Tinderbox Forum

Next Zoom Meetup 2020-09-19

Our next meetup will be on Saturday, September 19, at 9:00 am PDT

ZOOM: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/8850659900

Two things:

First, this time works well enough for the US, east and west, and OK for Western Europe, but it less well for Eastern Europe and not at all well for our friends in Asia. It would be awesome if more people would host these meetups so everyone can benefit easily.

Second, please add below any suggestions for what you’d like added to the agenda. Want to share a file and show of a great technique? fantastic! Have a question about those attributes or properties? Ask away! These meetups can be a great way to get better at Tinderbox and using to help you think, work, write!

See you on Saturday! :wave:


  • (if present) @amahabal’s question
  • (if present) @JFallows’ question
  • (if present) @satikusala’s industry ecosystem matrix
  • (if present) @CSH’s BoxPress demo
  • open floor
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Agenda Suggestion
Adding a question asked during the meetup but didn’t get answered. From @JFallows:

I mainly enter info in Outline, and do 90% of my “real” thinking work in Attribute Browser. (Praise the lord.) Sometimes I use maps, but I have the recurrent problem of not being sure where a new item is going to be “physically” located on a map. Simply finding it becomes an issue for me, in a way that little else about the program is. What is the easiest, most reliable way to be sure where a newly entered item is going to show up?

Agenda Suggestion
Adding Abhijit’s question again, because he was unable to attend the September 5 meetup:

From Abhijit Mahabal : I have…question…about cleaning a mass of notes into a better organization. How would you describe the organization goal (I am looking for answers like, e.g., move things of some type to a container)

I’d be happy to show the industry ecosystem matrix I’ve built. I’d love to explore how an agent can pull and draw the links made to and from original notes.

Update: I’ve made some progress on the alias linking front (as always, thanks to mark). It would be great if we can explore further.

Also, I’ve come up with a really cool meeting notes & task management tinderbox that would be fun to share.

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Just a quick note of good news for map-makers who want to actually share their work: the lockdown on our Tinderbox maps is finally over.

Here’s an entertaining video to encourage those heroic Tinderbox map makers: https://youtu.be/L_wnLCb_FCI

Download BoxPress 2.2 here: http://mapself.com/index/Pages/IntroducingBoxPress.html

Next week we will learn how to export the maps we’ve already made. It’s super-easy, but for some reason people prefer videos to reading the docs. (TIL: Making videos is terribly time-consuming.)

Anyway, I hope the mods will testdrive BoxPress and see it work for themselves before the MeetUp tomorrow. BoxPress has been a big morale booster for people who would do intricate map were it not for being alienated, even from their own desire, by the decades-long map lockdown.

Mapmaking is an inherently communicative act. The process works because there is a receiver in mind. It’s hard to invest serious effort in something that you can only “share” with yourself and the Tinderbox Forum. In my experience, people really do want to export their clickable maps—they’ve merely lost hope.

If you have any questions just email me via the download site.

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Interesting, I look forward to trying out BoxPress when I’ve cleared some current deadlines. I agree on video. Time to set up, rehearse, and to edit and video processing isn’t so quick on lower spec machines. Living in a busy inner city I’ve rarely recorded anything without noticeable background noise.

Edit, sorry this was a reply to @CSH, not the main thread

Sorry, I won’t be able to make today’s meet-up. I hope you have a productive session.

makes me sad. hope you have an awesome weekend!

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ut supra


  • (if present) @amahabal’s question
  • (if present) @JFallows’ question
  • (if present) @satikusala’s industry ecosystem matrix
  • (if present) @CSH’s BoxPress demo
  • open floor

Amazing! Meetup!

Thank you to Abhijit, Michael, and Scott for incredible demos!

As soon as Zoom finishes crunching the video, we’ll upload it and the chat file.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

The chat file from today’s meetup:

2020-09-19 tinderbox meetup chat.txt.zip (2.3 KB)

@Sylvaticus absolutely wonderful.

I really appreciated @satikusala’s observation that tinderbox allows him to preserve his effort and continue to build on his work while meeting the needs of his clients. The separation of the growing value of his notes ( I guess a zettlekasten notion ) with the point-in-time outputs is a powerful thought. It is also wonderful to experience his joy and excitement after 7 years and 3 weeks of trying to grok TB. And then there was @CSH :exploding_head:. Can we get a further session on BoxPress? @amahabal I’m looking forward to your release with 8.8. Thanks to all for the excellent presentations.


agreed. i also love that @satikusala atikusala has created a method that allows him to work with, manipulate, and analyze data so he can sell the results of his work, but keep the tool for himself.

all three demos today were powerful and inspiring!


Really enjoyed our meeting today as well. I look forward to rewatching the video. Will you be posting a link to the recording at the very top of this thread?

Many thanks

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We’ll post the video URL either at the top or bottom of the thread.

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Hi All, the meetup yesterday was super fun! Learned a ton. I really enjoyed sharing the progress I’ve been making.

I learned a ton
Can’t wait to figure out Alfred integrations. Thanks @amahabal

@CSH Boxpress is way cooool! The immediate takeaway is I learned that you can pull in images for the local drive for export. I’ve applied this to my ecosystem mapping and am now pulling in org and product logos. Here is the code, pulled from a 2017 post:

<img src="file:///Users/Me/Desktop/MyImage.jpg"/>

I created a new attribute OrgLogo and am pulling in the logo name into the string within the HTMLExportTemplate.


I also learned you can trigger macros. This led me to learn that you can write code in a note and then pull the body of the text of that note into a stamp, action, or rule. It is WAY easier to write the code (especially for longer code with conditions) in a note and not in the attribute.

Have some TechDebt now that I have to work on to clean up old stamps and notes to be inline with my new learning. Should be fun.

Putting my kids to work
Someone had a great question about how to share Tinderboxes with someone else in a workflow. Mark suggested using a watch folder. I really like this idea; I’m going to try a couple of others and report back. To this end, I got a hold of Mark today and he was able to quickly help me upgrade to a family license and a couple more Tinderbox licenses set up for me today so that I could put the kids to work. :slight_smile:.

Objective: streamline the grunt work of pulling in org and product logos, metadata for org and producta.

Solution: High my kids

I took the following steps.

  • Created a new tinderbox file
  • Setup a google drive to share our files and set up the watch folder
  • In the file I pasted in all the prototypes from my main TBX
  • Create a new prototype in the kid’s TBX with adornments to make it easier for them to create relevant notes, i.e. the Orgs and sub notes related to the Org’s offerings, business practices, use cases, etc. The adornments automatically add metadata to the notes, e.g. $Type, $Cateogry, $Prototype, etc.
  • Created a Photoshop file with the logo template (all they need to do is copy and paste in logos, resize them if needed, and export to the watch folder.
  • took 20 minutes to show them how to pull data from select websites and reports

That’s it. They are off to the races. They’ll get to learn Tinderbox, over time, make some money from Dad, and I’ll save myself hours!!!

Thanks again for a great session.


Thanks for this interesting follow up and the innovative take about outsourcing elements of document production.

I would suggest that this is actually the norm in Tinderbox, not an exception. Image embedding is quite recent. If you are writing primary for an exported format, I think using externally stored documents is more flexible approach.

Embedding images, unless very small also adds bloat to your doc file (the image bytes have to go somewhere); that does no harm but it’s a bit like going for a walk and having rocks in all your pockets—it’s a choice, so you don’t have to embed.

Embed or not, choose as you see fit. :slight_smile:

This confused me. Action code can call a macro but, within Tinderbox a macro a is slightly different from the second case of use a code note, something I was documenting back as early as 2009. I mention the latter as reading through the supplied and documentation reveals functionality you might never see in a video.

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Thanks @mra. I agree with you on the bloating. My first attempt was to include the logos in the file. It got HUGE and unwieldy. Linking to the images is much more elegant, streamlined and improves the workflow in many more ways. For example, with the images stored externally to the TBX they are easier for me to manage and use elsewhere, like in a PowerPoint.

As for the Macros, this is probably a vocabulary thing. Like all, I still have a lot to learn.

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My comment on vocabulary isn’t judgmental. Trying to map incoming perspectives with the internal design concepts of the map is challenging.

I’ll admit I try to nudge people to Tinderbox because within the app context I think it’s reasonably consistent (and I’m always happy in my docs to make it more so). This is for two reasons. Firstly, I think it helps the learner and it makes it easier for them to ask questions. Secondly, moving to think and talk about the app in its own vernacular rubs away at unhelpful comparisons to things not in the room (e.g. other apps). In the latter context, over the years I’ve noticed that the act of internalising the app vocabulary often helps some users ‘get’ aspects they hitherto misunderstood … because they had a perspective which didn’t match the reality of the tool they were using.

There’s no right/wrong or smart/dumb here, just difference.

Glad the info on pictures was of use. Though I use the term bloat I’m’ll admist to some discomfort with an unintended negative there: ‘bigger than needs be’ perhaps.

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I would like to see this video. (Was not able to attend; had to be out all day, on other matters.) Could you let us know if/ when it is available? Thanks.

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