I’m a clutter person. This is not news to anyone who knows me. It’s ordered clutter, mostly, but sometimes not. This extends to my digital environment as well as my physical one; in addition to scraps of paper on my actual desk, I use a program called Stickies to mimic the behavior of Post-Its on my computer desktop.
Okay, make that “mimic the behavior of LOTS AND LOTS of Post-Its.”
The problem with Stickies is, well, it’s very basic. You can set color and font, and you can minimize each note down to a single line, but there’s no way to group related notes, or view only a certain set, or make sub-notes, or anything like that. Real organization is almost impossible with more than a few notes.
This fuels the clutter, and in a bad way; I have several notes that include include arcane command lines for doing this or that on our production machines, or for constructing elaborate SQL statements, for example, but they’re mixed in with notes listing books I want to remember to read, or links I should visit, directions to people’s houses not yet transferred to my Palm, or even half-written posts for this very weblog.
Yesterday, though, I found VoodooPad, a new and very inexpensive OS X tool ($19.95). The description on the site was very promising, so I downloaded a test version limited to 15 pages per file. Fair enough, I started playing. A VoodooPad document is a sequence of linked pages, which makes it very, very easy to organize little bits of information on an ad hoc basis. Creating a link is dead easy (I’m honestly not sure how it could be easier). I went from experimenting to actively moving my Stickies into it in about 2 minutes; by the time I hit the limit, there was no doubt I was giving them the twenty bucks, and now I don’t have fifty-eleven Stickies on my desktop anymore.
If you’re on OS X, DEFINITELY check this out. (Mohney, I’m talkin’ to you, too; it’s sort of like a hypertext authoring tool, but much easier to deal with.)