The Tinderbox Dilemma

UPDATE 2017-11-09 My complaints below have been addressed since this was first written in 2006. And my positive reactions have done nothing but increase.

Tinderbox is driving me nuts. Try as I might I just can’t seem to get rid of it.

Why would I want to get rid of it? Well…

  • It’s kind of ugly and looks like an unfinished Carbon app.
  • It’s hard to learn.
  • Getting data out of it is supposed to be easy, but isn’t.
  • The website is really, really unattractive and difficult to navigate.
  • Mr. Bernstein is, in my opinion, wasting time making a Windows version instead of making it a great Mac (Cocoa) app.
  • There are no user forums, only a wiki which sucks as a communication tool. This limits the user community.

I hate to admit how many times I’ve thrown up my hands and decided to move everything to VoodooPad, Notebook, Journler, OmniOutliner, Curio, or any number of other sexy Cocoa-licious note-taking apps that come along.

And yet I always end up back in Tinderbox. Because…

  • It never, ever crashes.
  • It doesn’t use much RAM or CPU
  • It’s a killer outliner, better than the rest
  • The Map view works very well as a Mind/Concept mapping tool
  • Search is instantaneous
  • Agents and Prototypes and clones make it completely powerful
  • It can do anything if you need it to, but stays out of your way when you don’t.

So it looks like I’m not leaving Tinderbox just yet, but I do have a couple of wishes…

  • Please use forums instead of a wiki for community communication. I promise everyone will be happier.
  • A better, no configuration necessary export. Make it work like VoodooPad or Notebook and don’t make me think about it if I don’t want to.
  • Just a little UI work would go a long way. The map view needs some lovin' and some drop shadows ala OmniGraffle.
  • How about an easy-to-apply Strikethrough font option.
  • It would be acceptible to not use Tinderbox to manage the Tinderbox web site if that meant it could get a much-needed design overhaul. There are cheap, crappy products that have significantly better web sites and that’s just wrong.
  • Any improvement in OS (Mac OS that is) integration would be nice.
  • Screw the Windows version

That’s it. I love Tinderbox.