. (I realize that I could have done things by combining color, border, shape, etc, but I thought that the easiest would be multiple badges.) Well, I quickly learned that I couldn’t have multiple badges! However, my “real problem” came when I tried to remove the badge. It was a “problem” because I had used an agent to assign the badge based on a query… When I manually tried to change the badge it would only change temporarily. :frowning: I realize now that the agent remains active and keeps trying to do its job as long at the query is “valid” but that wasn’t a salient thought at the time. After hunting for more info about badges, out of apparent desperation, I clicked on “get info” and hunted for “badge”. I found it and there was an option for “none”. So I created a QuickStamp with Badge= none. In an of itself this stamp wouldn’t have worked because of the active agent. However, I realized I had some error in the agent’s query so in the process of hunting for a way to remove the badge, I had deleted the agent! Thus my Quickstamp could work. However, at the time I didn’t realize that deleting the agent was “solution” to my problem. I’ve seen some things about controlling the time(s) when agents are active but I don’t quite get how that would work and be “written”.

Since agents are such a key feature of Tinderbox, perhaps some systematic videos/tutorials could be prepared for new users.

I hope that I haven’t rambled too much.

not at all! if there’s time, feel free to bring these up today!

i think we’ll start with bruce to see how his timeline is coming along and then lou (?) has something to demo or ask, and abhijit is going to demo a tool! but if not today, certainly the next!

The MEETUP LINK: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83849443350

joining now :slight_smile:

Thank you, Everyone!

It was instructive and fascinating to see how Tinderbox can work with outlines (today’s particular example).

Next week, we’re going to look at the idea of zettelkastens (i know that’s not the German plural! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:), and the concept of bottom-up emergent knowledge.

Till then, have a great week!

Hi Sylvaticus, is there a link please to a recording of the 22 Aug session for those who missed it? Thanks.

I’m sorry, Jason, we did not. But we plan on recording the next one.

@eastgate, correct me if I’m wrong, Mark. That’s right, isn’t it, or am I forgetting? We did not record last Saturday’s meetup? If we did, did Zoom give you a link?

We did not – my fault!