On The Getting of My Act Together

Omnioutliner, VooDooPad, and DevonthinkAdmittedly, as a life-long packrat and keeper of factoids, I work more or less all the time and with very mixed success to supplement my lapsing organic memory with its silicon counterpart. I strive to at least start to commence to begin a “plan” for keeping up with words, images and ideas as they pile higher and deeper on my desk and in my overloaded brain.

The Mac and OS-X (back in January) was a large step in that direction, and the software purchases and free downloads since then have been smaller, halting steps–some outright stumbles–along that same path. No one program out there does it all. So how to make a couple of core tools get the job done?

I won’t say I’ve arrived. But I can see the destination in the distance, and maybe it isn’t a mirage. From foreground to background, here are the stations along the way.

Brainstorm, organize, prioritize and list in OmniOutliner. For writing projects large and small, drag pages from VooDooPad as links into OO and mark them as “in progress” or by due date in a OO column. Do the actual writing in the more comfortable space on VDP pages where I can see the image I’m writing to, if that’s the case, and quickly create collateral pages wiki-style.

Once completed, especially if it is something I want to save–like a longer piece for the papers I write for or if it’s more thoroughly researched with a resources list, send it (via the Services menu) to DevonThinkPro to archive, classify and later, to possibly find related documents stored in the database. Then delete the piece from OO and VDP and make room for more, even as DTP grows richer. So in short…

Omnioutliner: Directory Structure. VooDooPad: content writing and editing. DevonThinkPro: information archive, organization and relationships.

Towards this end of info-gathering and taming, darn it, Firefox is rather worthless compared to Safari, where inline links are imported as links, and from which the Services menu is active and not greyed out like in the Fox. And in the web-clipping department I will mention both Evernote (for mac) and Diigo as very good ways of saving pages or pieces of pages; both allow tags for the topic under study.

LEAP, in a similar way, helps me find just the image or other file I want by date, type or tag. If any of these bits of software code could only help me keep up with my car keys and billfold!

My apologies. I see your eyes crossing terribly. But this might help some poor soul get their ship together, even as the warranty lapses on their formerlly perfekt memery. Hey–it could happen.

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. I have dumped everything into DEVONThink Pro for 4 years now and couldn’t work without it. Even use it to write my blogs. Its indexing and finding features are second to none.

    Also use their DEVONAgent browser. It’s a specialized for searching the internet. Sort of a super-Google. Great for research.

  2. hi dumpy,
    me and daddy wanted to know if you believed in
    bigfoot and in aleiens ? I believe more in aleiens then bigfoot. I love you hope to see you soon

    (typed by the 7 year old princess herself)