LooseStitch Blog

June 19th, 2010, No Comments

At its simplest, LooseStitch is a web-based outliner that aims to give you your eureka moment, and at its most complex it lets you do everything from publish to collaborate with others.

The Why

LooseStitch grew out of a need for an outliner that lets users manage everything from a simple list to multiple projects across groups. What we saw with other outliners was that they were great for a brain dump session, but fell short when it came to collaborating, sharing and publishing with other users and user groups. And there were just enough fancy features to keep us distracted!

The Good

It’s great being the wild child of creativity – the sort that puts down their thoughts on a paper napkin and then throws it out with the coffee cup. But if a structured outline is what you’re looking for when planning the next great American novel, then you will find that LooseStitch is a really easy and fun writing tool. Add a row to your outline and start typing away. It can be a word, a sentence, or a paragraph. Or two. Use it to organize ideas, structure plot points, list characters, and keep track of family trees.  When you need to move your points around, that’s when you will find that an outliner, such as LooseStitch, really comes to it’s own, making it really easy to restructure your ideas, one row at a time.

LooseStitch really shines as a collaborative tool. Invite friends and colleagues to help you brainstorm, or flesh out your projects. Assign rows to others so they know what needs to get done. And by when. Yes, you can also set due dates to items in your outlines. Attach documents, photos shot from your mobile phone, PDF or Word documents, that need to go with your outline rows. You can even color rows differently and you get to decide what those colors mean. From project to project, or fix a meaning to these colors across all your outlines. Orange: very important. Blue: rows assigned to Editor for feedback.

When an item or section in your outline is done with simply clicking the Completed checkbox marks that portion as finished by adding a strikethrough. This is a great way to indicate progress instead of simply deleting rows and sections from your outlines.

LooseStitch also comes in handy for day-to-day usage. Its versatility is evident in the fact that the features that let you manage projects and deadlines also let you manage a grocery list. Or your class notes. As a to-do list you can create a list (Summer Vacation), and add all that needs to get done (pack sunscreen, throw in extra wipes etc). You can then reorder your list as you please and check items off as they gets done. If class notes are your problem area, then use LooseStitch to share notes with friends and teachers, and invite them to collaborate with you to make sure that you’ve missed nothing out. (And that to-do list we were talking about – great when you’re putting together your college applications!)

The Great

One of the unique features of LooseStitch is that it allows people with whom you’re collaborating to view and edit an outline that you’ve started. So you can get the input and ideas of your collaborators without having to send around umpteen copies of it. And since they all get compiled together in the same place, it’s a one-stop-shop for everyone to voice their thoughts. The outlines can then be shared with editors for comment and guidance. Or submitted to your teacher if it’s a class project.

The not-so-good!

Everything has its drawbacks, and as an outliner LooseStitch could do with a few teeny weeny improvements. Or a truckload of additional features, depending on what your expectations are. For one, LooseStitch doesn’t allow you to create additional columns that more powerful outliners do. We’ve deliberately kept how you can format your rows to a bare minimum, the reasoning being that LooseStitch is primarily a brainstorming tool and not a final presentation tool. We expect people to export their outlines using one of the various options available and repurpose the content to meet their final presentation needs. Currently, those export options are rather limited, enough to get your work out of LooseStitch and continue to improve on it using more appropriate tools. But, we are working on some really cool additions. For example, as we found out, many students use LooseStitch for their class presentations, and they have been telling us that it would be great if they could use their outline as a starting point for a Keynote or PowerPoint presentation. So yes, you will soon be able to flesh out your presentations using LooseStitch and then with a click of a button you will have a ready PowerPoint .ppt file that you can style and finish for your classroom or boredroom (or is that boardroom) presentations.

What do you think?

We would love to hear from you. Use LooseStitch a lot? How do you use it? What do you like? What don’t you like? Have any ideas on how we can improve things? We can’t promise to implement everything you tell us, but if we find that your ideas really make LooseStitch better for a lot of people, we will definitely implement it. And best of all, if any of your ideas get implemented, we will send you a 1 year free subscription to LooseStitch Pro. Use it to sign up or renew your existing Pro account.

{ Filed in:  General }

Welcome to the New LooseStitch
June 2nd, 2010, No Comments
Welcome to the new LooseStitch. Well, not entirely new, but many changes have been brewing behind the scenes and while it has take some time, finally most things are in place. So we thought this is as good a time as any other to launch the revised website and LooseStitch v3.0.
First off, LooseStitch has finally come of it’s own as LooseStitch Inc. While crossroad solutions developed it and has brought it to where it stands today, with the new partnerships forged with Emantras, we hope LooseStitch can go a lot further and become more useful to all of you. Some of the changes you will notice on the website itself: the blog has been moved over to the LooseStitch website. We have reorganized certain links, new sections have been added. And still more is yet to come.
Next, Corporate Accounts are now fully functional. So if your entire company or just your team mates want to use LooseStitch Pro, it is really easy and even cost effective to sign up for a LooseStitch Corporate account. You can create and manage users from one convenient place, they don’t get reminders to renew subscriptions. You can manage contacts centrally and have them pushed automatically to all your users.
Now, we’ve even found a way to let you keep using LooseStitch Pro. For free. With the new Referral Program, for every new LooseStitch Pro user you bring on board, we will extend your subscription by 3 months. So keep sharing your love for LooseStitch among your friends and colleagues, but now you also get something in return from us.
We’ve kept the best for the last. LooseStitch itself has received some long overdue updates. Finally, we’ve got inline editing working. Yes, we have been hearing all of you who’ve been asking for this since a long time. We’ve also added 2 very important new features. You can write up a little note for each row in your outline. And to make budgeting and tracking costs and expenses much easier, there is now an Amount field that you can assign to rows. Parent rows, or group headings, automatically derive their values from the sum of the child rows. So if you need to know how much you will need to spend on the plumbing in your home improvement project, well now you will be able to see that at a glance.
As LooseStitch has been growing, so has been the types of people joining in. Many have never used an outliner before. And LooseStitch itself has gained features that make it ideally suited for brainstorming, notes taking, managing tasks and deadlines, and now to write up budgets and track costs. So we felt this was a good time to acknowledge this shift in our user base, and we have renamed the Outlines tab to Documents. Small change on the surface, but quite a major shift in our perspective. LooseStitch is no longer simply an outliner. It is different things to different people. Some will still use it to create outlines, others to handle projects, and others yet to take notes, make presentation slides, etc. Documents seemed like the best term for us to use.
Oh, one more thing! The native iPhone version of LooseStitch is almost ready to be launched! We will be putting together a demo shortly. So make sure to come back soon to check it out. We are really excited about this new app and hope to have it in your hands by the end of this month. The iPad version will be out shortly after that. So stay tuned.
These be exciting times we live in.

{ Filed in:  General }