Tinderbox for Mac - Free download and software reviews - CNET Download.com

Tinderbox for Mac

CNET Editors' review

Tinderbox is a professional-grade information-management tool for creating, organizing, using, and sharing notes--especially large or complex sets of data, whether you're composing a novel, drafting a presentation, or performing academic research. Tinderbox has a very visual interface that provides a lot of flexibility, giving you multiple options for viewing notes (in map, outline, timeline, chart, treemap, or explorer windows), which you can drag and drop into hierarchical "containers" along with various contextual properties and links. A powerful, open-ended system of "agents"--basically, persistent searches--scans your notes continuously, identifying patterns or attributes and then executing macro-like actions. Tinderbox also includes rich tools for searching and exporting notes in sophisticated ways, and syncing with the free Simplenote app helps you share notes on the web and between devices.

What separates Tinderbox from less involved--and less expensive--organizational apps is its deep and elegant feature set and an almost kung-fu-like guiding philosophy. ("The Tinderbox Way" is available in hardback from the developer for $50.) Fortunately, new users will find that Tinderbox includes good basic documentation, and its devoted user base maintains an active forum and wiki. Unfortunately, the trial version of Tinderbox only lets users create 30 notes, arguably not enough to really get a feel for such a complex (and pricey) app.

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All User Reviews

Results 1-10 of 20

  • 5.0 stars

    "The best organizational tool"

    January 2, 2011  |   By Domino_k

    Version: Tinderbox 5.7.1

    Pros

    Tinderbox has so many featuyrtes and possibilities and adapts to your needs. It's the perfect tool for notes, really!

    Cons

    Long learning curve. But there is no need to learn everything from Day 1.

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  • 5.0 stars

    "Best app for structuring thoughts. Nothing else like it"

    September 16, 2010  |   By tonefonseca

    Version: Tinderbox 5.6

    Pros

    Freedom to move notes around anywhere, multiple views go from spatial map view - to outline - to chart view etc. Really fast load up, can scale to an immense level of complexity and then back way out to help simplify it again

    Cons

    really the only con is that there is currently no simple way to collaborate on one of these files with someone else. web access would be huge. Also only for osx which can be tough in the workplace

    Summary

    For me the best thing about this app is the ability to spatially structure thoughts and plans. i hesitate to even call it mind mapping because it does much more than the standard radial hub and spoke mind mapping tools out there.

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  • 5.0 stars

    "An essential piece of kit for complex research projects"

    September 9, 2010  |   By strickvl

    Version: Tinderbox 5.5.4

    Pros

    Highly-customisable, I use this for most writing, brainstorming and research tasks in my everyday work as a historian. Allows me to keep track of the processes that are going on in my head in a more structured way. Can be as complex I like.

    Cons

    Steep learning curve, but that's to be expected from a product with so much customisability. Images for map-view would be appreciated, but I think they're coming. Very few cons, I have to say.

    Summary

    Absolutely worth the investment. Excellent online support on the forums and extremely useful weekends with other tinderbox users which really help in making it all work for the tasks that matter to you. Serious researchers using Macs should strongly consider getting this. If you're not using macs, consider switching over in order to use Tinderbox.

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  • 5.0 stars

    "I've used Tinderbox over a year and love it."

    September 8, 2010  |   By smgct

    Version: Tinderbox 5.5.4

    Pros

    Though it does have a steep learning curve, you need not learn everything at once. I found it can be used for simple things, and learning goes along with the ideas to take things further. I wrote stories in it, exported to html for website use.

    Cons

    I would say that the inability to include images is for me its biggest drawback right now. The other thing I'd like to see is guard-field linkability. And yes, it takes a while to explore and discover all its potential, but that doesn't preclude use.

    Summary

    I've found the Eastgate folk to be extremely helpful and courteous, and quick-acting when contacted. There is also a forum for help with the designers themselves checking in, and there are some great resources at the Eastgate site. They are constantly tweaking and bettering the program, which may be annoying, but it means that bugs are fixed, upgrades are made, and new versions are free for a year, very reasonable after that.

    Overall, I think Tinderbox can be just about as simple or as complex as a project demands.

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  • 3.0 stars

    "Used to be a fan, no longer use it."

    August 19, 2010  |   By plindsay.0

    Version: Tinderbox 5.5.4

    Pros

    Links. Quirky charm, nice mindmap-style view and other views of notes, programmable links, friendly web-forum and email support. External files can be linked to notes within tinderbox file. Mac only.

    Cons

    Support is needed. Expensive. No longer any embedded images. No embedded anything. Few ready-made templates/examples to allow beginners to get started doing something useful. Frustratingly steep learning curve. Did I mention expensive ?

    Summary

    Potentially very powerful. But then so is C++. OK for enthusiasts but I'm not one. Buy it if you want a new hobby.

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  • 1.0 stars

    "Dusty"

    July 21, 2009  |   By dressed2kell

    Version: Tinderbox 4.7.1

    Summary

    This review was originally posted on VersionTracker.com.
    This thing feels ooooooooold! PPC (rosetta only)? Wow!

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  • 4.0 stars

    "Great upgrade: much improved speed, flexibility"

    March 18, 2009  |   By foaf

    Version: Tinderbox 4.6.1

    Summary

    This review was originally posted on VersionTracker.com.
    If you've held off on updating for a while, this version gives you several good reasons to take the plunge, including much improved speed and some fine-tuning in the agent and rule syntax. And given the current macroeconomic situation, this is a great opportunity to help your friendly neighborhood artisanal software designer weather the storm!

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  • 2.0 stars

    "The docs haven't been updated"

    March 13, 2009  |   By Pygmalion

    Version: Tinderbox 4.6

    Summary

    This review was originally posted on VersionTracker.com.
    Great new version with extended capabilities. Unfortunately the only thing that was updated in the manual was the version number on the cover. Bravo for trying to make Tinderbox easier and more consistent. But without complete, unified documentation, Eastgate is just making the learning curve even steeper.

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  • 1.0 stars

    "Tinderbox BC"

    October 23, 2008  |   By jarlaxle.merc

    Version: Tinderbox 4.5.3

    Summary

    This review was originally posted on VersionTracker.com.

    I excitedly purchased this application sometime around late 2004, early 2005. At the time Tinderbox proved to be a useful tool. Fast forward some three and a half years and the only sizable change is the price. The current version of Tinderbox isn't worth the upgrade amount much less the sticker price. Tinderbox has a knack for making less progress than a slippery snake on an ice rink.

    Tinderbox is still as visually unappealing as it was over three and a half years ago. The Tinderbox interactive experience was more palatable back then, possibly because OS X was going through it's own aesthetic growing pains and Apple had yet to sever all memorable ties to OS 9 due to the Classic Environment. In addition to a modernized application icon I believe Tinderbox has blessed map views with a shape or two and maybe added a bevel or drop shadow effect here and there, but overall this is the pinnacle "Windows 95" experience available on the Mac today.

    At the (June) 2005 WWDC Apple announced their move to Intel Microprocessors. Since then WWDC 2006, 2007, and 2008 have come and gone, meanwhile Tinderbox still only runs under Rosetta, Apple's dynamic translator. Rosetta enables applications compiled for PowerPC processors (e.g., G3, G4, G5) to run on Apple systems that use Intel processors. Apparently Adobe isnâ??t the biggest putz on the block, as previously crowned.

    According to the TInderbox site, a Windows port of Tinderbox is currently underway. Anyone with experience using cross-platform products knows that there are few (if any) exceptions to the guaranteed, third-rate experience. Cross-platform applications are generally only as good as the greatest common factors (amongst OSes) allow. In other words the bar for highest quality across all platforms is lowered to the level of maximum capability of the worst constituent, and guess who usually ends up with the short end of the stick on this one.

    These are glaring indications that the antiquated Tinderbox has no plans other than to remain thus. Long gone is any hope that Tinderbox will harness the insight of user experiences (along with that of itâ??s developers) and leverage the improved capabilities of underlying technologies (e.g., OS X 10.5) to advance the (now stale) ingenuity of what has become â??Bummerbox 4.5â??. All prospective improvements and innovations of Tinderbox features have been neglected in favor of producing overpriced books and chintzy ports.

    The only remaining critical acclaim for Tinderbox is in regard to the incredible level of success their sales department has achieved. For despite an inability to hoodwink most people into buying such winkware, there was still enough talent to get the developers to buy into it.

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  • 2.0 stars

    "The Woody Allen of Outliners!"

    March 16, 2008  |   By asaffer--2008

    Version: Tinderbox 4.2

    Summary

    This review was originally posted on VersionTracker.com.
    Tinderbox is a bit like Woody Allen: kinda funny-looking, unconventional, but significantly more witty, deep and brilliant than any other comedy writer!

    Tinderbox's mind-map interface is more flexible and powerful than MindManager or Scrivener, it's outliner is more powerful than OmniOutliner, and it's searches and resulting actions are more powerful than OS X itself!

    The customer support from the developer is superb. Mark is a considerate genius.

    The trade-offs are that the interface looks pre-OS X, and the learning curve is steep.

    I resisted using it (and buying it) for a long time, and instead used Circus Ponies Notebook, OmniOutliner Pro, Inspiration, MindManager, and Scrivener. I don't use any of them anymore, now that I have Tinderbox, and I'm certain that I'm still only using 40% of the features.

    The price is offensive ONLY UNTIL YOU USE IT. I could not imagine making films without Final Cut, which is expensive but incomparable. I could not imaging retouching photos without Photoshop, which is expensive but incomparable. And I couldn't imagine drafting everything from complex email replies to short films to university presentations without Tinderbox.

    It is more than 'expensive but incomparable.' It is more than best-in-class. It is best in a number of classes.

    It is the best textual content organiser on any platform.

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Results 1-10 of 20

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Tinderbox for Mac