20 December 2010

Organizing with Thoughtboxes

     Yesterday, my sister sent me a link to a new site that she thought I might like: ThoughtBoxes (www.thoughtbox.es). This website describes itself as "a simple tool that helps to organize your thoughts so you can make things happen" where, "You can keep track of just about anything, and share your thoughts with friends." After only using this website for less than an hour, I really like it.

     I signed up for the free account, which allows you to create two "trains of thought" (the paid version cost $25 and is unlimited). Within your "trains of thought" you create "boxes" and within those you create "thoughts." Pretty much, you're creating bulleted lists. I've just started to create one about a genealogy research trip I'm planning for this spring. You can click here to see it, or view the screenshot bellow:

     All of the boxes and thoughts can be edited or moved at any time. So if I wanted my Things to Take box to be in the left hand column, I could move it there. If I wanted to move St Michael's Church to the top of the Lexington County box, I could.  And, when I've completed the item, I can simply click the checkmark by each thought to indicate that it's complete.

     A great feature on this site is the ability to share my trains of thought. If you click on the link above, you'll be able to see the list, though you cannot edit it. And I can privatize individual boxes, while still sharing the majority of the train of thought.

     Now, this website is very new; according to their facebook page they went live on Dec 16th. I hope that as the site matures more features will be added. This is a great idea, but it's very basic right now. As it is, I don't see any reason to pay $25 a year for this site. However, if they added some of the following features, I'd highly consider it:
  • Another Level of Thought. For example: above I have the Lexington County Library as a thought in my Places: Lexington County box. I would love to be able to add multiple thoughts under the library, such as an address and books I intend to look for. Maybe this level could be called details? I really think this is a necessary addition.
  • More Characters. Right now there is a limit to how many characters you can type for the title of a train of thought or a box. I'd love to see this expanded.
  • More Information. I'd love to be able to add a description or summery to each train of thought that wouldn't have to go into a box. This would sit right under the title of each train of thought.
  • More Creativity. I'd love to be able to choose from a wider variety of colors or images when designing each train of thought. Right now I can't even upload my own avatar, let alone individual avatars for each train of thought or box. And could I pick my own background color or fonts?
    • Updated: I discovered that I can add a photo to a thought using basic html code (img src="address"):
  • More Socializing. I'd like to see multiple levels of shared lists. It would be nice if I could co-create a list with others and have anther option where people could add comments to my list. Also, team up with facebook and twitter so that I can share my thoughts with friends. Can I add photos from Flickr or Picasa? Maps from Google?
     Even without these improvements, I think the folks behind Thoughtbox have a great idea. I'll continue to work on my trip itinerary and hope to see the site flourish in the future. 


Unknown said...

It would be really nice to be able to search for people's Thoughtboxes. It seems like the only way I can find your shared Thoughts is by following links that you send/post.

Unknown said...

also, the .es on the site address that you were wondering about means that this is a site based in Spain

Matthew Stenback said...

Hey Valerie, great write up!

My name is Matthew Stenback, I built Thoughtboxes! :)

I'm glad you are getting good use out of it, and you make some excellent suggestions for ways that we can improve. As you mentioned we only launched a few days ago, but some of the new features you want are in the pipeline already and will be rolled out soon.

We're just getting started with Thoughtboxes, so hang in there!

Unknown said...

Hey Valerie! {Fellow Georgian here}

I use Google Tasks for the same purpose. It covers most of what you liked in Thoughtboxes, but it's not as "pretty". I love that it has an hierarchy with each item so if I'm working on a project involving many tasks, each task is underneath. Plus you can add a deadline and it will show up on your Google Calendar!


Ruby Craft said...

Hey Valerie! Can you add binoculars to the list of things to bring??? Thanks!

Jenny Lanctot said...

Hi Valerie! I'm glad you posted this. I'm planning a trip to the National Archives in March, and I've been trying to figure out the best way to prepare (my post-it notes were NOT working). I'm definitely going to give this a try!


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