Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Kubrick's Notebooks

There is an interesting post on Stanley Kubrick's notebooks on M. Leddy's blog. Make sure you also click on the link that points toward an entry of his card index about Napeoleon's life.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Barzun on Outlines versus Notebooks

I came across this passage in Jacques Barzun, On Writing, editing, and Publishing. Essays Explicative and Hortatory. 2nd ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1986), p. 11:
Why not an outline? Well, for my taste outlines are useless, fettering, imbecile. Sometimes, when you find yourself writing in circles, it may help to write down a sketch outline of the topics (or in a story, of the phases) so far covered. You outline, in short, something that already exists in written form., and this may help to show where you started backstitching. To be sure, a memorandum listing haphazardly what belongs to a particular project is useful. In fact, if you would be a"full" man as you undertake a new piece of work, you should have before you a little stack of slips bearing the ideas that have occurred to you since the subject first came to life in your mind. ... It is jottings of this sort that fill the "Notebooks" at the end of "The works." When I say slips or notebooks, I mean the any congenial form of memorandum, for I doubt whether a self-respecting man with a lively flow of ideas can constrain himself to a uniform style and form of note taking until the sacred fires have begun to cool—say around the age of fifty-one
I have always felt bad that I did not begin settling on a certain method of note-taking before I was 48 and on the final version at around 55. If I were to believe Barzun, I should stop feeling bad. But I don't.

I am also more of an outliner than he ever seems to have been. Though I must say that I am more prone to using flat outlines nowadays. The hierarchical structure arise only slowly as I work out the memoranda collected in my "Notebooks" or ConnectedText Projects by explicitly writing about a certain subject matter in a focused way.

The essay in which these musings can be found is called: "A Writer's Discipline." I recommend it, even if I often have the reactions he also describes: "What an idea! Why, it's just the opposite.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Devonnote and ConnectedText

I just discovered to my delight that you can drag a document from Devonnote on the Mac into ConnectedText on Windows running in Parallels. This creates a File link. Clicking on the link will open the correct Devonnote File in Notepad. Changes made and saved to the file will show up in the DevonThink database.

Apparently this is O.K., as I read the following on the Devonthink Forum:
The major cautions would be not to do things externally that the database isn't aware of, e.g., deleting or renaming files stored within the database, or directly adding files from outside (in which case the database doesn't "know" about such additions and can't list or search them). All those things can be done manually by using the Show Package Contents command, and should be avoided.
Direct editing/saving of a file stored in the database from outside may be OK, although the database may not be aware of the changes until the Synchronize command is used.
This opens up even more possibilities of integrating the Mac with Windows! Please stay tuned.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


I took s big step today and disabled my main AutohotKey script in Windows. The reason: I downloaded and installed Breevy, a textexpander for Windows that can not only import the abbreviations of TextExpander, but also sync the snippets between the two programs by using Dropbox. It will allow me to get reliable consistency between the mac and Windows.

It can do many of the things AhK does, but not all; and I expect to have an ahk file running parallel to Breevy for a long time to come. But basic tasks I will move from AhK to Breevy. These include:
  • Program Launch
  • Abbreviations of all sorts
  • Clipboard manipulation
  • Date insertion
  • Special Symbols
I like the interface because it is very much like that of TextExpander (and has organizational features, like Folders for different types of snippets.

I have not bought it yet, but I am almost sure that I will do so at the end of the trial period in 30 days. It costs 34.95.[1]

1. Here is a review of it.

Monday, November 19, 2012


This has nothing to do with note-taking. But it is not unimportant. "Zane Tankel owns about 40 Applebees franchises. He says that as a result of the law’s penalties on employers who don’t offer health insurance to their workforce “we won’t build more restaurants, we won’t hire more people.”[1]

I will make it easier for Applebees and never frequent any of their franchises again!

1. See this article.

Microsoft Windows

I have not paid much attention to developments having to do with Windows 8, as I run Windows 7 (32 bit) on Parallels in OS X. But today I read this:
Windows" no longer supports multiple windows on the screen. Win8 does have an option to temporarily show a second area in a small part of the screen, but none of our test users were able to make this work. Also, the main UI restricts users to a single window, so the product ought to be renamed "Microsoft Window."
The article goes on to say: "That lack of multiple window support forced Nielsen to dub it 'one of the worst aspects of Windows 8 for power users.'"[1]

I would agree! In fact, this decision by Microsoft seems to be breathtakingly reckless and stupid! In fact, so much so that I can't believe they made it.

1. See Design guru Nielsen: Windows 8 UI 'smothers usability'.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Qualitative Analysis and ConnectedText

If you are interested in qualitative analysis and how to do it in ConnectedText (or if you are just interested in ConnectedText, you might want to take a look at this blog this blog. It's very interesting and stimulating.


One of the great things about Lotus Agenda, the old DOS application i have talked about many times, was that you could just type ordinary English expressions, like "meeting with Jim on Monday," and it would understand how to translate it into a calendar item.

I have just discovered Fandastical from Flexbits for Mac OS X. It does the same, using the built-in calendar (iCal), BusyCal, Entourage, or Outlook for the results. It also does alarms and syncs even when iCal is not running.

It's available as a 14 day trial. After that it costs $19.99. I am trying it out, and so far I am impressed.