Arc vs. Hookmark: which is the most transformative app?

Arc vs. Hookmark: which is the most transformative app. Adam Engst thinks it is Arc? Let him know if you disagree: Arc Will Change the Way You Work on the Web - TidBITS. There’s a discourse forum comments section.

Adam’s a friend of mine (his son is a computer science [ML]. Ph.D. student at Simon Fraser University where I am an Adjunct Professor). But my take is that he has invested eons into Arc, enabling him to make it work for him. If he had spent a fraction of the time with Hookmark, would Hookmark top his list?

goliath vs. Hookmark?

The Browser Company - Crunchbase Company Profile & Funding:

TBC Total Funding Amount $18M.

CogSci Apps: undisclosed: but hint: bootstrapped with a bit of funding from myself and family. We also develop the acclaimed mySleepButton® app, which is also based on my contributions to integrative design-oriented cognitive science

About me:

Not an either or proposition

Hookmark is compatible with the Arc browser. We don’t at all compete with Arc; in fact, we make it much better, by enabling Arc users to connect web resources to just about anything.

Using Arc and Hookmark together, well, that would be superadditive (i.e., synergistic), would it not? :wink:

This topic on social media

This is discussed on Twitter, which I try to avoid; and on Mastodon:

Adam wrote:

I just spent a week backing up my claim that the Web browser Arc is “the most transformative app I’ve used in decades” by writing a 7100-word article illustrated with 35 screenshots.

@adamengst How can we believe the claim if Tidbits hasn’t covered Hookmark yet :slight_smile: ? Arc more transformative than Hookmark? not based on the user feedback I’ve received (but we don’t have VC backing…)

I.e., is this cognitive dissonance? Saying “that I’ve used” doesn’t exclude all apps that one has used but stopped using.

Please feel free to chime into the discussion there too :blush:.

Can we answer the question without a theory of personal transformation?

What makes technology, an experience, or activity transformative? I.e., what is personal transformation? That question can only really be rigorously addressed with integrative design-oriented terms concepts. I’m not sure one can validly answer Adam’s question (even for oneself) without a theory of self-transformation.

As it happens, I have a theory to offer, as this is an area of research of mine. See Cognitive Productivity: Using Knowledge to Become Profoundly Effective and Cognitive Productivity with macOS: 7 Principles for Getting Smarter with Knowledge.
Coincidentally, I will be giving a talk on this topic in Sept. See: Is there more to say about transformative experiences than L.A. Paul’s decision-theoretic perspective captures? – CogZest, and my academic papers.

also, on Friday I published an article on this topic on medium:

there I take aim at an Ivy League prof’s contribution to theoretical questions of self-transformation.

Now over to you:

  • what makes an app transformational?
  • is Hookmark transformative for you?
  • which is most transformative: Arc or Hookmark?
  • is using Hookmark with a browser like Arc more transformative than using either alone?
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Interesting questions, Luc, and I don’t have the academic background to answer at the level that might be best.

I do think that what makes something transformative is both highly personal and related to one’s life stage. I’ve been using the Mac since 1985, and I’ve built up my working habits over that time, so it takes a lot to make me want to go through the conscious step of adjusting my workflows. Someone without such a history is probably far more open to a tool transforming their nascent workflow.

Most of my work is fairly ephemeral too. Articles seldom take me more than a few days to write, and often no more than a few hours. And once they’re written, I don’t need to retain the source material in any way since anything useful is linked in the final article. If I were working on a book or larger project that was going to take months, I could see wanting to build up links between resources and documents. But for an article, it feels like overkill.

Plus, and I’m sure this varies hugely by person, I’m pretty good at keeping things in my head. I find that I prefer doing that to taking notes that I’ll then have to think about how to retain or delete. I use Reminders for small things to remember, but when I’m noodling on ideas, I just keep them internal most of the time. That applies to links too—I tend to remember what I need or at least where it is.

With Arc, I gave it a try, as I do with lots of software, and while it took me a few days to understand all it could do for me, the hit of “Wow, I can see how I’d use this,” was there immediately. And as I got more into it, its fitness for my tasks just increased. It’s entirely possible that there’s such a scenario for Hookmark that I just haven’t seen in the marketing materials, but that’s where I’ve bogged down.


Welcome, @adamengst of TIDBits. Honoured to read your post!

I didn’t realize you were so into transformation and from an academic frame.

‘…much of my career is concerned with transforming ourselves with knowledge, aided by information technology.’ I like this a lot! Great tools; why not put them to work?

I had a transformational experience in 1977 and have been working with that ever since. While the experience is ineffable, that doesn’t mean it can’t be communicated as paradoxical as that sounds.

The best academic expression can be found in the book ‘Speaking Being’

Speaking about transformation (or any rigorous speaking) requires coming to terms with the terms. The first and most important term is self or Self or I or me. Until the observer or speaker accounts for its impact on the observed or spoken, you can not accurately quantify the output.

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