Welcome to NoteMaker 1.3.4 and ScriptPlanner 0.99.6

pen and paper

for those who love making notes and for those who wish to microplan their screenplays

... and both are free*

ScriptPlanner is here to help screenwriters preplan their story-ideas. Volunteers with access to FileMaker 18, 19 or 20 and with an interest in screenwriting are invited to beta-test ScriptPlanner. Please fill out the Contact Form for a copy and be part of a small family of users who are testing the application.

MAKING NEWS: ScriptPlanner 0.99.6 Update Is Now Available for Beta-Testing (see Latest News for details)

REVIEW of Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon gen 11 has been revised (see Latest News for details)

CONTROVERSIAL OPINION PIECE: Is AI Good for Screenwriters? (see Latest News for details)

(Updated: 9:45 am, Saturday 6 July 2024 AEST).

Who may benefit from using ScriptPlanner and NoteMaker?


ScriptPlanner and NoteMaker help, allow and enable you to ...


ScriptPlanner and NoteMaker have limitations ...



 Time to have a look at ScriptPlanner's Event page ...

(Please note: the Event page and Character page — see the following screenshot — are where you most likely will spend most of your time in ScriptPlanner.)

basic workflow

Fig 1: Event page.

Some pointers regarding the image ...

  • it's easy to see ScriptPlanner is purely a database application (note the word, "records" in the top bar)
  • each event is equal to one record in the database
  • the row of popover buttons along the bottom of the Event page lead to environments to further detail the event
  • when the labels of the popover buttons turn blue the indication is that the environments on the popovers are in use
  • the list to the left is the directory of event titles
  • event titles in aqua-blue ("Tamara at Work as a Fisherman") make up the subplot
  • the arrows to the right of the event titles represent links with other event titles


 Time to have a look at the Character page ...

focused work area

Fig 2: Character page.

Some pointers regarding the image ...

  • the Beats popover button next to the character's name leads to a portal for listing the key moments in the character's life (before and) during the story
  • the tiny popover button to the right of the character name in the directory leads to the character arc (if active, a faint blue background appears as in Billy's case)
  • the Role Status field is accompanied by an embedded list comprising
    • protagonist
    • antagonist
    • primary character
    • secondary character
    • tertiary character
    • one-off character
    • prominent non-speaking role
  • the Profile popover button opens to a portal, which is fed into from the Questionnaire layout


 Time to have a look at the Questionnaire layout ...


Fig 3: Questionnaire layout.

Some pointers regarding the image ...

  • why there are 437 records is due mostly to the installation of preset questions and paraphernalia
  • the qualities and attributes associated with each character will transfer to the Profile popover on the Character page
  • Some other features are:
    • the Report button will go to a layout listing each individual character and their assigned qualities and attributes
    • the Find Non-Empty button will list only questions that have been answered
    • the Find Empty button will list only questions that have not been answered
  • The Search field works by entering letter-by-letter


 Time to have a look at the Expression layout ...


Fig 4: Expression layout.

Some pointers regarding the image ...

  • words learnt, clarified, compared may be listed here
  • phrases too
  • language used to inform, give wisdom, exemplify sentence structure may also be listed
  • add to the list other instances of language learning

Questions and Responses

Why ScriptPlanner?

As a data processor, ScriptPlanner's approach to planning stories is different to the way word processors — such as Word, Pages, LibreOffice Writer, Final Draft (and other excellent screenwriting software) — may handle this aspect of story-telling. Unlike with word processors, one cannot write a screenplay in ScriptPlanner; but it would be with great difficulty for any word processor to match ScriptPlanner's granular level of planning (not that that level of planning is necessary in many or most situations). Data processors are about records and fields — about a discrete collection (record) of itemised information (fields). In other words, ScriptPlanner is about providing organised layouts for data-entry in planning a screenplay or a TV/streaming series.

Is ScriptPlanner every screenwriter's dream?

No. Far from it: it could be a nightmare for some screenwriters. It comes down to one's comfort level in working with database systems. Databases tend to be "cut and dry" environments. To an extent, so is ScriptPlanner. If you love working with data processors as much as you do with word processors, then ScriptPlanner could become "a dream come true".

What is required of me as a beta-tester?

First and foremost have fun toying with 0.99.6. Secondly, use ScriptPlanner in the real-world scenario of planning an actual story you wish to eventually write up in Final Draft or in the software of your choice. Please test the application for at least three months or when planning for a story is completed — whichever comes first. Of course, errors of any kind must be reported immediatlely

What is the history behind ScriptPlanner?

Development of ScriptPlanner began about five years ago (it could be longer), but it was a project that received scant attention, the focus always having been on NoteMaker. It is only in the last six or seven months that all resources were put into accelerating ScriptPlanner's development. The effort was frenetic: metaphorically speaking, little time was taken to breathe-in air. For a stretch of 12 days a communication blackout was put in place to ensure minimal distraction. It's as if to make atonement for the years of neglect. Exhaustion reigned as testing was relentless to ensure errors are "as scarce as hen's teeth". Yet, errors may still remain because ScriptPlanner is far more complex than what it may appear. There are interconnections and dependencies among the components that touching something may cause ripples that travel far into hard-to-see nook and crannies. However, after all that, there is the wonderful result: ScriptPlanner version 0.99.6, is ready for beta-testing. Now, it's over to you, beta-testers, put it through its paces. Its future looks fantastic, why not be involved in making that future happen?

ScriptPlanner is designed for screenwriters, but to what extent can it be useful as a planning tool for novelists and short-story writers?

It's hard to say. Hopefully a wide variety of creative-writing enthusiasts may take to testing 0.99.6. Dedicated novel-writing software, such as Scrivener, offer superb planning environments, to the point that may make it unnecessary to resort to ScriptPlanner. However, having said that, ScriptPlanner is possibly more granular than Scrivener — and perhaps more importantly, the approach is radically different from Scrivener's, raising the possibility that novelists may take to preplanning with ScriptPlanner before planning and writing the novel in Scrivener.

Why use ScriptPlanner when, for example, Final Draft 13 has wonderful planning tools?

Without a doubt, the planning tools in Final Draft and other screenwriting software are superb. However, Final Draft's current v13 does not have a page template for each character's description and backstory; instead each character has a dedicated row in a spreadsheet, which over time may become cluttered. As a data processor, ScriptPlanner not only provides a page ("record", in database parlance) per character but also links to other internal environments to further delineate character. If you're a screenwriter and have access to FileMaker 18, 19, 20 or 21, please sign up for beta-testing and judge for yourself if ScriptPlanner is worthy of your interest.

Can ScriptPlanner ever replace, say, Final Draft?

Never. For one thing, a screenplay cannot be written in ScriptPlanner. Secondly, Final Draft's planning tools are symbiotic: ongoing planning and writing the screenplay go hand-in-hand in the same workspace (these in-script planning tools are called "Outline Elements" in Final Draft and they're nothing less than marvels).

In the highlights column, "storyboard" is listed. What's that about?

A container field (for an image) and a text field (for a caption) are the primary components for each of ScriptPlanner's storyboards.

In the highlights column, "character modelling" is listed. What's that about?

Often the characters we create are composites: partly, mostly or wholly based on another human being personally known, based on a human being not personally known to us (people making the news, for example) or based on a fictional character from a novel, film and the like. Or a mixture of two or all three of the foregoing. The Modelling popover provides the opportunity to make explicit those influences in character formation.

In the highlights column, "subplot" is listed. Tell us more, please.

Nearly every story has a subplot of one kind or another, either within the main story or running alongside it. ScriptPlanner has the facility to designate an event as part of a subplot and track it. Confliction arose as to whether or not to have another facility to monitor a second subplot strand. The "jury" is out on that one. Feedback from beta-testers may decide the issue. For the moment, one subplot strand may be considered — right or wrong — to be enough.

In the highlights column, "Event dividers" and "Act structuring" are listed. What is the difference between the two markers?

When a group of events or scenes are sectioned off, it's normally for a reason. You may be abiding by one of several Act templates (eg,the common "beginning, middle and end" structure). Dividers, on the other hand, may be used to group events or scenes for any reason you wish.

In the highlights column, "carryovers" is listed. What is meant by that term?

A carryover is anything meant to be carried forward from one event to another. For example, a character receives a wound in the current event, that wound for that character may be tabled for a future event. The carryover list is simply a method of "keeping in mind" the changes made to a character or to a situation that may be relevant to a future event.

In the highlights column, "dialogue segments" is listed. Can you expand on what is meant by "dialogue segments"?

A popover exists in ScriptPlanner called "proto-scripting dialogue" (whose button is labelled Scenario) where screenwriters can create clusters of dialogue and action paragraphs for an event. It's almost like a "practise run" for scripting.

In the highlights column, "series and episodes" are listed. How are these planned in ScriptPlanner?

A series comprises episodes. To plan a series, designate events as episodes. Thus, each event is equal to one episode. A series may be given overall planning on the Plan popover and each episode can be preplanned on the Moment-by-Moment popover.

So, finally, who are likely to take to ScriptPlanner?

Not many because three preconditions must be met. One, ownership of, or subscription to, FileMaker 18, 19 or 20 and, two, after having such access, for one then to be a budding screenwriter. Given FileMaker is a database-creation platform oriented to business systems, it's not a high probability that creative writers may have been drawn to owning, or subscribing to, FileMaker. Finally, three, once the first two preconditions are met, the next hurdle is that a screenwriter would have to try ScriptPlanner 0.99.4 and then decide if the design meets the highest aesthetic standards and if the functionality is useful enough to warrant continued interest. Due to meeting the three preconditions (especially the first two), the take-up for ScriptPlanner isn't predicted to be great. However, what's important in these kinds of situations are not the many, but the few: the few who connect to ScriptPlanner's look (design), workflow (methodology) and rationale (underlying philosophy) and generally find it a wonderful environment to be in. Again, testing the beta version is the best way to find out if ScriptPlanner is sutiable for you.

Databases are created for solving problems. What problem does NoteMaker solve?

NoteMaker attempts to make writing notes that are highly searchable and easy to link and group.

Is NoteMaker easy to learn?

Its basic worklow is as easy as 1-2-3: click the New Note button, (1.) fill in the heading, press Tab, (2.) select or formulate a collection label, press Enter, and finally (3.) write the note

Should I use just the one file for all my notes?

It's convenient to keep everything in the one place. On the other hand, it could spell clutter. NoteMaker's facility for collection labels (see sample across) and (new to 1.1.8 update) collection sub-labels are "tools" to help manage all your notes in the one file.

What if you have over 1,000 notes? Surely, labels will fail.

Surprisingly, they won't. Labels and sub-labels are a powerful 1-2 partnership. Combined with Saved Finds and Recent Finds, a thousand notes and many times more can be managed in the one file without feeling you're in a cluttered environment.

If all in one file, what name is suggested for the file?

"My Notes" or "My Notebook" or any other generalised yet descriptive title you see fitting.

How does NoteMaker compete with other note-making programs?

It doesn't. NoteMaker approaches making notes in its own way. Some people will take to the approach and others won't. NoteMaker's approach centres on being a data processor rather than a word processor.

In what way is NoteMaker specially helpful to students?

NoteMaker has an exposition called Essay Paragraph Construction (EPC) theory that, coupled with detailed examples, may help students write more effective standalone (or essay-ready) summaries.

So NoteMaker isn't for everbody, only students?

The part of NoteMaker dedicated to students is only a fraction of the coverage offered by the application. NoteMaker is a general-purpose application, intended for all who love making notes.

ScriptPlanner Highlights

Features include:

Please fill out the form below to request a free copy of NoteMaker or ScriptPlanner

Once the request is received, a copy of the NoteMaker or ScriptPlanner file will be emailed to you as an attachment.

Copy or move the file to the desktop (the file is not the app and as such needs no installing — it's the installed copy of FileMaker 18, 19, 20 or 21 that will enable the file to act like an app).

Launch FileMaker 18, 19, 20 or 21 ... and from its File menu, click the Open command.

Find the NoteMaker or ScriptPlanner file and single-click it to select it and then click the Open button on the FileMaker dialog.

On the opening screen, click "Sign In as Guest". Once in, click the New Note button for NoteMaker or click the Project option on the Welcome dialog for ScriptPlanner.

That's it, you're good to go. Enjoy using NoteMaker or ScriptPlanner!

(Many thankyous to Google for making it easy to create the structure for a workable contact form).

Thank you for visiting NoteMaker (and ScriptPlanner)!

keep writing, keep making notes, keep learning (and keep being wonderfully creative by planning story-ideas for screenplays)


Thank you to:


Revised again and reposted 6 July 2024 AEST (previously posted 23 November 2023 and 30 June 2024). Review of Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon GEN 11 (vs GEN 6)

(Please note, the model under review is the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon gen-11 which has Intel's i7-1355U processor, 32 GB RAM, 512 GB SSD and a 1920×1200 non-touch screen).

Both GEN 6 and GEN 11 are beautiful all-black machines that have outstanding military-grade build-quality and are ultra-light (weighing in at 1.12 kg) and — at 14" — ultra-portable. (Please note: as at June 2024, X1 Carbon is now — and has been for a few months — gen 12).

The ports in GEN 6 and GEN 11 are similar: 2 x Thunderbolt 4 ports; an HDMI port; a headphone/microphone jack and 2 x USB type A ports for connecting to a mouse, printer or flash drive. To have six ports from an ultra-thin laptop is quite a remarkable feat.

Under the hood is Intel's i7-1355U processor. It more than does the job for word processing, spreadsheets, databases, web surfing and for many other tasks expected of an office and general-purpose machine. Compared to GEN 6's i5 processor, the i7, in terms of loading software to the screen, can be up to twice as fast. But that is to be expected considering they are five generations apart. (Speed matters and sometimes the wish is to have gone for the i7-1365U engine, which is 7-to-9 per cent faster than i7-1355U, but that's by the bye now). It's wonderful to see how almost instantly i7-1355U (with its embedded cache) opens LibreOffice Writer and Microsoft Expression Web 4. Though opening an 85-page Final Draft (screenplay) file varies between a lengthy 10 and 12 seconds, nonetheless it is better than GEN 6's i5, which varies between 12 and 18 seconds. Complex FileMaker (database) files open in about 4 seconds, while the i5 opens them in roughly 6-to-8 seconds. However, it's more in other respects that i7-1355U (with its embedded GPU) shows how considerably faster it is over GEN 6's i5 in, for example, redrawing YouTube thumbnails and in loading YouTube videos. Overall, GEN 11's i7-1355U is considerably faster than GEN 6's i5, resulting in responses to clicks being snappier.

The aspect ratio 16:9 in GEN 6 has wonderfully changed to 16:10 in GEN 11. Given both are 14" diagonally, the 16:10 makes for an overall larger screen area. Because 16:10 increases the height of the workspace by about a precious centimetre, this aspect ratio may be appreciated by writers. 16:9 YouTube videos show up nice on 16:10 with only a centimetre-wide black strip above and below the video. It's puzzling why approximately two decades ago a sudden switch was made from the 3:2 screen aspect ratio to 16:9 for what appears to be the primary reason of accommodating internet-sourced 16:9 videos that were at the time showing the first signs of rendering reasonably well on computer screens. Welcoming are trends showing laptop manufacturers returning to 3:2 or introducing the in-between 16:10.

The reduction in bezel is aesthetically pleasing. The bottom bezel is almost 50% less than GEN 6's. The top bezel has been reduced by about 20-to-30 per cent. The side bezels are about the same as their counterparts in GEN 6.

Screen clarity and brightness in GEN 11 (400 nits) is significantly improved over GEN 6 (300 nits). The difference is truly noticeable — and appreciated.

The keyboard in GEN 11 initially caused trepidation among the X1 Carbon community fearing rumours of a reduction in key travel from 1.5 mm to 1.35 mm. (Key travel is the distance a key needs to be pressed before a character appears on the screen — the longer the travel the better). Previous ThinkPad X1 Carbon keyboards have been widely considered to be the best in the world on a 14" laptop. The good news is that though key travel has been reportedly reduced on some of the other machines in the ThinkPad range, such is not the case with the X1 Carbon gen-11, which still stands at 1.5 mm (it appears that Lenovo wisely did not desire to interfere with an X1 Carbon keyboard that has reached legendary status among afficionados). One thing for sure though, the GEN 6 keyboard feels better: the edges of its keys are more rounded and it appears perhaps that its keys have greater surface curvature. However, random un-timed testing shows that speed-typing on either generation is roughly equal.

Sound quality from GEN 11's four speakers is superior to GEN 6's two speakers.

Thankfully, the iconic red nib near the middle of the keyboard is still with us. Though it doesn't have the immediate dynamism that the trackpad has, it still does what needs doing (some afficionados actually switch-off the trackpad as sometimes it is accidentally touched, causing the cursor to be misplaced). But more importantly the trackpoint (ie, the red nib) has enormous symbolism and historical value dating back when IBM owned the ThinkPad product line. Without the trackpoint, a ThinkPad is just another laptop and Lenovo risks dissipating the affection afficionados have for their all-black machine with the little red nib at its heart. By the bye, the trackpoint has become a metaphor for quality. (One of the little miracles is how the red nib never gets in the way of typing — on a minor scale, that in itself is an engineering marvel). Perhaps Lenovo may consider changing the nib colour as a marker for each new generation of its X1 Carbon series: for example, next year's gen-13 may have a yellow nib and the 2026 gen-14 may have a blue nib and so on. That way, each generation is easily identified.

Generally speaking, Lenovo has to be careful making changes to its premium business and general-purpose machine. Specifically, and at the symbolic level, it would be disastrous should Lenovo ever consider ridding the iconic trackpoint. The uproar from afficionados would be deafening.

The camera still has a physical (and necessary) privacy shutter (which by the bye was first introduced in GEN 6).

IN CONCLUSION. The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon gen-11 is a beautiful all-black machine. Though the GEN 6 works fine to this day (5 July 2024), very few who have bought and used GEN 11 would ever want to go back to GEN 6's 16:9 screen aspect ratio for writing tasks, productivity work or creating apps (with, eg, FileMaker). Nor would one necessarily go back to GEN 6 for viewing YouTube videos as they're just fine on 16:10. GEN 11's screen is brighter, sound quality is clearer and all six ports are still there, plus the iconic red trackpoint. Key travel thankfully remains at a comfortable 1.5 mm. The i7 processor in GEN 11 makes everything snappier than GEN 6's i5. If you're still with GEN 6 — and can afford to — the feeling is that you won't regret going to GEN 11, though admittedly GEN 6 is still a remarkable laptop, which is a credit to the build-quality of the X1 Carbon line of products.

POSTSCRIPT. The ThinkPad X1 Carbon for a few months now (up to and as at July 2024) is in its 12th generation. This latest version shows some notable improvements. However, the trackpad has been made considerably larger and some of the ports have been reallocated. It bears repeating: careful consideration needs to be given before making changes to the X1 Carbon. Changing 16:9 to 16:10 (in gen-11) — wonderful and much needed. Enlarging the trackpad (in gen-12) — questionable.

WISHLIST FOR GEN 13. One, to increase the screen diagonal from 14" to 14.5" (perhaps even to 15"). The 16:10 aspect ratio makes the increase possible while still maintaining closeness to the compactness and portability of the 14"). Two, reduce the size of the trackpad back to that of GEN 11's, thus reducing accidental palm-contact with the trackpad when typing or when using the trackpoint. And three, just for fun and also as a generational marker, change the colour of the trackpoint from red to, say, yellow.

Saturday 15 June 2024 AEST. ScriptPlanner Already Moving Towards 0.99.7 Update

Some changes and corrections so far are:

MESSAGE TO BETA-TESTERS. Please read the User Manual with an eye to spotting errors in expression. It isn't expected you would read the User Manual from beginning to end — it's far too long for the likelihood that would happen or for doing so to be necessary — but over time, section by section, please have a willingness to reference the User Manual and to make known any passage that doesn't seem right or make any sense.

Friday 14 June 2024 AEST. ScriptPlanner 0.99.6 release

ScriptPlanner beta-version 0.99.6 is now available. The focus of the update has been on the User Manual.

For Beta-Testers to consider: given many screenwriters out of professional pride are averse to overusing language aids, should ScriptPlanner's modest Intelligence Module (IM) not only power the Scenario portal but also power other portals and fields?

4th revision: reposted Thursday 13 June 2024. Superficial Review of Latest Claris FileMaker, Version 21 (aka Claris FileMaker 2024)

FileMaker is remarkable for the way it has been put together. It's an all-in-one. Design tools help create the facade (front-end) of your application, its incredible programming languague provides the logic and at the back-end is a huge storage capacity for data. It's a hobbyist's dream come true: create your data-processing projects in no time relatively to doing the same with, say, C++ in an IDE. What data processor can't be created in FileMaker? The widely held belief is that the FileMaker platform is for creating databases and database systems for businesses and organisations — but have a look at maverick data processors such as NoteMaker and ScriptPlanner to see what else can be done on this remarkable platform.

Since version 19, FileMaker has embarked on a mission to ramp up its presence in the digital world. Claris, owners of FileMaker, have retooled their superb database-creation software to enter a brave new world that is filled with flourishing new technologies, connectivity to this hub and that hub — and fearsome competitors. The latest version, 21, recently released, brings in, yes, you've guessed it, artificial intelligence. So, on top of taking its main clientale, the professional developers — (mostly self-employed or in businesses of their own) who create systems for enterprises — to a greater presence on the wide world of the internet, Claris is now bringing in some AI. Claris is trying to make its professional developers more competitive in an increasingly competitive world-wide marketplace.

For some small-time hobbyists, however, who create near-self-contained (perhaps innovative) data processors for sharing on local hard or solid state drives, there isn't much to be too excited about v21.

A cursory look at the new features and improvements from v21 shows the emphasis remains with further enabling distribution and connectivity of FileMaker solutions to the cloud, to network servers and to mobile devices and also with creating more functional webpages (note the inclusion of json functions). For those small-time hobbyists left behind on v18, such as those building NoteMaker and ScriptPlanner, the language used since and including v19 has become ever more incomprehensible. Some small-time hobbyists have a wishlist that appears to remain unfulfilled: a makeover for the ancient-looking Custom Function dialog (to bring it in line with the modernised Calculation dialog) and colouring comments in the Calculation dialog to help declutter the coding space. For some small-time hobbyists, these are the kind of nitty-gritty things that may mean more to them than empowering FileMaker into the dgital stratosphere.

Nonetheless, Claris has no choice but to pursue its current course because not only is it facing severe competition from Microsoft's ubiquitous Access and from internet-based database-creation platforms that allow subscribers to create systems by merely clicking and picking, but it is also facing fierce competition from the "big guys" in the industry, such as SAP, who are encroaching ever more on what had been FileMaker's major space: the small-to-medium businesses and organisations. FileMaker is fighting for its survival in an ever crowded global marketplace  — and thankfully it seems to be doing well. Those of us left behind on v18 and who love FileMaker only hope that FileMaker — along with its professional developers — continues to succeed in being competitive in delivering solutions to the perennial problem faced by enterprises from around the world — that of managing resources.

CONCLUSION. FileMaker is a superb piece of software with which may be created databases, database systems and data processors (applications). It has it all for doing this. It's a hobbyist's dream come true. But since v19 it has become serious in making itself felt on the digital world stage, resulting in a shift in focus mostly away from providing script steps and calculation functions for developing data processors in and of themselves to script steps and calculation functions enabling greater deployment and connectivity. Some small-time hobbyists who only wish to create non-business-oriented data processors for local delivery to a computer's hard or solid state drive are left behind.

PRE-TESTING* RECOMMENDATION. If you are building free data processors for delivery to local hard and solid state drives, you may wish to stay with v18, which is perhaps the last version before the big leap forward began with v19. If you have greater ambitions in respect to deployment and connectivity, it may be worth considering downloading the 45-day free trial of v21.

(*Please note: this superficial review is not based on having tested v21, but is based on selected YouTube videos and what information has been gathered from visiting the Claris FileMaker website).

(Good news for delivering NoteMaker and ScriptPlanner to owners and subscribers of v21: the file format remains .fmp12).

Wednesday 5 June 2024 AEST. ScriptPlanner 0.99.5 Update Now Available

ScriptPlanner is becoming stronger with every update and this one is no exception. Many thankyous to testers who have provided feedback. Your reports and suggestions are making ScriptPlanner better. Below is a list of changes and corrections that have been made since the previous 0.99.4 release.

To Beta-Testers ...

REVISED THRICE AND REPOSTED Tuesday 4 June 2024. Controversial Short Essay on AI, Screenwriters and Final Draft

Once upon a time in Hollywood a long strike by screenwriters took place. One of the strikers' concerns was that producers may start to have AI bots write scripts, thus reducing opportunities for human screenwriters. Such is the awe before AI.

However, on a micro-scale, another source of concern may be the adoption by screenwriting software of AI, which may offer suggestions for rewrites of individual action paragraphs and dialogue. Some screenwriters may say "thank you". But there are a few others who may say "no thanks". AI embodied in screenwriting software is trickier than "AI? Oh, wow, yeah, please come on board and help me write better". The problem is screenwriters are creative writers. You're the creator of your story, this is your world, you're the master of language no matter at what level may that mastery be at any one time in your development.

By all means, let AI capitalise the first word of sentences in action paragraphs and dialogue. Let AI capitalise character names wherever they may appear in your screenplay. And let AI point to possible misuse in word usage or errors in grammar. Most welcome. But Final Draft has encapsulated some of this AI stuff in the form of its Macro utility. Though buggy for Windows users (correct to 2 June 2024 — the workaround is to click the OK button on the Macro utility at the start of every writing session), nonetheless, the Macro utility allows you to create intelligence. For example, you may "programme" the Macro utility to convert "your the" to "you're the" should that be a common error for you. It's easy to automatically capitalise character names as they appear in action paragraphs using Macros just as it is easy to automatically convert " i " to the personal pronoun " I ".

The point, however, is having an AI module suggesting chunks of rewrites: a state of affairs whereby artificial intelligence may potentially substitute for human creative intelligence. Theoretically, no one writes your created world better than you. Sure, once you hand over your screenplay to producers, it may very well be torn apart with rewrites. Film is a collective art, and a screenplay has to go through a process of going from one human hand to another (producers to directors to actors and then back to producers, directors and actors for possibly more rewrites). However, this is different to allowing AI to in effect rewrite chunks of your screenplay while you're creatively writing the screenplay. Writing screenplays is not about writing better but about writing truer to story.

Do you understand your character's dialogue better than AI? Of course you do. So why compromise your self-confidence by even looking up suggestions for rewrites by AI? Sure, Final Draft's version 13 upgrade was a little on the disappointing side of things but not because it didn't include AI but because after nearly three years of hibernation it came out with some wonderful improvements but no new feature to shout home about (the opportunity was lost, for example, for a fully featured design board for floor-planning sets and mapping-out locations to help screenwriters to more accurately orient characters to environments).

Say even if your writing could be "better", you make it better, do drafts, as many as it takes, involve your trusted human collaborators who share your story conception, to get the dialogue true to character and to get the action paragraphs true to how you envision them happening. It's called fine tuning. Polish, polish and polish until a rock is as smooth and shiny as a diamond. This is the hard yakka part of the creative process when inspiration dies down a little and (too often) laborious revision upon revision takes its place.

In conclusion, never forget you're a creator of emotional worlds and that's a gloriously wonderful thing to be. Make mistakes in the process, struggle with dialogue, descriptive passages, character development and story progression — all screenwriters do — but think twice before handing over any part of creative input to AI. In a strange case of irony if we accept AI in our screenwriting software, are we by chance giving indirect justification for producers to go the whole hog and have AI complete a story from beginning to end? If screenwriters use AI to rewrite an action paragraph or dialogue here and there, by what standard may screenwriters tell producers: "hey, please don't use AI more than we do"? It could be important to show AI can never equate with human creativity. And perhaps in the end the best upgrade feature of Final Draft v13 is that it didn't include an explicit AI oversight module. It comes down to a cliche which too often becomes a truism: "be careful what you wish for". No question generative AI is the future, the question is should it be the future for creative writers? The answer will ultimately be as individual as screenwriters are individuals.

REPOSTED Monday 3 June 2024. The "Scourge" of Spelling Errors

Some 20 words have been found in the User Manual to have been spelt incorrectly. Many apologies for this happening. There is an explanation. The environment wherein the User Manual is being written does not have a spell-check facility (as this environment, Expression Web 4, doesn't either). Normally, the contents of the User Manual are transferred to an environment where there is a spell-checker, but doing this has been neglected. Again, apologies.

To Beta-Testers, please become ScriptPlanner's ongoing spell-checkers. If you spot an error in spelling or grammar, please make it known. If it's in the User Manual, state the section-heading, the paragraph and the word. For example, CHARACTER ARC, par 1, "vulnerablility" should read "vulnerability". Should spelling errors escape detection and correction when ScriptPlanner reaches the milestone 1.00 version-release, please remember this: it may not be an exaggeration to say the credibility of ScriptPlanner could be in jeapordy from just one spelling error. Please be vigilant. True, the User Manual is a long document, and Beta-Testers are not expected to read all of it but perhaps only sections that are of current interest. Still, if an error is found, please make it known. No spelling or grammar error is too small to ignore.

Strange question to ask ... but which is more damaging to a software's reputation or authority: a few minor bugs that experienced users kind of expect — rare as hen's teeth is the bug-free software — or a single spelling error that is unexpected?

PLEASE NOTE. The word, "confliction", is used many times in the User Manual. However, it has been marked as a spelling error (or at least as a word unknown). Why not then use the word, "conflict", instead? A decision has been made to keep "confliction". "Conflict" connotes an external dispute between two or more parties (or persons) over an idea, territory, etc. On the other hand, "confliction" connotes an internal tension or struggle either within a single individual or between parties (or persons) on the same side. Therefore, it is unnecessary to raise this word as a spelling error.

Tuesday 14 May 2024. ScriptPlanner Progress Outstanding

In both functionality and design, ScriptPlanner is becoming more and more the goods. Without a doubt it has the potential to appeal to many screenwriters in need of a comprehensive planning tool.

Reposted Tuesday 14 May 2024. Workaround When Status Toolbars Don't Show on Event Page

When ScriptPlanner 0.99.2 is exited from, say, the User Manual and when later the application is launched, it will show the Event page but not the Status toolbars. This anomaly has been fixed with 0.99.3, but for those currently on 0.99.2 the workaround is to go to the View menu, click on Go to Layout submenu and select User Manual. Once on the User Manual layout, click the Event button. This action will take you back to the Event page with the Status toolbars showing.

Monday 13 May 2024. ScriptPlanner Becoming Ever-More Robust

With every error corrected, with every improvement in design and functionality and with rigorous testing, ScriptPlanner is becoming better and stronger. The latest improvement is in the designing of the instant (letter-by-letter) search fields. All now are on the header of layouts and their Clear (x) buttons are embedded inside the fields. All these search fields have been reduced in width. Consistency in design has been the focus of this round of improvement.

Monday 13 May 2024. Disappearing Cast Fields on the Questionnaire Layout

Inexplicable things do happen that have no apparent cause. Suddenly on the Questionnaire layout a random choice of Cast fields disappear (roughly one in every 10 to 25 rows). The solution was found accidentally. The irony is this: a mysterious bug-like thing happens and a solution is easily found yet why the solution works is just as mysterious as the cause of the problem in the first place. Sometimes shrugging the shoulders is the only response in all of these kinds of anomalies.

A NOTE TO BETA-TESTERS: any anomalies that interfere with the smooth operation of the application, please report as soon as possible using the Contact Form.

Friday 10 May 2024. Error: New Event's Order Field Duplication in ScriptPlanner Beta 0.99.2

A slight error has been discovered when the New Event button on the top status toolbar is clicked. The Order field of the new event duplicates the highest current ordinal. For example, the latest event has an ordinal of 11, a newly created event will also be given 11 as its ordinal. To remedy this is simple: click into the Order field and then click anywhere on a non-active area of the layout. Please note: this slight error has been corrected in 0.99.3, soon to be released. For those with a copy of 0.99.2, please accept apologies, but continue to test it for other errors, but instead of the recommended three-month testing period, please send feedback within seven days as in seven days the beta-testing version 0.99.3 is scheduled to be released.

Monday 6 May 2024. Four Screenshots of ScriptPlanner Have Been Uploaded

Does ScriptPlanner meet the highest standards in its design? Judge for yourself by looking at the four screenshots, which have been uploaded today.

Sunday 5 May 2024. Exciting Times for ScriptPlanner

As rigorous testing continues there is less and less doubt that ScriptPlanner would be a worthy addition to any screenwriter's planning toolkit. Even the User Manual touches on some important aspects of screenwriting (it's not totally about ScriptPlanner's functionality per se). An incredible opportunity exists for those who have access to FileMaker 18, 19 or 20 and who are hobbyist or professional screenwriters to beta-test ScriptPlanner 0.99.2 — don't hesitate: there's no (possibly messy) installing or uninstalling because ScriptPlanner is a file that your installed copy of FileMaker powers up to the status of an appplication. If ScriptPlanner does not meet your every expectation, simply delete the file — it's as simple as that. You have nothing to lose but the chains of inaction — but gain an increasingly incredible data processor for preparing a story for the screen.

Saterday 4 May 2024. ScriptPlanner Has Gone from 0.99 to 0.99.2

A dozen or so errors have been corrected in the User Manual. Also a few touches here and there to improve ScriptPlanner's look have been done. But they're not the primary reason for the update. The late addition of a task organiser has brought about a "bucket load" of problems due to the lack of rigorous testing that every other compenent has undergone. The 0.99.2 update has fixed most — if not all — major bugs in relation to the Task Manager. In the very first place, there was confliction over whether to include a task organiser or not to a planning application for screenwriters. The question asked was: do screenwriters really have a need for a glorified to-do list (which is what the Task Manager really is)? To this day there is uncertainty as to what the correct answer is to the question.

To potential beta-testers, what do you think? Have you found the Task Manager has any value for you? Please use the Contact Form if you have an opinion one way or the other on this matter.

But that aside, ScriptPlanner is looking more and more able to fulfull its mission statement to help screenwriters preplan their stories. Already at 0.99.2 it may do wonders for you when all else fails. Screenwriters with access to FileMaker 18, 19 or 20 are encouraged to become beta-testers. (The invitation also goes out to FileMaker afficionados to witness a couple of amazing things that have been done in ScriptPlanner by way of FileMaker's internal programming language).


A wonderful moment is with us: the long-awaited 0.99 beta-testing version of ScriptPlanner has arrived! If you're a professional or hobbyist screenwriter and have access to FileMaker 18, 19 or 20, an opportunity exists for you to try a purely database approach to planning your next story. Please fill out the Contact Form requesting a copy of ScriptPlanner be sent to you as an email attachment.

Wednesday 1 May 2024. NoteMaker 1.3.3 is now available

A major overhaul of tab order has been undertaken. From heron, tabbing will follow a natural order to meet likely user-expectation.

Saturday 13 April 2024. (Revised) Beta Version of SCRIPTPLANNER Nearing Completion

Frenetic work is being done to ready ScriptPlanner for beta testing. A search field for the User Manual has been completed and is currently undergoing testing. Screenwriters enter a search string and with the click of a button all instances of the search string in the User Manual will be highlighted, making it easy for screenwriters to find the desired information. The User Manual itself has been expanded and will continue to expand to provide screenwriters with information about ScriptPlanner's features. There is an air of excitement as wonderful work is being done to make ScriptPlanner both aeathetically pleasing and highly functional.

Saturday 13 April 2024. NoteMaker updated 1.3.2 Is Available

1.3.2 has added to NoteMaker a few refinements.

Friday, 12 April 2024. Revised Saturday 13 April 2024. Premature Announcement re SCRIPTPLANNER release

Thorough testing prior to official release of ScriptPlanner have shown the story-planning dataprocessor is far from ready. Apologies for the premature announcement that ScriptPlanner was "good to go". Work has been and continues to be at a feverish pace to get ScriptPlanner to beta version 0.99, which, good news, could be any day now or at the most within a few weeks. About 100 errors have been detected and corrected. Most inconsistencies in design and funtionality have been "ironed out". Dozens of improvements have been made; for example, the facility for a series and its episodes has been extended and menu sets have been customised to more specifically reflect their environments. And new features added; for example, a facility for subplotting. But there is an issue whose cause is extremely difficult to discover. On nearly a dozen occasions during intense testing of the past six months, a failure to create a new record and portal row have been documented. These are so sporadic and random, they're almost impossible to pin down their cause or causes. Thus, when ScriptPlanner reaches 0.99, it will be offered for beta testing. If you own a copy of FileMaker 18, 19 or 20 and are a produced or unproduced screenwriter, please accept a future invitation to test 0.99. Tune in to this website for more details.

Reposted Saturday 6 January 2024. NoteMaker 1.3.0 is available

The focus for the update was to revise the About NoteMaker manual several more times. Please note: the revisions apply only to the text. Some of the illustrations remain outdated, but text has been interpolated to indicate this.

Wednesday 20 December 2023. An important fix in NoteMaker 1.2.8

The "Allow commentary" checkbox at the bottom of the home page now works properly. When unchecked all commentary will be hidden. A mistake in the manual regarding the "Allow commentary" checkbox has been corrected. The manual generally has undergone a thorough revision in order to improve readability. Other than these, the NoteMaker 1.2.8 update entails also some minor design changes.

Wednesday 20 December 2023. SCRIPTPLANNER IS HERE!

Wonderful news for screenwriters — who happen to have access to FileMaker 18, 19 or 20 — a microplanner for screenplays is now avalible and it's free.

Sunday 17 December 2023. ScriptPlanner delay

The only reason for delaying making ScrptPlanner available to one and all is the idea of letting time pass so that when ScirptPlanner is looked at one more time before being made available it is with fresh eyes, a sort-of last minute opportunity to spot an error or two or make some adjustments.

Reposted: Saturday 16 December 2023. Exploring the concepts of "machine learning" and "generative AI"

(What follows is only a beginning on a meandering journey to try to understand "machine learning" and "generative AI").

There is enormous excitiement over "generative AI" such that words and phrases are thrown around with the expectation they ought to be readily understood by those who should be excited too. Rightly so — sort of. There is wonderment in witnessing a multi-sourced answer being generated in real time in response to a search criterion. Wow. But in the race to be more excited than the person next to oneself, there appears to be a declining need to explain terminlolgy. What is, for example, "machine learning"? Does it mean the obvious that machines (for example computers) learn — on their own, unassisted by humans? Oracle (makers of enterprise-level databae systems) recently spoke about something called "Apex", a thing that creates apps without the involvement of human coders (humans only set-up the schema); therefore, because no human coders are involved during the writing of the application, Apex produces error-free (bug-free) code.

Thus, this thing, Apex, via machine learning, creates error-free apps. Wow, double wow. Really exciting. But ... confusing. Some hobbyists whose only real-world programming experience is in FileMaker (developing NoteMaker and ScriptPlanner) may ask: what's going on? In FileMaker, earthy intelligence comes at two levels: code prepackeaged in objects provided by FileMaker and code layered-on by developers utilising FileMaker's built-in programming language. The question begs: does machine learning mean that computers think for themselves independent of human-written instructions?

Let's go back to first principles. Machines are "dead wood" without human-enabling mechanisms and dynamisms. For example, remove all the code from a computer and the computer cannot function, let alone "learn" anything. So would it be right to say machine-learning is code-based? If so, then Apex is software with human-written instructions to learn to write error-free apps. That makes better sense. So, if Apex comprises human-written code to produce error-free applications then Apex can only do so if its own human-written code is error-free. Is this a correct statement to make or does it show these hobbyists (involved in developing NoteMaker and ScriptPlanner) lack an understanding of what generative AI is? It's hard to know for sure. Again, going back to first principles: electornics comprise "dead" parts wired together, which come "alive" with the flow of electricity and with code that instructs their CPUs to do things. Is this a safe statement to make? Is it safe to say that generative AI is ultimately code-based?

So, digital intelligence comes down to the lowest indivisible form of logic: the IF function. Let's take a scenario. Say a robot is to be programmed to generate its own intelligence in hypothetically defending itself. Using pseudo-code and over-simplification, here we go. IF a recognisable (pre-image of a) human-shaped thing AND this human-shaped thing is holding a pre-image of a gun, then disarm the human-shaped thing. IF the human-shaped thing is holding a pre-image of a knife, then disable the human-shaped thing. IF the human-shaped thing is emitting high-volume sounds AND among the sounds are words delineable as "bastard", "punk" and others from among a thousand-long list (array) of abusive words, but NOT holding a pre-image of a gun OR NOT holding a pre-image of a knife, then walk away. (In FileMaker, such a sequence of IF statements may be itemised in a CASE function). Is this scenario an example of generative AI? If it is, is this an example of machine learning? Going back to first principles: if the human-written instructions were pulled out of the robot's "innards", would machine learning be possible? Would the robot be able to respond to threatening human behaviour? Would it be able to move?

Should humans fear generative AI in, say, robots? Assuming generative AI has a backstory of human-written code, it again comes down to the lowest indivisible logic-element, the IF function. Say a coder revels in schadenfreude and places among the million lines of innocent (harmless) code these lines (in pseudo-code with over-simplification): IF this human-shaped thing emits the sentence "I love ice cream" AND this human-shaped thing is holding a pre-image of a cone-shaped thing, then swipe this cone-shaped thing away from this human-shaped thing. If this scenario holds true, it's not generative AI that should be feared but malicious, negligent or error-prone code. It's like Robby the robot in Forbiddne Planet (1956), which despite its incredible built-in generative AI has been programmed not to harm humans. Robby the robot may have a million lines of code enabling its intelligence, but it may only take one IF statement to stop it from being destructive to humans. It's not to say the fear is unfounded that generative AI in some form or another may one day destroy humanity. If there is a gap in the originating code, such that AI security systems are allowed to perceive, say, a world-wide threat from hostile aliens (where there really isn't any) and allow it to respond by unleashing nuclear devastation, thinking it's destroying aliens, well ...

It's not easy to write code to prevent bad things or errors from happening. For example, on a micro-scale, programming in FileMaker to prevent user-errors can be cumbersome. NoteMaker's Scan module attempts to correct user-errors such as not capitalising the first words of sentences or not placing a full stop at the end of a paragraph. It's easy to programme the Scan module to capitalise the first word in a sentence following another sentence (using the SUBSTITUTE function), but the difficulty lies with the very first word of the note and the very first word of the next paragraph. It took hours to work out the code. (By the bye, Scan can be disabled on a per-note-basis so it doesn't make corrections users don't wish it to).

The air of excitement over generative AI is justified: there is a brave new world up ahead, if not already here. In the excitement, however, ideas and concepts (eg, "machine learning" and "generative AI") are coming at, and passing, us at a fast and furious pace. If we don't catch on ... well, perhaps we may next time when those terms come around — and most certainly they will, again and again. It's time to attempt to demistify some of these concepts.

The journey above is only a humble beginning to come to some kind of understanding, but it is limited as it is from a hobbyist's point-of-view whose only real-world technology experience is developing data processors in FileMaker. Therefore there is extrapolation, lots of it, with the risk of over-generalising or making outright errors. Even from this limited experience, it is known that the first expression of decision-making lies with the IF function either as itself or as subsumed by other Boolean functions such as CASE and CHOOSE. Looking at logic in its most primal form, we would be staring at an IF statement. Not only is this probably the case with FileMaker's internal programming language but also probably true for languages like C++. So, going back to first principles, can we say that generative AI is independent of the IF function? The feeling is that the answer to this question may be the key to demistifying the concept of "machine learning" — and, perhaps, reassure the world that as long as humans have control over the humble IF function (and its many Boolean manifestations and "subsumations"), generative AI may not of its own volition go out of control and harm humans, animals, plants and the planet.

In conclusion, each and every individual, who wishes to, will take one's own path in arriving to some understanding of what "machine learning" and "generative AI" are and what the implications are for oneself and the world.

Sunday 10 December 2023. ScriptPlanner undergoing rigorous testing

In perparation for its release, ScriptPlanner is being "put to its paces". Due to its complexity, the interdependencies of elements, the myriad of code interconnections and human fallibilty, bugs are almost a certainty. Accepting this is not a resignation to fate, but facing "reality". There is only so much testing that can be done in a finite period of time. Ultimately, testing cannot replace real-world usage: it's going to be the screenwriters using ScriptPlanner who will be best placed to find errors (bugs). ScriptPlanner has been in the works for around three years, it's time to let go of it and let it face the real world. It looks like this may happen within a few days.

Saturday 9 December 2023. Modified Sunday 10 December 2023. Development of ScriptPlanner making remarkable progress

ScriptPlanner, a microplanner for screenplays, is now also handy for planning episodes in a series. Also, the divider for Acts has been successfully redesigned. From being bloated and cumbersome is now smooth and sleek. The whole project is progressing so remarkably well that ScriptPlanner could be available as early as next week or the following week. If you have FileMaker 18, 19 or 20 and are inclined to writing screenplays or episodes for TV/streaming series, ScriptPlanner may serve well as a preplanner. The thing about ScriptPlanner is you can detail an aspect of the story to the nth degree which is not what many screenwriters neceassarily would want, but that facility is there if you do want it.

Please note: ScriptPlanner is never intended to take the place of the planning environemts provided by Final Draft, WriterSolo, Arc Studio, Scrite, Story Architect (formerly Kit Scenarist) and other dedicated screenwriting software. The place for ScriptPanner is possibly this: before entering any one of those environments, why not work out some things (where possible) in advance in ScriptPlanner? With humbleness one could say that ScriptPlanner has some advantages in being a data processor rather than a word processor when it comes to planning. Whether these advantages are real, only future users of the application may judge.

Saturday 9 December 2023. Modified 10 December 2023. More thoughts on AI

All software exhibit intelligence. For example, Final Draft takes a pretty good guess as to which character is going to have the next dialogue. NoteMaker has intelligence. In NoteMaker, intelligence is mostly powered by the microcosmic IF function (in all its forms: eg, as itself, as subusmed by the CASE function and even as embodied in the Boolean PATTERNCOUNT function). But this is not machine-learning as such, but user-learning. So laptops such as the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon with its 13th generation Intel CPU and its integrated GPU are easily sufficient for powering user-learning as underlined, for example, by the sequencing and branching of IF functions in NoteMaker. Exciting rumour has it that the 14th generation of Intel's chipset for desktops and laptops may include a neural processing unit (NPU). It won't replace the CPU nor the GPU, but it will kick in when there is an overload of data for parallel processing. NPU should not be confused with TPU (tensor processing unit) that data centres already use (eg, when we do a search, the result is no longer just a list of websites but also a textbox with an answer or an attempted answer to the search criterion -- the answer bit is the TPU at work). When PCs have an NPU (on top of a CPU and GPU -- by the bye, some Macs already have a form of NPU), AI need not only come from the cloud down to you but it may soon be available locally (via NPU) for developing incredible applications and for installing to the local hard drive (and making fully functional) software with extremely high-levels of AI.

(Please note the above are mere random speculations based on limited experience in technology and on selective research).

Friday 8 December 2023. Regarding NoteMaker's Task Organiser

Task Organiser is a to-do module (not be confused with the Keyword field next to the Note field, which can also be used as a to-do field). It is situated as a popover button at the bottom on the far left of the home page. Please note this: the priority status of the task cannot be changed while it is ticked as done. First un-tick the checkbbox, then change priority status. In the upcoming version 1.2.0, a message will appear directing users to do same.

Thursday 7 December 2023. NoteMaker updated to 1.1.9: will now open with Claris FileMaker 2023

Besides a few decorative additions, the primary focus is to address the issue of NoteMaker not opening with Claris FileMaker 2023 (aka version 20). This was due to a failure to update the module that kicks in on opening NoteMaker for the first time. Rather than risk NoteMaker drastically closing itself down due to versions of FileMaker less than 18 or as it happens due also to it being version 20, NoteMaker will now open regardless of FileMaker's vesion; but if FileMaker is less than version 18 it will do so with reduced (almost unworkable) functionality. If NoteMaker closes down due to your copy of FileMaker being version 20, please fill out the Contact Form requesting the latest version of NoteMaker (which is 1.1.9). For those with Claris FileMaker 2023 trying to open NoteMaker 1.1.8, please accept apologies for the inconvenience caused.

Wednesday 6 December 2023. Speculation on AI

Artificial intelligence (AI) for some hobbyists working in FileMaker begins with the IF function. This is seeing AI at its most microcosmic level. IF is where decision-making begins. "IF this is an orange, therefore it is a fruit; IF this is an onion, therefore it is a vegetable". (By the bye, the CASE function merely encapsulates multiples of IFs). Hypothetically, a help field could be implemented on the home page of NoteMaker and it may work like this. A user enters the words "task manager" and clicks a button. Using pseudo-code to help in the explanation ... the primitive AI goes to the "About Notemaker" layout where resides a manual; there, it searches for the words, "task manager," paragraph by paragraph — IF the phrase "task manager" is spotted in this paragraph, copy the paragraph, otherwise go to the next paragraph, and so on (here, IF may need to work with the "looping" WHILE function) — then the primitive AI returns to the home page and pastes into the help field the paragraph with "task manager" in it (however, IF no paragraph with "task manager" is found, SET FIELD with "Sorry, no information on 'task manager' could be found"). One way or the other, mission accomplished. A primitive AI to be sure, but it may, in a simplistic way, show how the highly sophisticated AI embodied in search engines work on the World Wide Web. The level of sophistication comes down to the microcosmic sequencing and branching of the IF function (often in partnership with the WHILE function). Generally speaking, the more lines of code the higher the level of AI sophistication is possible.

(Please note: the above comments are mere speculations as the only real-world experience is working with FileMaker's internal programming language — with only a learning person's knowledge of C++ but no real-world experience in using it — and extrapolating therefrom).

Tuesday 5 December 2023. ScriptPlanner trimmed

A bloated facility for providing Act dividers has been discarded. A more efficient and much simpler way to mark off scenes into their respective Acts is currently being devised.

Tuesday 5 December 2023. Edited: Thursday, 7 December 2023. Wonderful progress made in testing ScriptPlanner

ScriptPlanner is being tested in the real-world of planning a TV/streaming series. The crucial Moment popover (especially for episodic planning) is surprisingly helpful for plotting out each half-hour episode to meet the 24 minute-or-therabouts limit. The saving graces are the Minute and Second fields beside each moment. Another field totals them to show the writer the ongoing progress in meeting the duration target.

Tuesday 5 December 2023 (revised 1 May 2024)). Artificial intelligence and NoteMaker

NoteMaker has primitive artificial intelligence (AI) in the form of a feedback facility that provides sporadic commentary on user's entries in the Note field. (This facility is situated underneath the Note field). Originally, the code for the feedback facility was 10-or-more times more than what it is currently. The problem is that the more code (the more intelligence) for the feedback facility the greater is the slowdown when exiting the Note field (which is the trigger): up to one second long. No slowdown is worth it. One second is too noticeable for a field-exit time (when it should be instant). Though there was excitement in making the feedback faciltiy more and more intelligent (picking up on things in the Note field that could be commented on), the slowdown forced a deletion of almost all the code, leaving only five modules with something like a hundred lines of code in each. Prior to implementing the feedback feature there was something even better: transformation in real-time, like what Word, Pages, LibreOffice Writer, Scrivener and other word processors do. For example, user-entries in NoteMaker's AutoCorrectionCompletionExpansion facility would be automatically transformed when spotted in the Note field — as you write in real time. Wow, to be able to simulate a word processor in a data processor was extremely exciting. On and on the code was being written until ... the slowdown in type-rendering was too great for all the excitement to ignore. (By "type-rendering" is meant the time it takes when a character key is pressed and how long it takes to show on the screen; in any good word processor, type-rendering is instant). When the lag in type-rendering reached nearly one second, it was time to ditch the whole project. For a long time before the ditching, the hope was that the lag was worth it in order to have the marvel of witnessing real-time transformations. For example, to see that after typing a space character then an "i" followed by another space character — [space character]i[space character] — for the "i" to magically become "I". Wow. FileMaker's wonderful Rapid Development Environmant (or Rapid Aplication Development Environment) and its internal attachable programming language made it possible for hobbyists to emulate what dedicated word-processing software do. But the lag was too great. All the effort to bring about real-time transformations in the Note field had to be thrown away. What is left is what the Scan button now provides: when clicked it will scan the Note field and carry out user-defined and inbuilt transformations or provide feedback, and it does it in quick time.

The point being made is this: though it's possible to implement real-time transformations in FileMaker, it's Rapid Development Environment is not conducive to real-time transformations or too much of indirect feedback as triggered when exiting the Note field. That FileMaker can be made to do so in the first place is the wonder to be applauded. It also shows what powers AI in general: the CPU and GPU engines and the storage for lots and lots of code. Today's computers have that power and that storage capacity resulting in artificial intelligence flourishing. Everywhere. But so far only in primitive forms in NoteMaker: a modicum of AI in the form of the Scan button and the much-downsized feedback facility.

PLEASE NOTE: none of the above is to say that instant word-processing-like transformations in a data processor created in FileMaker is impossible. To this day, now and then, contemplation is given to how to rid the lag factor.

Modified: Monday 4 December 2023. Modified again: Thursday 7 December 2023. A little more about Rapid Development Environments

From a hobbyist point of view, FileMaker Pro (FMPro) is one of the most exciting software to work with. Nearly all kinds of data-processing applications can be created. Though commonly touted as business software, NoteMaker and (soon to be available) ScriptPlanner show what else can be done. FileMaker is a hobbyist's dream-come-true. Its design tools are wow. Its internal programming language is equally a wonder: you truly feel like a programmer as you attach code (bits of magic) to database objects. Together, the design tools and the language make for a powerful Rapid Development Environment (RDE).

Reposted: Monday 4 December 2023, Edited: Tuesday 5 December 2023. ScriptPlanner back in the works

ScriptPlanner, a microplanner for screenplays, is quietly being further developed and tested. Development is centred on also making it useful for planning a TV/streaming series. Things look good. The Moments popover is gaining functionality and sophistication with each day passing. The wonderful thing about the Moments facility is that each moment in an episode can be given a duration in minutes and seconds to roughly meet the 24, 48 and 72 minutes normally required of a half-hour and one-hour episodes and a pilot respectively. Current testing is showing it's great as a preplanner (that is, before going into Final Draft or any other screenwriting software) and then it's also handy alongside the actual writing of the episode in, say, Final Draft. Again, like NoteMaker, ScriptPlanner is testament to how fantastic FileMaker Pro is as a Rapid Development Environment for creating many kinds of data processors.

Reposted: Thursday 30 November 2023. NoteMaker has been updated to 1.1.8 (build 07)

For some time now, NoteMaker has had a tiny humble "AI" facility, which occasionally comments, mostly tangentially, on a user's entry in the Note field (it kicks in when exiting the Note field). If there is feedback it can provide, it will appear underneath the Note field. Looking from behind the scenes, the feedback facility comprises five coding modules. One of these modules has been susceptible to the possibility of providing the occassional confusing feedback. Happy to report this module has been rewritten to provide feedback only in a tangential manner. It is highly recommended for all those who are currently using NoteMaker to fill out the Contact Form and ask for the updated NoteMaker 1.1.8 (build 07). Until such is done, please disable NoteMaker's humble "AI" facility by un-ticking the "Allow commentary" checkbox near the bottom of NoteMaker's home page. By doing so, no further feedback will be provided. Even though 99 per cent of the comments may be helpful, that 1 per cent that may confuse is what matters. Now in NoteMker 1.1.8 (build 07) it's possible to say 100 per cent of the feedback commentary may tangentially or potentially be helpful in some ways for some people.

Reposted: Wednesday 29 November 2023. LibreOffice Writer: surprisingly good

Wow, LibreOffice Writer is the goods. It shows what a programming and design community of enthusiasitic and dedicated volunteers can accomplish. LibreOffice Writer has become, by version 7.6, a worthy challenger to the mighty Word. Writer attempts to emulate Word in feautures but has nonetheless kept its distinct character. Take for example the universal act of selecting text. LibreOffice Writer is one of the most accurate and easiest word processors in which to select a word, phrase, sentence or paragraph; and wonderfully -- if not uniquely — frames the selection — yes, actually frames it. There are other characteristics different from Word that are loving touches to a serious piece of word-processing software. It will open most Word documents quite accurately. Writer is no mere emulator of Word, there is an air of confidence about it as if it's not afraid to be different — better different. (Sure, Writer has not yet fully emulated a couple of amazing options offered when right-clicking on selected text in Word, which goes to show some things Word does better, while some other things Writer does better). Not only Word, but also Pages, Docs, Word Perfect and other top-line word processors have competition from Writer. (By the bye, novelists and non-fiction book writers may prefer something like Scrivener -- and screenwriters may choose something like Final Draft -- over any of the word processors mentioned here). To be sure, Writer isn't as polished as Word, Pages, Docs or WordPerfect. For example, finding a bookmark via the Bookmark dialog causes screen flickering. Though all is good in the end, it can come across as a little disturbing. However, saying Writer needs polishing isn't quite the same as saying it's buggy; it's saying it needs refinement in some areas and that usually happens with evolution. Speaking of the Bookmark dialog, changing column width returns to default next time the dialog is opened while still in the same session. This return-to-default is common with many software, but the wish is for user-modifications to remain more permanent, at least session long. In the month or so of testing LibreOffice Writer, it crashed only once and strangely enough it was in the very first session. It hasn't crashed since. At most it means if you use Writer, save to the hard drive regularly as a matter of habit or set auto-save to a few minutes. In conclusion, though LibreOffice Writer may not be as polished as Word, Pages, Docs and WordPerfect, it is nonetheless a magnificent attempt by the open-source community to match those giants of word processing. (Bear in mind, corporations, generally speaking, have advantages in terms of organisation and efficiencies). If you, as an individual, are having problems with your current corporate-branded word processor, it may be worth your while checking out LibreOffice Writer. It may surprise you too to just how good it is.

APPENDIX 1. To make Writer look more like Word, do this: on the first-time launch of LibreOffice you may be asked what kind of user interface you wish to have ... choose Tabbed. If this opportunity was missed, once in Writer you may click the View menu, select "User Interface ..." and then choose "Tabbed". Or if you already have a Word-like ribbon interface but wish to go to the "Standard Toolbar", go to the far right of the upper most toolbar (the menu toolbar) where there is a solitary menu icon (only identified by three short horizontal lines — it doesn't have a tooltip [this is so as at 27 November 2023]). Click on it and choose "User Interface...". From the dialog, radio "Standard Toolbar".

APPENDIX 2. Please note: the LibreOffice people have prepackaged Writer with Base (database), Calc (spreadsheet), Impress (presentation), Draw (drawing tools) and Math (for enabling calculations). In other words, you may not have one without the others. It's one of those rare moments when not having an option may be a good thing.

Saturday 25 November 2023. The dreaded "Ready to proceed (200)" in Expression Web 4

To overcome the stifling "Ready to Proceed (200)" message, first un-tick "Use Passive FTP" in Expression Web 4's Connection Settings dialog. This may be all that's needed. If not, then try this ... Click "Settings" in Windows 11. Click "Privacy and Security". Click "Windows Security". Click "Firewall and network protocol". Click "Allow an app through the firewall". If Microsoft Expression Web is not listed (it being unlisted is the likely cause of the problem) ... Click "Change settings". Click "Allow another app...". Click "Browse". Navigate to Program Files x86 or Program Files, find the Microsoft Expression Web folder, drill to "ExpressionWeb" (one word). Double-click it. Click Add. Finally tick both PRIVATE and PUBLIC once Microsoft Expression Web is listed on the "Firewall and network protocol" page. Click OK. If this doesn't do the trick, please ring your hosting platform.

Saturday 25 November 2023. Rough guide to filling out Connecction Settings dialog Expression Web 4

If the Connection Settings dialog isn't filled out correctly, transferring your local site to the internet won't happen. To get to Connection Settings dialog: Site menu, Publishing Settings, Publishing tab, Edit. In the Name field, write down what you want to call your connection (for NoteMaker, it's simply "notemaker"). In the Connection type field, you may write "FTP". In the Location field, type FTP://[the web address, in NoteMaker's case it's "FTP://notemakerdatabase.com"] (yours of course will be different). In the Directory field, type "public_html". As for User name and Password, type in that given by your hosting platform (eg, in NoteMaker's case, it's HostPapa). You may leave as is in the Maximum... field or choose a number between 1 and 10. Finally, untick "Use Passive FTP". Unsure? Please ring your hosting platform

Friday 24 November 2023. Testing NoteMaker 1.1.8 (BUILD 06): solid

Ongoing testing of NoteMaker 1.1.8 (build 06) is giving pleasing results. It appears bugs are hard to find. That's not to say there are no bugs, but in the manner that NoteMaker 1.1.8 (build 06) has been used (tested) in the last few months, no major issue has been encountered. NoteMaker is quite a complex application and using it in every way possible to find errors is almost impossible to do within a limited time. Results to date, however, show NoteMaker 1.1.8 (build 06) is ever becoming a solid piece of software. Is it time to raise the moniker to "NoteMaker 2.0"? The feeling is that NoteMaker has earned the 2.0 moniker. However, to truly justify the jump from 1.1.8 to 2.0, at least one new feature or a group of improvements is needed. Right this moment, it's difficult to think of how to improve NoteMaker ... it does what it's meant to do: make notes and store them. From this day forth, an attempt may be made to see how Notemaker can be improved, especially in little ways, so as to truly reach the landmark 2.0.

Friday 24 November 2023. Superficial review of LibreOffice Base

From a superficial viewing of YouTube videos on LibreOffice Base (a database) it looks great. Like FileMaker, it's relational. What may make FileMaker superior is its internal programming language. In FileMaker — as in Base — a button can be created on a layout with a few clicks. Programming it in FileMaker can be as easy as one or two lines of code or as massive as 500 lines or more. One of the first bits of programming magic many who are new to FileMaker may do is create a Go to Layout button. Clicking this button may take one from the current layout, say, showing a list of products, to another layout, a page, which shows an individual product in detail. To understand FileMaker in a certain way is to see it as having an Attachable Programming Language. A button is an object, a field is an object, a field label is an object — all of these objects and more can have programming modules attached to them. Going back to the Go to Layout button ... this is the one-line code: "Go to Layout [followed by choosing the layout to go to from a drop-down list]". That's it: a human-readable single line of code. From a superficial viewing of a video on LibreOffice Base, the impression is that some 20 lines of esoteric code is needed to achieve same. And therein lies the genius of FileMaker's internal programming language: it can encapsulate 20 lines of code in just one line or, in FileMaker speak, in a single "script step". However, the Scan button in NoteMaker comprises more than 500 lines of code when counting the number of script steps as one line each and when the lines embedded within a script step (in FileMaker speak, "calculations") are counted as lines of code in their own right. The Scan button has to have a massive programming module attached to it in order for it to do the 100 or so tasks required of it (from capitalising the first word in a sentence and counting the number of opening and closing parentheses to see they're equal — and, if not equal, to alert the user — to implementing user-defined modifications: for example, "wsj" to expand to "The Wall Street Journal"). LibreOffice Base is a fantastic effort by an open-source community to provide a highly usable database free to individuals from around the world. But the feeling is that to create NoteMaker in Base would take between twice to up to 10 times longer. In conclusion, FileMaker is a database-creation software with an incredible internal programming language. It's to that language and to the overall Rapid Development Environment (that provides ready-made database objects) to which NoteMaker owes its achieving levels of sophistication in relative quick time. However, FileMaker is expensive for small-time hobbyists and this is where LibreOffice Base offers itself as an attractive alternative.

Monday 3 July 2023. NoteMaker update

The very latest NoteMaker update sees a button placed on the EPC popover; when clicked, it will take the student to the Structured Summary Sampler page, which provides 11 examples of EPC theory in action. Previous to this, the only access to the page was via a button at the bottom of the long manual page. Students who may not have read the manual to the last paragraph — and thus see the button — would not have been able to access the Structured Summary Sampler page in any other way. The latest update will have markedly improved accessibility to the sampler page.

Friday 30 June 2023. Superficial review of Claris FileMaker 2023 (aka v20) (part 2).Redrafted Sunday 12 May 2024)

Please find below a continuation of the superficial review of FileMaker Pro in general and the newest version, Claris FileMaker 2023, in particular (see update for Sunday 25 June 2023). (Please note: at this moment, Claris FileMaker 2023, has not been tested, thus any comment made re the latest version are inferences from watching YouTube videos).

FileMaker Pro (FMPro) is a wonderful rapid development environment (RDE). It is not an integrated devepment environment (IDE). Developers creating data-processing apps in FMPro can do so far, far quicker than they could in an IDE. The reason for this is that FMPro's RDE provides ready-made database objects such as fields, portals, tables and relationship graphs. But there are limitations: an RDE in FMPro cannot create a FileMaker Pro, but a full-blown programming language, such as C++, in an IDE can. Nonetheless, for small-time hobbyists, FMPro's RDE is the magical kingdom, allowing the possibility of creating useful data-processing apps of almost any kind. Up to and including version 18, released a few years back, hobbyists waited with bated breath for each iteration for new script steps and functions that would enhance the RDE and thus aid hobbyists to create apps in and of themselves. However, with the release of version 19 came the winds of change. It was a sudden gust and to some it came as a shock. The language used to introduce and promote v19 was to some hobbyists, at least at the time, almost incomprehensible, resulting in a feeling of alienation. With v19, came speeches pointing to a brave new world. Concepts were about rapidly increasing the presence in the greater marketplace of the world wide web for FileMaker's major clientele: the professional developers who create database systems for businesses and organisations. So urgent (and hurried) was this new emphasis that v19 was plagued with bugs. (Prior to v19, FMPro, despite it being a highly complex and powerful database-creation platform, was renowned for almost being bug-free).

New script steps and functions in v19 and Claris FileMaker 2023 (v20) appear to be more about dynamic connectivity to network servers, about offering cloud-based distribution options and about securing exposure on mobile platforms (smartphones and tablets) — and generally establishing greater web presence — than about helping to create magical functions in and of themselves. Missing are powerful functions, the kind exemplified by While() from v18.

Be that as it may, FMPro remains an incredible environment for creating data-processing applications (witness NoteMaker). It really is a beautiful piece of software. And if you're an ambitious hobbyist, it appears that Claris FileMaker 2023 may provide the tools, once learnt, to connect your data-processing application to the world wide web and potentially engage millions, whereas currently NoteMaker's primitive distribution — as an email attachment — has seen limited deployment. (Please note, Claris FileMaker 2023 has not yet been tested, thus any information mentioned here has been obtained tangentially via those who have on YouTube).

Sunday 25 June 2023. Superficial review of Claris FileMaker 2023 (aka v20) (part 1). Redrafted Sunday 12 May 2024

What follows is a superficial review of the new Claris FileMaker 2023, without actually testing it. It is based on garnering information from YouTube videos. In the near future, a 45-day trial copy may be looked at and a more in-depth review may be presented here.

When FileMaker Pro 19 (FMPro 19) came on the scene, a distinct change of direction was obvious. The previous version, FMpro 18, unashamedly targeted small to mid-sized businesses and organisations and, by the bye, made its software appealing to hobbyists interested in creating data-processing apps of their own, not necessarily connected to inventory, invoices and the like. However, the next version, FMPro 19, took a sudden turn: it became serious about becoming useful for upper-level businesses and organisations. It had imported json to its native programming language. FMPro 19 was promoted as "low-code" and "open" in order to attract more users and to compete with internet-based database-creation services. In short, Claris, owners of FMPro, wished their superb software to enter the big league and to establish itself in the sphere of the world wide web, even if it meant leaving behind some small-time hobbyists (eg, such as those involved in developing NoteMaker, who to this day remain with FMPro 18). FMPro 19 was a big jump in features but of the kind not immediately useful or accessible to small-time hobbyists, who may not understand how json works or are not much into the sever-side of things or into cloud-based technologies. So big a change in direction was taken by FMPro 19 that the newest version, Claris FileMaker 2023, is said to have had to resolve many bugs (which is normal to any software undergoing a huge change). For the more ambitious hobbyists among us, who may wish to one day enter the world of web-based database technology or become chief technology officers, Claris FileMaker 2023 appears to offer a great training ground on which to possibly help reach those long-term goals. (Please bear in mind this short review is presented as a superficial overview and is based on third-party information and is not based on actually testing Claris FileMaker 2023).

It can be confirmed that .fmp12 is Claris FileMaker 2023's file format and thus should be able to open NoteMaker.

Thursday 22 June 2023. When Expression Web 4 won't open ...

A problem suddenly arose when Microsoft Expression Web 4 would not launch. It apparently was resolved by clicking "Run as administrator" (in Windows 11 ... click "Start" menu, click "All apps", click "Microsoft Expression" folder, right-click "Microsoft Expression Web 4", select "More", select "Run as Administrator").

*NOTEMAKER AND SCRIPTPLANNER ARE FREE; however, they are only operational with a preinstalled copy of FileMaker 18, 19 or 20, a database-creation platform, upon which NoteMaker and ScriptPlanner are being developed.

Please note:

Go to Claris FileMaker




This website first uploaded 14 December 2021.