Monday, July 26, 2004
In our recent conversation The Bellman asked how I had dealt with a problem he had experienced, namely that it had become difficult for him to locate the things he remembered writing. He wondered if I had found any tools that made this easier.
I hadn't, not really. In fact, I've pretty much abandoned the generalized notebook format that I had been using. Instead I keep my notes in a couple dozen themed files. I did say that I wished Apple Computer had ported the System 6 era Notebook program to OS X. (I did find a shareware version, but it seems kind of clunky and I'm not sure if it's worth $50)
The thing I always liked about Notebook was how, well, simple it was. As far as I know it only supported one font. There was a tab in the bottom right corner that you used to jump to the next page. Best of all, you didn't have to worry about saving the file. Once you typed it, it was there come Hell or high voltage.
The thing that has happened to The Bellman and I, writing-wise, since we first had this discussion is that both of us have begun blogging. Nowadays I'd rather write online, in a blog interface, than on a word processor. And that's true even though writing online means messing about with HTML tags.
I think it comes dow to the sheer joy of tabbed browsing. When I'm blogging I can jump between tabs effortlessly, and that means that all of the information I'm trying to tie together is, more or less, in front of me. It's only a little more difficult to switch between windows in a word processor (especially since the advent of Expose in Mac OS X) but that little diffierence is, somehow, a big difference.
It makes me realize what I liked so much about Notebook, and what I want in a word processor. What I liked in Notebook was the ease with which I could jump from one document to the next. What I want is tabbed word processing.
So, if you're listening Mr. Gates, get to it!