Jack Baty Daily

Daily notes from Jack about everything

Friday, February 9, 2024

Clear 45.0. Low 43.0, High 52.3

My earlier post, It's the tools. Or is it?, reminded me what it is that draws me to certain software. Examples are TiddlyWiki, Emacs, and Tinderbox. All three of these are (mostly) self-contained systems within which one can take notes, manipulate them, and generate output using built-in facilities. Tinderbox is not a Quine, exactly, but it allows me to collect, write, and do all kinds of fancy things with text. Same with TiddlyWiki and Emacs. Their approaches are different, but it's a common thread that draws me to them.


It's the tools. Or is it?

It's the tools. Or is it?

Dave Rogers posted earlier about Blogging with Tinderbox. His thoughts mostly echo my own. In it, he says that I am more "a 'tool is the object' kind of guy". I cringed for a moment at this, but he's absolutely right. I want to be a person who simply chooses the correct tool for the thing that they want to make, but I'm not that person. I sometimes don't make anything at all until I find some new tool to make it with. Sure, that's probably backwards and wrong, but I can't help it. I love trying software, cameras, pens, and devices of all kinds. Studying how they solve problems is fun for me.

I have a long history of finding new ways of making words appear on the internet. I've used so many tools for so many things that I feel I have a pretty broad perspective of what's available.

Blogging tools are everywhere. It's a mature category, yet new ones show up all the time. If you don't like one of them, find another. Goodness knows I've done plenty of that 😀.

I don't know if anyone would put Tinderbox on their short list of blogging tools. That's a shame, really, because it fills a niche but useful category. I'm not even sure how to define it. Dave's post lists a few reasons one might use Tinderbox for blogging, but for me it's that Tinderbox is the single most useful and flexible Mac app I've ever used. For a long time, I used it for everything, including my blog.

A brief foray into Linux and the discovery of Emacs and Org-mode pulled me away from using Tinderbox for everything, but there's nothing like its combination of Map, Hyperbolic, and Timeline views of the same information, so I still use it for certain things. Every time I launch Tinderbox I'm reminded that it can do just about anything, including creating a nice blog.

When I'm in an Emacs mood, it sucks up all my attention. Once you're all-in with Emacs, it's difficult to use anything else. So I'll move by blog to Hugo or Kirby or some other blogging platform that uses plain text files.

After a while, text file fatigue sets in and I do something like fire up a WordPress instance. That's gross, so then I'll launch my Blog.tbx file and remember how damn good Tinderbox is at everything, including generating a static website/blog. So I start typing, like I'm doing right now.

I don't even know what I came here to say, honestly. Probably that tools are important to me, and Tinderbox is a good one.