Abandoning Tinderbox and wikis; sticking with plain text

On Note-taking, wikis and Tinderbox

General lessons:

  • Wikis are bad: they will be broken if u move something. So, never use them: history is the best teacher; hyperlinks are stupid for keeping information for a long time
  • Future proof plain text (markdown) files are the best.
  • Keep all the text notes in the same folder, inside Dropbox
  • plain files can be access them by different apps (as the need arises).
  • Use services such as Simplenote and Dropbox to access them via the cloud (syncing)

    these were the steps i used to sync my notes to various apps

  • Create the notes in nvALT
  • Store them in a folder in Dropbox
  • Index the folder in Devonthink
  • Sync nvALT to Simplenote
  • Sync Tinderbox to Simplenote
  • Sync Scrivener to Simplenote

    Work on any of the app, as the need arises. The changes will be reflected everywhere (windows pcs, ipad, iphone, all fetch from the same folder).

  • nvALT is the best for simple notes (drop what is in your head)
  • Tinderbox is best for creating connections of ideas
  • Scrivener is the best for drafting

After some more experiences and lessons, I realize that the syncing between Simplenote and Tinderbox is broken. Tinderbox adds some weird symbols to my text when I sync them to it via Simplenote. I have been waiting for Tinderbox six if it can solve the problem. It turns out that Tinderbox 6 is by no means better than the previous version in this regard. Its arcane nature, its little communication with other applications in Mac still remains a major issue.

Therefore, I am forced to abandon it for now< at least until the formatting problem is solved. (I requested Mark Bernstein, the developer of Tinderbox a number of times, to fix the issue. Even if he promised so many times, I haven’t seen him doing it for over a year now. so, I am losing hope with him too)

Abandoning Tinderbox also invalidates Simplenote’s fuction. so, I am also not using simplenote anymore.

The whole writing system is build around dropbox now (the nvALT) folder. For creating connections between ideas, now, I have to rely on Scrivener and Devonthink (and Scapple for visualization).

now, more simplified steps:

  • Create the notes in nvALT
  • Store them in a folder in Dropbox
  • Index the folder in Devonthink
  • Sync nvALT folder to Scrivener via Folder sync

Simpler and more efficient, at least until i need visualization of my notes (which happens rarely)..




  • Scrivener: unless I have combined it with Marked, Scrivener can not live preview the text.
  • Marked: Marked is not an editor by itself. It is rather just a viewer for the text. So, it can help me in complement with others, but not a real editor by itself. he problem with Marked is: it doesn’t seem to support MMD, as the tables are getting misplaced, I observed
  • Byword: many people seem to like this app, but, seems really blank text editor. May be, I have to check it back, but now, I don’t like it.
  • Markdown Pro: this seems a great editor. There is no much fancy preference here either; but it can preview and edit at the same time + nice themes are available to it. It has a spell-checker and copy as HTML features, both are great for publishing in a blog. A JosephCrawford has suggested to additional features for MD Pro– sync scrolling and project management–both of which I totally second.
  • nvAlt: is probably the best of all, as it is already my favorite text editor anyways. As it does manage notes, and synchronize with Simplenote, as well as edit MMD, nvAlt is indispensable any ways. The point about nvALT is, I don’t want to use it serious academic writing. I want to keep it for simple, personal notes. More powerful tools such as scrivener are my choices for the academic stuff.
  • IAwriter: Anther popular editor. Many people seem to like it for the minimalist environment it creates. Probably, that is a great idea. I also like the interface of the app. But, it can not preview, which is crucial to correct my mistakes immediately and see if I am doing it write. It also can not copy the MMD text to HTML. So, it is easy for me to decide about it: trashed! I would finally say, there is nothing that Markdown Pro lacks and IAwriter and Byword have.

I have heard of two other great MMD editors: MMD composer and Folding Text. Until I try them, I will use nvAlt and Markdown Pro. The former for personal notes; the latter for star up drafting of my academic works before they finally go to Scrivener. The idea is, I will write the text in MD pro until it grows complex, beyond a few pages, say 5 pages, and them move it to Scrivener to fully develop it.

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