Voodoo pad

Okay, so Amber and other Voodoo users, you have only yourself to blame. I now have questions, which I didn’t find answers to on the Voodoo forum. :slight_smile:

When VP opens a web archive it seems to take forever. It’s quite maddening. Is there an issue here I should know about?

And could I trouble you to answer a question about searching in VP? How does VP handle searches. If I put in a phrase, does it simply find all documents with that phrase or with the words in the phrase? It isn’t highlighting anything and I couldn’t really tell.

Is there a way to save searches (Scr. has totally spoiled me in this regard)?

Is there a way to search across documents? The latter is much more important to me if I’m going to have multiple documents instead of one big blob, like in DT.

How do you yourself use searches in VP? That is something I rely on heavily in DTP, since much of what I do is draw on things I’ve downloaded into it for research. DTP seems to allow for more control over searching than VP, but maybe I am missing something(s).

One last question–do you use VP or VP Pro, and if the latter, why? It allows for tagging, but you have to create scripts to use them, correct? Which I will never have time to do.



I am not even sure how you do that. I’ve always used Firefox, so webarchives are something that do not exist for me. I tried making one with Safari, and it won’t let me import it into VP, except as an embedded file which shows a screen allowing you to save it out back to the disk since it cannot do anything with it. See, the thing with a web archive is that it may contain hundreds of files, thousands; a whole web site. It totally breaks the metaphor in VP. So I am not sure what you are seeing. I could very well be missing something obvious though, like I said, I don’t really care for, or use web archives, so I am not very experienced with them. I’d much rather a directory full of the web site stuff. :slight_smile:

VP really is not a replacement for DT if you use it as a document collector, which is what it sounds like. It’s support for documents is rather slim. My comments on the other thread were specifically concerning brain-storming and note taking, from the viewpoint of someone is typing in their thoughts as they go and branching out; creating stubs (or just wikiLinks) to come back to later; and growing a personal network to conceptualise some larger idea. If I do want a bit of original source from some research, I use copy and paste, rather than whole document imports.

I do find VP much better at this sort of action than any other application. It feels very natural for that, but it isn’t really designed to be a document archival system. I use Boswell for that (which I wouldn’t recommend based on your usage of webarchives).

Searches are phrase based and partial completion. So “topo” will match a document that contains the word “topography,” but “topo masque” will not, but it will match “entopo masque.”

No search saving. That Scrivener application you mention is rather nice. :slight_smile: To reiterate, VP is really best at capturing your own thought processes, not collating and archiving bulk documents found through research. Its search mechanism is simple; meant to augment not innovate.

I use VP Pro, mostly for two reasons: The ability to script, and extra meta-data features. Unless you have the money to throw around, Pro is overkill for most people. Honestly, it was overkill for me too, so far. I still haven’t had the time to really take advantage of it – but I did want the possibility to be able to, so I figured I might as well upgrade all the way. It was only $20 for that.

I am not sure what you mean by tagging. Do you mean a specific meta-data block for keywords? I’ve never done that. I throw keywords right into the document in the top area. Then a regular search discovers them. Simple and effective! No scripting required.

Oh, and just to comment on another post you made in a different thread (I wanted to keep that one on topic):

If you want to get a feel for it, I really do recommend using VoodooPad Lite. There is no document limit. It doesn’t have as many features, but you can see what it is like to really lay out your thoughts in it. It is freeware, too. So if you find you do not need the extra features in the full version, there is no problem. The trial modes for the fully featured VoodooPad programs are there just to see if you really need the features. You can still load larger projects from your VoodooPad Lite sessions – you just cannot make new ones.

Amber, many thanks! That was very helpful. I had the web archives from things I exported from DTP, so normally, I don’t think that would be an issue. I can always copy and paste.

I agree with your assessment that VP is a brain-storming, development tool rather than a bulk ‘warehouse’ like DTP. The latter is really what have I needed up to now. I often find things on the web and I just want to dump it somewhere and move on–somewhere where I can find it easily later on.

But VP is intriguing to me, so I do want to keep playing around with it to see if it has a use for me. I may be needing less of the massive ‘dumping’ and more limited information storage, something I can organize and work with as I develop my thoughts and ideas, more like with VP. I’m just not sure yet, as things are evolving for me in that regard.

As for tagging, I noticed that VP Pro has the ability to assign meta-data. Your keywords idea sounds easier. I’m not interested in scripting, and I doubt that will change, given my limited time for such things.

I’ll give VP lite a spin to see how it feels. Thanks so much for your extreme generosity of time and thought in all matters, including this one!


Not a problem; I hope you find the right tool to accomodate your evolving use of the Mac. I am finding myself in the opposite position. I do not have an academic background, so I never had the need for massive research collection. But, in recent years I have been working on a non-fiction project which has been turning into a book, and I’m finding that I am doing a lot more research collection than I used to. I would not be surprised, though I would be amused, if I started using DTP more seriously in the next two or three years. I’ll probably just stick with Mori+VPP though. :slight_smile: So far that system hasn’t reached any limits.

Yeah, it’s interesting how our writing changes and evolves, isn’t it? I’m definitely moving away from academic writing, and my non-fiction writing is getting a lot more focused in particular areas, so my needs are changing. I also have fiction projects that I’d dearly love to spend some time on after all this hard-core academic work.

I’ve found Mori to be a bit too limited when I had a lot of need for different types of documents, which as I said may not be an issue so much now. But my work flow is changing due to Scrivener as well. I no longer store pdf files and the like in DTP, since I need them to be available to other programs like Scr.

So my work flows and my system are definitely undergoing change. Scrivener is, in fact, the only thing I’m sure of right now! And that’s just since this morning when I thought I had it all worked out! Ha!

But in reality, there has been a kind of undercurrent in my thinking about where I want the way I organization both my writing and my research materials. I’ve been wanting something more organic and more fluid. Maybe I’m just feeling the soon-to-be-freedom from academic restraints at work! Even though I’ve been very excited about my thesis, I’m VERY ready to start something new and break out of the constraints such a project necessarily places on me. Scrivener just came along at the right moment to help shake things up! And I have to say I’m rather taken with the concept of VP and its linking abilities. VP lite won’t do categories, and that was another thing I was really picking up on with VP. So maybe I’ll just have to get a license, eh? It’s not that expensive, and maybe I can get a student discount!


All this discussion has me curious. I had a huge pile of brainstorm/background/worldbuilding material for one of my novels in a wiki, which I really liked… I may have to check this out, because it sounds kind of like a wiki only not online.


[quote="But, in recent years I have been working on a non-fiction project which has been turning into a book, and I’m finding that I am doing a lot more research collection than I used to. I would not be surprised, though I would be amused, if I started using DTP more seriously in the next two or three years. I’ll probably just stick with Mori+VPP though. :slight_smile: So far that system hasn’t reached any limits.[/quote]

I’m curious how you use Mori and VPP together. I use Mori, and before it Hog Bay Notebook, in conjunction with Word, which I’m replacing (mostly) with Scrivener. What does VP do for you that Mori doesn’t? (for the record, I find that Mori’s inability to seamlessly export a collection of folders and files as one document, or one book, for a more accurate term, is a bit crippling).

Not just kind of like. Exactly like, at least as far as I can tell! :slight_smile:

Ah, I never said I was moving away from philosophy. :slight_smile: But I want to address a non-academic audience. I find academics to be intellectually stimulating and fun but often socially irrelevant, so that’s the change I find myself making. It’s more about whose my audience–not that I’ll give up the rigor in my thinking that I learned from academics. It’s been an amazing journey and I love what I’m taking from the many years I’ve been immersed in my academic studies. I’ve had the good fortune of attending excellent universities and being exposed to some truly wonderful thinkers.

But my original motivations have always been more about social change than serving the academic community. But that doesn’t mean I will give up philosophy or anything else I’ve studied! Perhaps you could say the application is what is changing.

I agree about the lite version of VP. I’m seriously considering purchasing the normal version as well. I will likely still have a use for DT. I don’t know how it will play out just yet. But I’m intrigued enough to spend the money and hope that I’m not going to own yet another piece of software I’ll find I won’t use in the end!


It has most of the same philosophical principles as a basic wiki. What it is missing are the sorts of features that make collaboration easy, such as a display/edit modality, and change history. But other than that it is just like having your own personal wiki without the latency and weird syntax.

If you dig around on the flyingmeat site, there is a plugin that will export your VP file to a very basic wiki web application. It is experimental, and one-way, but kind of interesting. And of course the pro version has a small web server built into it, so you can serve your VP file like a web site as you work on it. I have a documentation VP file at work that the office can access. It is read only, though.

My usage of Mori is pretty limited, and I think it might even become more limited because one of the main things I used it for was an outliner that could easily turn each node into a document. Scrivener happens to be very good at that. Because of the limitation in being able to easily combine a Mori project into a single document output, I mainly used it as a research collector for single documents. Kind of like a glorified Finder.


But, dear friends, is it worth it? I don’t mean philosophy, of course; I mean starting to work with Voodoopad when you’re already working with DT? Is it really worth it?

Anyway, I have taken a look at VP, and I won’t. With all its limits, DT is for me still clearly the best and especially clearly the most promising application of its kind. And besides that: I don’t like having my archive in one place and my personal (scientific) annotations in another place, as would be probably the case when I should start working with VP. When I make an annotation about the use of the expression secunda mors, second death, in some medieval author, I want to be able to check in a split second, and therefore within the same application, if and where this expression occurs in my archive. I don’t like at all the idea of having to start up different applications for consulting my archive and for making my professional annotations. And moving altogether to VP, with wife and children, burning DT behind me? After you, dear friends, after you!

All these modish applications with their wiki-piki’s or how they might be called are driving us a bit mad. And why? Because we all promise ourselves lamps of genius from their usage. We all think or hope they will make us see things we never saw before. In theory, this is certainly possible. But in common day practice, it is infinitely more illuminating and stimulating to read a excellent book about the things you’re interested in, then to start brainstorming with VP or one of its many brothers and sisters. Why? well, simple: because the author of that excellent book has already done that brainstorming for you.

Did one of you ever get one truly excellent idea while working with VP or with Tinderbox or with another similar application? And if you did, how many excellent ideas do you owe to them, and how many excellent ideas do you owe to excellent books, or to an advice of a very experienced colleague? About Tinderbox many tell magna et mirabilia, but nobody is able to explain in clear prose what exactly you can expect from this application. They just say Tinderbox is “so different from other applications” and “so wonderful”, that it’s difficult to explain its many blessings to common mortals. Well, I don’t believe in fairy tales. If nobody can explain me in ten pages of clear prose what exactly I can expect of an application, how this application works, then this application is not for me. In the case of Tinderbox, however, one thing is absolutely sure and very easy to understand: that every year you’ll have to pay $ 99 or so if you want to have the privilege to receive an updated version.

Ten pages? You already stated it quite well yourself. There is, within your mind and by extension of your mind, the tools that you use as a human, a method of execution (or one could also say, an execution of method). Your brain operates in a certain way, and you model your collected and created data in such a fashion to mimic that way. For you, it is the ability to collect and search for trivia to back up the assertions your mind creates.

Do you seriously expect this entire civilisation, in all of its permutations and possibilities, to all gravitate toward whatever system of execution you have fashioned from your exertions? Should the poet, who deals in the abstractions and wordless forms of thought, be admonished for seeking anything other than the search for fact in the annals of their DEVONThink archive?

Believe it or not, while there are common threads of consciousness based upon the biological limitations of our brain, we as humans will always be forever extrapolating and diverging from one another in our own unique paths, toward our own goals. The breaking off and clustering cycle of technique and discovery; habit and genius are common – but the methods in which we take to reach that inspiration are beautifully different. It is all too easy to cry mad when something does not fit your own model of thought; one might even say it is a biological imperative. Rising above that and recognising the wonder of diversity – now that is a challenge worth striving for.

Let one person find some great discovery within the pages of a tome, and another within the shifting visualisations of pixels; let some find their bath of Archimedes and others their shifting patterns of oil in a bottle of ink; let some find it in the archives of DEVONthink and others in the archives of Boswell; let some use one monolithic empire of data, and others a hundred complimentary fragments in the glass globe of a free-network association model. Who is to say which One method shall lead to certain greatness? I know I certainly shant.

The reason for this board is to share knowledge and discuss technique, so that we all may expand or contract as we our own selves see fit. If you have no wish to take part in this; if your methods have already been perfected for all time; then by all means, feel free to frequent the other boards on this forum which concern safer, less speculative grounds.


Amber, it seems to me that you partly misunderstood my message; or perhaps I didn’t express myself clearly. Anyway, I was not trying to defend monolithic conceptions of research, nor am I against the wanderings of the mind through God’s universe. What I was trying to say, is that people, and especially young people, nowadays tend to run in flocks behind “the shifting visualisation of pixels”, as you say, and forget to search the lamps of genius where they certainly can be found – at least if you’re able to see them. It’s always easy to say “let a thousand flowers bloom, we’re all different”. That is true and certainly politically correct, but in many cases also scarcely productive.

I am one of those who say: do you really want to succeed in life? Then choose yourself a true master, a true genius as a guide. Follow him (or her) for a long period, and try to learn from him, and to really understand why he does certain things in a certain way. And for all that time, try to be humble. And after that (but only after that!), try to go your own way. This is not a recipe for excellence; but it surely is an antidotum against painful mediocrity.

I am sorry, I thought we were discussing VoodooPad in this thread, not whether or not choosing a sage is a wise venture in life. Let us try to stay on topic. We can debate behaviouralism all day and that will never “prove” whether or not is a good idea to spend $20USD on a program that lets you jot down notes in a network fashion, or not. Come now.

I am sure your intentions are well; but in most forums this form of writing is referred to as trolling. I think most people know it is a good idea to read good books. That really has nothing to do with VoodooPad and whether or not is hopeless for anybody to ever learn it because it involves that new-fangled wiki thing. :slight_smile:

Amber, yes, I know that many people tend to experience similar messages as trolling. But that is mostly because similar messages confront them with their own shortcomings; and they would rather like not to be confronted with them.

I have no intention at all to troll anybody. I am not a provocative mind. The only reason why I say similar things, is that they are rarely heard nowadays, and that they could be of some use for some young person who has still to make some fundamental choices in life. That’s all!

But you’re right, let’s go back to VoodooPad!