Tinderbox MANUAL vs. a Tinderbox REFERENCE FILE vs. the Tinderbox WAY

While still very much a rank Tinderbox novice, one factor that sold me on Tinderbox was under the covers, deep down in the technical weeds, it appears to be VERY similar to the process & techniques I used 35 years ago to automate a 3,000 year old money center banking application… International Letters of Credit.

Another way of looking at complex document creation & assembly is to think of the bill-of-materials paradigm. My assumption is if I were in a novel or screenplay writing class & said “bill-of-materials” most of the other folks there would have no idea what I was talking about.

Could be VERY helpful if you clued us in what you’re trying to accomplish.
… write THE great American novel?
… write software that will wipe out Microsoft Office?

  1. Hmmm, Ill try my best to explain but there isn’t any other method taking my approach and there really isn’t any material to anchor your analyzing input capabilities therefore, it will be really difficult to fully grasp the task I am trying to achieve. Long story short, I am creating a new classification system where I eliminate body text and where the largest structural syntax is no more than a complete sentence. This strictly applies to information retrieval in the visual “browsing” sense. I am basically trying to eliminate the concept of a book, article, or anything prose and lengthy like. This requires an enormous amount of knowledge and precision in correctly assembling the material semantically and syntactically as accurate as possible. Therefore, to really answer your question, I am hoping to use Tinderbox as a visual tool - the mapping feature allows me to design any form of visualization method in the entire infographics field, that is a unique & powerfull capability!! - to better make sense of all the hogwash I have accumulated in order to put the pieces together on a semantic level and with an exceptional amount of “meaning” accuracy . Once that’s achieved, I’d like to use the outline features to focus on syntax and organization in order to chop up any concept to no more than a sentence. I’d probably need a handbook written to make or hopefully make you better understand the idea and probably a paragraph won’t cut it.

  2. I am not yet 100% sure Tinderbox will help me achieve what I need but I can tell you that Tinderbox has some features that I believe will help me achieve what’s in my head; I couldn’t find one single tool that allows me to do everything in one place. To finally and briefly answer your question, I’v started the project in word many years ago. Iv’e than realized I needed more than 9 headings so I moved on to Scrivener only to realize that after 50,000 note containers (and no media at all) the program stopped working properly. I’ve also tried mind mapping tools with outline and diagramming features…no good. I am now stuck in Omnioutliner and although I ahve tried all the data organizational techniques - metadata, automation scripts, you name it. - I still cannot acommplish what I need without putting large amounts of unnecessary extra work.

  3. I have no experience writing software

PS: I’ve had a long day and kind of lost my patience replying in a more coherent way…my apologies for that.

basically I need a tool that helps me speed up my process. I currently use Omnioutliner for outlining, a multitude of reference, document management apps (think endnote, devonthink, PDF expert, and the like) to extract information and keep reference material organized. A complete mess really. I need to input everything in one place otherwise I will never make sense of my material. Spending months and months on going from tool to tool gets pretty discouraging. Tinderbox will help cut down on many of these aspects and allow me towards a more integrated gathering of material.

If it helps, I’d suggest the following:

  1. Keep the collection of material and the organisation of your thinking separate. From what you’ve said, it seems you’re trying to do that, but struggling.
  2. None of the tools available will be perfect. Stop trying to find the “one single tool that allows me to do everything in one place”. Pick a tool for collection; pick a tool for thinking. You might, at some point, need another one for publishing or presenting. The search for “the one” is at best a distraction from the real task; at worst (and I mean no offence), it’s a displacement activity whose function is to provide a pretext for not doing the real task.
  3. If you want something which give you a clear framework within which to organise your thoughts, Tinderbox may not be it. TB’s strength is in allowing structure to become apparent as you organise your information. That seems to me to be what you need: you said you’re trying to “make sense” of what you have. That suggests you’re looking for a structure that expresses what you need, which TB will help with. Tools like OmniOutliner and mind mappers start with a predefine structure (a hierarchy) and some of your frustration might be because you’re trying to force your concept into a hierarchy and it just doesn’t fit.
  4. [quote=“john999, post:20, topic:916”]
    considering I’m in that “mist”, what I am trying to achieve might have a different end result,
    This is the point that jumps out at me. In a tool like OO, your end result will always be a hierarchy - that’s what it does; in TB, it can be something very different.
  5. To be more practical - I think your main reference should be The Tinderbox Way - that will help (I hope) you understand how TB works and point to how you might work with it to get the best from it. The online videos are great at providing examples of how people have addressed particular questions/problems and also at illustrating some important how-tos. The manual and the TB Reference are excellent reference guides. But the book, I think, comes first, if you’re trying to find a “way in” to thinking about how TB might be a useful tool.

See!! Add a bit of context & the challenge becomes much more focused.

There was a very spirited discussion—read: contentious—of this very “contexts of context” topic just this past Wednesday.

Ah, HA! This sounds very similar to the pursuit of the mythical TLO (top level ontology) that has been generating a tremendous amount of enthusiastic handwaving in certain circles.

The “one place” “one meaning” “one version of the truth” approach has proved unworkable for nigh on 50+ years just in software—millennia if we go back to Greek philosophers.

A good research site is John Sowa’s www.jfsowa.com

What does prove feasible—but thinly practiced—is to allow information to reside in different tools (‘databases/containers’ like Excel, OmniOutliner, The-Brain, GIT-Hub, etc.) & to automate the process of sharing selected pieces of information between the various silos.

As you have correctly pointed out, there’s simply too much information to collect in a single place & make sense of it.

A distinction needs to be made between the bottom level collection, storage & maintenance & the top level presentation of information.

Never lose sight of the fact that no matter how well organized & classified information is, just rotating the view a smidge—changing the context—will cause the perfect classification scheme to instantly break down.

In my world of large organization “data management,” business glossaries are currently popular. Yet one of the market leading products only allows one meaning per term. Never going to work.

As a proof of concept for how I try to tilt at this exceedingly large & slippery windmill, a while back I built a simple “glossary” (two columns: term & meaning)… ended up with 2,000 terms—largely acronyms, but I make no distinction between a single word, a multiple word phrase, or acronyms/abbreviations—and 68,000 meanings.

When I started “CC” had 298 meanings. Today it has 455 meanings.

Haven’t gotten to the “classification” facet quite yet. That’s still on the futures list.

Belatedly, I agree with all steps in the list above. They sound simple but are deceptively important.

Coming from you , its a great compliment ! Thanks

Also for our new user John Weiland above, I add, as proven by this exchange, that intimately woven with Tinderbox there is the fantastic club of users that goes with it. BTW, I bought a macintosh because of Tinderbox (although, I am still stuck in version six because I cant upgrade the bloody machine).

I read through the reference guide at: A Tinderbox Reference File from beginning to end over the weekend just gone and fell in love with Tinderbox that way. Just waiting for the Black Friday deal and I’ll pull the trigger on a license. :slight_smile:

Reading a low-level reference guide is probably not the best route for everyone but I love reference guides (ever since I got my copy of “VIC Revealed” by Nick Hampshire back in the day - I’m weird that way!)