Kewl App(s) Alert: Little Outline and Fargo For In-Browser Notetaking

My job requires a lot of reading and writing, so by the end of the week I often find myself incapable of sitting at my computer staring at the screen for another 8 hours. So I like to enjoy "Whiteboard Fridays" which is just as it sounds: I (often with colleagues) spend time standing up at a whiteboard working through problems, or planning projects or rethinking my work.

The physical nature of Whiteboard Fridays is a welcome change from my usual position (think slouching homo sapiens at keyboard) and I find it stirs my creativity; I end up with a productive and creative end to my week, without feeling exhausted to start the weekend.

The one glitch with these whiteboard sessions is the follow-on: we take pics of the whiteboards that results from our brainstorming and working sessions but photos don't turn into project files and to do lists magically. Enter Little Outliner and Fargo.

Developed by Dave Winer, Little Outliner and Fargo are two apps that you can use instead of (or alongside) whiteboard to take outlined notes (think bulleted lists with lots of sub-bullets and indentation).

Little Outliner works right in the browser, and saves locally thanks to HTML5 and JavaScript. It's not a full-featured app, in fact it's the simplicity of it that makes it brilliant: browse to Little Outliner, develop an outline (with lots of levels, if you like), email the URL or export it. Boom. Done. And where I work, it's not blocked which means I can use it on my work computer, and even from the computers in the meeting rooms where we do so much of our collaborative work. Love. (Find out all about it on their FAQ page.)

Little Outliner

Fargo is the new iteration of Little Outliner, and uses Dropbox to save the files. Which means it's great for sharing but alas, blocked where I work. If you have access, it's as good as Evernote and Google Drive for creating shareable content although it really is focused on outlines and lists.
Fargo files are stored in Dropbox. We only need to access a single sub-folder folder. We do not need access to your entire Dropbox (we don't want the responsibility), or any of your existing files. You can easily disconnect if you don't want to continue using Fargo.
Fargo (look familiar)
Both apps have a ridiculously simple user interface; the design is so clean that you need to consult the cheat sheets to figure out that there is a ton of functionality available. However, that means the UI doesn't get in the user's way; if you're there to jot down something simple, you don't have to contend with the Word-like interface to get your thoughts down. Type, indent, share, save. Painless.

I personally prefer Little Outliner because it's completely stand-alone; no third party account required. I do understand that other people would prefer to store the file somewhere central so this might be a win for them (I would just end up emailing it to Evernote :)

So there you go: next time you're in a meeting or partaking in your own Whiteboard Friday, you know about two apps that can help you itemize your project list and reorganize tasks on the go, and then email the links to everyone in the meeting as soon as you're done. From your browser. Simple and brilliant. Give them a try!

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