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ATPM 12.01
January 2006


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Logitech TrackMan Wheel Review

You’re almost spot on in this review. But, it doesn’t take an older user to develop repetitive use injuries.

There are a couple of other points that you didn’t get around to.

A trackball is a much more accurate tool for graphics work than a mouse. It won’t replace a tablet but is adequate for mobile work in places where even a small tablet would be inappropriate or unusable.

I have the cordless version and find it excellent for presentations. Since it doesn’t need a good mousing surface, I can walk around while talking and still advance slides or use the pointer.

On the down side, while this product is excellent for most people, it is a bit small for people with large hands or for left-handers.

—Michael McKee

Docktopus Review

The last time I tried Docktopus, the badges really lagged behind the dock magnification animation. I removed it right then. When that’s fixed, I’m ready to try it again.


Outliner Styles Revisited

Ted, I have greatly appreciated all the work you have put forth on this topic. Not only have I learned about products, I have learned to think about my own thinking process: what works and what does—for me. Sometimes I think I work a certain way, but then challenged by you (and others) I find that I wasn’t accurate in my self-assessment; and that has implications far beyond just software use. Thanks.

—Rich Shields

Star Trek Gadgets Have Arrived

Actually, we do have transporters. But on the other hand they are not very useful today (if ever). Scientists have “transported” a single electron (maybe larger objects today—like a proton or a neutron) about 10cm in very specific laboratory conditions. The experiment is very sensitive to outside disturbance (you can’t even look at it—that’s enough to disturb it) but it certainly is possible to do. “Transported” means that they have recreated the first object completely, in a quantum mechanical way.



Fantastic work as usual.

Thanks ATPM crew. Happy Holidays.

—Chip Cuccio

• • •

Superb. Happy Holidays from Spain. Keep the work.

—Bartolome Mayol Genovart

• • •

I’ve really enjoyed ATPM, especially Cortland. Please bring it back for another year!

—Grover Watson

About This Particular Outliner

First let me thank you for this series that you’ve written. Honestly, I look forward to the first of every month, hoping that you’ve found the time and energy to put out another installment.

If I’m being completely honest, however, I must admit there are days that I regret reading my first ATPO article—because simultaneous with discovering the real power of outlining (the method), I have realized the ways in which all the current software tools fall short of providing that power to the user. I wouldn’t describe myself as a Grail seeker (i.e. waiting for the perfect software), but I am often frustrated by the potential that I can see and the lack of tools that harness it.

I would like to propose a model for your Open Source Outlining (OSO). What I mean by this is that similar to the many open source software projects that are in development, in which contributers each take responsibility for developing and/or maintaining a portion of the project, we, as a community, would develop the field of outlining. Rather than just discuss the various features and looks of the myriad outliners available, we could (as you have aptly demonstrated in your series) discuss and develop the ideas that are the foundation of the tools. One group might concentrate on different graphical modalities for expressing and editing the structure that is inherent or applied to the data. For example, what are some visually intuitive ways to distinguish a link expressing an example of a note from a link to a counterexample. One group might focus on metadata and the ways to leverage it for search and self-organizing data. There could also be tool-specific sections where users discuss or submit ways to implement the various ideas within existing software tools or through plug-ins or scripts. Different projects could be extremely technical (e.g. an XML alternative to OPML) or extremely “arty” (e.g. which color and font for expressing certain text semantics).

Then, rather than users of individual software tools submitting vague, redundant, or impossible “feature requests” to all of the separate developers, the developers themselves could come to the OSO pages (perhaps at the prompting of their users) and harvest more fully developed ideas and frameworks to implement in their respective tools. All of the ideas, data models, graphics, algorithms, scripts, etc. would be free for use by anyone.

While forums might form a part of this, I’m not sure if the wandering conversations and endless threads would be appropriate for more structured development of ideas—perhaps a wiki or something closer to software design teams.

In the end, its success will be dependent on the efforts of the community, but I feel that by giving people a chance to really create something, rather than just comment/criticize/discuss others’ creations, there is a chance for real development of momentum.

—Jeff Fisher

Also in This Series

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