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Last post Author Topic: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten  (Read 109149 times)

Yatom

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #250 on: March 26, 2020, 10:17 PM »
Those of you who have Archivarius, do you know if a proximity search greater than only 10 words apart can be performed.  Currently (and I have the newest version; 4.79), a search like this  [president...issued]  will only find the words "president" and "issued" if they are within 10 words of each other.

That's great, but I want to be able to specify a greater range, such as 25, 50, or 100 words apart.  Also, I seriously vexed by the fact that program doesn't have an exact search (!!!)  If I search for "Nazarene" (including the quotation marks), it will turn up results for "Nazarene" and "Nazarenes" (plural).

The latter refers to a specific group of people, and has a different meaning than just "Nazarene."  Why in the world would a program as powerful as Archivarius not be able to do an *exact search*?

I'm asking because I've tried contacting the support, sales, and whoever for over a month now.  No response--not one single response from multiple email addresses I've sent from.  Nothing.  So anybody who knows anything about these questions above, I would be very happy to hear back.

Dormouse

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #251 on: April 01, 2020, 06:38 AM »
Well this is interesting....why do you go to the Journal as a middleman?  I use the Journal also, so I am wondering.
It imports Evernote export files and exports into individual documents (rtf, txt, docx, pdf, or html).
Since deciding to switch to using a tablet more, I've been checking out other programs. Diaro and Diarium especially. One of them will import enex files and export into individual documents, which would bypass The Journal completely.
Also looked at programs for writing to see if there are ones I'm not familiar with.  Pure Writer seems most attractive of these so far,  though the Pro cost (£9.99) seems high for an Android program.

wraith808

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #252 on: April 01, 2020, 01:21 PM »
What pure writer are you looking at?

https://play.google....ewriter&hl=en_US

Dormouse

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #253 on: April 01, 2020, 03:21 PM »
That's the one. Some concerns because it's Chinese. Only had a quick look so far and the features aren't well explained. Looks as if a lot of writing could be done in it without taking it anywhere else,  but would still need to come back to a PC in the end. I can work with the colour scheme and the typewriter greys all lines except the one you're working on, which is especially useful on a tablet.

Lots of programs I'm happy writing in, but not so many facilitate the organisation of a larger work too. I don't know what I will do,  but hadn't seen this one before. Very little in the way of reviews etc.

One thing I probably will do is use Diaro/Diarium for daily small writings.   I think either would be more comfortable to use than Evernote and they would only have the one use, whereas Evernote has many.

Dormouse

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #254 on: April 04, 2020, 05:32 AM »
That's the one. Some concerns because it's Chinese. Only had a quick look so far and the features aren't well explained. Looks as if a lot of writing could be done in it without taking it anywhere else,  but would still need to come back to a PC in the end. I can work with the colour scheme and the typewriter greys all lines except the one you're working on, which is especially useful on a tablet.
Looked at it further. The developer appears to work for Microsoft.
Probably has all the functionality I'd want on a tablet or phone. There's an early alpha of a desktop version for synchronising; developer emphasises that it's very early, has bugs and very incomplete functionality: I've not tried it yet.
It's .txt or .md only. This might get me to move predominantly to plaintext. ;D Would want to check out export to WriteMonkey or Scrivener (etc).

One of the good things for me is extensive options for backgrounds, so I can get the best possible visual setup. Dark themes work okay in this format, but more control on appearance is better.

Interesting enough for me to give it a trial.
But the lack of documentation - guide or manual - is irritating. Most things I can work out but not all. And some features seem unlikely to be fixed, but I can't see how to edit them. That said, most is easy and the updates are so frequent that any manual would soon be out of date.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2020, 01:58 PM by Dormouse »

Dormouse

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #255 on: April 06, 2020, 04:55 AM »
Next stage was working out how to do the planning, maintain support files etc. Needs to be cross-platform. Decided on Trello (then discovered other writers use it and have documented their systems); reasonable substitute for the Scrivener cards, which is helpful for me as a visually oriented person. Primary export is JSON or print, neither of which are wonderful (with CSV if you are paying for business class), so I'll pay attention to keeping a lot of information in files linking into Trello. Which happily brings me back to a zettelkasten.  :)

I'll still use the myriad of other programs - Excel/Sheets, OneNote, Squid etc but they will all link in or save data to files regularly.

Very pleasing that the underlying system is unaffected.

Dormouse

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #256 on: April 08, 2020, 06:26 PM »
Which takes me further. Didn't take me long to think of other uses of Trello once I'd freed myself from thinking of it as for activity management to knowledge and activity management. As others have done. There is at least one detailed review of it for zettelkasten.
I realised that it has two advantages over individual documents for a zettelkasten -
  • going through the card sets is much quicker and more natural and a better analogue of the card box
  • input is easier
They would make a difference. Reduced security because they're online. And effort required to ensure that all the data is safe - possible with regular exports; hopefully. Would have to be tested.
Tagging would have to be as hoc - but same system as for documents.

Not sure if it goes against the whole thrust of the thread. Does a little, but I always accepted the use of database systems for active functionality. Cross platform is maintained. And the document system would still be there. Millions of users so some sort of export always likely anyway. But could be costly; no guarantee that current no/low prices for individuals will always be maintained. I don't know if I'll change anything yet. Will see how other uses go. Hmm.

Dormouse

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #257 on: April 08, 2020, 06:33 PM »
And I have resigned myself to learning markdown.
Even Trello uses it.
The Pure Writer developer explained that he wouldn't offer an rtf option because coding was more complex.
Many (most?) Android programs appear to offer md options but not rtf, doc or other equivalents.
And I like WriteMonkey on the PC.

Dormouse

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #258 on: April 08, 2020, 06:57 PM »
And the Share function on Android works a lot faster than trying to do the same thing on the PC. For me at least. I assume most here just use ahk etc.

wraith808

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #259 on: April 08, 2020, 08:17 PM »
And I like WriteMonkey on the PC.

What does that have to do with it?  Just curious.

Dormouse

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #260 on: April 09, 2020, 02:20 AM »
Markdown again.
And I will be using a PC some of the time.

Mostly it doesn't matter - text alone is all I need. But, when I do need it, formatting is important. Most PC programs offer options like rtf, doc, docx, odt , but don't offer markdown. iirc Scrivener is based on rtf.

One thing that interested me was that the WP programs I looked at on Android rarely had good dark modes even when a PC version does. So not good choices for me.

I (used to?) like rtf because it was easy to use and the lowest common denominator for documents with formatting. Now looks as if I'll have to give up easy.

Dormouse

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Thoughts on Trello and zettelkasten
« Reply #261 on: April 13, 2020, 03:42 AM »
This isn't a review, or an evaluation; likely I will never write one. It's simply an observation in passing while doing other things.

afaics, Trello is able to tick all possible boxes for zettelksten use. It can be free or relatively cheap ($45 a year). It has the advantage of being a robust business program essential for its users, with active development and support. Using power ups, virtually any type of charting or analytical tool is available. It's an online tool but each platform has native apps and boards can be used offline (without attachments, but that shouldn't be a disadvantage if all attachments are kept locally through dropbox or similar).

The commensurate disadvantage is potential cost (3 power ups per board for $45, unlimited comes at a business price - $120 a year and a subscription for the desired power ups may be required). OK for someone whose earning potentially enhanced, but beyond most impecunious students working on a thesis. It also needs to be remembered that Trello's primary function and target market is project management for teams. There's also no guarantee that pricing will remain the same long-term.

I see it essentially as a linking, thinking tool - it's not a repository and doesn't interfere with using a plain text document system. To that extent, a perfect match for the zettelkasten concept.

I don't believe I will ever get into using it in full whizzbang mode. That requires significant thinking, learning and developing a workflow - efficient if you are using it all the time for everything, but otherwise a substantial cost to bear. But I do expect to use it extensively in simpler, cheaper ways. I'm also unconvinced that all the various features discussed on zettelkasten forums when comparing programs actually make the system more effective. I suspect less may be more.

sphere

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #262 on: April 28, 2020, 10:32 PM »
Just tonight I stumbled upon a piece of software that was very cards oriented and I could not help but think of zettelkasten. 
It is called Wavemaker

You can find a number of video explainers here.
It is a web app that can run offline.  You can run it on any chrome (possibly other browser) and export import the section you are working on or the entire database.

"Snowflake" cards seemed like they could be helpful to flush out an idea, or dig down.
There are notes (similar to google keep)
Chapter planning cards (it is a novel writing application).
Grid cards (cards in a table)
As well as a timeline and challenger tool.
I am not suggesting it would replace the tools people are using. Just interesting seeing how these various card systems can be used to organize and sort thoughts.

That being said it can be exported in a number of formats ebook, rtf, markdown and html- making it possible to use it and then fold the work into another system.

The application can be downloaded here

« Last Edit: April 28, 2020, 10:42 PM by sphere »

wraith808

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #263 on: April 29, 2020, 05:32 PM »
Thanks for that- I'd not heard of that application and it seems cool!

sphere

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #264 on: April 29, 2020, 06:27 PM »
I used a system when I was in school that was very similar to zettelkasten where you used index cards to take notes.   Much of the process was refining, catalogueing and playing with the cards. Their edges would be all bent, there would be tears from the rubber bands used to bind them together and there would be markups and additions from various colored pens.   I think that is the thing that is missing from the systems I have seen.  It seems like one should be able to more easily "play" with the cards.

Dormouse

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #265 on: April 30, 2020, 07:47 PM »
It is called Wavemaker
Thanks. I hadn't heard of this one. Cross-platform, so very interesting to me.

I don't like web apps generally, but a local browser extension with the ability to sync to Drive is probably as good as they will ever suit me.
I will have to look at it on Windows - which appears to be what it is most designed around - but did check it out briefly on Android. Snowflake, Cat etc as templates for the Writer is good and I assume/hope you can design your own. I tried the mindmap, but couldn't find a way to move the boxes. Seemed like a nice grid implementation, though would use a lot of space; ideally it would tie in with the Writer sections, but it didn't seem to do that. I didn't try the Writer.
I had some difficulty in getting it to start and never succeeded on my phone.

Will comment further when I've checked the Windows version.

Dormouse

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #266 on: April 30, 2020, 07:54 PM »
It seems like one should be able to more easily "play" with the cards
I agree.

Luhmann could obviously do it with his physical cards, but I don't think the digital versions encourage it even though I personally feel it's that playing that is the core to its effectiveness. It is something that Trello facilitates.

Dormouse

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Will comment further when I've checked the Windows version.
Looks as if a new, substantially revised, version of Wavemaker should be out soon, maybe June. So I'll defer any detailed look until then. Scrivener 3 should surely be out by then too.
Developer mentioned Trello & Kanban as some of his inspirations.
« Last Edit: May 03, 2020, 03:30 PM by Dormouse »

Dormouse

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Creative Zettel
« Reply #268 on: May 06, 2020, 01:45 PM »
As promised, I've had a quick look at how to do a creative story type zettelkasten.

It's mostly a question of remembering the rules:
One thought per card.
Simple not verbose.
Cards should be easily reviewed. Physical cards are easy and a simple digital analogy is likely to make the process easier.
It should be possible to move the cards around.
You need to be able to link them.
Tags can help.

So, what to do?
The answer is simply to record all your ideas, whatever they are, and whether they link in your mind or not. No need for them to be driven by a single project, although the chances are that's how your mind will be focusing when you do it.

An example:

card1 Plot idea. Urchin becomes local hero. #plot
card2 Name Twiglet. Orphan. Small. #char #hero >card1
card3 Friendly inn-keeper. Name Blob #char
card4 Small wooden inn with tables on veranda. The Round House. Owner Blob . #place >card3
card5 Photo of Apron. Cook's apron? #clothing #apron #cook
card6 Name Rosie. Caring cook. #char >card5
card7 Twiglet allowed to collect pots at inn, paid by being allowed to eat any leftovers. #regular event >card3 >card6
card 8 'If he had a horse it would be a shetland with a limp.' #conversation
card9 Rosie has a daughter. #char
card10 Name Rosebud. Very beautiful. #char >card6 >card9
card11 Name Trot. Rosebud's pony. Present from boyfriend. #char #pet >card10
card12 Rich boy Name Bran. Enamoured of Rosebud. #char >card10 >card11
card13 Large substantial land owner. Bran's father. Name Tree. #char >card12

As you can see, this is someone sitting down with a snack bag trying to think of ideas for a new story. Inspiration limited, browsing the web at the same time. Then remembering something they'd heard someone say on a bus but forgotten to write down. It's very static - needs something to drive a bit of movement so they think:

card14 Twiglet moons over Rosebud. #motive  >card2 >card10 >card12
But that feels old hat. And Twiglet is too small, so unrealistic. So:
card15 Twiglet moons over Rosebud's pony Trot. #motive >card2 >card10 card11

Better. Then catch a bit of news on the radio:
card16 Epidemic. #event #motive
card 17 Epidemic is traced back to Trot. #event #motive
But it doesn't really fit any imaginable arc. Maybe for the beginning fo the sequel. So add #sequel1

Obviously this is oversimplified, and it's at a very early stage of imagining.
It should be obvious that this facilitates free thinking, switching around later and building complexities, but also that it is slow and cumbersome. As the process continues, cards can have new cards linked with information and description etc.
This is a plotter's zettel.

A pantser probably has less to gain, but could still do one:
card1 Bob
card2 Sue
card3 Bob says to Sue
Card4 Then they
Card5 Karl interrupts

Just writing on cards rather than in a document. I doubt it's worth it, but does allow shuffling later.

If you were writing mostly about dialogue and words, then each card would be dialogue ideas written as they come to mind. Subsequent cards with sharper words.

I've not found many programs on Android that will do this adequately. Trello can. ColorNote allows [[wikilinks]].
Most can't do links. Many don't allow the easy going through and moving that makes the process work.






Dormouse

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I'm aware that I don't know exactly where I am, but it doesn't feel very like where I thought I was going.

I blame atomicity and snippets.
A .crd extension that conveys a universal index card format and file viewers that showed the cards would be good. And probably better than the universal portrait sheet of paper on landscape monitors. But snippets are fragments - they only have value from their relationships with other atoms and snippets, and those relationships can only be held in a database, which takes us away from the universal. I fear that even a plaintext account of these relationship would require interpretation and interpreters.

It makes me uneasy. I always accepted the value of databases for work in progress, but this is potentially very, very long-term progress. And a degree of dependency I was hoping to escape. I shall keep sources in documents. I will save interim WIP in documents. My own documents will likely be some form of plaintext. But that's not as independent as i was hoping.

OTOH, it is a move towards primitive. Using atoms is more fundamental than using more complex contstructions.

I'm not quite sure when the index card light switched on. Obviously informed by Luhmann and the zettelkasten movement. I'm not sure I will actually build a zettelkasten as such, and I never used index cards in the past as many have done. But I will be doing it much more in future.
Annoying that I've just seen recommendations for apparently excellent index card programs, one for iOS and the other for Windows. I won't even check them out. There seems to be nothing for Android. I'd prefer a more flexible alternative but think I'm likely to be stuck with Trello. At least it seems big and well supported enough to last for a long time.

Dormouse

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I've discovered that dark mode does matter to me even on a tablet. Not so much during the day but very much at night. That massively changes the programs I will use. Squid will be out. Trello isn't ideal, but I can at least access it on a dark webpage imposed by Canary - I'm surprised the app doesn't have dark mode;  I suppose corporate apps are for the day time. OneNote comes into its own; works really well in dark mode on a tablet.

Dormouse

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Maybe I'm closer to where I was going than I thought.

I now have Trello dark mode, having signed up for its beta. Should be public in a few weeks anyway.

No longer have concerns about data security.
It exports into JSON and I know that there are programs that will convert it to CSV, though I've never tried them.
And Business Class accounts can export into CSV directly. That's $120 a year but only $12.50 for a month that allows you to download it.
And, though it is itself proprietary, it mostly acts as a linker and manager utility which means working with basic documents is easier not harder.

Dormouse

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Given that I don't really use it for project management, I've been asking myself why exactly I have started to use Trello. The first answer was knowledge management, the way that the zettelkasten movement uses the term. I don't see it like that, just as I'm not convinced I want to use Luhmann's process. It could be as a souped up writers storyboard, but it isn't that either.

It does, however, go back to snippets and thoughts and relationships between them. This works for creative ideas, and for research. Unlike 'knowledge', the thoughts themselves aren't fixed and the relationships beetween them are ever developing and changing. This is the bit that Trello really works for. Sources can be fixed and live in documents. Writing is published and lives in documents. But everything about the process requires a fluidity and flexibility that Trello can provide.

And it's not really like working with index cards. When I'm on a streak, I can do much of my work in a single document in any program; I can flit from one thing to another, as I do whether I want to or not. Then copy the lot and paste into Trello using the multiple card option for everthing on a new line. Works well for the snippets. If I use a journal program, it works well for keeping the date and context. And I can do the puzzling and playing and problem solving in Trello later. Easy, efficient and flexible.  :)




Dormouse

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Zettelkasten vs PARA
Thanks. Interesting reads.
I will admit that I didn't get far with the second before I started skimming and that I was only skimming a phrase in every other paragraph by the end. Pure salesman's spiel (I wondered if I was being sexist, then realised that no female salesperson had ever spoken at me like that). I gave up at his third wrong statement and had been constantly irritated at his exaggeration of a something that had a grain of truth to make his case seem convincing. It came as no surprise that his only achievement was setting up the business that sells this. Though that doesn't mean he doesn't have some sensible ideas. Predominantly aimed at corporates (or, given the Californian base, at people who want their own corporations).

The first encapsulated a number of issues that I have recognised in the zettelkasten movement, many of which I believe misinterpret the underlying method. I'd emphasise that I'm not a follower of the method and have no wish to defend it as such.

I think much of the problem arises from its evangelisation by people who have yet to achieve success using it and who use digital analogies that don't actually capture the essence of the method. I also suspect that it's a method that will inevitably fail for many. In the distant, but still remembered days when I was a student, I remember many students emerging from lectures with many, many pages of notes when I averaged barely half a page (pre-handout days, of course); I could never work out what they were thinking as they made these notes or what they were going to be able to do with them later. Luhmann's philosophy would seem to exclude them because it is based on a lot of thinking and tiny notes. Paradoxically it's possible that this is precisely the group most attracted to the method. I'll look at the two articles next.