A trip down memory lane

I have no idea how I came across it but this -list of tools](http://members.optusnet.com.au/~charles57/Creative/Software/swindex.htm#m4110) is evocative and saddening because so few survived. I have come across some, but many were unknown to me. How about you guys?

I recognise about a third off hand…
Sad indeed how many with interesting ideas never made it to deeper development.

(In particular, my sense is it’s easier than ever now to code up a semi-ok UI, but despite that I don’t have the feeling that a lot of interesting stuff is being created in this sort of area.)

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I know what you mean. It seems there are “fertile” times for ideas and this doesn’t particularly feel like one.

Like for blogging and personal knowledge management back in 2002-2006. So much information is, once again, inside of silos. If I think back to 2002 and RSS/Radio Userland I had an environment that I look back on now as the best I’ve ever had. A publishing loop all based on open technologies and a range of people exploring what was possible. Google and Facebook conspired to destroy all of this. @paolo and I built k-collector in 2004/5 as a semantic index (separating who, what, where, and when with a faceted classification) leveraging those technologies and the openness of it all and, far from perfect though it was, it was an interesting development. If we’d been able to raise some money I’ve no idea where we could have taken that.

A big challenge is how hard it has become to develop “good” applications. In 2004 even I could create something presentable (although @paolo would probably disagree). While creating an app has never been easier, mastering the technology to create something acceptable has gotten more multi-disciplinary and harder. I think this stifles creativity.

I’ve gone back to ploughing my own little furrow with Mentat (v1.0 now projected Mar 2020, 2 years after breaking ground) which is an idea I first had in 1994. I suspect it won’t be interesting to very many people and - after a few years where I cared about that - I’ve gone back to serving my own needs first and worrying about whether anyone else cares later.

Okay, that was a possibly unnecessary monologue but you got me all wistful!


Interesting thoughts and boringly I don’t have a lot of disagreement.
You’re right that the standard for “presentable” has moved on and it’s a higher bar, especially if you’re not a full time developer.
I think part of the lack of fertility is that a lot of stuff is churned out at the moment by developers for developers and that had dominated the main distribution space. Things that spring to mind are stuff like Slack and Trello which I think are quite stunted, but the reason is, they do (some) of what developers are looking for… and then development has hit a standstill.

Aside: Google killed RSS, but even worse their own sets of tools, but it the Gdocs stuff or various attempts at personal management never seem to get refined - some good ideas, some bad ones, but always in perpetual “not quite there” land…

Adding a couple of tweets from a long thread by a QA person.
The thread as a whole is very uneven in quality, some really perceptive points and some “stupid/ignorant provocative” opinions.

This one is really good, I think. Reminds me that in CPS brainstorming, one principle is that you generate a long list of possibles, then pick out the ones you are moving forward with. This functionality now exists in commercial (v. expensive) idea management software, but it’s actually a really simple thing missing from some kind of ordinary personal software that I know of. We can all think of various kludges to do it, but a nice simple interface for this mode of thought isn’t out there, as far as I know.

Second: https://twitter.com/amyhoy/status/1209910983025577984

I don’t know if I agree with all the choices here, but Agenda in particular was a really interesting concept that still seems like it could add something, if someone picked it up and ran with it again.

Ah, I remember Amy. You are quite perceptive about her. Overall a good person though and a sharer.

Something I am hoping to either add to (or model in) Mentat is stuff like SCAMPER. It’s not really up to it right now but as I add more support for scripting and dynamic UI, I imagine being about to take a Thought and run a SCAMPER module on it to generate other thoughts and link them together, maybe combining with search results. I’m dreaming a little here but that’s part of the “ultimate” tool I have in mind.

I have a number of card decks that I would like to add (including some of Roger von Oech’s creativity tools) e.g. storyFORMing. Actually when I show Kate Mentat maybe we can work something out about using a subset of the SF questions in a shared StoryFORMing module.

The Lotus Agenda idea reminds me again a little of Roam although I’m going by Wikipedia’s description of Agenda. I think my Dad had a copy, I don’t think I ever used it myself.

There is something very powerful about this no-structure to semi-structured idea.

It’s really interesting, I’ve been looking at doing a bit of formal project management on something I plan to undertake in 2020. Brainstorming and unstructured thoughts about possible task units and problem issues is an important part of the process - but I don’t feel like I’ve found software that really facilitates it that much. We should maybe have a chat about this sometime as maybe I’m just missing obvious things…