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Last post Author Topic: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten  (Read 186568 times)

superboyac

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Just an update to the programs I'm using.

Files remain central, but I now do no format conversion without explicit reason. This means that if a file starts as an .rtf or .docx it may stay like that and I will work with a program that can use that format. My own writing is usually in .txt.

Most of my files are in Obsidian vaults, with heavy nesting (especially for projects) even when Obsidian cannot read those files. I use wikilinks extensively even when the program I am using cannot interpret them - they are nearly always written with a mind on future use anyway. I use #tags, preferably written in the file but otherwise done using the file explorer; these systems aren't consistent some use metadata, some a database in the folder, but the tags are; not ideal, but I decided in the end that tagspaces was too slow for me. I use search programs, and imagine that I might end up learning regex, but I'll go no further in that direction than I have to.

[ Invalid Attachment ]
Hey!  What did you use to make that diagram?

Dormouse

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What did you use to make that diagram?

Mindomo

wraith808

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Just seen Speare mentioned on the Obsidian discord. For writing in snippets and organising them into larger documents.
Pretty, but no idea how it would stand up to real use. Web app + iOS and Android. Expensive ($60 a year or $15 monthly).
Some aspects remind me of Gingko but prettier and less useful.
Wouldn't suit me at all, but might interest some.

It's quite a bit different from my first impressions, but is something I'm definitely happy you mentioned. I really like it so far.

Dormouse

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I really like it so far.

I'm glad you like it. Seemed worth mentioning.
I'm afraid that I only looked at their webpage and the videos. Once I could see it wouldn't work for me, I looked no further

Dormouse

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #929 on: June 04, 2021, 06:12 PM »
I've decided to experiment by trying to write a complete book in only one file.
I wouldn't try it with anything except plaintext.
And maybe I wouldn't try it without WM3, which makes restructuring easy.

Previously I have done shorter stuff - up to maybe 10k words - in one file, with longer done in sections.
That's quite easy when everything is straightforward, and it is obvious where all sections and sub-sections fit. But not otherwise.
WM3 offers two options to deal with this:
  • standard markdown file using different heading levels for organisation;
  • organisation through projects and sub-projects etc, which is effectively very similar to the Scrivener et al system.
The downside of the second is that it can be more complicated to with using other editors (it requires also setting up a folder system to make all files easy to find); the downside of the first is simply that of navigating a very long document.
The advantages of a long document include easy file maintenance and management; ease of reading and reviewing any part in context; easy access with any editor; find and replace all simply using any editor.

We'll see. There will be an ideal size for each file. It is bigger than I have been doing so far, but may well be smaller than a whole book. If sections were clearly discrete, I'd do those - but that's not the case here.



wraith808

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #930 on: June 16, 2021, 05:05 PM »
I haven't tried this, but it seems interesting

How to make a Python script for your notes
 - https://www.jhonatan...published/1623367665

Dormouse

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #931 on: July 25, 2021, 02:44 PM »
It's been interesting to observe what feels like a flood away from Roam-Research. Roam's first engineer has moved to Athens as second engineer. RoamHacker and other plugin developers have also moved. As well as users, including some erstwhile believers. To Athens, Logseq and Obsidian.

Maybe the numbers aren't significant in the overall context, but they include some of the big names in the Roam ecosystem. And maybe they are substantial; I don't follow Roam at all, so I wouldn't know. But I have noticed their arrival elsewhere, especially Obsidian. And a fair chunk aren't concerned about Roam's cost.

Dormouse

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #932 on: August 20, 2021, 11:35 AM »
And the number of subscribers to the Obsidian subreddit now exceed Roam's for the first time. With more than twice the number online usually. Notion vastly bigger of course.

Dormouse

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #933 on: September 24, 2021, 06:43 AM »
I use a minimum number of Obsidian plugins (reducing security and stability risks). But I'm just starting to experiment with those that might be helpful with writing.

Longform allows sequencing of 'scene' files in a project. Thus enabling a feature common to most outliner design apps such as Scrivener, Scribbler etc. Allows a final compile into a single .md file.

Kanban allows notes to be put together in a kanban design.
Looks quite nifty because the cards can be used to outline and sketch scenes etc, each having links to the text of the scene and any associated research.

I'm still examining multicolour highlighting options.

The overall number of plugins is escalating rapidly. Most people seem to be having difficulty in keeping up or finding ones they want.

Dormouse

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #934 on: September 24, 2021, 06:52 AM »
I've decided to experiment by trying to write a complete book in only one file.
I wouldn't try it with anything except plaintext.
And maybe I wouldn't try it without WM3, which makes restructuring easy.
It's actually gone very well, which is interesting.
So perfectly practical. Making a lot of use of WM3's awesome folding capability.

But I'm thinking of switching to WM's project design. Will take me maybe five minutes to switch into that, and maybe half a minute to switch back again, so I'm hardly switching at all. Mostly a question of which view I use to write in.
The motivation is being able to work more closely with Obsidian and some of its newer plugins, kanban in particular. Also ProWritingAid is much faster working on smaller files.
In practice, I will 'compile' to a single file weekly to save as a backup. Belt, braces and buttons.

Dormouse

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #935 on: October 14, 2021, 05:20 PM »
But I'm thinking of switching to WM's project design. Will take me maybe five minutes to switch into that, and maybe half a minute to switch back again, so I'm hardly switching at all. Mostly a question of which view I use to write in.
It's not amazing that I have changed my mind again. When mind changing is so easy.
But the reason isn't so obvious - it's to make more use of web-based databased programs. And very surprisingly - since I have never used them previously, and never liked the way they worked - it's down to Dynalist and Workflowy. And Mindomo, which I was already using.

It starting when I delved into Aeon Timeline 3. Looked very good, but only synced with Ulysses (which I couldn't use) and Scrivener (which I could, but didn't want to) with import/export to CSV (workable, but much configuration required to use everything). It felt as if I was faced with trying to herd data scattered to the four winds of incompatibility. Matt (Timeline Dev) was open to the possibility of markdown import/export, and, in practice manual entry may be as efficient as anything else, but my mind was on the path to available options. Mindomo has many import/export options, so that wasn't a constraint, but I was looking for a common currency. Markdown is common (though most text apps are still into rich text), but lack of ideas on structure make it an unsuitable currency for databases; presumably why apps that use markdown internally still require arcane contortions for import/export. Plottr and Aeon Timeline both sync with Scrivener, but I can't like it as a permanent middle man/person/thing. Scrivener also does OPML; I haven't tested it, and some forum posts question how well it works, but it's an option nevertheless. Mindomo naturally does OPML, as do all(?) mindmappers; and outliners. Dynalist has the same developers as Obsidian and I know it uses markdown internally, so I thought I'd poke around.

I learned that either Workflowy has improved massively since I last looked, or I wasn't paying attention when I did. Or maybe my needs have simply changed, but Notes, hoisting, folding - and colour in Workflowy. Felt very easy and very nice. And remarkably similar to a markdown document. And Dynalist better in many ways. So OPML? Looks like a structured plaintext format; not obviously less human readable than markdown. So my million dollar question - how well can I get it into and out of markdown. How easily. And it turned out that it was both easy and well. Typora would do it. Logseq apparently does it. Even Dynalist. Not forgetting Mindomo. So I had to try the copy of my old whole MSS, prior to splitting - just an OPML export in Typora - and there it was in Dynalist and Workflowy. Complete in bullets and notes.

Going back the other way was straightforward from Dynalist, but not quite so from Workflowy - their colour syntax doesn't seem to work in markdown editors, so that would need a global search and replace. But doing that gives me all the colour in Obsidian. I am used to colour for editing, and this means I can stop most of my active use of word processors. So I can have my cake and eat it. D&W are very quick and easy on all devices. I have colour editing in W. I can use them for other things. They have none of the nice writer oriented features I like when writing, but I can write on anything and they are anyway fine for ad-hoc bits and very accessible. And I can still do my writing bulk in WriteMonkey. I see WriteMonkey 3 as having a very similar underlying approach (.json + attached .md files) to the outliners (database with .opml import/export.; nothing locked in a database but plaintext files supported by some database functionality - Obsidian itself is rather like that too.

So I'm going back to my whole document approach. I still see myself as based on files rather than databases, but now the files include OPML as well as markdown, txt, pdf etc

Of course, I haven't properly worked with it yet, only tried it out, and I'm sure there's a lot that can go wrong. But on we go.

Dormouse

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #936 on: October 15, 2021, 02:46 PM »
I'm sure there's a lot that can go wrong
Update 1 - Snag for some

It doesn't affect me, but formatted export from both Dynalist and Workflowy is a bit of a mess. I'm unaffected because I don't use formatting; I'm only interested in the colour export from Workflowy and I know how to fix that. And the bullet hierarchy translates perfectly to a header hierarchy through OPML.

But Workflowy formatted exports in notes don't maintain paragraphs (I've reported) even in Word.
Dynalist is supposed to be markdown based, but it seems to use a double underline for italic!?!

I've not tested systematically, since formatting is not something I expect to use. But anyone considering using exports from either should test their own use case before committing.

Small test
Exporting my full text Formatted Text via copy/paste from both Dynalist and Workflowy shows bullets and not headers. But does maintain italic and bold formatting in Typora.

Via OPML, the formatting doesn't work properly but the headers are there.

Dormouse

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #937 on: October 15, 2021, 03:26 PM »
Via OPML, the formatting doesn't work properly but the headers are there
And using manual markdown when writing maintains all the formatting when the OPML is exported  ;D Not interpreted correctly in Workflowy, everything but italic recognised in Dynalist.
It's what I should have expected really.
So that's the answer for me, for formatting anything I might want to export via OPML.

And, I suspect, that anything originally written in a markdown program will already have it.
« Last Edit: October 15, 2021, 03:33 PM by Dormouse »

Dormouse

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Notezilla 9
« Reply #938 on: October 22, 2021, 06:15 AM »
I've noticed that Notezilla 9 has introduced a couple of very useful features:

1. Option to use markdown editor rather than rtf. Has typical edit and preview modes.
2. Option to create note by importing the clipboard.

Plus
Dark mode
A range of grouping options
etc

Dormouse

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #939 on: November 07, 2021, 04:31 PM »
Notezilla 9 has introduced a couple of very useful features:

1. Option to use markdown editor
This has now become my Obsidian front-end, especially on mobile.
The markdown editor is comprehensive for simple notes and easy to use. Does tables and links, as well as the more obvious. No folding for headers, but that's hardly core markdown. Does have the ==highlighting== that Obsidian uses. And underline using HTML tags.

Some small frictions caused by Obsidian's design.
Attachment is to a vault rather than a particular document, and markdown export is to .txt files which requires a name change to .md for full use in Obsidian.
But still easier for straightforward writing on mobile than opening Obsidian.

It's possible to use the rich text editor on desktop instead, but there are messages to say that no features are gained by switching back to it, so it seems that this may be a process of transition. It allows the mobile notes to be formatted instead of plain text.

superboyac

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #940 on: November 09, 2021, 09:11 PM »
Guys, update on all this:
I'm still using that web portal neuron for reading my notes....it is now called emanote, and even better.
For writing and editing, I use Obsidian.

emanote is awesome.

wraith808

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #941 on: November 10, 2021, 11:35 AM »
Guys, update on all this:
I'm still using that web portal neuron for reading my notes....it is now called emanote, and even better.
For writing and editing, I use Obsidian.

emanote is awesome.


https://github.com/srid/emanote
https://note.ema.srid.ca/

Spyrith

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #942 on: November 19, 2021, 02:15 AM »
Guys, update on all this:
I'm still using that web portal neuron for reading my notes....it is now called emanote, and even better.
For writing and editing, I use Obsidian.

emanote is awesome.

That looks amazingly clean and simple. Also loads up pages lightning fast. Any idea when it will come out of beta? Would love to try it out on some projects.

wraith808

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #943 on: November 22, 2021, 11:43 AM »
More apps that I don't think anyone has listed here yet:

https://www.amplenote.com/--
https://get.mem.ai/waiting list-
https://cloverapp.co/--
https://acreom.com/trialing-
https://www.craft.do/-(mac/appleOS centric)
https://www.taskade.comtrialing-
https://reflect.app/-After getting the invite, it's also mac/appleOS centric, and $160/year after a 14 day free trial
https://app.milanote.com/trialingReferral Link: https://www.milanote...r/rcDhIUymJWgrLzFgNc
https://app.kahana.co/trialing-
« Last Edit: November 22, 2021, 10:01 PM by wraith808 »

Dormouse

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #944 on: November 22, 2021, 04:38 PM »
Latest insider version of Obsidian brings

Shiny new things
  • You can now use drag and drop to re-arrange heading sections from the Outline pane.
  • You can also drop an outline item into the editor to generate a heading link.

This is a massive feature for writing longform in a single markdown document  :D
Strangely absent from most markdown editors

Nod5

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #945 on: November 23, 2021, 06:01 AM »
Latest insider version of Obsidian brings
Neat features!

I haven't been keeping up with the huge stream of note taking apps (and their updates) for a while. Do you know if Obsidian or any competitor by now has an easy way to treat indentation spaces as... indentation spaces. That is, to override the default Markdown rule that treats four space indentation as a code block. I know about the workaround to use   (stack overflow) but am looking for a built in solution.

Dormouse

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #946 on: November 23, 2021, 11:23 AM »
Do you know if Obsidian or any competitor by now has an easy way to treat indentation spaces as... indentation spaces. That is, to override the default Markdown rule that treats four space indentation as a code block.
I don't think so. Markdown is markdown, and no-one so far has dared to develop a writers' markdown that takes indent priority away from coders.

I know about the workaround to use   (stack overflow) but am looking for a built in solution.
The built in solutions are using CSS. This works well enough, so long as you are okay with it.

I'm quite lucky that it doesn't bother me, since I was always taught not to do tab indents as that was a decision for the printers/publishers/secretary.

So far no-one has written a plugin good enough to make Obsidian a really good editor for writers. A number of limited plugins have been written to tackle specific small needs, but imvho they don't help much. It's decent as it is, and the Limited Preview (aka WYSIWYG) mode makes it easier for a lot of people (still insider though), but it lacks many writer niceties found in writers' tools.secretary

Dormouse

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #947 on: November 27, 2021, 06:27 AM »
I've done further testing with Dynalist and Workflowy.

I'm not sure whether it's perplexing or simply counter-intuitive that I have come to these programs after moving into Obsidian when I had so many years of not finding s real use for them at all. My current theory is that they didn't work for me at all when they stood alone, but that in the context of Obsidian (and markdown editors generally) they suddenly make sense and fill gaps.

What I'm exploring now is the Workflowy kanban. Experimenting with writing in bullets (suits some documents) against adding to notes. Dynalist has an article view and easy (plain text) export without bullets that preserves formatting typed in markdown. The kanban is very good for a synopsis view and I'm experimenting with emojis as a quick visual summary. Filtering is effective.

There's a kanban plugin for Obsidian but it doesn't work so well and the gain from having it integrated is marginal.

They are also much better outliners.
Outlining in a markdown document works, but it's much better for simple lists. Roam/vim style keyboard shortcuts are useless to me (afaics coders are devoted to them while most pure text writers use very few), it's good visual drag and drop that I need.
I've tried logseq (and a few others), but, despite the expressed devotion of its fervent followers, I personally find it a deadweight for productivity.
The limitations and borders around Dynalist and Workflowy are clear. It's a cloud database with all the associated baggage for privacy and access. That's okay. OPML works well and I keep my own daily backups. I don't put up anything confidential. The primary protection for my non-confidential writing anyway is vigilance and copyright anyway.
The most niggling aspect is needing them both. Workflowy has the kanban and colour, and Dynalist has the article view and better export.

Dormouse

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Re: more musing on outliners
« Reply #948 on: December 05, 2021, 02:47 PM »
I'm still playing with Workflowy and Dynalist.

I've learned I can write in them. That's not a surprise. I can write in almost anything. Rewriting, reviewing, editing is much more demanding of big features, and the all-important tiny workflow enhancers that are rarely mentioned. I can even write in list mode despite all the attention-grabbing bullets and indents (in Dynalist I can simply switch to article mode). For some types of writing, liable to frequent restructure and resequence, they are actually helpful: columns, academic articles; not sure about journalism tabloid Daily Mail style is clearly created like this, but old-fashioned broadsheets never used to be - editors being much more demanding about flow. I've noticed word count tends to be quite high, but word quality only low-middling.

I've tried writing in the notes, which works well but has different disadvantages, and the notes do have their own value. otoh, adding text in the note works well with the kanban view, which is far to cluttered if text is added in bullets. But the bullets work much better when a ton of rearranging is needed. First draft can be done in bullets and then pasted into the notes where, in Workflowy it arrives as a single text block with no line breaks or paragraphs. Pasting Workflowy, or Dynalist, bullets into Dynalist notes produces nicely indented paragraphs.

OPML export/import works best when the text is in the notes. So, it's looking like initial working with bullets (at least for some documents), then pasting into the notes and using those thereafter. Not sure how to divide it up between Dynalist and Workflowy. Neither appear capable enough on their own. Equally unsure about when I will transfer between outliners and markdown editors.


The kanban view (Workflowy only) really suits my way of working. I will trying with full text again soon but have been slightly inhibited by the desktop freezing, and staying frozen despite closing and reopening, with it before.

One advantage of writing in the outliners is being able to work with multiple comment notes in Notezilla. Attaching them to a hoisted bullet means they only appear then. I've not found a way of doing that with a long markdown file - they all appear when the file is open, even when a header is hoisted. I don't know of a markdown editor that will hoist a header in a way that Notezilla recognises. No idea what decides that either.
I've considered a variety of approaches to comments but so far I've not been impressed by the ease or range of uses for markdown or html options. I need them to work across programs; it would be simpler if it were just one or two.


Dormouse

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How to zettel?
« Reply #949 on: December 05, 2021, 06:36 PM »
My understanding of the best way to do this has been evolving rapidly. Probably still at the unsettled stage with multiple competing evolved forms before one wins out. There are a few drivers, but the change has come principally because of the success of a few discoveries. Discoveries to me even if not to others.

The original idea, derived I believe from zettelkasten.de is of using single atomic notes as a similacrum of Luhmann's cards. Further propagated by Ahrens and his acolytes. With fancy unique numbers for notes. The unique numbers made linking easier. All the digital solutions, Zettlr etc (I think, I haven't checked) use markdown; I'm not entirely sure why they would do this since the logic of Luhmann's cards would be pure .txt files, and multiple tiny files is not a markdown concept. As BigChungus pointed out on the Obsidian Discord, Luhmann's actual numbering system fits perfectly with the way outliners work. And bullets are a pressure to keep the note short which aids atomicity.

Roam took the outliner idea, added links, backlinks and a graph and went overboard on the idea of a daily note. Like the main outliners, Roam is a cloud database.

Obsidian (I'm not considering programs I have no interest in) sidestepped into plain markdown files, a daily note template, links/backlinks/graphs. Local not cloud. Files, shareable with other programs, not database. But with much of the initial impetus from zettelkasteners and roam observers and escapees, the emphasis was on very atomic notes/files. A tendency exacerbated by block envy and not reversed by block emulation.

I followed this for a while, albeit with small extensions, but dissonance was always present.
A potentially immense number of files always presented management difficulties for other programs - and in Obsidian itself. Multiple folders and files made organisation hard. Advice would be given to mitigate this by using tags, links, search, MOCs. Or the graph, though I have the idea that it's used by a much smaller percentage of Obsidianites than it was in the early days. Daily Notes offered their own organisation. Plugins added further options. It worked, but never seemed intuitive. The text of an atomic thought took so little of a page, always tempting expansion.

My thinking started to move on. I was aware of markdown headers, and even used them a little, but only really thought about them by frustration with managing a MSS copmprised of many, separately written sections. When I realised the potential of long-form markdown files everything turned on its head. Instead of managing small files, it was a question of navigating a single long file. And this was essentially much simpler.
I then started to consider how to work with mindmaps and outliners (can't remember exactly why I started down that path - presumably triggered by using them to deal with a recalcitrant MSS). And then discovered OPML and the easy switching between mindmaps, outliners (inc Workflowy kanban) and a longform markdown file. It was a new world.

Then I moved back to research and notes and asked myself the same question: why tiny-form rather than long-form? As I thought about it, I realised that it would all be easier to manage in long-form. I had nothing tying me to tiny-form - I'd switched from YAML and YAML tags very early, I had everything inline. I was mostly writing, so didn't take it any further initially. But with Obsidian's recent ability to restructure by simply using the outline and folds, I have started to switch in. Anything I do is easy enough to change or reverse but it makes life easier and more intuitive for me. Within file search etc becomes more useful. I can easily switch vaults to outliners or mindmaps. And I don't actually lose anything.