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Last post Author Topic: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten  (Read 269454 times)

Dormouse

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #1150 on: June 17, 2022, 04:15 PM »
i use yaml and slugs to solve this issue.
I gave up yaml a few years ago. Knowing that I could hide it (in some programs) and could delete it wasn't enough. I want my visible file to contain what I want, not a load of extra clutter. I'd rather have that in a database or a json (Bartender takes the json approach) - and did consider doing exactly that. But it would have been extra work and reduce interoperability.

Also had a good look at the linked embed options (the only reasonable way to export multiple files into one document from Obsidian or iA Writer). Could have made it very mouse-friendly if I attached it to an outline format (at the minor cost of removing the outline before exxport). But interoperability wasn't great and it it didn't allow the simple system of selecting all the files using a file manager.

In the end, interoperability and primitive won.

Also observed how easily I fall into 'better' solutions that improve life for now, but potentially store up problems or limitations in the future.

Dormouse

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #1151 on: June 18, 2022, 06:22 PM »
interoperability and primitive won.
... observed how easily I fall into 'better' solutions that ... potentially store up problems or limitations in the future.
I've learned that the actuality of markdown falls far short of the promises of its evangelists. However you look at it, the interoperability of markdown programs is limited unless they restrict themselves to very basic functions. And adding the extra functionality required for many purposes today, creates the same conversion lock-in as databases. I'm not sure there is a good answer to this for Notes programs (PKM| & research). afaics, all programs either use a database or their own version of markdown (with wikilinks pretty much a standard now); other variants of plaintext might be better, but none are sufficient. The database programs are free to use rich text or markdown syntax, but the latter confer a marketing advantage for the moment. The small number of programs based around files (Obsidian probably the most prominent) also use databases (O uses indexedDB & json files); I can live with that, but feel most comfortable keeping my notes as clean and easily readable as possible (and by 'easily' I imply ability to read at speed). Looking at the conversion difficulties suffered by Roam, Logseq, Dendron users in switching to another program, I suspect they all fail the 'forever test', but there's slightly more protection using programs based on files rather than having everything in a database that requires exporting. And there's definitely more protection from structural simplicity.

So, for the moment, I write all notes/research in simple markdown using Obsidian syntax. I do that whatever program I write the notes in. And whether the file is a .md or .txt. I might write those notes as a a docx, but will also save them as .txt.

Writing is a completely different thing. Forever is unnecessary, long-term likely to be unnecessary. Writing is either published or it is worthless. I retain my preference for files, but have no problem in using databases short-term. I am unwilling to incur an extra cognitive load simply to reduce computing complexity or longevity. If I could do all writing effectively in docx or other form of rich text, then I would. The programs tend to be more robust and reliable than the markdown equivalent. But much of my writing involves complex notes, which tips me to using programs that can easily access my notes for the first draft. So these workflows are unsettled (as yet) and very depending on what I am writing. Variability in what my eyes need adding to that lack of stability.

Comments and manuscript notes are a major source of frustration. There is very little syntax of display consistency in markdown programs - or between word processors if it comes to that. The Obsidian %% works, to an extent, in a number of other editors. This lack of compatibility is a major restriction once comments become part of an active process - converting to another format once is practicable, but going backwards and forwards isn't.

Dormouse

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #1152 on: June 21, 2022, 08:52 AM »
Tangent
(A file based PKM program like Obsidian.)

I find it slow to start up, especially moving to a new workspace. And it effectively freezes on very large files (and maybe folders). Maybe I ought to revert to a stable release.

I think it's fundamentally a better design for zettelkasten, and possibly most notewriting, for those without special requirements (eg those who need code, maths, formulae, latex etc). The map views are simple and useful, but outlining is not a strength. It's not as good for structured writing as programs designed for that purpose (but most PKM programs aren't good for this either). Documentation and context sensitive help is a weakness (but again no worse than most PKM apps in rapid development). Far less noise and distraction than is found in Logseq, Obsidian etc, but able to share the same folders/vaults.

Still too early for me to use regularly - and I need to spend much of my time in structured programs anyway.

Dormouse

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #1153 on: June 21, 2022, 06:04 PM »
Still too early for me to use regularly
I've changed my mind on this.

Working on folders of markdown notes, just as iA Writer, Inspire Writer, Obsidian etc do means that there are no disadvantages to using it. The major features it lacks (eg export/convert/publish) can easily be provided by those other programs.
And, in any case, it's easy to have the folders and files open in more than one program at the same time, for easy switching.

What it offers instead is a genuine writing environment. The focus features are well selected. The card view for a folder is instantly useful. The Andy sliding panes and a usable mapview (though that still wouldn't be enough to tempt me) are all good extras.
Vis à vis Obsidian, it doesn't have the range of themes (which I sometimes need because of my eyes), it doesn't have a novel word count plugin equivalent, it's not designed to handle long markdown files with headings (neither really is Obsidian, but it does have  a heading outline view that can be manipulated and navigated). And a whole slew of other features. Including folding, which I use a lot. So there is a lot missing.
But it is a very easy environment to write in and its combination of features makes it much easier to focus on the writing.
« Last Edit: June 21, 2022, 06:38 PM by Dormouse »

Dormouse

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #1154 on: June 25, 2022, 12:41 PM »
I was attracted to Obsidian originally because it worked with files. Plaintext files which are easily read by, it feels, nearly all programs. That attraction was undermined when I understood that Obsidian meant only .md files as most of the programs that I used preferred .txt. More recently, my preference for files has expanded to word processor files - .docx, .odt, .rtf; despite the claims from markdown activists about plaintext being the only eternal format, I have found word processor formats to be robust and widely interpretable in use - even files that originated decades ago. And these formats have the advantage over markdown in that they are *complete* - they contain their own images, have colour and instructions for printing; markdown needs multiple files, CSS and HTML to achieve the same capability.

Be that as it may, the first, greatest idea I learned with Obsidian was Nested Vaults. I happened on the idea very early, realised the benefits, tested out the risks (because the developer warnings were so strong and stridently repeated), and have used them ever since. In practice the risks are minor and small - far lower than the sync risks that most Obsidian users run regularly - and easily managed by those with a modicum of sense. I soon learned to add all files to a vault, not only those that Obsidian could read; this is great for file and project management because everything required is always contained within a specific folder.

The major advantage of nested vaults is essentially focus. There is some similar advantage to nested folders, but it is slight so I'm not surprised that I hadn't really taken to it. But within a program like Obsidian, the advantage is supercharged because the vault system restricts every action to files that are available in the vault. That includes linking, search, tags &etc &etc. Which then means that tags, star files, links can be constructed with just that vault in mind.

I tend to set up a vault for each project. As I develop and then home in on a project, there might be progressively more restricted vaults. Because it is a single system of nested vaults, it is easy to switch focus to a different area or to a much wider area of interest. I suppose it is, in effect, an indexed filter system.

As I shift towards predominantly using Tangent Notes, I am very pleased to see that its architectural similarities to Obsidian include the possibility of nested vaults (nested workspaces in Tangent language). In some ways, it takes the idea further by having a card view of the files within a folder - so I am structuring my vaults/workspaces now to take advantage of this functionality. There are many features still to be added to Tangent Notes, but it is easy to switch to Obsidian or other programs for those.

At some point I will write a review of Tangent Notes. Though I'm not sure where I will post it (my reviews here are intended for donationcoder rather than a wider audience), since I might want it to publicise it a little if my views on TN turn out to be as positive as I believe they will. I will at least post a summary review here. But this will be at least a month or two away. Might only be a first look, but I'm pretty slow even with those.

BGM

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #1155 on: July 18, 2022, 04:37 PM »
Just because I found in my daily pursuit of knowledge, the word zettelkasten , which I first heard of by watching this thread, here is the link of pertainenancieeeaaay:

https://www.notion.s...knowledge-management

I don't know if *Notion* has yet died from this thread, but I'm giving it a good try.  Is this a good thread to talk about how well I like Notion, or should we start a new one?  I mean, @dormouse is only up to page 47 so far.

BGM

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #1156 on: July 18, 2022, 07:05 PM »
Wow, I just re-read my latest post and realized that probably, nobody understands what I was talking about.  haha

Uh, I've been using Notion now for about a month.  I know it's been mentioned in this thread, and the thread is really about zettsle-something and today, I actually saw a template for Notion that was called zettle-something. 

Then, I realized I didn't know how to spell pertanintcy. 
Now, I've brought Dormouse's thread length one post longer.  :)

Dormouse

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #1157 on: July 19, 2022, 06:47 AM »
I don't know if *Notion* has yet died from this thread, but I'm giving it a good try.  Is this a good thread to talk about how well I like Notion, or should we start a new one?
I'd put it where you think it fits best. Notion is one of the numerous options available. It's useful to know how and why people use each of them.

One of Tiago Forte's latest videos mentions 68 apps, which he has split into 4 categories (and there's a separate video on the categories). He's also done a survey of students' note-taking looking at market shares where iirc Notion usually comes 2nd (and Evernote 1st). He doesn't mention that they are all student samples in the video titles. I'd expect Notion to be one of those with a higher percentage of users in post-student days; maybe even No 1 (I've not searched for any surveys on this).

I'm not convinced that his categories make a great deal of sense. But certainly there is a newer category of whiteboard style apps (such as Heptabase, Scrintal, Kinopio etc). I see the promise, I've played with a few. But I'm not convinced of their utility yet, though I'd generally describe myself as visual. Maybe I haven't researched enough. I'd expect to see multiple layers with the asbility to change order and turn on or off (could, for instance, be tag=layer). But this is where the new excitement seems to be.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2022, 07:04 AM by Dormouse »

Dormouse

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #1158 on: July 21, 2022, 07:53 AM »
Tiago Forte
I've not paid much attention to anything he has produced - it's mostly youtubes, and he's known for the PARA system which is orientated to business and actions - but I thought I would have a listen while I was doing other things. One of his interviewees (known I think for her expertise with Notion) talked about collecting stuff and doing nothing with it because it is better than Google be a curated set of articles (I think I mentioned this earlier in this thread), but it has made me think again about how to use Evernote and Pocket. It's what I have defaulted to doing, and I suspect it is a better methodology than downloading and saving webpages as markdown.

I was rather surprised to see no mention of a reduction in Evernote's quality and usability over the last few years, because the internet is full of ex-users who noticed that.

My original interest was sparked by Tangent Notes being one of the 68 which astonished me as it must have a tiny userbase and is a long way from being feature complete as a standalone solution. Turned out that it was mentioned, but nothing said - as with most of the 68.

Dormouse

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #1159 on: July 24, 2022, 07:18 PM »
With Obsidian, I'm noticing an increasing number of reports of data losses and instructions for users on how to go through their list of plugins to discover the culprit. The program itself has had a number of updates that have broken both themes and plugins. And a fair number of plugin developers have written their plugin and then returned - quite reasonably - to normal life. It's feeling like quite a fragile ecosystem right now.

Dormouse

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #1160 on: July 25, 2022, 04:20 AM »
Whilst rootling around for better web clipping, I came across Upnote. Firebase, potentially entirely local with no sign up, cheap sync if signed up (prices rising slowly), reddit users seem to like it a lot, developers based in Vietnam but Firebase server is in USA. Apparently optimised for c5000 notes, so huge imports from Evernote are probably inadvisable.

Docx is one of its import options and will export to markdown. Does colour and I'm not sure whether it's primarily based on rich text or markdown, but does work with a markdown syntax set.

20220725 17.40
I've noticed that both Upnote and Nimbus Notes have Enter=New Paragraph, which makes them more usable from my pov.
Upnote looks like quite a neat program, well designed but still adding features at a fair pace. Has a web clipper, but it is relatively primitive as yet. Files and folders can be custom sorted, which is important for writers and sorters. If I hadn't already found Tangent Notes, I'd be tempted to test out the import/export etc for using it as part of writing process. Not sure how good its wikilinking features work (have seen some criticism).
Nimbus Notes seems quite decent from a webclipping pov. Good editing and very much block based. Export options are a major weakness.

20220726 20.14
I'm going to test out Upnote in more detail. There's a nice simple blend of features. Clicking on a wikilink opens it in a popout window, which is my ideal behaviour. Looks good and usable on mobile (for whatever reason, I found that I never used Obsidian on mobile - preferring to use a standalone editor).

I don't know how seriously I could possibly use it. But I rarely actively use Obsidian now; Tangent is for thinking, more thoughtful note-taking and some writing; and I'd already worked out that an internet database was a better design for a bunch of stuff than separate notes - which is why I was happy using Workflowy. (I automatically assume periodic export as well as backups, even for stuff that doesn't matter). Bits and pieces I suspect, that I'd prefer not to do in an outliner.

20220727 00.27
One very neat feature is being able to pin a popout window on top and then just drag images into it. Very easy and quick.
« Last Edit: July 26, 2022, 06:29 PM by Dormouse »

Tuxman

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #1161 on: July 26, 2022, 09:28 PM »
After having considered to just use text files for over a decade, I finally migrated my OneNote notes (not really more than project ideas and blog drafts, but they can be quite long these days) to plain text; Markdown, not org-mode, because Markdown just has better support, despite the inferior syntax.

I currently use a combination of Nextcloud (which I don't like much, but I use too many of its features already) for storage, Nextcloud Notes for managing my notes in a web browser, QOwnNotes for using these notes on Windows and, well, a selection of text editors for everything else. I gave Notable a spin before I settled with QOwnNotes, but Notable seems to expect me to store a note's "categories" right in the Markdown file which is annoying when editing them outside Notable.

QOwnNotes seems to be able to do much more than I need, but it plays well with Nextcloud and it won't clash with other tools, which is nice.
It'll take weeks before I finally am happy with my configuration. Ah, so many new knobs... :)

superboyac

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #1162 on: August 03, 2022, 11:04 AM »
After having considered to just use text files for over a decade, I finally migrated my OneNote notes (not really more than project ideas and blog drafts, but they can be quite long these days) to plain text; Markdown, not org-mode, because Markdown just has better support, despite the inferior syntax.

I currently use a combination of Nextcloud (which I don't like much, but I use too many of its features already) for storage, Nextcloud Notes for managing my notes in a web browser, QOwnNotes for using these notes on Windows and, well, a selection of text editors for everything else. I gave Notable a spin before I settled with QOwnNotes, but Notable seems to expect me to store a note's "categories" right in the Markdown file which is annoying when editing them outside Notable.

QOwnNotes seems to be able to do much more than I need, but it plays well with Nextcloud and it won't clash with other tools, which is nice.
It'll take weeks before I finally am happy with my configuration. Ah, so many new knobs... :)
very nice, i commend you for taking action. 
A while back, i had nextcloud running (this is yet another discursion sorry).  But it was a PIA installation and kept breaking during updates.  ALso, it's integration with windows file system and windows in general was weak.  I tried lots of things out over several months, and I ended up splitting all the nextcloud functions into separate tools.  For file syncing now, I use straight sftp.  And now I sync anything markdown with sftp and it is great.  sftp setup was a bit of a pain to get working with windows and everything also.  But less of a pain overal.

Dormouse

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #1163 on: August 18, 2022, 04:21 PM »
Outliner Software forum: where there's a long history of useful discussion on all Notetaking and PIM-related methods, workflows, software/apps. Still in search of the Holy Grail of PIMs though.
Strong Mac orientation now, but still has a degree of interest in the newer programs.

Taking Note blog: has very useful thoughts on Notetaking methods/philosophies in general and Notetaking software/apps. Strongly favours the Connected Text PIM, but I gather CT may no longer be being developed/maintained (its future seems uncertain/obscure). Seem to have been no posts since December 2018, though comments from readers have been added since then.[/li][/list]
Disappeared completely now.

Dormouse

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive
« Reply #1164 on: August 18, 2022, 04:57 PM »
a kind of system lock-in can happen even when all the data is plaintext and local.

I think this must be very much the case for heavy users of Obsidian with multiple plugins.

Probably won't matter to the students whose need for a note-taking is short-term, but for anyone else, it could be quite restrictive. The high proportion of programmers in the user base suggests that syntax and layout would be enabled to be easily exported, and converting all notes to standard markdown is on the developers roadmap, but the workflows don't seem likely to convert easily for those who have to move into traditional corporate softwares.

Dormouse

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #1165 on: August 18, 2022, 05:19 PM »
I have been rereading the early pages of this thread. It has been quite a journey since the pre-PKM program days.

I mentioned that I have switched my note-taking to Tangent Notes. I recently found that it has the ability to open notes directly from the file explorer (it opens the first available relevant workspace/vault if one exists, or makes the folder a vault if it doesn't), and the file explorers and other utilities are far faster and usually more powerful than those in the program or Obsidian. So I thought it would be helpful to go through all the suggestions made earlier in the thread which have suddenly become directly relevant again, though my response may have changed (I'm not as sensitive for instance about ensuring that file tagging is totally cross-platform). This means that search &etc now works well for docx, pdf etc (I notice that DocFetcher now also has a Pro version, but I've not tested it out yet). I've set Dopus up to give me a word count column too (I thought I'd set XY up to do the same but can't remember).

Tangent's Query feature is due to appear in very early alpha at the weekend. I don't know what it will actually do.

Dormouse

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #1166 on: August 18, 2022, 05:25 PM »
Markdown, not org-mode, because Markdown just has better support, despite the inferior syntax.
So sadly true.
I also have a suspicion that it's hobbled by the tight linking with HTML.

Notable seems to expect me to store a note's "categories" right in the Markdown file which is annoying when editing them outside Notable.

idk whether it is the same, but this reminds me of my irritation with the extensive YAML which many of Obsidian's plugins produce. When I look at a note, I don't want to be distracted by irrelevancies.

Congratulations on having worked out a new system that will work for you. Out of my league, so I have no opinions on it at all.

urlwolf

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #1167 on: September 05, 2022, 09:55 AM »
Good to see Tangent getting traction!
Dormouse, I see you on the Tangent discord, great job at proposing features.
To anybody here using it: donate too. Taylor should be supported and he's building a piece of art. How many electron apps are actually usable? few. He's a really good programmer.

Dormouse

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #1168 on: September 05, 2022, 05:27 PM »
he's building a piece of art
This is the essence of it.

As you commented previously, it's the first useful graph I've seen. A view rather than a calculation. Designed to be used.
All the features are useful.

I hypothesise that the underlying explanation is that he developed it for his own use as a writer. Okay, I'm not a micro-blogger but all the best programs for writers have been developed by writers for their own use originally. So ease in use is being tested continually.

Features don't exist for the sake of it. They have to have a function that he can recognise - I doubt he has time to add anything else.

The host of features it doesn't have, I can achieve in other ways without workflow friction.

Dormouse

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #1169 on: September 06, 2022, 04:19 AM »
I noticed that the Apple PKM notes app Craft has been launched for Windows and decided to have a look. Thoroughly underwhelmed at first glance. @links instead of wikilinks (don't know enough about Apple programs to know if this is an Apple thing). Didn't strike me as easy or intuitive to use. But one feature it did have was an integrated Publish function; quite a cheap way of plublishing to the web if you like to use the program.

But the following quote from a review was interesting. Daft in it's concept that Obsidian should have an export function (what exactly would it be exporting to, after all, when it is already just files). But certainly raises questions about files Vs databases and the lock-in from links, images and inserts into files. Partly a consequence of markdown/plaintext - rich text includes all the info in the file itself.

While notes in Obsidian are simple Markdown text files, maintaining the critical links between note files, images, and other embedded files is complicated without a proper export function (which Obsidian lacks)

Craft.do review comparing with Obsidian

Dormouse

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #1170 on: October 03, 2022, 07:29 PM »
Interesting Workflowy evolution to use headings (h1 & h2) and paragraphs as an option instead of bullets. Given that it now has comments (not sure how long that's been for) as well as notes, it's usability for writing has increased substantially. And still has its colours.

Have also started testing Scrintal and Heptabase. They're both a cross between a whiteboard/mindmap and a notes app. I've seen some users comment that they are going all in and giving up Obsidian (always Obsidian for some reason). I wouldn't go so far, but they do look as if they could be very useful in planning and revision stages (a perennial discomfort for me).

And noticed that Tana is getting a lot of traction recently in the PKM space. No idea why yet. Or exactly what it is.

Dormouse

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #1171 on: October 19, 2022, 11:20 AM »
About time for an update.

I am now using Tangent Notes for all my note-taking. It's very productive for me and I can use the full range of other programs without loss.

Scrintal and Heptabase look interesting. Similar but also quite different in the way they work. And both likely to change. Neither yet has sufficient features for me to use in a production workflow, but I expect at least one to get there.

I've described my issues with a longform writing workflow in a long series of posts. I've found good, markdown-based, programs (eg Inspire Writer) but they all have issues (IW is most effective when the documents are in its database; its syntax is from Ulysses and is very idiosyncratic) and in combination they don't form an ecosystem but a mess. So I've given up. I've gone completely to the other side and now only use Word (with OneNote as a longer note backup - I put the link into Word comments). The outline navigation pane is very workable, I have all the file controls I need and there's never any friction at an export to Word stage. Looks okay, works okay. With Writage I can open and save markdown files (though it doesn't understand wikilinks). It's an odd progression because most of my longform writing previously was effectively in txt or databases; I pretty much detested Word. There's the added advantage that most programs will exchange documents with Word without syntax clashes.

This actually feels quite stable (famous last words, I know). Tangent & markdown notes on one hand; Word and docx on the other. Whiteboards still being explored, but they (in form of mindmaps/OneNote) have always been peripheral though very useful for rejigging.

superboyac

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #1172 on: October 19, 2022, 01:15 PM »
I asked him to add the adding of extensions to images when they are inserted.  It's preventing me from committing to it.  He asked me how I knew about it, and showed him this thread lolll.  He's like ohhhhhh Dormouse strikes once again!! LOLLLLLL

Dormouse

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #1173 on: October 19, 2022, 02:32 PM »
It's preventing me from committing to it.
What do you make of it, apart from the images issue?

I ask because it's pretty barebones still with multitudes of absent features and I'd assumed that the potential userbase at this stage would be small because of that.

iirc, you had switched to Obsidian. I keep tabs ( ;D ) on what's going on with it, but it's some time since I have actually used it seriously. The 1.0 launch has been described as a great improvement by some and as workflow breaking by others. I'm quite glad to be out of the frequent breaking changes and the latest interface one sounds as if it would probably have affected even minimal me.
I do intend, however, to have a good look at the whiteboard plugins when they arrive. I'll weigh them up against Scrintal, Heptabase, OneNote and Mindomo - and anything else that comes along in the meantime.

superboyac

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Re: I'm thinking of going primitive, with discursion into zettelkasten
« Reply #1174 on: October 19, 2022, 03:54 PM »
I like it and would switch from Obsidian if not for the image extension thing.  I just like how it looks better, and the cards and some of the navigation options I like better.  I'm not as particular as you about everything, I literally use it to quickly edit files that i use on a static site generator.