Mark Bernstein, the author of Tinderbox, took a bit of offense yesterday when I called Tinderbox slow.

Okay, first of all, it's kind of crazy to compare NetNewsWire and Tinderbox. They're utterly different programs, with different purposes and different goals. It's kind of like comparing Excel and Safari because you can do math with either of them. Tinderbox is a unique brainstorming/organizational tool, and NetNewsWire is an RSS reader. You can use either of them for writing blogs, though.

Now, here's my main problem with Tinderbox for blogging (I really hate that word): I'm already running NetNewsWire 95% of the time. It's easier to pop up its editor then it is to start up Tinderbox. Unless Tinderbox wants to become an RSS reader (yeah, I know that it can import RSS, but that's not exactly the same thing to me; I don't see it tracking what I've already read), it's going to lose this battle.

But, the first 20 or so posts here were written with Tinderbox, before I started using NetNewsWire. Before that, I maintained a work to-do blog with it; its powerful searching and sorting abilities were really useful there. So, here's my other problem with Tinderbox: it's text entry box is slow after I get 5 or 6 paragraphs in it. In less then a screenful of text, it's too slow to keep up with my typing, and after that it just gets slower and slower. This is with Tinderbox 2.0 under assorted versions of Jaguar on a 550 MHz PowerBook. It's not the zippiest laptop around, but it's not a complete slug. On the document that holds my weblog, I can easily get it down to 2-3 characters per second in either Explorer or Outline views.

Strangely, on a new, blank document, doesn't exhibit this slowdown. I'm not sure what's up, my weblog is only a 140K Tinderbox document. I'll take Mr. Bernstein's advice and visit the Tinderbox techsupport page and see what I can do to speed it up later today.

But, even once we’ve worked through the speed problem, I’m still going to use NetNewsWire for writing here. And that’s okay; different tools for different jobs. Tinderbox is still really nice for organizing other types of information. If you haven’t seen it, then you’re missing out; it’s one of the most original programs that I’ve seen in a while.