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I recently realized that I am not good at keeping track of what I learn, and that makes it harder to connect ideas and remember facts. For this reason, I am trying to come up with a better system to document and relate ideas. I am considering two options, RoamResearch, or emacs and org mode.

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      I use TreeSheets.

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        The UI/UX is worthy of exploration; unlike anything I’ve seen.

        1. 2

          kind of similar in some ways to void (void is TUI though). I actually started void to be a tui spreadsheet, but over time found that a strict tree worked better for my own workflows. but maybe over time I’ll revisit the nested spreadsheet idea.

      2. 6

        This looks awesome. I don’t personally see this as a replacement for Joplin which I use and adore for note taking, but I could totally see it as a fabulous tool for ideation and outlining.

        Definitely giving this a look, thanks for the pointer!

      3. 3

        How did you manage to get a handle on it? It seems so damned alien and all the tutorials I’ve managed to find when I go looking every 6 months or so are always really shallow, like one of those “button and counter” Medium posts about React.

      4. 3

        This is completely new to me. Thanks for sharing!

      5. 2

        Interesting, this reminds me a bit of MaxThink for DOS back in the 90s

      6. 1

        Welp, this looks amazing. Thank you!

      7. 1

        This does look intriguing, but I can’t help but be disinterested in it because it doesn’t look like you can share and collaborate over the Internet. Can you? Or are is there an online equivalent or competitor?

        1. 2

          No, this is strictly desktop software. Miro is the closest I could find to an online version.

    2. 23

      I don’t; I gaze upon a wasteland of attempts.

      I wish I had figured something out by now.

    3. 17

      You can combine your two options and use org-roam in Emacs. I use this and it works great for me!

      1. 1

        Same for me, I am using it as my personal diary and for all my university notes. It’s great for preparing papers, especially in the social sciences where you often have to link up separate concepts and apply them to different situations.

    4. 12

      I use ERPnext[0]. Yes it’s wacky and weird to use Enterprise Resource Planning/accounting software, but that’s just the sort of weirdo I am.

      It has projects management, accounting, manufacturing , etc. Recipes for food are products in the Manufacturing section as one example. Different projects are exactly that, projects. It lets me track everything one might want to track, resource usage(as Bills of Materials for products I “create”), etc, and even the cost(s) associated with it. I’m still pretty new to using it, but so far really happy with it. So I know that the hot cereal I make in the morning costs $.32 every morning(at current prices for the materials I use). and I can depreciate the fixed assets I use, etc.

      I mean if it’s good enough for an entire company to track basically everything, then it should be OK for tracking my personal life. I run a local instance, lives in a VM, costs me basically nothing.

      0: https://github.com/frappe/erpnext

      1. 4

        “They told me I had to spend my time wisely. I needed to manage all my stuff at the house better. I also needed to build up my enterprise, job skills. That I couldn’t easily do both.”

        (Light bulb)

        1. 2

          <3 well said! <3

      2. 1

        @zie: ERPnext looks great! I saw something called Grocy https://grocy.info/ recently, and was intrigued by the idea of using ERP tools for household/personal management. Will look into this further.

        1. 1

          Interesting about Grocy thanks for the link. I’m going to keep on with erpnext for now. I keep track of all my assets and accounting/pf in erpnext too.

      3. 1

        For those of you interested in trying it, they have docker instances, VM’s, etc, but I wanted to install it by hand to learn more about how it operates. Here is my install script for ubuntu 20.04LTS:


    5. 11

      I tried several things so far. It looks like it’s a lot of it because I tried all this over a span of 15-20 years or so.

      • Text files. Worked great until I had to add schematics & co. Figured I need a wiki.
      • DidiWiki, I think? I liked it because it was small and self-contained. I hated the in-browser editor though.
      • Gitit ( https://github.com/jgm/gitit ). I loved it because it’s self-contained and Git-managed – I can write everything from a real text editor, not some in-browser thing. Unfortunately, it drags a ton of Haskell-related dependencies. I don’t use Haskell, and don’t really care about it. As soon as one of them isn’t packaged by whatever distribution I’m using, it’s bad.
      • Mediawiki. Brief experiment – hated it. Spent quite some time migrating data from gitit to it. Editor sucks. There were a bunch of WYSIWYG editor add-ons – like all in-browser WYSIWYG editors, all of them were really terrible. Not self-contained, I had to care after a pretty complex stack. I revisited it a few years later when containers supposedly helped solve that. Throwing containers at it only made it worse – I had to debug both whatever broke inside the container and Docker. (I admit that, to this day, I have no idea how people manage to use Docker productively. I’m just not smart enough for such a smart tool).
      • Brief experiment with a homebrew static site generator. Cool but I was lazy and build times ended up longer and longer because I just didn’t want to deal with it.
      • werc ( http://werc.cat-v.org/ ). This one’s actually great but I eventually stoped using plan9port and various things started to be hard to fix
      • Homebrew werc clone. I wanted better Markdown support, and “real” directory listings, including files with various quirky names which for some reason broke werc. Spent an afternoon trying to fix werc but my rc foo wasn’t exactly top notch after two years of not using it. Got tired of it and spent another afternoon writing some bare Python CGI that implements the subset of werc’s functionality that I care about.

      I’ve been using the last thing for about 3 years now and I don’t see myself switching any time soon.

      It’s an uncommon setup but I ended up with it because:

      • I want to be able to easily grep through text files, not use some in-browser search function. I have 20 years of notes and reference material there, the only way I can find something is by grepping an otherwise well-organized directory structure.
      • I have a lot of mixed media to organize – it’s not just text, it’s also thousands of PDFs (datasheet, reference manuals etc.), schematics, images, ebooks, whatever. Without a “real” file structure behind it, this quickly becomes unmanageable.
      • Some of the materials I organize are really long – e.g. 50-80 pages of notes on some subject. Editing that in a browser is hell.

      Edit: ah, worth pointing out. A lot of this is obtained by distilling notes that I take on paper, but a lot of that doesn’t lend itself easily to wikifying, so I have a bunch of old-fashioned folders around. These are mostly on non-technical subjects, but there’s a bunch of tech stuff in there, too. However, I do go through them periodically and sometimes throw away some of the stuff that I definitely suspect I won’t care about, not even for nostalgia.

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        didiwiki → tiddlywiki https://tiddlywiki.com/ – i used this for a while as a precursor to evernote

      2. 3

        I have almost finished building a static version of gitit that basically doesn’t require caring about having Haskell on your system. The binary is nearly 200 MB but then you don’t need to worry about having GHC in whatever environment you launch it.

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          That would be the second best thing after sliced bread, topped only by tattie scones!

          Edit: actually I think in the revised hierarchy of things, the correct term is “the best thing after tattie scones”

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            Yes! I am genuinely curious still why so many people tried gitit back in 2012 and then abandoned it. Including its own author. It compares very well even in 2020 with most wiki software and has way less lock-in.

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              The Haskell thing was the biggest problem for me, I think. It had a lot of dependencies. Some versions of said dependencies were mutually incompatible. Some of them weren’t packaged by every distro and I had to install them by hand. Plus, at the end of the day, I had like half a gigabyte of Haskell-related stuff that I never used for anything (I played with Haskell at some point in the mid noughties but we just didn’t get along…) and filled my screen (and bandwidth) every time I ran pacman.

              (Edit: for anyone reading, please remember this was almost ten years ago. There are a lot of smart people in the Haskell community, I expect some things are better nowadays)

              Then some of the dependencies (or gitit itself? I don’t remember) became unmaintained, too, and it became pretty clear that there’s a good chance none of this will be around in another ten years or so. I figured Mediawiki would be around for as long as Wikipedia will be around so that might be a better choice.

              1. 1


                So I found out that you can use environmental variables to change where gitit looks for static files.


                So using that script combined with adding -static flags to the cabal file made it possible to deploy a binary tarball to friends that seems to work at least on x86-64 linux. If you are still interested I can PM you this tarball.


              2. 1

                By any chance, which OS did you use to host Gitit?

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                  I used it between ~2011 and 2015, I think, so… Debian at first, then Arch Linux, I think?

      3. 1

        Please share the werc clone if you would be so kind

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          It’s a little quirky and has a bunch of hardcoded things that probably make it useless for others, but I’ll see if I can find some time to clean it up.

          That being said, it’s a completely trivial, 200-line CGI script that basically:

          • Translates the URL into a local path, makes sure said path is not /etc/passwd or something similarly harmful, and then:
          • If the path is a directory:
            • If it can’t find a file called index.md or index.html, it generates a “clean” directory listing
            • If it finds a file called index.md, it runs it through markdown and gets out a blob of HTML
            • If it finds a file called index.html, it just takes that blob of HTML
            • It then scans the directory for files and folders with names other than index.md and index.html, and builds the sidebar
            • And finally it concatenates this with the blob of HTML above and drops it out
          • If the path is an .html file, it just builds the sidebar links (as above) and renders that + the HTML
          • If the path is an .md file, it builds the sidebar links (as above) and renders that + whatever it gets by running the file through markdown
          • If it’s anything else, it just lets you download it

          It probably takes less time to write one from scratch than to figure out how to use my 200 lines of poor-taste, uncomented Python.

          1. 1

            I understand this is not a work of art. My interest was piqued because we seem to have investigated similar alternatives including Gitit, and I thought it might be interesting to see what you came up with.

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      I’m using emacs and org mode. And this weekend I started trying out https://github.com/org-roam/org-roam org roam which lets you kinda do what roam does in org mode.

      Still not sure about the roam stuff but its nifty, my org notes were pretty haphazard, I’m hoping it helps.

      1. 2

        I’ve looked at roam/org-roam a couple of times, but haven’t quite grokked it. Do you have to have a single .org file per topic for it to make sense? How hard is it to switch over from a current mature org set of notes?

        1. 4

          I haven’t used it heavily myself but I have got it set up and it appears the focus is on backlinking rather than folder heirarchy. You’d presumably need to add the backlink syntax which I believe is something like [[Topic Name][topic_filename.org]] as well as any possible metadata like tags but just a #+ TITLE should be enough.

          It’s basically that in conjunction with Deft, a… mode?[1] for searching across plain text files in a directory. It can do recursive folders too but org-roam seems to just operate by creating new links in your highest level folder. The author also uses naming conventions like private- just to separate private org-roam notes from public. Public meaning published on their website so if your notes are primarily online, you can ignore that aspect of course. Just that org-roam has some templates you can override to allow setting a public or private note/link etc

          I’m not sure if that helps at all with gauging the amount of effort required though? I would imagine it’d require reviewing most of your notes and adding backlinks to actually get benefit out of org-roam’s reason for existing vs plain old text search which also works perfectly fine

          [1] My terminology is flaky since I’m very new to emacs

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            Thanks for this evaluation. I’ve thought it sounded very interesting and potentially useful, but it’s been hard to gauge whether it could really fit my workflow. From what you say, it might be worth experimenting with at some point.

        2. 1

          Great questions and I only started using it since Friday, for the latter all I can say is: my tests are ongoing.

          I am starting to filter/update things into it slowly, mostly just doing a “take 5 minutes to update notes” per day kinda deal. Not trying to do it all at once or anything.

          It seemed to pick up my giant org dir of crazy amounts of org files fine though.

    7. 8

      Honestly I use macos Notes.app for this. It’s really good for taking quick notes and has enough organization for what I need.

      1. 1

        Keep coming back to this. I think the omnipresence and sync does it for me. I’m looking forward to using a lot more of the handwriting recognition too.

    8. 7

      I use Notion! I’ve used Evernote and Trello previously, and Notion is like everything I’ve wanted previous tools to be. Their abstractions for units of information allows for very powerful and flexible orchestration, and their UI is second to none. You can use it for everything from simple note-taking to project management to personal finance management to link aggregation (I use it for all of these purposes). Also, if you’re a student or an educator, you get the first tier of their paid membership for free!

      The one downside is that the Android app is pretty sluggish, but they are aware of the issues and are actively working to fix them.

    9. 7

      I use Joplin.

      Key features that make it utterly perfect for me are:

      • Markdown everything everywhere.
      • Works across desktop, mobile, command line, you name it, it’s there.
      • Can persist notes to filesystems, a possel of proprietary options, or the sweet spot for me - WebDAV, so I can sync my notes from all my platforms to my NAS where they’re backed up safe and happy.
      • Super flexible organization - you can use tags, folders, or any combo of those.

      The WebDAV sync support also means I can maintain a separate Joplin notes DB for the proprietary world that exists behind my employer’s firewall, sync from everywhere (behind the firewall :) without violating their infosec policies, and I get the reduced cognitive load provided by an identical UI everywhere and Markdown everything, which my brain runs on these days :)

      1. 1

        I’ve been looking for a new notetaking app, and Joplin seems like it might fit the bill. I actually spent some time the other night debugging a WebDAV share on my FreeNAS instance specifically so I could use it for syncing with Joplin. That’s working now, and I’m starting to try it out in earnest to see how I like it. The one thing troubling me so far is that I’d really like to have a native web client, and the only client that seems to exist seems 3rd party and kind of immature.

        1. 1

          Absolutely. “Has mature web UI” is definitely NOT on Joplin’s feature list. I discovered that while I was evaluating it, and decided that for my use case the mobile experience was so good I really don’t care, since I can note take from iPhone, iPad, or even the terminal if I’m super desperate for a remote UI that’s not a mobile device.

          Also it’s open source, so maybe a good hacking opportunity to improve the web UI to meet your needs if that appeals? :)

    10. 6

      Paper zettelkasten on index cards.

    11. 5

      A process suggestion

      raw notes → personal briefs → shared posts

      Raw notes (e.g. evernote , google keep)

      – these should be fast and consistent across devices. Support hashtag and keyword search so you can easily consolidate things. Examples would be periodic journal entries, list of favorite albums. business ideas. You should be able to write a note within 2 seconds

      Personal Briefs (e.g. in Evernote, Quip, Google Docs)

      Strategic 1-pagers catered to deeper thinking on a topic. Need to support linking, keyword search. Example tools are Quip, Google Docs. An example brief might be “survey of frontend frameworks” with pros & cons.

      Shared Posts ( hosted markdown → HTML)

      Larger audience. Hosted on your blog or someone else’s if that’s your thing. Expand and clarify your personal brief’s with context, links and better language to appeal to a larger audience.

    12. 5

      org-mode. but it took a lot of emacsturbation to get it right

    13. 5

      Neuron - my own open source software for Zettelkasten.

      I wrote it so that I can manage my notes in plain-text files (Markdown), stored in Git, without being locked-in to a third-party service that may or may not be here for lifetime.

      1. 2

        Awesome, I was actually thinking about writing something just like this!

        I’m curious about the “stored in Git” part. Does neuron actually sit on top of git, or do you just occasionally type git commit -a to save a new version?

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          Neuron is independent of git. It is just that I use git to store my notes.

    14. 5

      This question has been asked four months ago.

      1. 3

        Be interesting to compare the replies. Four months ago things were a bit different.

    15. 4
      • Leuchtturm1917 dotted paper notebook with an elastic band
      • Lamy 2000 fountain pen

      I can access my notes without worrying about electricity, I don’t have to worry how I’m going to sync my notes on different devices. This helps me maintain my skill of handwriting, I get my eyes away from the computer screen when planning, and I’m not confined to a markup language. Need a graph? Draw it right there.

      1. 4

        I’m a low-budget version of you, using plain clairefontaine a4 notebooks and a lamy safari.

    16. 4

      I’ve been progressively writing about my personal knowledge setup here. TLDR: org-mode and various tools around it (some of which I’ve built myself).

      1. 1

        Why did you abandon gitit?

        1. 3

          IIRC, I figured it’s much faster to skip the browser step altogether and just use a text editor (sublime for me at the time) on top of a repository with markdown files

    17. 4

      For more than I decade, I have been recording personal and tech-related notes on a private instance of DokuWiki. I envy people who can just dump all of their notes into a dir on disk and/or sync them around but in my career, I have almost always had separate work and personal computers, and sometimes need to access my notes from a location where HTTPS is the only thing allowed through the firewall. The stats are:

      • 1342 pages
      • 8.1 MB of text (not including old revisions of pages)

      I love Dokuwiki I’m in the process of writing my own wiki because I haven’t found one that ticks all these boxes at the same time:

      • lightweight
      • keeps articles in plaintext files
      • written in Python, the language I usually reach for
      • Markdown
      • an editing textarea that fills up the whole browser window and doesn’t force me to deal with two scrollbars
      • optionally namespaced page names (e.g. ’python/syntax/variables`)

      And as a nice bonus, I figured out how to get syntax highlighting in the text editor, so that’s fun. I’m not a programmer by trade so the code is very rough. I doubt I will release it publicly.

    18. 3

      I strive to only consume technical knowledge that is useful for the projects I am currently working on.
      Typically for each project I have a “meta” folder which stores various ideas and documents related to it.

      For more high quality and general artefacts like books and scientific papers I have a separate personal folder. Within this folder, each paper/book/essay lives in a separate directory. There I place the source files (typically pdf) and a simple text file with a quick summary and my comments. This allows for an easy grep search. Also it frees me from various dependencies on external tools like orgmode, vimwiki, papis, mandeley, etc.

      To better remember/refine important ideas that are combined and distilled from multiple sources - I describe them in a short article format on my website/blog. Doing this helps to: 1) enhance my understanding of the idea 2) share it with others 3) better remember it.

      For everything else I trust my brain to do the filtering and remember the things it thinks I will need in the future.

    19. 3

      I use Gollum (GitHub’s wiki) as a wiki. I like that it’s markdown based, uses git to store the files, and has mathjax support. I don’t like that it lacks any form of authentication so you get a lot of spam on it if it’s public facing. https://github.com/gollum/gollum

      1. 1

        There’s actually a few auth plugins for gollum. A quick google revealed https://github.com/bjoernalbers/gollum-auth and I know there’s a plugin that can authenticate from LDAP/AD.

      2. 1

        Gollum looks really nice but I’m addicted to knowledge capture wherever I am which means mobile. Certainly Git workflows are possible under IOS, but they’re not easy or streamlined.

        So I sacrificed revision control and went with Joplin which I’m deleriously happy with.

    20. 3

      I mainly use org-brain, which allows to create a tree-like structure in your notes. I think it hits a sweet spot between both your options!

    21. 3

      I have some questions, but I’ve made my own comments below too.

      Can you elaborate on the following statement? I ask because the solution is probably highly personal to you, but I also appreciate the desire to understand how others take notes (“I don’t know what I don’t know”). Are you in school or work, and is your system to cover all uses?

      I recently realized that I am not good at keeping track of what I learn, and that makes it harder to connect ideas and remember facts

      What specifically are you trying to track? Do you have examples of facts and details you struggle to remember?

      Personally, I’ve never found a tool that works better than a paper notebook for long-term notes. When I do take electronic notes I strongly prefer actionable, or group-wide notes that aren’t restricted to me. During my career I’ve also encountered pathological note-takers who have lots of notes, but not a lot of the output they (or others) actually desired. When selecting a tool you have to understand what you are actually optimising. It’s perfectly fine to take notes if you are anxious about not remembering something, but lots of people take notes assuming they’ll drive progress.

      Actionable notes for me are the TODOs that come from meetings, observations from code reviews, IM conversations, hallway discussions, etc. Often they are composed of the problem statement and stakeholders, and sometimes (potential) solutions. The vast majority of these should go somewhere other than your own notes, especially if like me, you experience anxiety. In work, I either put these notes in an email to the stakeholders, or they go into the bug tracker. Both move the item forward and make it visible to other people so they can take action.

      I frequently mentor people and discover that they are sitting on a number of actions which are tied up in their notes. The longer they stay stuck there, then the harder it is to make progress on them. There will be lots of cases where individuals have a unique perspective noted down not shared. Over time sharing these proactively will help establish your reputation. There are obvious anti-patterns to sharing like including irrelevant stakeholders, or putting actions on others that haven’t signed, but these are relatively easy skills for most people to learn.

      When it comes to learning, there is a lot to be said about teaching others. Whether it’s pulling your notes together into a blog posts, report, or training session for colleagues, most people need take some action to connect notes together. The act of reorganising notes can sometimes be helpful here, but the value generated from that activity is rather limited. I find that going from notes to a test of a talk for a small audience to my real talk to be a very powerful tool. You have to organise any notes and resources into a presentation/demo, then you get feedback to fill in gaps or see things that you hadn’t connected before, and then you feel comfortable presenting to that large organisation. This pattern can be applied to documentation, writing an annual review, or any process that relies on knowledge you’ve built up.

      1. 2

        Completely agree. I’ve never been a note-taker - if I do jot something down, it’s hasty and illegible. Yet I started a blog to teach what I learned in web development and it’s become very popular over the years. Anything I want to remember and make sure I understand, I write a tutorial or article about. If I need to remember, I just google it and my post comes up. All attempts I’ve ever made to become a proper note taker have failed. Somehow, knowing that I’m teaching allows me to take very good notes, but if I’m trying to do it for my own records it’s just a lazy mess.

        Nonetheless, I am building a web based note-taking app (https://takenote.dev) in the hopes that if I make it myself, simple and available on the web, it will actually fit my needs.

    22. 3

      I currently use Standard Notes.

    23. 3

      I keep everything in markdown files in one folder. https://github.com/nikitavoloboev/knowledge

      ~/Dropbox/Write/knowledge master 
      ❯ loc 
       Language             Files        Lines        Blank      Comment         Code
       Markdown               796        26586         4256            0        22330

      22330 lines of content so far (calculated with loc tool).

      In future want to move stuff from wiki to Learn Anything system I am building (https://github.com/learn-anything/learn-anything).

      For now I access everything using Alfred workflow (https://github.com/nikitavoloboev/alfred-my-mind)

      I also use gitupdate tool to automatically push changes to github with names of files changed as commit message. `+v key pressed will run a macro to automatically do it. It’s pretty neat system but I want to make it better in time.

      1. 2

        Thanks for this. I’m working on a notes app, and I want it to just use GitHub as the database in this type of format, so this is some inspiration.

        The problem I had with putting all my articles and content online is that hundreds of people would fork the whole repo, change the name, and deploy the site. I don’t care about copyright and intellectual property or anything like that, but you get a lot of duplicated data on the internet, and I would often have hiring managers email me to tell me that someone ripped off my site and claimed it as their own.

        I decided to move the content side of it to private submodules, so the data is still available online but you don’t end up with a bunch of clones of your content all over the web.

      2. 1

        @nikivi: It was reading your website that inspired me to put all my notes online. I have not been able to do it as yet, finalising the system that I want to use. Thanks!

    24. 3

      I’m currently exploring Qownnotes with its Nextcloud integration and until this moment I’ve been pleasantly surprised with the result.

    25. 2

      I’ve been iterating over the same concept but with slightly modifications over the years

      Basically I have a command called logbook to log entries. It opens a new “today” vim buffer, appends the current timestamp and once saved, it pushes the changes to a github wiki, so I have an online version if I’m on the run.

      If I call logbook topic it creates a specific page or appends to the existing log, easy to organize related stuff

      The basic script is here https://gist.github.com/fmeyer/dfbe320b7f53808f52e2fa7edd12b810/revisions

    26. 2

      After years of trying various solutions the one that sticks are simple markdown/org-mode files. So I keep a worklog file (one for every gig) for solutions and notes. My personal diary is organized in similar manner. If I need to find something quickly simple emacs search through the document or grep work perfectly and is in simple enough format to survive for the years to come. With power of pandoc I can convert them to any format needed. Be it my current employer’s dokuwiki, doc or something else.

      All of this supplied by an old school notebook which is a best way to work on problems, ideas and remembering things. Unlike keyboard hand is directly connected to brain.

    27. 2

      For work, I try to put stuff into Confluence (I try to write internal blog posts), Github Issues (tracking my design of a feature).

      For personal stuff, I tend to stick to working within repos and type anything I want to keep track of in repo readmes.

      I also just keep paper notebooks on my desk. I’ve found that osmosis… kinda works. But really writing something over and over again does help in keeping it in one’s mind

    28. 2

      I made various attempts at maintaining personal (digital) wikis, but it just doesn’t work for me. Instead, I either (somehow) keep everything in my head, or write it down in one of my paper notebooks (these are fairly well organised). I do at times use a text file simply called TODO.md or notes.md, but that is mostly used as a way of rubber ducking and not something I use for long term notes.

      1. 1

        This is what I’ve found the most effective. I think reason is we strive for a simple yet flexible solution.

        I have ~/journal.txt which is a bullet journal. This is good for day to day notes and tasks.

        For a knowledge base, well, my projects are my knowledge. I’m starting to wonder if the most ideal solution is just one folder per year, with “paper sized” SVGs which can convey both text and diagrams.

        Ultimately having it be searchable doesn’t matter much. You typically know when you usually did something, like in a real journal. Bookmarking could be equivalent to having symlinks in “bookmarks/”.

    29. [Comment from banned user removed]

    30. 2

      I was inspired a bit by Roam. I’ve recently started using a frankensystem… I use Bear for notes that are only useful to me.

      For notes that could potentially be useful to others, I’ve started using NValt + a small bit of Go code + Hugo + GitHub + Netlify to generate my website, complete with backlinks between notes.

    31. 2

      I use nvALT on macos.

      1. 1

        following on from the thread, I’ve been looking at org-mode today :)

    32. 2

      If your work involves reading papers or books and/or collecting PDFs, I suggest trying out Zotero. People usually adopt it as a citation manager (it will automagically generate bibliography entries for you) but it includes tagging, folders, notes, and a range of other useful features for organizing ideas.

    33. 2

      I tried a bunch of things. I ended up keeping a blog. What I would really like is digital medium that is like a pen and paper notebook.

      1. 2

        This so much this. I keep salivating over an iPad pro, but the truth is that I know it’s not there yet. I’d love a epaper display with a similar feel and notes going straight to org.

    34. 2

      ever since I started using org mode and spent some time to really understand (the basics) how emacs and the ecosystem works, its been a pleasure to use it. Its an incredibly powerful system, and no web app can replace it. unless you want portability but you can store/sync you org files with google drive/dropbox!

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      Things that I can fit in the format, I use Anki to study.

      For sources, I started off keeping links (often with notes describing them) in org-mode. Because I was using multiple computers, I started developing a sync engine. That evolved into a web-server that contains those notes in org-mode, which has a gui to upload new links, with assorted commentary. It also parses the page that the links point to. It’s actually a total kludge, but on the plus side, it’s run for years and only ever requires restarts when I need to update the OS/nginx.

      1. 1

        I have been thinking about something like that. My phone keeps getting up to 80 tabs and most of them are just simple blogs. Thought it would be nice to make a small site for myself where I could send the link, pull the data down and keep track of related info (notes, similar sites, etc.). I haven’t done anything yet; it’s all just an idea right now.

    36. 1


      Create new entries at regular intervals. Cut & paste everything that might be of any significance. I have a work journal for anything related to my job. I have a personal journal for everything else. And a .emacs mod to switch back and forth between the two. And I just discovered mx- rgrep for searching through the org-journal directory.

      1. 1

        All I needed to put these together: My work journal uploads to my company’s Bitbucket environment. My personal journal goes to my personal Github account, which in turn gets cut&pasted to outgoing emails and blog posts.

        (defun work-journal () "go to work"
           (interactive )
           (customize-set-variable 'org-journal-dir "~/recollect_master/oschwarz/journal"))
        (deefun personal-journal () "rant to yourself"
           (interactive )       
           (customize-set-variable 'org-journal-dir "~/Diaries/personal"))
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      I use Quiver and back up the files from it with a simple bash script each day that pushes to a private repo.

      BoostNote is a similar app that’s cross platform if you’re not on a Mac.

      Jrnl is nice if you’re looking for a command line tool.

      I like that they have published data formats so you can easily back them up or export the data to something else later.

    38. 1

      Evernote for most of my stuff, Bear for work-related notes, and I hate them both :(

      Evernote is bloated with crap, the UI is terrible, and it’s still so awkward to link things together that it’s not worth even trying.

      Bear is markdown, nuff said.

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      I use a “Zettelkasten” System, with vim, and git-sync. Filenames are hierarchical numbers, and I navigate using the following vim feature: https://vim.fandom.com/wiki/Open_file_under_cursor https://github.com/simonthum/git-sync

    40. 1

      I used to use OneNote, but these days I’m a huge fan of Dynalist.

    41. 1

      I use Shaarli a lot. It’s a link manager but it supports Markdown, tagging and search so it has everything needed to organise knowledge. I also love that it’s web based so I access my links and notes from everywhere and can make them public or private.

      If the default theme isn’t to your taste, there are a lot of themes available, I’ve used Material Design on my instance.

    42. 1

      I’ve always used stackedit.io, backed with Github and Google drive. This worked well for a while, but unfortunately, at least for me, it doesn’t scale up enough.

      I wanted a more easy navigation through pages, and feared breaking of links. I’ve recently started using Notion seriously for this reason, and so far so good. The extra is possibility to access my knowledge also on my phone.

      I’m a bit worried that something bad might happened to it (who knows?) but I like the idea to have an easy way out via exporting MD files.

      Examples of things I’ve started tracking:

      • Watched films (with rates)
      • Projects
      • An “Engineering Wiki” divided per topics.
      • Technical books review and highlights.
      • Interesting quotes
      • TIL / LOG: A big append-only table of things I’ve learned.

      These tasks are easy with notion’s ui, but probably impossible if done with text files only.

      Just to be clear, I’m not a Notion advocate. I’ve used it in my previous company and it collaboration on documents was a pain. With this “solo” mode I would say is very good.

    43. 1

      I have a web application where I can input multiple entries into any heading I want. A simple crud application.

    44. 1

      I use VimWiki at work, and Gills for personal stuff, though I don’t do a ton of personal research at the moment.

    45. 1

      I use boostnote to keep track of ideas and also store key ideas from books that I have read.

    46. 1

      github wiki

      It used to be just text files in a local folder. program shortcuts, cheatsheets, often used commands. And then it blossomed into kind of everything. If I read something or learn something I want to remember, it goes in there somewhere.

      You might also be interested in the idea of a Commonplace Book. it’s kind of exactly what you are describing: a place and a way to draw connections between topics.

    47. 1

      I use a bullet journal where I jot down things and take daily notes about work and life. I also have a Dropbox folder with a bunch of Markdown files that I edit in Caret.

    48. 1

      I use Google Keep. It works for simple notes and is seamless between web and mobile. Have been curious about switching to Notion though.

      1. 1

        Does it support indentation via tab key yet? Google Keep would be 1000x more useful it handled markdown

        1. 2

          No, it doesn’t support tabbed indentation and it would be nice if it supported markdown. It does automatically do ordered and unorded lists, and the checkbox notes work for me as to-do lists.

    49. 1

      I use straight-up Markdown-formatted text files synced between my various devices with Syncthing and edited with Neovim on desktop and Markor on mobile.

      TiddlyWiki has been calling to me recently, though.

    50. 1

      Can’t believe no one has mentioned Workflowy https://workflowy.com/ Clean, smart, fast and free. I’ve been using their app for pretty much everything from note taking to planning and actually writing. The UX is kinda similar to RoamResearch with more basic linking abilities.

    51. 1

      I use Tiddlywiki for personal stuff, but I’ve been experimenting with org-roam for work stuff. So far I prefer Tiddlywiki.

    52. 1

      A personal Perforce server with:

      • notes in markdown. No loose note pages, every page must be in a subdirectory–this has helped later organization very much.
      • diagrams in mscgen, concept maps in graphviz. PDFs generated of these.
      • case studies of sample code (Quake, Doom, GCC, clang, etc.)
      • pdfs (research articles, presentations, etc.)
      • experimental projects
      • known version of libraries I use (since I vendor my dependencies quite often)
      • all installers for everything I’ve installed on any of my 4 computers (for consistency, maybe for automation later)
      • bin directory of tools for platform-specific tools

      At some point “notes in markdown” might end up becoming hugo-generated site I can run locally.

      The big appeal of Perforce was forcing me to keep a single “mainline”, since I work on multiple machines (one laptop I carry, one at home, and a linux desktop). I heavily considered Fossil with its built-in wiki and bug tracking.

      1. 1

        @pyj: I am considering Fossil right now. What issues did you have with it?

        1. 2

          My plan is to store an incredible amount of binary data in this (pdfs, images, music, installers, libraries), so I was concerned based on this article by Omiya Games. I figured if I was also going to have to self-host either solution, I’d rather stick to a version control with which I’m familiar.

          Fossil looks very interesting for providing project documentation. I just have too many unknown variables I’m dealing with right now to throw another one into the mix. It’s still on my, “One day I’m going to try it” list, and I’m hoping to see more people provide stories about their experience with Fossil.

    53. 1

      I use Anki to remember all kind of little facts: Acronyms at work, book summaries, world facts. Maybe that can supplement whatever you will use for documentation.

    54. 1

      At least one other person in this thread has mentioned Anki. That’s one aspect of my note taking workflow that I’ve found effective and I think is particularly relevant to your comment about connecting ideas and remembering facts. I’d used Anki in high school briefly when I was self-studying for AP exams, fell out of the habit for some time, and picked it back up after reading an article by Michael Nielsen. If you end up going with Emacs and Org, I suggest looking into the org-drill package with (setq org-drill-spaced-repetition-algorithm 'sm2).

      As for the rest of my workflow, it goes a little something like this:

      • Take shorthand in a notebook with a pencil.
      • Transcribe to Org at the end of the day.
      • If there’s anything in the finalized notes that I’d like to be able to recall on command, I create an org-drill card for it.

      It’s a convoluted process and it takes quite a bit longer than if I just transcribed to Org directly, but it’s what works for me. The two-stage process gives me some time to digest what I’ve learned and recognize what the important parts are, and I don’t need to bring a laptop or anything with me when I attend lecture.

    55. 1

      Honestly, I was going to ask the same question but thanks for asking this question. I have been exploring different tools to keep all the knowledge in one place. Currently I am using pocket to save all the articles I come across the internet. Furthermore, I came across this awesome product https://bytebase.io/ to save byte base knowledge Such as saving things I learn on everyday basis this could be anything from learning a new linux command or discovering something new over the internet.

      I’m still exploring more solutions such as all in one solution where I can save all browser bookmarks and notes and then easily search through them. If anyone has any suggestion feel free to let me know.

      Anyways I typed it in a hurry so ignore my messy english

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