Thursday, November 22, 2018

Pen, Pencil, Typewriter, or Computer

John Gardner once said that the question he was most often asked by beginning writers was what tools he used: pen, pencil, or typewriter, and he said that this question has no right answer and is also a question that should not be answered at all. For more on this, see Austin Kleon who does not seem to be able to resist the urge to answer.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Linking Textfiles with Backlinks

Here is a very simple AhK script that opens up or creates text files from their names in a file. It also inserts a back link to the file from which it is created.

^+o:: ;link text files in D:\Texts

SetWorkingDir, D:\Texts

WinGetTitle, Title, A
StringReplace, Title, Title, - Notepad, , All

clpboard =
Send, ^c
thefilename := clipboard

IfExist, %thefilename%
run %thefilename%
IfNotExist, %thefilename%
FileAppend, %thefilename%, %thefilename%
run %thefilename%
sleep, 500
Send {End}`r`n%Title%{Up}

Just select the entire file name, like "start.txt" or "start.rtf", and press ^+o.

You can, of course change the hotkey as well as the directory. It should also work with other file types, as long as they are registered in Windows. The script is not a wiki, of course, but its linking behavior comes close. If you use a rtf files, you have other markup as well. In fact, it is a very rudimentary wysiwyg wiki.

Postscript, Friday, November 16, 2018 at 20:29: I tried a slightly changed version of the script (different hotkey, different directory, changed StringReplace in line 4) with Jarte. It worked, but not reliably, that is, not always. Every once in a while it would not launch the file selected (even though it had done so before) In one sense that does not bother me, as I am more interested in connecting text files. What bothers me is that I cannot explain why Jarte and rtf files don't always work.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Sign of the Times?

TrunkNotes is being discontinued, as I just found out. The author of the program openly states his reasons in his blog post:
Trunk Notes has been in development since 2009 and unfortunately it has come time to say goodbye. Revenue from Trunk Notes in the past couple of years has been very low. The interest in personal wikis, especially when lacking a companion web or desktop app, just isn’t high enough to generate the sales needed for further development. To give an idea of monthly income from Trunk Notes - it is equivalent to about one hour worked on projects for clients. The lack of competitor personal wikis on the App Store is a very clear indication that not many people are looking for one.
I am sorry that he could not make a go of it. I am even more sorry because he seems to be right. The interest in personal wikis, while never really as enthusiastic as I would have wished, definitely has diminished over the last few years. "[N]ot many people are looking for one."

In my view, many people unfortunately don't know what they are missing. In any case, I continue to find personal wikis—and especially ConnectedText—most useful, but I obviously am in a fairly small minority—or so it seems. Too bad! I just hope that ConnectedText will continue to work for a long time.

Recently, in the spirit of "future-proofing," I have been playing around with personal wikis based on text files. LoneWiki is the winner in this department. It takes 15,000 entries exported from ConnectedText without the slightest problems, and while it is missing many of the functions of ConnectedText, it has enough of them to make me happy. To be sure, I am not using it as a replacement as of now, but it is good to know that it will be there, should it ever become necessary.