Summary: Anyone Use A Blog To Capture Design Ideas?
Thanks so much for the great responses! After I sent out my question I found out that my IT group was actually getting ready to deploy the Jotspot Wiki (http://www.jot.com/) with the Blogapp. So I'm going to use this for now and see how things go. So far it seem pretty good, I've used it to record some meeting notes and whiteboard captures that my remote teammates have found useful. Since the rest of my company is using this as well linking to other docs using Wiki words has also been fairly easy. I think I'll continue to investigate the mind mapping tools mentioned by a few folks, but I'm hoping that the wiki/blog combo will suffice my need. So thanks again to all that responded, below is a summary of all the responses I received.
>From Avi Soudack
Funny you should suggest this. I've been thinking of doing something similar.
1) For projects, I sometimes use backpack (www.backpackit.com). So far, I've used one page per project, and I don't keep much inthe way of "old" notes, I clear it out regularly. It's not really searchable and the items aren't tagged. But it does keep things all in one place and accessible from any computer. It does have sharing capability (though I haven't used that).
2) Notes and ideas... I've long thought of using a blog for this. I investigated a few (WordPress and TextPattern caught my eye, though others would probably do too). Most let you tag... and some, like WordPress, let you add custom fields to entries quite easily - to aid in browsing/searching (though you can get the same thing done with tags, I guess).
Good luck. Please let me know what you learn. thanks.
btw... some people use Wikis for this sort of thing, which make things even more maleable.
This is a great source for looking at cms's http://www.opensourcecms.com/
>From Matt Davies
Have you considered basecamp? [http://www.basecamphq.com/].
It may be more project management than you need from what you said, but you can use it as a collaborative design tool -- log ideas, comments, share items, group by projects, etc.
I am part of a global design team and we have used this tool effectively so far.
>From Todd Roberts
Can also try Backpack which is also made by 37 Signals.
Have you considered basecamp? [http://www.basecamphq.com/].
>From Shelley Ann-West
Have you thought about either MS OneNote or even Mindjet Manager Pro versus a blog. I I use both and I have found that I stop using stickies and scribbling all over the place. I even use Pocketmap on my Pocket PC and I can make sketches on the subway and later use them in Mindjet.
OneNote allows you to share sessions with other users and if you have Sharepoint...hmm makes life a lot easier. I tried it out when I was teaching one of my classes it has some very good features for collaborating.
>From Lada Gorlenko
Blog will help you with archiving ideas and searching them. However, it' is still a poor tool for *capturing* notes and design thoughts, unless you belong to a rare breed of linear-thinking designers :-)
After I got introduced to mind-mapping tools, anything else for capturing thoughts feels inferior by a mile. Mind maps represent semantic connections between information, both your thoughts and any documents you might link to them. Typically, mind mappers allow tagging as you go and linking files to the nodes. Goos tools will export the originally visual maps into a variety of formats: doc, presentation, spreadsheet, etc.
I use commercial MindManager by MindJet (www.mindjet.com), but open source FreeMind is available and is pretty good, too (http://freemind.sourceforge.net/). These are for capturing ideas and working with them. For building a semantic net of both your hard drive and your Internet links, try Personal Brain (www.thebrain.com). Funds permitting, consider enterprise edition of the Brain; it'll let you organise thoughts and links within a group.
>From Yoram Chisik
If you are a mac person I suggest you take a look at Tinderbox (http://www.eastgate.com/Tinderbox/index.html) a wonderful tool for collecting and visualizing your notes. You can also publish them to the web in blog form (with feeds) if need be.
If you are a windows person hold on to the above link because they are working on a windows version of tinderbox.
>From Juan Lanus
I use Amaya. It's an HTML editor-browser by the W3C. http://www.w3.org/Amaya/User/BinDist.html
Amaya does nothing by itself, it's a flexible tool for me. Every year I run a script that builds a page for each day and links each page with the previous and the following day pages.
Every day I double-click a link in my PC and the today's page opens thanks to a simple script.
The day pages are dated notebook pages, almost totally unstructured. In those pages I write, paste, save links, take notes, and the like. Anything you can do to an HTML document.
The interesting feature is that it has all the hyperlinking potential of HTML. I can link what I'm writing today to prior annotations and internet data. The Amaya advantage is that it's operation is almost transparent (once
you are used to several tricks). As of the team, Amaya has also a feature for readers to add annotations. Annotations are tags that appear as a small pencil icon before the commented text. By double-clicking the pencil the whole annotation shows.
It works like Nick's notebook, only it can be published or reached from elsewhere.
I use exactly the same formato for documents and prototypes: HTML pages. And most of those pages can be written with Amaya, hosted in the same location, and linked with the agenda. Thus, the agenda (daily pages) are sort of the documents "metadata".
I do all this "by hand". This is the price for having maximun flexibility. compared to Lada's fancy tools (I'm looking at FreeMind, it looks great, I'll test it), in my method I set the rules, I define the language, I have to learn nothing but (some) HTML to be up and running. As I evolve the tool evolves with me, there is always an updated version.
>From Dan Brown
For what it's worth, I installed a Wiki on my iBook. OSX runs Apache natively, and you can install MySQL, though many Wikis work off flat files. This provides me some of the same flexibility described by Juan, but doesn't limit me to a daily journal. It's running as a full-featured wiki, so I can create new pages by simply typing a phrase in CamelScript.
I love it. It took very little effort, affords me the same flexibility as any Wiki, and is easy to reorganize as projects/ideas come and go.
I use pmWiki, but recently installed Instiki which was so easy it's almost stupid not to.
>From Vasilli Bykov
I found VoodooPad to be even better as a journal/notepad/brain dump than a "real" wiki. Mainly because you are not stuck with separate modes for viewing and editing.
>From Juan Lanus
On 2/16/06, Vassili Bykov <vbykov at cincom.com> wrote:
> ... you are not stuck with separate modes for viewing and editing.
Maybe I didn't communicate it clearly, but this is the reason why I use Amaya. There is no difference between browsing and editing: you browse pages and edit them simply by writing. It has no markers, handles or other
editing artifacts in the pages.
>From Erika Orrick
This strays slightly from the original requirement of being able to tag and share with remote colleagues, but a tool I really like is MS OneNote. The keyword search is great for finding everything in all the notebooks about a topic, and the fact that I can pretty much drop anything in there for it to hold on it is great too. It even records the URL when you cut and paste from the web.
I use it both on my tablet and my traditional laptop.
erika at orrickweb.com
>From Lyle Kantrovich
I've been using WxWikiServer for quite some time as a personal wiki. I've used blogs for project teams, but I find the wiki a bit better for organizing things by topic.
WxWikiServer is a very simple install - you don't need a web server (it installs a small one) or a database or anything else. It's very small and efficient.
See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WikiServer#WxWikiServer for more info and links to download
>From Christopher Rivard
I have been waiting for Tinderbox for PC for about two years now. I'm not holding my breath. I have not yet found the killer app - I think that the Axon Idea Processor comes the closest (for PC):
I have used the limited version for a while now - it may be overkill for just capturing ideas.
There is also a Yahoo group for Axon:
>From Al Selvin
People interested in graphical knowledge mapping / hypermedia authoring tools should also check out Compendium: www.compendiuminstitute.org. There is a yahoogroup discussion at groups.yahoo.com/group/compendiuminstitute. Like the below tools it has web publishing capabilities, though does things differently. Compendium is free and the source code is available via the Open University / Knowledge Media Institute (disclaimer: I am one of the original developers and still on the core team). It would be great to get feedback on the tool's usefulness and design from this group, as well as involvement and suggestions.