L

Leo

working on everything at the same time. #100Days

We need a (communication) system change

From the very beginning, communication was standardised.

First through a common vocabulary, then through mail, telecommunication and more “recently“ eMail.
Anybody can participate as long as they comply with the open standard that ensures everyone knows how to talk to each other.

But somehow, this all changed:
suddenly gatekeeping became accepted, either through non-standard closed off applications like Whatsapp or even hardware lock-ins like iMessage.
It was accepted to have no actual control over personal data.

This is wrong, every part of it is.

Why we need a change

Communication and collaboration is the driving force behind humanitys sucess, while capitalism enrages literally our world. The capitalist ideology of the abiding working class to fulfill their basic needs has creeped into the way we communicate.

With libre communication we can take a first step to break free! Free from gatekeeping, free from pressure to buy certain devices just to be able to communicate.

How YOU can do it

Join the revolution, be the change.

Try Matrix and ideally host your own server, move your team from slack to rocket.chat and build communities in the upcoming matrix spaces instead of discord.

Version controlling my Zettelkästen

Recently I created my own little Zettelkasten and a public version of it, my wiki. While I skimmed through my setup in the initial post, I thought it may be reasonable to take a deeper dive into how you can setup something like this and have a blast writing 💥

Principles

These where my thoughts, or rather requirements, before setting up my version controlled zettelkasten:

  1. Local storage, remote backup
  2. Interoperable (plain text) file format (no system or vendor lock-in)
  3. easy mobile editing must be possible
  4. Only use open software Optional: version control

This just screams git, right? So that’s what I went with. 🤗

Setup

Remotes

  • create a public or private repo
  • if nonexistent: generate an SSH key pair on your machine
  • add the public key to your account Done!

Desktop

  • install zettlr
  • go throught the tutorial
  • "git clone *" the remote repo to the desired location
  • open the repo folder as a workspace in zettlr (File/Open Workspace) Done!

I also automated repetitive git actions, take a look at how I did it for windows.

Mobile

  • install gitjournal
  • connect it to your remote host (Github and Gitlab oAuth work very well and take care of the auth setup)
  • add the repo Done!

IMPORTANT NOTE: you should always make sure you synced (pull, add --all, commit -all, push) before and after working to avoid running into conflicts. While those can be resolved easily, its still something that gets in the way and takes time. 🙄

So far so great

With some hickups its now working pretty well! 🥳 However, I also noticed that (unlike standardnotes) its definitely not a "set and forget" solution and requires some maintenance. For me its worth it, Zettler is just the superior markdown editor and better suited for long texts and connected notes than standardnotes.

Problems I ran into

  • referencing from one workspace into another works, but there is no fancy autocomplete for ID's, although to be fair that generally shouldn't be done too often anyways.
  • New files where not added by my script because I used the wrong git commands. → use "git add --all" instead of "git add ." to add files from subdirectories as well
  • spaces in folders or filepaths are not possible, even if the links contain '%20'

Creating my second mind

I work on many projects and need to keep track of more information than I can actually remember. This habit has grown to a point where it leads to actual problems:

In case of projects im working on, it may lead to unintended knowledge-hirarchies,
generally it may render me unreliable ("sorry, I totally forgot about X") or slow ("shit, i didn't write that down, now I gotta research it again"), both of which im not a fan of. So join me on my journey to solve those problems!

Scribbles

All the small things, the small ideas and thoughts that wont be relevant in the long term still need a place. Standardnotes helped me unifying all my different private notes from an actual book, Simplenote, Keep, OneNote and a Git repo.

Standardnotes' excellent reliability and ease of use makes it perfect for collecting all the things and thoughts. With some tags it can be quickly organized quite well. Listed is a great minimal blogging platform tightly integrated with it, which is very neat.

Problems with Standardnotes (and Listed)

  1. Both are quite linear spaces, and I'd love a nonlinear space with bidirectional linking.
  2. I write markdown on my computers, because its fast. And for the most part Standardnotes is fine, but im used to HedgeDoc + Sublime bindings, which (for bigger projects) leads to me working in an actual file with another editor and then copy/pasting its contents.
  3. The export/backup of standardnotes does not resemble my tag structure AT ALL, which sucks.
  4. As my notebox is growing, it becomes more visible to me that Standardnotes is not great for everything and excels at its most basic form: quick notes with crossplatform e2ee sync.

Looking for a Zettelkasten

I want plain text files that I can version control with git and throw in remote repos, one for private and one for public stuff.

A quick search lead me to Obsidian MD which works on top of a folder full of markdown files. Sync is e2ee and with mobile apps in the pipeline its exactly what I want and DAMN, I just love graphs. 🤤

However, while it looked great at a first glance, within a few minutes it was clear to me that in my case, Obsidian is not the way to go. It's closed source, handles multiple workspaces with muliple windows instead of a unified browser and its idea of a Zettelkasten seems to put the identifier in the filename, which imho is working against a simple navigation. 😐

Enter Zettlr. This is an awesome, activly maintained open source project ticking all the boxes. It just works the way I expect a digital Zettelkasten to work. Awesome! 🎉

Writing on the run

If we ever reach a post-corona situation in Germany, Id like to use my Zettelkästen on my mobile device as well. Luckily theres GitJournal, which is built with compatibility in mind, most notably obsidian. While its backlinks work a little bit different to zettlr, its generally looking very promising. And it is, unlike obsidian, actually open source. It even supports multiple repos. Awesome! ✨

Soooooo

I'll continue using standardnotes for quick notes and Listed for blogging.

However: I'll move everything with more permanent importance to plain markdown files in (remote) git repos fed into Zettlr and GitJournal. One of those is my wiki which I'll fill in the next days as im transitioning.

Index

This is an attempt to index my publications from around the web.
Currently it looks quite empty but trust me, theres more to come.