Friday, June 29, 2012


"iCloud support... Only for those who buy Mellel at the App Store!"

Cheated again!

No further comment!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

TextExpander 4

TextExpander 4 will no longer be available in the Applications Store because of Apple's Sandboxing Rules.

But the upgrade price is honored, even if you bought your version in the Application Store. Bare Bones Software would have been better advised to take this course, and to forget about Apple's iCloud. And not just because Apple has proven in the past to be be rather fickle in offering "services" like MobileMe. In any case, I will not update Yojimbo.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Yojimbo Fiasco

Yojimbo users received this today:
Dear Yojimbo customer,

If you use MobileMe to synchronize your Yojimbo data across multiple Macs, you will soon be affected by Apple's decision to end MobileMe service, and we're providing the following info to help smooth your transition.

If you use Yojimbo on one Mac only, or if you use Yojimbo on one Mac and synchronize it only with the Yojimbo for iPad companion app, this change will not immediately affect you.

If however you currently use MobileMe to synchronize your Yojimbo data across multiple Macs, we hope to make the transition to iCloud as smooth as possible. Thus, we are sending this letter to provide you with background information, and to outline your available options.

*** Please note that with the release of the new version, Yojimbo will *only* be available in the Mac App Store. This is because Apple has decided that any applications that use iCloud for sync may only be distributed through the Mac App Store. Therefore, customers who have bought Yojimbo directly from us and wish to use iCloud to sync data will have to purchase a new version of Yojimbo from the Mac App Store.
Let's say you bought Yojimbo on March 17 of this year with an eye to the new syncing feature, then you have just been screwed.[1] Why did Bare Bones Software not advise people beforehand that they should consider buying it at the Apple Application Store? I cannot believe that Apple told them only today.

Shame on Bare Bones Software! Shame on Apple too!

1. I was foolish enough to do this.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Running Acta and MORE on the Nook Touch

Apparently it's possible. See here. I have run mini vMac on Windows and OS X, but now I could run it on the Android platform. And so could you, if you rooted your Nook Touch, and IF you really wanted to. No further comment!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Markdown versus Wiki Syntax

I often hear people complaining about Wiki Syntax, while praising Markdown. As I have said before, I find the two very similar. Markdown is indebted to Wiki Syntax. In fact, Markdown may be characterized as "Wiki syntax" without the wiki renderer, with scripts to produce HTML and other formats.

Let me make absolutely clear that I have nothing against Markdown, MultiMarkdown, or Tx2Tags, or … other minimal markup languages. It's just that I prefer a certain set of Wiki Syntax (and I know that this is subjective, but so is the preference for one or any of the other versions of minimal markup languages). I use ConnectedText markup as the example.

What difference doe it make whether you type: *italics*, _underline_ , **bold** in Markdown or //italics//, __underline_-, **bold** in Wiki?

The same holds for most other conventions. Some things may be simpler in Markdown, like the convention for headings. Markdown allow you to indicate them with different numbers of hashes, like "#", "##", etc., ConnectedText makes you type "=Heading=", "==Heading==", etc. Markdown is simpler, but the difference is marginal.

Other things are harder in Markdown. Take block quotes, for example. Markdown requires you to put a ">" in front of every line and hard-wrap the lines, or be "lazy" and put it only in the first line of a hard-wrapped series of lines. ConnectedText just asks you to put a ":" in the first line and will block everything until you hit return.

I could go on and on, but I think this is enough!

To say it again, I do not have anything at all against Markdown and I do not find it annoying in any way. And if I did, I would just not use it.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Free Links in Scrivener

It turns out that Scrivener can do free links. They are just called "Wiki links." From the manual:
Wiki Link Style
An optional method lets you type in new links without using the mouse at all, oreven being fully aware of the title you wish to link to. To enable this method, visitthe Auto-Correction tab of Scrivener’s preferences, and turn on "and [[Scrivener links]]" in the Substitutions section.
To use this method, while typing in the text you can enter two double-brackets,type in the title of the item you wish to link to, and then close it with a second pair of brackets, as shown. Scrivener will detect what you are trying to do, and if it finds an exact match to a document, will link it for you automatically. If it does not recognise the text inside the brackets as correlating with an existing title, the New Link sheet will pop-up, giving you the option to either create a new item and place it in the Binder, or via the second tab, “Link to existing document”, navigate to an existing document in the Binder and create a non-literal link. Non-literal links are useful when you wish to link phrases in your text without directly referencing the name of the item you are linking to. Once substitution has been performed, the brackets will be removed.
As with other substitution types, wiki linking works only on newly typed material. If you have previously typed in double-bracketed words, and then enable the option, you will need to re-bracket them.
Usually, "wiki link" refers to the CamelBack convention. But a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Doderer's Commentarii

I just read Heimito von Doderer's (1896-1966) Ein Mord, den jeder begeht. I could not put it down until I finished the book. As it turns out, many of his works have been translated into English, including this one. The title in English is: Every Man a Murderer. This is very unfortunate. "Ein Mord, den jeder begeht" means, literally translated "a murder that is committed by everybody." In other words, it talks about a particular kind of murder and alleges that everyone commits that kind of murder. It may follow from this that every man is a murderer, but it also follows that every women is a murderer. But erven "everyone is a murderer" does not capture the meaning because the claim is that everyone is particular kind of murderer. And the book is about that particular kind of murder, which, if I am right, is actually only a kind of homicide, but I may be wrong in identifying the act (and that is part of the enigma). But this is not what this post is about.

Doderer, one of the foremost Austrian authors of the twentieth century, kept a diary for almost his entire life (1920-1966). From about 1934 on he called it "Commentarii.[1] Its nature changed over the years, but they may be called "an infinite conversation with himself." they are Soliloquies just as much as they are notebooks. His novels originate from this writing surface (Schreibfläche). He appeals to Thornton wilder, who is supposed to have said that keeping a diary is "the most important" task a writer has to do.

At some point, Doderer used many different kinds of pens, each with a different color. For most things he used black. For passages he intended to use in short stories or novels, he used green. Blue was reserved for essays and reflections, red for emphasis and marks or tags.

The marks or tags indicated particular contents. "Extrema" or "extr." indicated memories (later he used p. for "Peilung"). Meditations were tagged with "A. d. A." for "Anatomie des Augenblicks" or "Anatomy of the Moment." He had many such tags and he also referred specifically to the pages of the manuscripts of his novels that he was working on. In fact, the Diary also contains reflections on the writing process. He referred to the collection as "das Gedankenwerk — im Sinne von Flechtwerk oder Mauerwerk" (the work of thought — in the sense of network, work of weaving or brick laying).

Sometimes he would glue cuttings from papers into his diary, and at one point he thought it would be good to include other things, such as letters, calling cards, pages from books, recipes or perhaps even gloves. For this, a larger format of cahier would be required, and perhaps even a box that accompanies every volume of the diary. He estimated that six or seven boxes per volume would be sufficient.

There is much more that is fascinating about Doderer's praxis. Let me say her only that many of the things that he did can easily be reproduced with a program like ConnectedText. And the free links that allow you to link any particular entry with any other one remind me of the boxes that thought might acompany his journals.

1. I get my information from François Grosso, "Primum scribere, deinde vivere: Leben und Schreiben im Entstehen am Beispiel der Tagebücher Heimito von Doderers." It must, however, be said that Doderer did not live in accordance with the motto to write first and to live afterwards. It's impossible to do, anyway.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Synchronize between Simplenote and Evernote

Can't make up your mind whether to use Simplenote or Evernote? Why don't you use both? This new service makes it possible.

I haven't used it yet, but I think I will. One thing to consider is that it seems to be centered on Evernote rather than on Simplenote which is described as the "little brother" of Evernote, or as the "short-term memory" that supports long-term memory."


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Mark Twain on Notebooks

"It is a troublesome thing for a lazy man to take notes, so I used to try in my young days to pack my impressions in my head. But that can’t be done satisfactorily, so I went from that to another stage– that of making notes in a note-book. But I jotted them down in so skeleton a form that they did not bring back to me what it was I wanted them to furnish. Having discovered that defect, I have mended my ways a good deal in this respect, but still my notes are inadequate. However, there may be some advantage to the reader in this, since in the absence of notes imagination has often to supply the place of facts" (Mark Twain’s Notebooks & Journals, Volume I [1]: 1855-1873, p. 5).[1]


1. It is known that he kept at least 49 Notebooks because they still exist. their format is relatively small: until 1900 he used 4" by 6 1/2," after that appointment books at 2" by 3 1/4".

Friday, June 8, 2012


HypeDyn "(pronounced "hyped in") is a procedural hypertext fiction authoring tool for people who want to create text-based interactive stories that adapt to reader choice. HypeDyn is free to download and open source, and runs on Linux, MacOS and Windows."

It reminds me of Twine which actually seems to be based on TiddlyWiki and is like a Storyspace on the cheap. I have not tried it, but it looks more sophisticated than Twine (and their command line tool Twee, written in Python). For one thing, it allows rules that let the reader choose only certain paths in the story. I doubt this is useful for nonfiction.

In Praise of the Paper Clip

The paper clip apparently was preceded by the straight pin, whose manufacture is described in Adam Smith's The wealth of Nations. The referenced article also contains this quote from Charles dickens about what could be found in a 19th-century office supply store: “Mr. Snagsby has dealt in all sorts of blank forms of legal process; in skins and rolls of parchment; in paper—foolscap, brief, draft, brown, white, whitey-brown, and blotting; in stamps; in office-quills, pens, ink, India-rubber, pounce, pins, pencils, sealing-wax, and wafers; in red tape and green ferret; in pocket-books, almanacs, diaries, and law lists; in string boxes, rulers, inkstands—glass and leaden—pen-knives, scissors, bodkins, and other small office-cutlery; in short, in articles too numerous to mention…”

Should I admit that I prefer Staples?

For thumbtacks which seem to have been invented around the same time, see here.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Eco on Operating Systems?

It is probably old news to many that Umberto Eco pronounced in 1994 on the difference between MS-DOS and MacIntosh computers, using the analogy of Christian confessions:
Insufficient consideration has been given to the underground religious war that is transforming the modern world: the division between users of the Macintosh computer and users of the MS-DOS-compatible computers. I am firmly of the opinion that the Macintosh is Catholic and that DOS is Protestant. Indeed, the Macintosh is counterreformist and has been influenced by the methodical path of the Jesuits. It tells the faithful how they must proceed step by step to reach -- if not the Kingdom of Heaven -- the moment in which their document is printed. It is catechistic: the essence of revelations dealt with via simple formulae and sumptuous icons. Everyone has a right to salvation. ...
And what about the machine language that lies beneath both operating systems? Ah, that is the stuff of the Old Testament, Talmudic and cabalistic.[1]
He probably thought this was funny. Am I the only one who feels that this joke has not aged well?

My humorlessness probably has to do with the fact that I was brought up on the Lutheran Catechism and always believed that the Catholic Catechism was essentially an imitation of the Protestant versions.

1. "La Bustina di Minerva," a column supposedly by Umberto Eco, in the September 30, 1994, issue of the Italian journal L'Espresso.

Monday, June 4, 2012


NovoCard is a relatively new iPad application. It allows you to "create 'stacks'—each comprised of an unlimited number of cards on one or more backgrounds. Add your own objects (buttons, fields, pictures) to cards and backgrounds. Fields are searchable, so every stack becomes a mini custom database."

Talk of "stacks, buttons, fields, pictures" reminds of HyperCard. In fact, it is claimed that "'NovoCard captures the simplicity of HyperCard and the joy of making your own apps almost as fast as you can imagine them - right on the iPad!' - J.C. review of version 1.0".

Its scripting language is Novoscript which is characterized as a superset of Javascript. The help and reference files available on the Website give you a good idea what a "stack" looks like in the present version.

NovoCard costs just $3.99. It does not seem to let you do much at this point. (Click on "All Versions" in the the reviews of iTunes to find out a little more.) I have not used it, but it looks interesting and has potential. It seems definitely worth following.

Neo 2

The Neo 2 can"send, save, and download documents wirelessly to Google Docs. It "connects seamlessly—no Web browser distractions—to Google Docs, allowing you to easily transfer files back and forth wirelessly without losing your focus. The combination of NEO 2 and Google Docs provides safe, secure external file back-up, additional file storage, quick and convenient access, and more—all in one easy-to-use, distraction-free wireless writing solution."

I own a Neo and I would have to upgrade to a Neo 2 to take advantage of this. See here. I am tempted!

See also the comments for full disclosure!

21:37 I have mulled this over and decided that I don't need a Neo 2.

Foucault on Analysis

I read today in an Interview of Foucault the admission by Foucault: "All my analyses are against the idea of universal necessities in human existences. They show ..."

The only thing such an "analysis" can show is the prejudice of the author who is arguing against what he does not like. The expression "analysis against" is not much more than a contradictio in adiecto. A completely objective analysis may indeed be impossible, but this does not mean one should give up at the beginning.

It's this defeatism that has bothered me from the beginning about this author. Nor does it have much to do with Nietzsche in my view.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Stand up for Something

Not so long agao I asked whether chairs are evil. This led to a suggestion that standing desks are better. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe who lived to a ripe old age certainly used one. And it does seem to be true that sitting causes problems with certain parts of the body. "When you're standing, you're bearing weight through the hips, knees, and ankles," says Dr. Andrew C, Hecht, co-chief of spinal surgery at Mount Sinai Medical Center. "When you're sitting, you're bearing all that weight through the pelvis and spine, and it puts the highest pressure on your back discs. Looking at MRIs, even sitting with perfect posture causes serious pressure on your back." It's also blamed for poor circulation, high blood sugar and hypertension. A 2010 issue of the Harvard Health Letter recommends to stand up for your heart.

So, on the advice of a friend I am getting a fancy standup desk at the office. But what about home, where I have very limited space for my home office. I discovered today that an IKEA book shelf of the type "Billy" (Width: 15 3/4 ", Depth: 11 ", Height: 41 3/4 ") does in a pinch. Yes, it has a small surface, but my Acer Aspire AO722-0825 fits quite well, and all the other stuff is available on my sit down desk and in the shelves below.
It's good as a means to make me stand up at least some of the time. What do I use for writing and note-taking in such a situation? Notetab Pro that saves to an outline file in Dropbox. It's almost immediately available on the desktop when I sit down.

If this is the proper posture one should take
then the height is optimal, indeed.

Peeks into Notebooks

This site offers pictures of the notebooks and journals of fifteen famous people. The specimens of Twain, Melville, Einstein, Edison interested me the most.

Looking at such things makes me feel slightly uneasy. There is not anything at this point that I can learn from them objectively speaking. It has more than a tinge of voyeurism — or so it seems to me now.

For a lot more of this sort thing, see this site. In the spirit of open disclosure: I dislike its name.

No further comment!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Hoffer and Index Cards

I have written about Eric Hoffer before: Hoffer on the size of Ideas. Recently, I have come across a reference to Tom Bethell's Eric Hoffer: The Longshoreman Philosopher which apparently contains a whole chapter on his way of note-taking. I have ordered, but not yet received it. There is a

Apparently, Hoffer would for all his life "copy onto file cards quotations from whatever he was reading. The thousands of cards that he accumulated, along with the metal cabinets in which they were stored, represent an attempt to compile the wisdom of the ages in aphoristic form, and they show remarkable energy, self-confidence, and ambition. Looking at them now, one can only marvel that the man who so painstakingly copied out these quotations also worked as a longshoreman" (see The Longshoreman Philosopher).

Perhaps the epithet "Longshoreman Philosopher" is a bit misleading, as Hoffer wrote: "by working [as a longshoreman] only Saturday and Sunday (18 hours at pay and a half) I earn 40–50 dollars a week. This to me is rolling in dough. I have no expensive tastes in food, clothing or pleasure. Above all, I have no taste for property." This means, it seems to me, that he always understood himself as something other than a longshoreman. "In a late notebook (1977) he wrote: 'Practically all artists and writers are aware of their destiny and see themselves as actors in a fateful drama. With me, nothing is momentous: obscure youth, glorious old age, fateful coincidences—nothing really matters. I have written a number of good sentences. I have kept free of delusions. I am going to die soon'" (see The Longshoreman Philosopher).

It appears that much of his life was an "act." He had a German accent, read and spoke German well, spoke Hebrew and apparently had a deep knowledge of Botany. Nothing is known about him before 1934 — or rather, the only things known about him before that time are things he related himself. One of his last manuscripts was entitled "Truth Imagined." He claims he was born in Brooklyn, but he may have entered the U.S. around 1934 by way of Mexico at the age of 32 or 36. He may also have been Jewish and thus have had good reasons to leave Germany or Austria around that time, and even better reasons to keep his "immigration" status a secret. He may also have received a solid education in German.