Sunday, January 10, 2010

On "Amish Computing"

This post by Michael Leddy advocates something called "Amish Computing," a phrase that seems to come from Paul Ford.[1] It's related to the Lo-Fi Manifesto and Living in Text Files.[2]

I have some sympathies for this approach, but I am more like the Amish who own a car (but remove all the chrome and other adornments). That's another way of saying that I like the wiki-approach which is very much like the pure text approach with a database and structural make-up (and all the affordances of these conveniences).

1. See also Ford's Followup/Distraction and Writing in an Age of Distration, as well as The Myths of Multi-Tasking on this blog.

2. But see also The End of One Big Text File.


Michael Leddy said...

Hello TN,

For whatever it’s worth: in 2007, I switched to a Mac. Now my favorite applications for writing at the keyboard (as opposed to word-processing) are TextWrangler and WriteRoom.

I believe that the Amish often hire drivers when they need to travel by car. Outsourcing! :)

Anonymous said...


Perhaps inspired by your recent NoteTab post, I've started using NoteTab as my at-work triage PIM. That is, I am using it to take and collect my daily notes. I have created an outline document for January, and add a new heading for each day. I also have a scratch pad document and a to do list.

I'm planning to move completed months into another PIM, most likely Zoot, for easy search and archiving -- although ConnectedText is also a candidate.

So far this approach is working well for me, which is ironic as it has been right under my nose all this time.


MK said...

I use a Notetab outline file in a very similar way, having an outline heading (20100116) for every day. I also turn the "Pasteboard" feature on. At the end of the week I transfer whatever I dind valuable into ConnectedText. (And I also have a preliminary Todo list in NoteTab that later gets refined in ConnectedText.)

Separate files would probably work just as well.