New Year present: WOIM 1.7 with real life examples

With some nudging from India (thanks Shantanu Kulkarni), I have gotten around to make WOIM more easily accessible for anyone. The manual now includes several real life examples on how to use WOIM for describing anything from business processes and todo-lists to food recipes and philosophical arguments. With this, anyone should be able to get going with WOIM. It starts out like this:

On the way in to the shopping mall, you take a quick glance at the list given to you by your mother/father/brother/wife:

5 liters of Milk
2 packages of Butter
2 liters of Orange juice
Bananas (5-8)

A simple list. But the next time you go to the shop, the list has grown to a paragraph:

If they have pepperoni and that special pizza sauce, buy that and also flour, yeast, cheese and ham. If not, then buy the Indian spicy chicken with 5 or more suitable vegetables. If the chicken is sol out, be creative and decide what we should have for dinner. Also buy apple juice, eggs, washing powder and paper towels.

You wonder if that paragraph can be written a bit more concise.

The WOIM document is available on as well as the usual place.

For the geeks, the WOIM plugin for VIM is updated and now includes a full HTML conversion and several improvements.


26 thoughts on “New Year present: WOIM 1.7 with real life examples

  1. GREAT IMPROVEMENTS! My Opinion is that WOIM is strong awesome.

    Here is my feedback as promised:

    1. A “Command Page” would be helpful similar to the familiar “Keyboard Command” references.

    2. Suggest another name. “WOIM” sounds to me like a Sci-Fi sound effect although it does honor the creators. Suggest something akin to: “Power Listing” or “Theta Script,” or “Universal Script” or “Uni-List.”

    3. The process has “Sticky Wall” applications for brainstorming and you can explore those if you choose to. 1. Take parachute cloth. 2. Attach to wall. 3. Spray with Artists Spray adhesive. 4. Cut sheets of paper 8 inches by 4 inches. 5. Give everyone a stack of papers and markers. 5. Use the sticky wall like a giant Post-it-Note board. You can affix and un-affix papers very easily and order them in a WOIM list. I think WOIM could work very well with the TOPS Methodologies for group participation as taught by the Institute of Cultural Affairs.

    4. I think that WOIM will be useful in my own “do list” methodology of index cards and a binder clip. I keep my to-do list, calendar and “things to learn” on index cards. Then I take a binder clip and hold them together. This allows me to carry ONLY THE THINGS I NEED TO DO AND KNOW RIGHT NOW AND FOR THE NEXT 30 DAYS IN MY POCKET. As tasks and days are completed, I throw the corresponding cards away, replace them and/or file them. By keeping a months cards at a time, I can flip through them like a book to quickly get to any day I want. I keep the bound cards in a snazzy leather holder I got from Levenger so that It doesn’t look too ghetto. WOIM will fit perfectly into this system.

    5. WOIM is worthy of a full book and course.

    6. Color coding of lists and items would be helpful to help the lists “pop” more and be easier to reference online lists. For online versions, having text boxes, color coding, and formatting could increase the speed of visual navigation. Such formatting would be easy and run automatically if you choose to create WOIM as an application. But some people are faster with plain text and the option to turn off all the color and formatting could be available for those whose minds do not require or desire visual packaging.

    EXAMPLE: If one starts a descriptive WOIM list a blue background could appear in a text box. For an action WOIM list, it could be green. So a user picks a “Descriptive List” and a list begins that is shaded appropriately. This way a person doesn’t have to waste time formatting text and backgrounds.

    7. In some ways, I think a WOIM list would make a better calendar than iCal. There is no wasted space for days that have little content.

    8. VIM with its searching feature allows anyone to run their entire life out of ONE DOCUMENT.

    SUMMARY: WOIM is an awesome idea and I hope it catches on. Great creative work!

    1. Thanks for the very constructive feedback.

      The color coding is already present in the VIM plugin and preserved when a WOIM list is exported to LaTeX or HTML. I am pondering an extensive HTML export with linking in lists, check boxes and several bells and whistles. If one uses an asterisk (“*”), then one gets the collapse functionality from the VIM plugin when pasting lists into Mediawiki with the Treeview plugin installed.

      As for the name “WOIM” – I agree. But I don’t want the name to confine its use too much, so I’d like to avoid the word “list”… Perhaps a wider word would do… *pondering*…

  2. You could also use the suffix “-ese” on the end of whatever you call it. Currently it would be WOIM-ese.

    And since “-ese” sounds like “ease” you get a play on words that may be useful. “DREAM-ese” or “Desciptese” or something similar.

    Other suffixes: -board, -slate, -eisel, -canvas, – clay, -scribe, -fire, -catcher, -vessel, -tech,

    A good root word to play around with for this could be “Arete.” the Greek word for “excellence” or “quality.”

    Arete’s Pencil






    Ponder-Board (!)





    Liberscript (liberty and script) …

      1. Arete’s Pencil is my pitck because the name fits the function and morphs well with familiarity:

        Acronym: “Use A.P. for this.”
        Short name: “I got it mapped out in Arête.”
        Two Letter Word: “We’ll just AP it.”

        _/!\_ (gassho)

  3. Nah. Arete’s Pencil sucks. It’s arcane and cryptic although it morphs well.


    Other Suffixes: Technique, Method, Way, Tack, Practice

    And those give you …

    “The Arete Technique.”

    “The Arete Way.”

    “Tao Technique”

    “The Ponder Method”

    “The Ponder Tack.”

    “The Ponder Practice.”

    “Creative Clarity.”

    “Vision Script”

  4. And more suffixes: “stream,” “river,” “flow,”
    Prefix: “Hyper,”

    The Ponder Flow Technique (!)

    The Arete Stream

    Hyper-Scribe (!)


    Arete Path (!) Works with previous morphing of “AP.”

    Okay. Hope these help inspire even more options for you!


  5. The big thing that I see is that WOIM will have a big problem with non-geeks.

    How ascetically acceptable is WOIM by people who are not smart and are graphically dependent? Is WOIM actually DOS for the real world – faster, simpler and largely ignored because everyone wants the pretty Mac in the corner over raw speed and power?

    DOS was the big-boned, lisping secretary that wore overalls to work and who out-performed four secretaries wearing Juicy Coutoure (GUI) …

    And yet nobody hires her …

    WOIM translates anything regarding work and life into a text-based descriptive tool. It’s fast, clean and brilliant.

    But is it Human DOS? Too powerful to pay attention to when there are cuter versions easier to learn?

    If so, that doesn’t mean it isn’t useful in the right hands. WOIM kicks butt for those minds strong enough to embrace it’s awesome.

    But for most “type, read and think” will more often take a second place to “touch, look and see” in communications.

    1. BUT …

      For individuals or small teams willing to do the work to learn to “type, read and think” FAST in a structured, text-based descriptive tool, they will RUN CIRCLES around everyone else.

      The world will be like the Luftwaffe flying aerial clunkers while some small faction is kicking their butts flying Spitfires.

      Spitfires took a LONG time to build. They were not easy to MAKE…

      And WOIM won’t ever be easy to install.

      1. The reason WOIM wont be as easy to INSTALL TO MASTERY LEVEL is because of the shift inside people to thrive in a place where they must “write, read and think.”

        From what I see instinctively (not borne out of facts) is that the plasticity of a team’s brains must be shaped by WOIM before WOIM could actually become the creative engine for a team. But once you get a team to SHIFT their minds to get beyond the cycle of learning:

        Unconscious Incompetence -> Conscious Incompetence -> Conscious Competence -> Unconscious Competence -> Mastery

        Then you could get amazing results. But the installation and “brain baking” required may go beyond the training capabilities AND GROUP EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE of many firms. However, some places naturally would allow WOIM.

        IMHO WOIM would work well in the following areas NATURALLY:

        1. Individual Time Management.
        2. Code Development in Small Software Firms.
        3. Law Firms (These people “type, read and think”)
        4. Private Security Firms: WOIM’S WIKI structure would work well in this dynamic arena.
        5. Event Planning Firms: WOIM as a WIKI would be most useful here as they often need to complete tasks on the run over a cell-network.
        6. Brain-Storming Technologies (both online and in a group).

        Okay. I need to actually learn it. I’m at “consciously incompetent” stage working into “consciously competent.”

        I’ll let you know in a few weeks how I’m coming along. I’m trying to see if I can actually replace my time management system with WOIM. Should make a nice experiment.

    2. When you have a white-board, or a piece of paper or a paper napkin, or… Then there is no Mac to do fancy-schmazy stuff 🙂

      1. Yup.

        There are other superior “human technologies” that go largely ignored but are deeply useful once learned. Here is a list of what I think a “truly amazing” human could really use. . .

        1. Pittman Shorthand. This form of shorthand (unlike Gregg) is a complete alphabet. Once learned it can write 10X faster than normal script and is completely legible (unlike Gregg’s method that becomes “cold” and illegible after you leave it for a few weeks.) Pittman + WOIM = OMG.

        2. Morse to Phone Texting. SADLY THIS IS NOT AVAILABLE YET. Morse to text would make texting much faster. But on the iPhone, there are only aps that teach you morse, not allow you to text from morse. To morse text you have to copy and paste. (sigh.)

        3. Messenger Memory: Ancient messengers could memorize large blocks of their leader’s commands on the first listen and convey them across human networks almost error free.

        4. Classical Memorization. Ancient Scholars used to memorize books because paper was so limited. This skill builds minds that are amazing IMHO.

        5. The Exer-Genie. This is the most amazing exercise device ever invented and is barely staying alive because of the love of a few devotees. It was used by Nasa to keep muscles from atrophying in space on Apollo 7,8 and 11. This device fits in a small bag and can deliver a 900 pound squat, a complete weightlifting gym, and a BETTER treadmill than a real treadmill. It barely survives today because football teams use it to teach runners to run through resistance. (I will give up my exer-genie only upon death!)

        6. Mental Math Via Abacus. If students were taught math on an abacus from first grade and drilled on it, none of us would need calculators. It is fairly easy to learn to visualize an abacus in one’s head.

        7. Mental Calendaring Systems.

        Yup, the problem with WOIM is not its superiority but in its memetic transference. And sadly, there is no school that teaches and drill them to the point of mastery in the student.

        If such a school existed, the question “Where are all the amazing people?” would be moot.

        1. Oops. Meant this …

          And sadly, there is no school that teaches ALL THESE TECHNOLOGIES and drills them to the point of mastery in the student.

          1. You need GOOD pencils or real fountain pens if you take Pitman seriously because of its use of the light and dark strokes. The best pencil of all time according to pencil geeks is the Blackwing 602. They aren’t made anymore and now go for big bucks on ebay for those that still remain.

            The California Palamino pencil is just as good as the Blackwing 602 according to many sources. Ticonderoga calls their pencils the “best in the world” and pencil geeks just roll their eyes. . .


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