As to Capstone itself, it seems to me a wonderfully simple tablet interface. After rolling it around my head for a while I can't believe we ever ended up with grids of icons and widgets as the "desktop" of modern touch based devices. This nestable 2D canvas scheme (don't miss the jump links, no you aren't "trapped" by this scheme) feels intuitive and affords much power to the user that they can be fine to ignore or learn at their own pace. I find that reading these papers has influenced my desire for breadcrumbs on my tiling wm laptop setup in a way I can't currently figure out but I am making small progress.
I've long been interested in OneNote. None of the other major note software systems have seemed as good. I still, however, use vim and paper. This seems like a tool that could blow OneNote out of the water. A user could build OneNote's UI in Capstone in what looks like a little bit of minor fiddling. If OneNote is a modern take on paper, Capstone is a modern take on screens.
I would like a better word to sum up this idea than "screen" vs "paper" so please drop me some recommendations.
Screens = “views” or “data bindings” in the SQL or MVC sense, or “projections” in relational algebra. There’s data somewhere, and then, separately, you have a view into that data: a distinct, live object through which you interact with the data, which can have a UX optimized for a given use-case, distinct from the “objective” UX suited to directly displaying the data.
Capstone is sort of a spatial interface of view objects (rather than a spacial interface of literal documents, or a database-representation of view objects), which is novel.
I want to explain digital displays in a name that exposes the idea of dynamic use. Of reading/writing/drawing while simultaneously affording computational ability, execution and simulation.
So far, my best workflow is using the Remarkable to read books and papers. I write down notes with fountain pen and paper, and consolidate them on Emacs, in Org Mode using a Zettelkasten style. I would love to simplify this while keeping the essentials unchanged.
Local-first software: You own your data, in spite of the cloud (190 comments), https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19804478
Slow software (260 comments), https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=18506170
Muse: designing a studio for ideas (18 comments), https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19816189
I eventually reached for it while in the heat of a challenging debugging session with some colleagues, and was surprised with how much it helped me solve the problem at hand. It quickly stopped being a todo-list after this incident. Turned out my inability to articulate things effectively was not because I was stupid, but because I am a predominantly visual thinker.
The fact people are working on tools like this excites the hell out of me!
What I love about marker boards is the ability to freely draft and modify on the fly without worry. When I want to commit ideas to "storage", paper works best :)
These days, anything short term -> whiteboard, anything refined and meaningful enough for reusing later -> PC.
fwiw I came to a similar solution but it came in the form of a battery powered eraser and a big pad of paper.
erasure is the problem, not marking. a good soft graphite pencil and an electric eraser is my whiteboard ^^
The object/document dock in the middle of the screen on the hinge was a nice idea.
NextStep had Spectre. Wondering whether there is a nice, multi purpose object doch / visual clipboard for linux somewhere.
Actually, tagging is one of the things OneNote should do better.
It doesn't support hashtags out of the box so tagging means selecting from a list of predefined tags.
One of the things that really annoys me about OneNote (I'm a big fan of it though.)
It does support custom tags. I don't think there's a way to add custom icons, but custom tags are definitely a thing.
It always felt odd that the same app that reliably converted my handwriting to text a decade ago had a small, fixed number of tag slots and no ability to import icons. I remember thinking "well surely this was a v1, they'll improve it in later versions" but no, not even the tiniest change.
- internal links doesn't work on mobile.
- local shared folder mode doesn't work in later versions. This was brilliant for places that has restrictions on what they can upload to the cloud. OneNote could often replace internal wikis for smaller companies (in some areas it was even better) but now that becomes less viable as OneNote for desktop gets older.
It syncs with dropbox and allows automated filing into one of four types with a stroke of the stylus.
Best note taking implement I've ever used - and I used paper for years. This replaced it. I use it to teach my children new ideas, note everything down, test theories. Give it a shot.
Denis Diderot, Linnaeus, Dewey, John McFee, and numerous others have used this method.
Niklaus Luhmann's Zettelkasten (https://zettelkasten.de/posts/zettelkasten-improves-thinking...) and POIC -- pile of index cards (http://pileofindexcards.org/blog/cluster/ and https://unclutterer.com/2014/06/17/the-pile-of-index-cards-p...) -- are two models that help impose a structure on chaos. Hypercard was an attemp to map index cards to computeers, and influenced both the World Wide Web and Wiki, though digitisation both adds to and subtracts from the original physical manifestation.
My own card collection is approaching 10,000 cards, at roughly 1,500 per box, and where a card can hold about 500 characters, roughly 100 words (some do, many have fewer).
(Having read, and viewed the demo.)
... what's incredibly frustrating for me is trying to convey the scale of information gathering for research, as well as types.
I'm working with my own thoughts, experiences, Web references, and published works (both books and papers, as well as other forms). The quantities I'm working with are typical of academic researchers and writers whom I admire, whose bibliographies and notes may run 100 pages or more (and are often a substantial part of a book's real value).
Some earlier descriptions:
PoIC: Pile of Index Cards
Organising and planning research
What I keep seeing are systems that work at toy levels (a handful of items, occasionally a few dozen, rarely hundreds of items). And nothing in Capstone's collateral communicates anything differently. My console file and email tools can (and do) work with thousands and tens of thousands of items, though providing sufficient context, both static and dynamic metadata, is a challenge.
Email does slightly better by way of (searchable) headers -- From, To, Date, and Subject, but cruicially; In-reply-to and References. These are elements email inherited from early-20th-century office communications filing systems, with the referrence chain actually predating most other fields. Where a message fits within a discussion stream is often far more important than what it says. "We kill people based on metadata" as former CIA and NSA director General Michael Hayden said (https://www.nybooks.com/daily/2014/05/10/we-kill-people-base...).
(JoAnne Yates and James Beniger are among the few who've studied this field, a surprisingly interesting (to me) exploration of group communications and decisionmaking.)
A simple tool to view documents (in various formats; PDF, ePub, Mobi, djview, and sanitised, standardised HTML), look up metadata, and add this conveniently, would be a huge win. I suspect copyright concerns are a major hinderance.
For both thoughts and published works, context matters, though it's very poorly supported by existing tools, and is almost always tedious to add and verify. Dublin Core metadata is a good start (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dublin_Core). My principle Android eDoc reader, Pocketbook Reader, lacks even an 'author" field, and requires multiple steps and clicks to edit, correct, or verify information. (I've ... tried reporting this -- it also lacks a useful issues-reporting mechanism.) Another tool, Pocket Reader (entirely different, now owned by Mozilla) has ben a hot mess for years, though there's been a recent update I need to explore. My observation that it gets worse the more you use it remains distressingly accurate (https://old.reddit.com/r/dredmorbius/comments/5x2sfx/pocket_...).
(Reddit itself was something of a tool, though it's ultimately failed the test.)
What Capstone most lacks is a keyboard. I'm pecking this comment out with a stylus on an Android tablet for which I'd prchased a defective-from-the-start Logitech keyboard. Though compromised, operating near my 90 WPM typing speed, when needed is ten times faster than touch input (and increases screen space by a third to half). There is no available similar replacement keyboard -- the field apparently believes in constraining peripherals not only by mamufacturer and form factor, but to specific models and variants. A small bit of standardisation would go far.
See: Tablets and Keyboards
Tablets are useful for their portability and consumption. After four years of constant use, and for almost wholly self-imposed limitations by vendors, litle else.
Capstone seems to follow this trend.
Largely addressed in text and links above.
Index cards are close at hand, flexible, and low friction.
There is a lot of good stuff about this prototype (except it being built on the web stack - what??), I'm sure some people will find a minimal UI version of Prezi useful.
For me, I wish iPad had more control (customisable keyboard shortcuts for nearly everything) - not less. I am also really interested new physical devices for interacting with computers. I bought a Bluetooth footpedal for instance - I find it really useful to do certain simple things while freeing up my hands to do others (play guitar, draw, type, whatever)
Has anyone tried https://www.tapwithus.com/ ? Looks awesome
Suffix all my comments with "But yes, this was understandable in a research prototype".
Novice vs expert. The design seemed more oriented towards novice use, than the stated audience of creative professionals.
Short-term use vs ergonomics. Long-term intensive expert use prioritizes ergonomics. So while "toss off edge" to delete is useful fun, adding a "scribble out"-like alternative that avoids giant arm motion would be nice. And traversing to "toggle ink/erase" was ick. This felt an impoverished UI vocabulary, compared to what many creative professionals are familiar with.
User|content vs user|tooling|content. Experts "wear" tooling to interact with content, so tooling information is a legitimate use of UI display. There seemed a story here of user interacting directly with content, which combined with UI minimalism, degraded the tooling experience.
Content vs representation|content. Similar argument.
Hierarchy vs graph. I do realize some people like hierarchical organization - mind maps and such. I find it crippling. But it does avoid the challenge of doing dynamic graph layout while preserving user spatial orientation.
A metaphor of a zoomable static pin-board with almost no tooling... might be a sweetspot for some. But it seems limiting. Prezi with web capture and minimal tablet UI, seems still Prezi, and niche.
Tablet tech. Note the severe constraints of using current tablet tech. Cue "understandable in a research prototype". They mention exploring dials and buttons and pressure. But there's also tilt, and rotation, and 3D position from optical tracking. They mention tablet being distinct from phone and keyboard, and deemphasize text, when a keyboard could simultaneously be a multitouch/stylus tablet (with optical tracking, and a "slice of a ping-pong ball" to slide over keys).
Research vs future. This was UX research, and may well have been useful for the community of which it was part. But... just don't confuse this with what the future looks like. AR is coming.
And there seemed some unfamiliarity with related work and current tech (yes, pen holders are a thing; yes, OCR is a thing; ...). Which for research can be fine, or not, but is something for you to bear in mind.
I enjoyed the appendices page: https://www.inkandswitch.com/capstone-manuscript-appendices.... My takeaway is they got burned by the painful state of web/ink/gestures on android, and the degree of domain experience needed to not-entirely-lose there. Which truncated their intended exploration. The concept of an android tablet as a node/electron machine for inking... sigh. For non-trivial multitouch and inking, I regrettably don't know of any hardware/OS/drivers/apis/libraries stack where "it just works" isn't a joke. Maybe some native iOS?