I’m pleased to welcome a new sponsor to MacSparky, Tinderbox. If you have been reading this blog for any time at all, you know that I have an interest in applications that help me think. Early computers were great about holding lots of data and allowing you to access it very quickly. (Spreadsheets, for instance, were a natural for early computers.) It is only recently that computers and computer software have got to the point where they can help you unravel your thoughts and put them back together in new and interesting ways.
This has led to an entirely new classes of software. One of the finest in this category is Tinderbox. I’ve never really used anything like Tinderbox before. It starts out as a place to collect and organize your notes. While there are plenty of apps where you can write stuff down, Tinderbox stands out in the ways it shows you your data. You can link different notes together and display them back in different formats. There are outline, map, and chart views that you can easily jump between, letting both the right and left sides of your brain have a look. There is also a built in timeline tool that can create an interactive timeline among dated notes. Tinderbox can even collect and report on data it accumulates from its own file.
If that’s not enough, Tinderbox 6.3 debuts this week, adding a bunch of features including Treemaps that reveal deep structure of complex collections of notes. Tinderbox comes with year of free updates.
I’ve been using Tinderbox in the legal practice to track facts and issues arising out of litigation matters. I’ve also used it to plan and negotiate complex contracts. Tinderbox is flexible and you can sculpt it to your own needs.
I think one of the challenges of Tinderbox is explaining exactly what it does because the application simply does not lead itself to a pithy one sentence description . If you’ve read or seen any of the Harry Potter books and movies, you’ll be familiar with Professor Doubledore’s pensieve, which is a device that holds his memories so he can analyze them more closely. I’ve always been a little jealous of the headmaster for having such a handy tool. Tinderbox, is the closest I’ve come to finding a pensieve of my own.
If you’ve got any interest, or are just curious, head over to the Tinderbox website and check out further details and screenshots.