TITLE: Looking for Tools to Manage Information Overload
AUTHOR: Eugene Wallingford
DATE: June 16, 2005 3:51 PM
DESC: I want to manage my burgeoning to-do lists and idea lists with a low-tech tool. A simple personal wiki may be my solution.
Now that I am taking on more and different sorts of
administrative tasks, I'm beginning to feel the load
of managing a large number of to-do items of various
urgency, complexity, and duration. I know that there
are "productivity apps" and "personal information
managers" out there aimed at just this sort of problem,
but I tend to be a low-overhead, plain-text kind of
guy. So I'm exploring some lightweight tools that I
can use to document, organize, and use all the information
that is rushing over me these days. Right now, I'm
looking at some simple wiki-like tools.
One tool I like a lot after a little experimentation is
a notepad that acts like a wiki. As a text editor, it
feels just like TextEdit or NotePad, except that
automatically create new pages and link to them. But
it also supports lots of other operations, such as
export to HTML (to publish pages to a server) and
scripting (to add functionality for common actions).
VoodooPad costs $24.95, though I've been exploring with
both free options: using full VoodooPad with a limit of
15 pages per document, and using
with unlimited pages but no scripting and limited
Oh, sorry for you non-Mac folks. VoodooPad is an
OS X-only app.
I'm also looking at
a cool little wiki that comes as a single HTML page.
everywhere. To start, you just save the TiddlyWiki
home page to your disk. Load a copy into your web
browser, and all of the content is editable right in
the browser. It uses several formatting conventions
common to other wikis for its text, but the result
is immediately live content.
At this point, I am perhaps more enamored of the idea
of TiddlyWiki than its usefulness to me. I really want
my productivity app to be as simple as a text editor
and support plain-text operations as much as possible
(if only via export). But what a neat idea this is!
Finally, and lowest tech of all, I am finding many
different ways to grow and use a
to meet my information management needs. However
much I love and use my laptop, there are times when
pen and paper are my preferred solution. With custom
products like the
do-it-yourself Hipster PDA planner,
I can be up and running in minutes -- with no