Hook revisited, more frustration than usefulness

Hi all! The First time when I downloaded Hook, I was excited. I still like the idea of this type of application, but unfortunately had for many irritations over this month that I almost stopped using Hook.

Before I begin, just want to mention that I get several issues than average users because of some accessibility features turned on.

First unstable. From time to time, it works from time to time not. I read over at hook forum that other users have similar issues. For the most time I invoke a hook window, copying hook item url, opening another window to hook together, but get dimmed “hook to copied link”. After a few tests, I found out it happens because of VoiceOver. If I turn VoiceOver off, do the same process as above it works. But hey, not efficient at all. I maybe could leave with it, but another problem Once I turn VoiceOver on one of these hooked documents, hook window says ‘no linkable item found in hook.’, which makes it very useless. One of my primary note tools is drafts and hook don’t recognise drafts when invoked in drafts. Since my workflow depends on drafts a lot, it makes little sense to turn off VO, copy & paste links and later invoke hook in drafts and get blank hook window.

Another thing is remembering to trigger Hook window, if you are looking after hooked items. After several months I still have not formed the habit to use this keyboard shortcut on a daily basis. (Maybe I need to create a habit in Streaks to stick with it). In other words another step which may slow down when I need to access some documents, links etc. It is great when it is about 2 files, but when I needed to hook say 5-7 different type of documents, I spent more time to hook them than actually do something.

MS Word.
This application I hate from all my heart and thought hook would help me at least to launching .docx files more often. I was wrong. It works in Finder if .docx file is selected, but when I’m writing in this document itself, I get ‘no linkable item found in hook.’ after triggering hook with keyboard shortcut.

Contacted developer, got few responses, but nothing more. I would gladly to jump on beta if they had thought to fix the accessibility issue.

What I do next?
Since I still think linking things together and have easy access to get markdown url for different items is brilliant idea, I do it with Keyboard Maestro instead. You don’t get this hooked items feature, but I don’t miss it much since it rarely worked when I needed it anyway.

For you, who interested, I found this Copy as Markdown Link - Macro Library - Keyboard Maestro Discourse macro group, which comes with pre-saved applications to get quickly md link.

Since I have drafts almost always opened, I kind of replicated hooked items by creating a draft where I store Markdown links for items is currently relevant. Since I have assigned keyboard shortcut in drafts to launch markdown url’s in opened draft, it makes quick to jump quickly to right destination.

So yeah, Hook, is where linked items meant to be found, but not for my use case so far.

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Using OneDrive or SharePoint? If so, it doesn’t work inside Word because It behaves like a browser, accessing a https link to the web version of the file.

It can be fixed in two ways:

  1. If you don’t need the collaboration features enabled by the web sharing, just turn it off (@LucCogZest pointed himself).

  2. However, if you need those collaboration features, you’ll need to get your hands a bit dirty in AppleScript. I’ve made a few changes to the default AppleScript that could help with a bit of tweaks on your end. Basically it transforms those https links into file:// links that can be assimilated by Hook.

Before Hook I was doing the same thing with Keyboard Maestro Text Expanding features (trigger is typed string set as ;<app initial>link, like in ;mlink for Mail link). The good news is the script above can also be set as a Macro and help you with Keyboard Maestro as well.

For now I’m still on Hook as I like it’s unified activation and uncluttered way (those links can quickly become huge on a notes field and it gets hard to figure out what the link text was about).

That said, I still use my Keyboard Maestro Expansions from time to time when I need iOS compatibility for apps like Things, Evernote, Mail and the likes.

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Hi RDK,

All I can offer is sympathy.Like you the concept appeals but I have not been able to convert this into covenient workflows. I am just experimenting with Hook for about 3rd time and end up being a bit confused about various things. I have not really spent enough time (and read manual from beginning to end) with it to do Hook justice. Invoking Hook with shortcuts seems essential as interface seems a bit laborious … I use quite a lot of shortcuts in other places, but the ones for Hook are not sticking in my mind, … are going to put them on a note on my desk to see if I can embed them in my mind. :wink: I discovered if I do a link from DEVONthink3 to OmniFocus this will also work in my iPhone … so that’s potentially quick attractive, … and I keep wondering if I can find a use for Hook “notes” … :slight_smile:

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Hook is an app with an opinionated point of view for how we ought to be using computers and what we ought to be doing with to form linkages among the sources and data we use. If that is not an interesting, useful point of view, then it will not be appealing.

Even if it is an interesting point of view of what contextual computing is about, Hook fails to easily facilitate ways to use the linkages that we form with Hook. I’m in the second camp: interesting idea incompletely executed. Hook does not reward the effort invested to use it.

Maybe it’s still in beta phase from that perspective. Time will tell…

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TheBrain makes a good Finder augmenter, and gives me the functionality I had wanted from Hook. You can connect things in your Brain, have links to files of plots, source code, etc., all linked and related to one another. So I can tell which plot was generated by which code, and which data were processed to make that plot. It’s not integrated with Finder per se, but acts as a substitute and helps with many of the things I need to keep up with.

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:+1: TheBrain. Ironically, Hook works with TheBrain, but what’s the point? It makes more sense to just add the links to TheBrain directly.

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I’m a fan of hook and feel like the team has a vision for where they’re going. It’s not without it’s limitations, but it continues to get better.

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I tried Hook back in September, and again this week. I think I finally get the basic workflow. Yes, the UI is very sparse. Regardless, I opened a couple of apps to test it out. One is my email client (FMail, for Fastmail) and the other is a birding database app. Of course neither of these is in any way compatible with Hook.

That’s my big complaint, extremely specific requirements that exclude a large portion of the Mac app universe.

Just checked out TheBrain as well, but while mind mapping has limited value for me, I can’t see a regular use case for me. Or how it would replace Hook’s functionality…

In fairness, the Hook team is committed to making Hook work with as many apps as possible. They listen to customers, and they reach out to work with developers of other apps that customers want Hook to be compatible with. Interesting that no-one on Hook’s forum has asked for Fastmail integration – maybe dial into that forum and press your case?

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Well now. So I stand by most of my previous statement, however - FMail seems to have actually built Hook connectivity into their app!

https://arievanboxel.fr/fmail/en/

Looks like I will have to go Pro just to test this feature. Dang…

Where does it say that?

You have to edit the scripts in Hook’s Preferences and add FMail as a watched app and add the scripts that the site you quoted suggested:

Paging @LucCogZest Luc Beaudoin into this thread so he can notice this gap in Hook and perhaps fill it.

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After the trial expires, you are dropped into ‘lite’ mode. Script editing is not supported. I did manage to kinda back into the right screen, but changes didn’t take effect. Will have to get a license…

Ah makes sense now - I thought you were referring to the pro level of Fastmail…

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I followed the steps on their website and Hook cannot find linkable item. It might be fault from my side though, because I edited the script for Mail.app to return message:// instead of hook://email/

But hooks can still link to the web interface, opened with default browser. also links with Mail.app.

Thanks for letting me know the great news re fastmail! I’ve asked our devs to look at this.

Incidentally, we also added last year a rename feature similar to what you had requested. We’re rounding out rename in Hook 2.3 (placing it wherever links and bookmarks show up).

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We’ve had a look at and produced some integration in house. As far as we can tell can at this early stage, Fastmail does not provide a way to get or consume a URL based on a RFC-5322-compliant email ID. It’s a proprietary ID. Does anyone know if there is a way to get/use RFC-5322-compliant IDs from Fastmail? Can their email IDs be shared? Do they still work if the user offloads the email and re-download them (e.g., which would presumably be based on some form of the standard email ID?)

and @dixonge, I’ve created a topic on the Hook Forum for Linking fastmail - Discussion & Help - Hook Productivity Forum. I shared a script. If anyone has comments/questions about them, please pursue the discussion there. There may be other Hook users who use fastmail.com.

Thank you for pointing that out, @anon41602260. We continue to roll out support , trying to meet demand, and publish release notes here Latest Releases topics - Hook Productivity Forum, and maintain a list here, Linkable Mac Apps – Hook. And increasingly are writing up "using Hook with App " pages.

thanks for raising the voiceover issue. We received some questions about accessibility.

Thanks also to @ldebritto for answering some of the questions. We at CogSci Apps are happy to take questions via email or Hook’s forum.

Good luck/best wishes to all with whatever tools you decide on. There’s no silver bullet, but we’re doing our best to create one for a particular (expanding) set of requirements :blush:.

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After going through the Devonthink Field Guide last weekend I wanted to look at Hook again.

Unfortunately, it still counts the trial I did back in 2019 when the app was just out of beta as my one and only chance to try it out, so I’m not able to give it another go.
Ironically, if it was a subscription app for $3 a month I would have just paid for a month, but I’m not willing to spend $35 if I don’t know it’ll work better than it did two years ago when it was completely useless to me.

So I’m looking for good recent reviews, preferably videos. Tutorials also work.

Unfortunately, Youtube keeps trying to push hookup apps on me, which (while not uninteresting…) is something I’m really not allowed to do in work hours ;p

Any hot tips?

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Hook Productivity has some videos here – not sure how current they are.

Luc Beaudoin, Hook’s inventor, was a guest on an MPU episode – about a year ago, I think.