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Author: Frode Hegland

Time Browser Idea

What do you think about this?

My father said the other day that he fully feels that once he passes away his sons will remember him and mourn him, but once we, his sons are gone, his memory and impact will be gone. 

I found this a very realistic thought, a bit depressing but also beautiful. I of course also hoped, for myself, that the ripples of my work will continue to have a wider impact after I am gone. Maybe this is me clinging to immortality, revealing fears of my own mortality? Maybe, but it lead me on to further thought, I thought of an aspect of a Time Browser, at first as a morbid joke but then maybe there is something to it:

A website, or an app, it doesn’t really matters, with a video camera. It poses a question, such as ‘what is your favourite colour’ or even ‘what is your view on the current political race’ . You speak your answer to the camera and all is recorded in high resolution audio and video, along with all the meta-data you are comfortable with, such as your (rough) location, time and so on. 

Of course you can also write your own questions, but the format is question-answer. 

The result is that over time you will have contributed to a library of your views over time. A great grandchild will be able to interact with your record by choosing which question to ask you, and thus get to know you a bit. This is instead of making long videos where the viewer won’t know what is in it and can watch it all in one go if interested and then be done with it.

Questions can be: “Great, Great Grandpa, what did you think about the war?”

This can then become an wonderful historical record.

It can also become a useful current record, since people across the world will enter their perspectives in a searchable way, so for example you could ask: “What do people in Florida think about the weather today?” and anyone in Florida who has answered that question will come up.

Shall we build this, using YouTube as a host and meta-data in the YouTube tags space?

Flying to Norway for the weekend with wife+father-in-law, but will be online.


Author OS X User Guide, 29th of April

Welcome To Liquid | Author OS X BETA

Welcome to this Interactive Introduction to Author. It is interactive since it’s a normal Author document and therefore allows you to do what you read about, when you read it. 

OS X vs. iOS Differences

OS X: Full-screen mode (ESC to toggle) • Window management (cmd~ to tile your windows) • Spacebar on selected text in Read mode to have it read out using OS X Text To Speech technology • Companion utility Liquid, which allows you to interact with all the text on your computer, not just in Author.

iOS: Built-in web browser which provide results for the look-up options when selecting text, which is similar to Liquid functionality in OS X.


Liquid was built before Author and is integral to the potential of Author so please download from, install and get familiar with Liquid. 

Liquid is a text interaction tool which works through OS X ‘Services’. That means you can select any text in pretty much any application, hit a keyboard shortcut (by default cmd-@ but many change it to cmd-space instead of SpotLight) and you get a command bar with the selected text giving you rich options:


•  Search Google, Google Images, Reverse Image Search, Google Maps, Google Scholar, Amazon, Mendeley, YouTube, Spotlight, Contacts, Email and Spotlight Contents

•  References Wikipedia, IMDB, Etymonline, Google Definition, Oxford English Dictionary, Wolfram Alpha and Wordnik

•  Convert Currencies and other units: Area, Speed, Distance, Volume, Weight, Data and Power

•  Translate between over 30 languages

•  Copy with Link, as Citation, As Plain Text, Copy only Sentences with Keyword, Copy to Edit and Copy to show as Flow Outline

•  Share to Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, via email Google Mail or posting to WordPress

Liquid is very easy to use since you can see all possible commands and very, very quick since you can use it with keyboard shortcuts only. For example, to look up something in Wikipedia, select it, keyboard shortcut to launch Liquid and then ‘R’ for ‘References’ and ‘W’ for Wikipedia. With some basic use you can look up pretty much anything anywhere in less than one second. That completely changes what a reference is, it’s now part of the text, not something you need to move away to and, as I like to say, you work at the speed of thought.

(Liquid is free but if you upgrade for a small fee you can add the ability to customise by adding any search or references)

Read/Edit Modes

Author features Read and Edit modes. Tap the centre bottom, which will either say Edit when in Read mode or Done when in Edit mode.


•  Read – when the page is beige 

•  Edit – the page is grey

Read Mode

Instant Table of Contents


•  Pinch in on your trackpad to collapse the text to only see headings

•  Click on a heading to jump to that section

•  Pinch further to see less levels of headings

•  Pinch back out to return to normal view


•  Spacebar to go down one screen

•  Click on a heading to have it jump to the top of the screen

•  Select text to Copy 

•  ESC to toggle full screen (also works in Edit mode)

•  Select text and activate Liquid for advanced control

Text to Speech


•  Select any text and hit spacebar for the text to be read out loud to you

Edit Mode


Anything you Cut will be stored in cuttings. To paste something stored in Cuttings, tap anywhere then cmd-shift-v and you will be presented with everything you have Cut. Note that nothing you Copy will be listed here, since a Copy command leaves your original safe. Anything you Cut and then paste, before Cutting something else, will also not show up since that is also safe in your document. 


In Edit Mode you can assign tags to your text by selecting the text and ctrl clicking:


•  Heading. Tag the text as a heading which you can then pinch to collapse the document into a Table of Contents. cmd-1 through cmd-6 to assign. Cmd-0 to un-assign

•  Link. Allows you to add a Web Address Link or Citation. cmd-k for a weblink, cmd-t to assign a Citation Link

•  Format. Here you have all the usual suspects with all the usual OS X keyboard shortcuts: cmd-b for bold and so on

•  Note. Add a note° to your text. Notes are intended to be for yourself. Comments will be developed later for other readers to comment on your document


A central focus of Author is making your Citations quicker to add when writing to give your writing more credibility. Consequently, making it super-quick to check a citation when reading becomes a complementary goal.

Please click on the quote below to see the Citations dialog. What happens will be different depending on whether you are in Read or Edit mode:


“By “augmenting human intellect” we mean increasing the capability of a man to approach a complex problem situation, to gain comprehension to suit his particular needs, and to derive solutions to problems.”

Doug Engelbart,

Augmenting Human Intellect*

Creating Citations

From Web Using Liquid


•  Select the text you want to quote on the website and use Liquid to Copy/As Citation (tip, go to the Liquid Preferences and set spacebar to be the shortcut to Copy/As Citation for super-efficient citing)

•  Cmd-v in the Author document

•  Choose Paste As Citation which then puts the URL, date accessed (now) and the name of the page into the correct fields in the Citation dialog.

•  You can also select text you already have in Author, cmd-t and choose ‘From Copied Citation’

From a Book Using Amazon


•  Select the text you want to cite (either as a direct quote or paraphrased text) 

•  Cmd-t 

•  Choose ‘From Amazon’

•  You then enter the name of the book or author and click search 

•  Choose the correct book from the list and Author will fill in the Citations fields for  you



•  To assign a Citation, select the text and cmd-t and choose ‘Manually’ and enter the Citation information yourself. 

Citation Styles

The citation style in Author is based on the Chicago style (further styles will be added later). Text with a citation attached is shown with an asterisk* after it. If you upgrade Author (see below), you can Export you Author document and then the asterisk turns into a superscript number (it’s an asterisk while you are working since you may end up editing and changing the order and number of citations). Furthermore, all your citations are listed at the end of the shared document under a References section, which is generated live on export.

Search Document


•  cmd-f to search 

•  cmd-f if you have selected text will automatically copy across the selected text into the Find dialog so you can hit ’enter’ to see all sentences with that text in the document. This is quite useful, please try it.

When you get the results, tap to jump to its location in the document or tap anywhere in the margin or ESC to return to the document.

Document Cover

Double-click the window bar and the document will flip around to show you the Document Cover (try it, it’s quite cool). 

Initially, your name will be missing, Author doesn’t know your name yet, so go to Edit mode, then tap the window bar to flip, enter your name, tap Done and now it will remember it. 

This will become more useful over time as this is where you can see all the information about the document – the information you’d use when citing the document, plus tags and more. For now, it’s just kind of a cool document cover. 


LiSA, the Liquid Information Speaking Assistant is also a companion application for Author. It was developed to help you focus on your work, with less distractions and is available on the App Store for free. The way LiSA helps you focus is by speaking, using a real human voice, when you get emails, even saying who from. For example: “You have a message from your sister” or “You have a reply from your assistant”.


NOT IMPLEMENTED: You can choose to upgrade Author to enable Sharing and Preferences. If you choose not to upgrade you can still select all the text in your document and paste in to another word processor. The balance I am trying to achieve is to let anyone really try Author and if they like it provide an added useful feature which can then be paid for to support the ongoing development of the project.


Share your documents via email – as native .author documents, as .PDF or .RTF files which are accepted by most word processors. To share, choose ‘Export to…’ in the File menu or choose Share then ‘Send via Email…’



NOT IMPLEMENTED + IN-APP-UPGRADE: Preferences lets you select font for body text and Headings: Cochin, Georgia or Helvetica, with more to come. 


Thank you for helping test Author, I look forward to hearing from you.

Please visit for more information or email me with any questions/comments/bugs/suggestions at

This is only the beginning. 

Frode Hegland

April  2016



The background of Author starts with the inspiration and wisdom of my mentor Doug Engelbart who invented personal computing in the 1960s and 70s, including the mouse and the basic premise of putting a keyboard in front of a display, in his Augment system. 

Doug was not interested in computers, he was passionately interested in how we work together to solve urgent, complex problems. Collectively. It was his desire to augment our intellectual capacity which resulted in his invention. We should remember this and try to make our immensely powerful computer systems truly augment our abilities, not just continue to try to make them ‘easier to use’. 

The name Author has the same etymological roots as Augment and that is why I chose the name. 

Liquid was invented and only later did I realise that it is basically copied from Augment’s command bar, with all potential commands listed hierarchically. Hopefully you will get to be so fast using Liquid that you won’t need to use the menus just the keyboard shortcuts. You can see Doug discussing an early version of Liquid, when it was called Hyperwords, here:

I miss you Doug.



I suggest you read up on Doug if you are interested in the history and future of computers:








(Left blank so you can tap on Table Of Contents to jump to the Headings lower down in the document such as the Acknowledgement)

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