A special discount offer for Tinderbox (and or Twig) for customers of Scrivener spurred a discussion about the usability of Tinderbox at the Literature & Latte Forum. A few Scrivenites who’d taken advantage of a similar previous offer were complaining that Tinderbox was too difficult to use and had given up on the software, saying it was a waste of money.
I don’t intend to tell anyone what tolerance level they should have with frustration. I certainly get frustrated with some software and quit using it. However, I think the folks who have already paid for Tinderbox are likely giving up too soon. As I’ve said over and over, Tinderbox is very useful even if you don’t take advantage of its advanced abilities. On the forum I suggested one simple and easy to execute usage for Tinderbox was planning a day. Here is what I wrote:
This is very easy to do. Just add adornments and notes. Move the notes around to where they make sense. Keep the map open and refer to it during the day as needed. Next day, just delete items you no longer need. Ones you want to keep you can drag into the “Archive” note. When tomorrow rolls around, move items from the Tomorrow adornment onto their appropriate places on Today’s grid. This application doesn’t require using agents or knowing any regular expressions. It can all be handled manually very easily. (Set up your adornments first, then use the lock feature to make sure they stay in place and you don’t grab and move them by accident.)
I’ve since decided to take this idea a step further. I’ve built a Tinderbox file to do this, and have added a simple prototype and some agents to help make it work a little more effectively. I’ve also added some instructions. Below is a screenshot:
If you’d like a copy of this Tinderbox document, send me an e-mail (szeoli–at–earthlink–dot–net).
Update and clarification: I just want to make it clear that the Day Planner file is intended to be relatively simple. It’s for people who may have been a little frustrated or intimidated by Tinderbox. Also, I’ve already made a few simple modifications. Specifically, I’ve added an extra adornment column with instructions on how to change the name of the adornment to create custom contexts in addition to “home” and “work.”