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Last post Author Topic: Micro-review: Scapple  (Read 19313 times)

superboyac

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Micro-review: Scapple
« on: April 03, 2014, 04:55:28 PM »
http://www.literatur...atte.com/scapple.php

I LOVE this program.  For me, it is the perfect brainstorming tool I've always been looking for.

It's easy to change the look of each element.  It's easy to put background shapes around a selection of elements.  It can export easily as images, pdf, whatever.  You don't need a "center" like most mindmaps.  It's easy to link things together with lines or arrows.  It's easy to do simple alignments of elements.

I've been looking for something like this for years.  I tried a whole bunch.  Things like Personal Brain are too fancy and complicated.  Mindmaps never worked for me at all.  Visio is too much and too hard to do simple things.  I settled on Edge Diagrammer (thanks mouser!) for a while because it was the easiest of those flowchart tools to use.  Regular notetakers and outliners are not freeform enough for brainstorming.

 :up: :up:

40hz

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Re: Micro-review: Scapple
« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2014, 06:21:38 PM »
Oooooo! Now that looks really interesting. I've generally found formal mindmaps only useful in specific limited situations - and most times an outline works better for me when I need to do that sort of thinking.

The Brain
I find virtually useless - whether it's because of the design of the program - or (more likely) my just "not getting it."

But this actually looks useful. Kinda like the sloppy balloon diagrams and 'comic book' dialog bubbles I tend to use when I'm playing a solitaire round of the glass bead game...

Grabbing the trial now.

Thx for sharing! :)

wraith808

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Re: Micro-review: Scapple
« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2014, 06:17:13 PM »
Yeah... I've been using that with Scrivener for a while, and it's great!  I plan to graduate to tinderbox eventually, but until I can justify that, this works.

40hz

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Re: Micro-review: Scapple
« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2014, 06:34:12 PM »
Tried it - and it seems to work with Linux under Wine too!

That's a big plus for me! :Thmbsup:


dr_andus

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Re: Micro-review: Scapple
« Reply #4 on: April 04, 2014, 06:35:03 PM »
There are also some free concept mappers out there, such as Visual Understanding Environment (VUE) (which I prefer) and CmapTools. Neither of these are hierarchical mind mappers, i.e. they do not force you to build a tree-like hierarchy. But they may not integrate with Scrivener as nicely as Scapple does, of course.

wraith808

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Re: Micro-review: Scapple
« Reply #5 on: April 04, 2014, 07:44:29 PM »
Oh... not looking for mind mappers.  More help in plotting and structure.  Which is the reason that Scapple and Tinderbox rule.  They are supposed to have the windows version out soon... so I might get it after NANY if I actually make it this year again.  Storyspace is another one that looks good, but is terribly expensive.

dr_andus

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Re: Micro-review: Scapple
« Reply #6 on: April 04, 2014, 07:54:04 PM »
I wouldn't call VUE and CMapTools mind mappers. I'd put them in the same category as Scapple, as they use free-floating nodes, and nodes can be linked to any other node but don't have to be.

That's quite different from mind mappers such as XMind, Freeplane etc., which force you to have a central node from which every other node follows (i.e. a hierarchical tree) and has to be linked to.

wraith808

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Re: Micro-review: Scapple
« Reply #7 on: April 04, 2014, 08:57:15 PM »
^ I never said that they were. :)

dr_andus

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Re: Micro-review: Scapple
« Reply #8 on: April 05, 2014, 04:12:26 AM »
Sorry, wraith808, I must have misunderstood you then. :)

Anyway, the reason I brought the concept mappers up was because superboyac said he was looking for something like that for a long time. I've tried Scapple a couple of times but it didn't manage to tempt me away from VUE. But it could be that I've just got too used to VUE's quirks...

peter.s

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Re: Micro-review: Scapple
« Reply #9 on: April 05, 2014, 01:00:38 PM »
"Sorry, wraith808, I must have misunderstood you then. smiley"

No, please, it's the other way round: Your mentioning of "VUE (which I prefer) and CmapTools" was more than adequate since Scapple

(I wrote of its sub-standard import/export features in some other forum, but was reprimanded to look at these missing features in light of its more than generous price, which I totally acknowlege, whilst on the other hand being willing to pay a little bit more ;-) if import/export features were amended)

is right on spot, since either of those, is NOT a "mind map" (i.e. hierarchical-only) tool, and that "free-form" style cannot be over-estimated: Anybody who ever tried to do visually-assisted thinking with some mind-map tool will be deeply in love with Scapple and any other such non-straight-outlining tool.

BUT THEN, would you be so kind as to give as some "mini-review" or similar, WHY you prefer VUE or CmapTools? You seem to have some experience with both, and after all, that's something quite better than to just look at some screenshots, as most of us here will probably have done, so your sharing your experience with both, and especially in comparison with Scapple (i.e. exluding Scapple's import/export, that's a given fact for now), would be highly informative for many dc'lers, myself included.

Let's banish careless "which I prefer" remarks: Kindly ask for giving reasons, so that other users/prospects won't have to go all those trialling voyages again and again, every one of them on his own?
When the wise points to the moon, the moron just looks at his pointer. China.

40hz

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Re: Micro-review: Scapple
« Reply #10 on: April 05, 2014, 02:06:20 PM »
About the only thing you need to remember when searching for, or getting into, this type of software is it's only a tool.

If you're not careful, it can become a thing unto itself - which usually translates into endless preparations to do some writing or deep thinking rather than actually doing any.

I've established a new semi-rule (is that a word) for myself. Unless something I'm already using isn't working; or I need some capability not being addressed by tools I already have - it's no new writing/ideation software until I complete at least one project I'm already working on.

No output = no new 'toys' to play with. It's a bit of discipline that's helped me out a great deal these last few years.

BTW, if you’re really in a rut, you can also try Joe Cartoon's Morning Affirmation Routine with help from his coach the Superfly):



  ;)
---------------------------

Note: I just finished up a project last month that I've been dawdling over for more time than it should have taken. And I don't find mind maps all that useful for the way I work. So those two things satisfy both criteria in my rule. Which is why I'm now allowing myself to consider Scapple and possibly Scrivener.
 8)

peter.s

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Re: Micro-review: Scapple
« Reply #11 on: April 05, 2014, 02:33:28 PM »
"And I don't find mind maps all that useful for the way I work."

Again, neither Scapple nor the two other applics mentioned by Andus above are mind map creators, and whilst not bothering you with replicating my lengthy developments of the difference between MM/outlining/horizontal outlining(Warnier) and then just scribbling ideas on paper, and putting them into various groupings/connections (I did that both in the UR and in the outlinersw fora), forgive me to contradict you, decidedly, on both plans:

- Scapple et al. (or sheets of paper) are in another category than MM/etc. (MM being for presentation purposes, above all other possible use)

- NOT putting down good ideas (be it on paper, be it wherever it goes), when not having finished some project, is just throwing three quarters of those ideas into the bin, forever, since later on, they will NOT present themselves again (or then, just in part, without also telling you their respective core connections, which might have been the much more valuable part of that idea); from this second point, you might deduct: have some "writing down" device ready everywhere (incl. your nightstand, in your car*, etc.); use it!; for Scapple-or-similar applics: have the respective files in IMMEDIATE access** whenever your pc's on.

* = the car aspect would mean, use some traditional device (like I do: I've got SEVERAL such Sanyo full-metal devices (= effect's like with a beautiful pen) with traditional tape, but alternatively, there are tapeless devices), NO iPhone, since even when you don't do/receive a call with it, just just it, in most European countries, you'll be in for a 3-digit euro fine if catched

** = by macroing, by loading with every Windows start... and that definitely makes a big part of Scapple's attraction, since it's lightweight (cf. Mind Manager, and cf. MM's hindrance of your thinking)

Lately, I even created an AHK macro (Alt-F8) that from everywhere, will create me a new, empty .txt file, within the fraction of a second (except for my typing the file name) in my standard folder, and (by default) beginning with "0" = "ToDo, unassigned yet" (or then, I change that into 1...9), to put down any idea I might get anywhere, without leaving my current applic frames (and I only get an error message when my idea will NOT have been stored behind the scenes).

I understand your point: Don't over-develop further projects, instead of realizing your current ones. But then, don't discard any possible idea for those further projects. Btw, that's differenciating a CEO (or then, his head of strategy) from his staff: He'll never have to wait fore implementation chores, before creating something new - and that's why maximized delegation possibilities, for creative people, are of utter importance.
When the wise points to the moon, the moron just looks at his pointer. China.

40hz

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Re: Micro-review: Scapple
« Reply #12 on: April 05, 2014, 02:50:25 PM »
"And I don't find mind maps all that useful for the way I work."

Again, neither Scapple nor the two other applics mentioned by Andus above are mind map creators, and whilst not bothering you with replicating my lengthy developments of the difference between MM/outlining/horizontal outlining(Warnier) and then just scribbling ideas on paper, and putting them into various groupings/connections (I did that both in the UR and in the outlinersw fora), forgive me to contradict you, decidedly, on both plans:

- Scapple et al. (or sheets of paper) are in another category than MM/etc. (MM being for presentation purposes, above all other possible use)


Um...I think I may have figured that much out already. Which is the main reason why I'm looking at it to begin with. ;)

-------------------
I understand your point: Don't over-develop further projects, instead of realizing your current ones. But then, don't discard any possible idea for those further projects. Btw, that's differenciating a CEO (or then, his head of strategy) from his staff: He'll never have to wait fore implementation chores, before creating something new - and that's why maximized delegation possibilities, for creative people, are of utter importance.

And...that really wasn't quite the point I was making. I was saying not to let the tool become the end rather than the means to accomplishing it. Regardless of whether something gets completed by someone, or simply delegated to others to further develop or complete, there is still such a thing as "superfluous preparation" to do something. Much like the person who is endlessly refining and improving his/her workshop, but somehow never getting around making anything with it.

The same goes for software. Many of these 'thinkertoys' can take on a life of their own if you're not careful. That was the point I was trying to make. 8)

superboyac

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Re: Micro-review: Scapple
« Reply #13 on: April 05, 2014, 03:34:40 PM »
I've been checking out the other recommendations here...

I still think Scapple is pretty unique, and mainly for it's simplicity.  Several of these other ones *can* do everything Scapple does, but it takes more clicks, more manual reading, more sorting through options/buttons/preferences.  And Scapple is not free, but very cheap $15.

I work with a lot of technical people where English is not their first language.  But they are highly intelligent.  The way we get through our ideas and conversations is with a lot of simple diagrams.  arrows and lines and boxes with text inside.  that's why I like Scapple so much, it can be used in practically real-time to do these kinds of things.  If it were, say, Visio...I'd have to sketch it on paper, take it to my computer, futz around with all the tools for a while, maybe an hour, and come back with the digital ketch.  Scapple...right there, takes a few seconds.  Bam!  

I'm even so crazy that I got super pissed at one point (as to the lack of tools I liked) and I started doing all these things in Autocad.  Scapple has already proved to be remarkably effective for me, I've been sending my brainstorms out the past week to my buddies, and it has been excellent.  I'm telling you, I f---ing love this program.

superboyac

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Re: Micro-review: Scapple
« Reply #14 on: April 05, 2014, 03:44:38 PM »
I've established a new semi-rule (is that a word) for myself. Unless something I'm already using isn't working; or I need some capability not being addressed by tools I already have - it's no new writing/ideation software until I complete at least one project I'm already working on.
This is something I am learning from guys like you as well.  As I mentioned, my search for tools like these led me at one point to doing it in Autocad.  Which only works for me because I am a total expert at it, not because it's a good way to do it.  But even then, it was still a bit de-spiring lol.  Like, the inspiration will hit, you try to go record it on the computer...and the tools destroy the inspiration (Visio, Personal Brain). Well, that's no good  :P!

Scapple b--ches!!  lol.

Brain RAM full-->Scapple (snapshot of RAM recorded)-->Flush RAM-->All information recorded, nothing was lost, Brain RAM free for new ideas.  Minimal stress/pain/time. 

40hz

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Re: Micro-review: Scapple
« Reply #15 on: April 05, 2014, 03:52:18 PM »
I'm telling you, I f---ing love this program.

Agree. :Thmbsup:  I just bought a copy last night. Didn't even wait for my trial to expire.

That's not something I'll do all that often. :)

superboyac

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Re: Micro-review: Scapple
« Reply #16 on: April 05, 2014, 04:29:50 PM »
I'm telling you, I f---ing love this program.

Agree. :Thmbsup:  I just bought a copy last night. Didn't even wait for my trial to expire.

That's not something I'll do all that often. :)
haha...same here!  I held out for like 5 days.

dr_andus

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Re: Micro-review: Scapple
« Reply #17 on: April 05, 2014, 05:49:50 PM »
I'm telling you, I f---ing love this program.

Well, since you're a lot more enthusiastic about Scapple than I'm about either VUE or CMapTools (though I like both), I'm going to play with Scapple a bit more. I agree that speed and ease of use is the critical factor with these kinds of brainstorming/concept mapping tools. I was pleasantly surprised to see that my evaluation copy still works--it looks like they only count the actual days it's being trialled.

40hz

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Re: Micro-review: Scapple
« Reply #18 on: April 05, 2014, 06:02:37 PM »
I also used to like a small program called Papel as a text grab bag sort of thing. It seems to no longer be in development and is now found on some of those less respectable shareware download sites.

IainB

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Re: Micro-review: Scapple
« Reply #19 on: April 06, 2014, 06:02:40 AM »
Also of possible interest in this context: StickySorter 1.0.1908.0 (I think that is the latest version issued).)
(It's apparently no longer supported/maintained by MS Labs, but you can still find it on the Internet.)

StickySorter is an affinity diagramming tool. Rather nifty. Can import/export from/to .CSV files.

wraith808

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Re: Micro-review: Scapple
« Reply #20 on: April 06, 2014, 11:28:24 AM »
"Sorry, wraith808, I must have misunderstood you then. smiley"

No, please, it's the other way round: Your mentioning of "VUE (which I prefer) and CmapTools" was more than adequate since Scapple

No, he was right on.  Perhaps not for your purposes, but for the purposes of the conversation.  I never said that VUE and/or CmapTools were mind mappers.  I only said that for my intents, I wasn't looking for mindmappers, i.e. his suggestions were cool, though neither were really what I was looking for, and given that Scapple integrates more tightly into what I wanted for writing, it was a better choice for me.

noutters

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Re: Micro-review: Scapple
« Reply #21 on: April 08, 2014, 03:18:56 PM »
If you like Scapple, you should try yEd Graph Editor
With yEd, you can also quickly generate high-quality diagrams. You can create diagrams manually or import your external data for analysis.
The best with yEd is the library of automatic layout algorithms to rearrange even very complex diagrams. :Thmbsup:
It is multiplatform and free.

Try it out and tell me if you like it.
More info at yEd main page

x16wda

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Re: Micro-review: Scapple
« Reply #22 on: April 08, 2014, 06:56:18 PM »
After an extremely brief look at both Scapple and yEd, I think I'll play with both some more. yEd seemed to do some things more intuitively than Scapple (for my brain anyway) but it had a busier look. Also there's that note in the license terms about "yEd can stick some objects somewhere in what you do that says you used yEd" (or something similar)... sounded a little odd, but it was clearly right out there in the open.
vi vi vi - editor of the beast

J-Mac

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Re: Micro-review: Scapple
« Reply #23 on: April 13, 2014, 11:42:53 PM »
Thanks for the review!

I use Scrivener (Sparingly so far, but I'm picking up usage as I become more familiar with it), and apparently Scapple can feed it to some degree. I just downloaded and installed the trial so I haven't gotten far into how they interrelate yet.

Currently I try to use OneNote 2010 for idea development, and while it is adequate for this it certainly isn't optimal. Scapple sounds (and looks) to be better for my use.

Thanks again!

Jim

peter.s

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Re: Micro-review: Scapple
« Reply #24 on: April 20, 2014, 02:14:07 PM »
"Um...I think I may have figured that much out already."

"There are also some free concept mappers out there, such as Visual Understanding Environment (VUE) (which I prefer) and CmapTools."

(Cf. my kind asking for some details on both, let unanswered.) With all due respect to both cited posters, and I use that term on purpose: If I had said,

"There are also some brilliant if comparatively expensive text processors out there, such as Word Perfect (WP) (which I prefer) and Word.",

you would have called me an impolite egomaniac/fool, and you would have been right.

I think that whenever several but similar sw categories are mixed up, one should have the right to remind ourselves of some differenciation criterion, and whenever a poster brings in such similar sw offerings, especially when they ain't as universally known as MS Word is, e.g., some details should be brought in, too, instead of just blabbing, and worse, of forcing really interested parties into finding-out-for-themselves, from start to finish.

Just compare the posts of some of us here, with such no-content posts as the above, left un-amended, and it will become clear as day to you that some posts are constructive, whilst others just steal your time, especially in light of the fact that their authors, even when kindly asked to improve them somewhat, remain silent, i.e. remain stuck on thair blabbing-only position.

At the end of the day, it's a matter of style, and a matter of mutual respect, and yes, I feel entitled to speak openly on this matter, with regards to MY communication style, which is not based on "see what I know" but on "here's what I happily share". Some younger posters here should perhaps think about that for some minutes. And again, on purpose, I happily add a

;-)
When the wise points to the moon, the moron just looks at his pointer. China.