Apr 27 2009
This week we have some new ideas and weird names. Don’t be put-off by these tools if they seem a little different than what you’re used to. They are each simple but incredibly useful in their own right.
TiddlyWiki: strange name, powerful tool
TiddlyWiki is a fantastic mating of Wiki and AJAX. It is an editable webpage (wiki) with the fluidity of a desktop application (ajax) and the simplicity of a single html file.
The html file, which stores locally (perfect for a USB drive) contains the code as well as the content you add to it. Think of it as a self-contained notepad.
It is brilliantly configurable. Tagging and interface customization let you define your own menus and group things by project, to do or status. Wiki formatting makes it easy to link content.
In fact, I wrote this article in TiddlyWiki, and you can download the fully-functioning TiddlyWiki here and try it out for yourself.
TiddlyWiki’s come in many flavors, including server-side solutions and hosts. This TiddlyWiki is based on the Monkey Pirate TiddlyWiki flavor. If you’re in to GTD you’ll want to check out this version and maybe this one too.
Expand your TiddlyWiki with Plugins
In addition to the flexibility of tags and templates, you can add all kinds of functionality to your TiddlyWiki with plugins. Installing these are as easy as creating a new post or “Tiddler” and pasting in the plugin name, tags and content. The example Tiddly I linked to above has the below already installed:
By default, TiddlyWiki’s create an RSS feed to track changes. This plugin allows you to view feeds in your Tiddly, like MacMerc’s Feed (download the above file to see this in action).
As of version 2.1, TiddlyWiki has built-in support for importing content from another TiddlyWiki file (under Options). This plugin lets you export content to an XML 2.0 RSS file.
This dynamic duo gives you a calendar, which allows you to find Tiddlers edited on a certain day and journal entries. With Reminders, you can set up reminders on future dates.
Put it on Paper
Before there was silicon, there was paper. Pocketmod.com is a web-base, printable PDA. Pick your layout, print, cut and fold and you have a pocket-sized calendar/to do list. If you have Tiger, you can go one better with a PagePacker from Big Nerd Ranch. This utility accomplishes the same thing in native cocoa, and allows you to add your own images or PDFs.
Organize your Writing with Scrivener Gold
Scrivener Gold is a writer’s best friend. The application lets you organize your ideas with flexibility. You can group things by scene or chapter and include websites and media files in your outline.
You don’t have to be a writer to enjoy this applications ability to organize thoughts and annotate movie, sound and graphics files.
I have recommended my share of free time-wasting applications. It’s only fair I provide you with something useful.