Tinderbox Meetup Sunday 21 JAN 24 Video: Sustainability Research, Reference Manager Import, Explode, and Hyperbolic View

Tinderbox Meetup Sunday 21 JAN 24 Video: Sustainability Research, Reference Manager Import, Explode, and Hyperbolic View

Level Intermediate
Published Date 1/26/24
Revision 1
Revision Note
Type Meetup
Tags 5Cs, 5Cs Learning and Knowledge Management, BibTex, Bookends, DEVONThink, Eastgate, Explode, Hyperbolic View, Identity Praxis, Inc., Learning, Links, Map View, Outline View, RIS, Research, Tinderbox, Zotero
Video Length 01:32:05
Video URL https://youtu.be/UfaCmSNAIss
Example File
TBX Version 9.7
Instructor Michael Becker
Forum Post URL
Related Lessons

In this Tinderbox Meetup, we dove into several questions posed in a private DM @macgarvin has with @satikusala. We started with Malcolm sharing an overview of his sustainability research, a 30+ year journey focussed on figuring out how we will live well by 2050 when there are 10 billion people on the planet. Malcom walked us through his Map View and showed us how his research is organized. He talked about his process, how he uses Tinderbox to think, Bookends for references, DEVONThink for documents and Scrivener for writing. We then jumped into a hands-on review of several Tinderbox capabilities.

Great quote from Chris Norris, paraphrase: “Playing with Tinderbox and learning how it works is different than learning how to work with Tinderbox or any other tool for their matter. The former teaches you what the tool does, while the later teaches you what to do with the tool. Play is an important part of the discovery process.”

Reference Management

Tinderbox has a built-in Reference prototype. If included in a file, Tinderbox will automatically parse references brought over from tools like Bookends and Zotero. We did a deep dive at the edges between Tinderbox and the reference manager. We explained the RIS format that reference managers use to structure data and how Tinderbox parses this data, which can be found in the $ReferenceRIS attribute.


We discuss the use of explode in the context of exploding notes brought over from a reference manager. We shared how this can be useful to help make your notes and sights more discoverable in the future by using prototypes, $OnAdd, and action code to populate attribute values from a note’s parent.

Hyperbolic View

Paul Christ shared a wonderful use of hyperbolic view. He had an HR conflict with one of his non profit boards. He explained how he used Tinderbox to pull all the relevant communications (email) and people and used linking to illustrate the situation and help get to a resolution. He did it all in less than thirty minutes prior to his meeting.


Tinderbox Working Spaces RIS Interchange Format BibTex Interchange Format

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TBX Meetup 13JAN24 Unedited Zoom AI Companion Script

Quick recap

The meeting revolved around various topics related to information management and software development. David Eddy and Mark Bernstein discussed the potential of exporting data from Tinderbox to Story Space while maintaining security. They also discussed the issue of casual intrusion and the need for safeguards against incompetence and unauthorized changes. Mark Bernstein introduced Tenderbox, a weekly meetup with guest speakers and special topics. Other topics discussed included the challenges of managing and preserving information within a company, the importance of policy, politics, and action in effecting change, and potential issues with a software prototype.


Data Export and Security in Tinderbox and Story Space


David Eddy and Mark Bernstein discussed the potential of exporting data from Tinderbox to Story Space, and the feasibility of maintaining security within this transition. They also touched upon the issue of casual intrusion and the need for safeguards against incompetence and unauthorized changes. The idea of using containers to shield specific content was discussed, with Mark suggesting that these containers should clearly labelled as “here be dragons!” to indicate the presence of complex or sensitive data.

Managing Information and Knowledge Retrieval Challenges


David Eddy, Mark Bernstein, and Mark Anderson discussed the challenges of managing and preserving information within a company, particularly in relation to retiring employees and legacy systems. They proposed using attributes such as ‘read only’ to prevent inadvertent changes to text and hashing important texts for comparison purposes. The conversation also highlighted the need for technical and social skills in software development and the importance of knowledge retrieval. David Eddy and Mark Anderson suggested using a team to retrieve the knowledge of retiring experts, emphasizing the social engineering aspects of knowledge retrieval. David Eddy shared his experiences with the healthcare and finance authority, expressing concern over a generational attitude of focusing on user experience over the underlying system’s functionality.

Tinderbox, Guest Speakers, and Sustainability Research


Mark Bernstein introduced Tenderbox, a weekly meetup with guest speakers and special topics, and encouraged attendees to subscribe to the escape list for advanced announcements. He announced an upcoming meeting with Kathy Marshall, a hypertext research legend, in early February. Michael Becker suggested adding community events to a shared calendar and outlined the structure of their meetings, which included introductions from new community members and discussions on specific themes. He also discussed his current location in Mexico and his work setup. The discussion then shifted to Malcolm MacGarvin, who shared his research on sustaining a planet with 10 billion people by 2050 and his software setup, which includes Tinderbox, Bookends, and Scribner. Malcolm expressed interest in improving the user experience for new Tinderbox users.

Strategizing Change: A Discussion on Policy, Politics, and Action


Malcolm MacGarvin discussed the importance of policy, politics, and action in effecting change. He shared his current work on strategic ways to change the world, drawing inspiration from military, political, and business strategies, and specifically from Quaker capitalism. He also demonstrated how he uses the reference management software, Bookends, in conjunction with Tinderbox for his work, explaining how he transfers references between the two platforms and how he uses annotations and comments. However, he experienced an issue when trying to drag a note into Tinderbox from Bookends, which he and the team tried to troubleshoot.

Software Prototype and User Experience Improvements


Malcolm, Michael Becker, and Mark discussed potential issues with a software prototype, focusing on the process of turning off an edict and the software’s ability to copy and paste text correctly. Malcolm proposed creating simple clusters of documents to help users understand the software’s capabilities. Michael Becker demonstrated the use of action code in Tinderbox, a reference manager, and Mark explained modifications in a tool that allows users to drag and drop labels or abstracts. The team underscored the tool’s ability to save information for future use and the flexibility to customize it based on user needs. They also explored potential improvements to the TY book feature, suggesting the addition of a visual representation.

Prototypes and Inheritance in Software Development


Malcolm MacGarvin and Michael Becker discussed the concept of prototypes in their software. Michael Becker explained that a prototype is a specialization of a stem cell, creating a specific node. He noted that there’s nothing special about a prototype and it can be changed. Michael Becker also explained the concept of inheritance, where displayed attributes are different from prototypes. The discussion also covered how to apply a different prototype to a note and how to reset the inheritance of displayed attributes to a prototype. They also touched on the issue of action code not working as expected, which could be due to manual edits on a note that break its inheritance to the prototype.

Prototype System and Note-Taking Demo


Michael Becker demonstrated the prototype system to Malcolm MacGarvin, focusing on the importance of a naming convention for clarity and the customization of attributes such as author, tag, and publication year. Michael Becker also showed Malcolm how to write code in the action code using variables like dollar sign prototype and dollar sign color. In another segment, Michael Becker was guiding Malcolm through a demonstration on how to use a note-taking feature in a software program, discussing the use of hashtags and spaces for organization, and the ‘Explode Note’ function for separating content. Towards the end, they discussed deleting unnecessary notes to streamline the process.

Exploded Notes and Technical Issues Resolved


Michael Becker, Malcolm, and Mark discussed the use of exploded notes in their project. They explained the process of selecting and customizing notes, highlighting the flexibility of the system to add, update, and split notes as needed. The team also encountered and resolved a technical issue with a software prototype, with Malcolm having trouble assigning attributes to the prototype, which Michael Becker suggested was due to a typing error. The team agreed that the software should now correctly display these attributes, even in the map view. The conversation aimed to help users better understand how to use Tinderbox for more efficient note-taking and research.

Tinderbox Adaptability and Curation Discussion


Michael Becker and Malcolm talked about the adaptability and personalization of software tools like Tinderbox, emphasizing the importance of curation and organization in the collection stage. Michael Becker suggested creating unique content based on insights gained from the curation process. He also encouraged Malcolm to explore Tinderbox’s templating capabilities in the future. Paul Christy shared his positive experience using Tinderbox to handle a complaint against a nonprofit board executive. Michael Becker added that Tinderbox’s templating tools could be used to document and publish meetings. Meanwhile, Mark Anderson suggested using the tool to explore its features without any immediate problems.

Tinderbox Attribute View Feature Discussion


The discussion revolved around the attribute view feature in Tinderbox, with Mark Anderson emphasizing its usefulness in organizing and displaying discrete facts and notes associated with a particular attribute, especially for users with multiple agents. Chris Norris shared his positive experience with the feature, noting it helped him understand what code was changing. The conversation also touched upon the idea of play in learning tools, with Chris comparing Tinderbox to a word processor and emphasizing the importance of exploratory play for understanding and mastery. Michael Becker highlighted the importance of play in learning and experimentation. Chris also shared his work with children with neurological injuries, using play to help them feel safe and develop.

Tinderbox Note-Taking Tool Discussion


Chris Norris shared his experiences with Tinderbox, a note-taking tool. He explained that he uses it to help his thinking process and develop connections between different ideas, rather than focusing on document output. Michael Becker and Mark Anderson discussed how Tinderbox can manage large amounts of data, suggesting strategies to optimize performance such as binarizing rules. Michael Becker also highlighted the tool’s customization abilities, including the use of Javascript libraries and personalized templates. The team agreed on the importance of safety in their work and shared their experiences with managing large files.


10 posts were split to a new topic: Customising Bookends → Tinderbox import