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  1. Last 7 days
    1. There's apparently a product that will turn one's Roam Research notes into a digital garden.

      Great to see a bridge for making these things easier for the masses, but I have to think that there's a better and cheaper way. Perhaps some addition competition in the space will help bring the price down.

    1. https://dev.to/tmhall99/beyond-taking-notes-or-how-i-joined-the-roamcult-22k3

      Lots of resources on the topic to start down a rabbit hole, but no clear outline or thesis of what is going on or why it's useful. At best a list of potentially useful links for getting started.

  2. Jul 2021
    1. Revisiting this essay to review it in the framing of digital gardens.

      In a "gardens and streams" version of this metaphor, the stream is flow and the garden is stock.

      This also fits into a knowledge capture, growth, and innovation framing. The stream are small atomic ideas flowing by which may create new atomic ideas. These then need to be collected (in a garden) where they can be nurtured and grow into new things.

      Clippings of these new growth can be placed back into the stream to move on to other gardeners. Clever gardeners will also occasionally browse through the gardens of others to see bigger picture versions of how their gardens might become.

      Proper commonplacing is about both stock and flow. The unwritten rule is that one needs to link together ideas and expand them in places either within the commonplace or external to it: essays, papers, articles, books, or other larger structures which then become stock for others.

      While some creators appear to be about all stock in the modern era, it's just not true. They're consuming streams (flow) from other (perhaps richer) sources (like articles, books, television rather than social media) and building up their own stock in more private (or at least not public) places. Then they release that article, book, film, television show which becomes content stream for others.

      While we can choose to create public streams, but spending our time in other less information dense steams is less useful. Better is to keep a reasonably curated stream to see which other gardens to go visit.

      Currently is the online media space we have structures like microblogs and blogs (and most social media in general) which are reasonably good at creating streams (flow) and blogs, static sites, and wikis which are good for creating gardens (stock).

      What we're missing is a structure with the appropriate and attendant UI that can help us create both a garden and a stream simultaneously. It would be nice to have a wiki with a steam-like feed out for the smaller attendant ideas, but still allow the evolutionary building of bigger structures, which could also be placed into the stream at occasional times.

      I can imagine something like a MediaWiki with UI for placing small note-like ideas into other streams like Twitter, but which supports Webmention so that ideas that come back from Twitter or other consumers of one's stream can be placed into one's garden. Perhaps in a Zettelkasten like way, one could collect atomic notes into their wiki and then transclude those ideas into larger paragraphs and essays within the same wiki on other pages which might then become articles, books, videos, audio, etc.

      Obsidian, Roam Research do a somewhat reasonable job on the private side and have some facility for collecting data, but have no UI for sharing out into streams.

  3. Jun 2021
  4. dash.eloquent.works dash.eloquent.works
    1. An interesting tool for taking notes from Jeremy Ho. Designed with Roam Research in mind.

      The Eloquent tool is available to install! Capture ideas in-context with:<br>• On-page highlighting<br>• Nested bullets<br>• /snippets<br>• [[braces]] and #tag syntax<br>Quick capture is a hotkey away. Bonus hotkey sends your highlights/links to @RoamResearch pic.twitter.com/vLLbPX4zwW

      — Jeremy Ho (@jeremyqho) July 21, 2020
      <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

      I wish it could save data as a local text or markdown file so it would also be easier to use with Obsidian or other note taking tools. It's similar in nature to the Roam Highlighter extension.

      Details at https://www.notion.so/Eloquent-Resource-Center-72f95c2a71d34c5181e4907edf7a96e1

  5. stoa.anagora.org stoa.anagora.org
    1. Some conventions may be emerging in a new batch of personal knowledge management tools, or amenable to them; for the duration of this document, we'll refer to these tools as [[personal knowledge management]] tools, [[roam like]] or (preferred as of the time of writing) [[wiki like]].

      It would be incredibly useful to have a list of these [[Roam Research like]] tools so that they can be documented as to what level of input they can/could take and remain compatible from text, to text+[[wiki links]], to the various flavors of markdown up to full HTML perhaps.

      I know a handful are documented at indieweb.org/commonplace_book

  6. Feb 2021
    1. Comments

      This word is exactly the point. What if this web page were a public thing within Roam? Then other people's notebooks could comment within their own, but using notifications (via Webmention) could be placed into a comments section at the bottom of one's page or even done inline on the portions they're commenting on using block references.

    2. For instance, Notion has a sort of straightforward design that’s meant to be easy for anyone to use and learn. They prioritize making it obvious for newcomers, whereas Roam is more focused on power users who are willing to put quite a bit of effort into learning a new paradigm.

      Notice the difference in user interface and onboarding between [[Notion]] and [[Roam Research]].

    3. In other words, Roam could be the thing the scientist uses for fun to organize their book notes, or they could also be the thing that same scientist uses at work to collaborate with colleagues on discovering new truths, paid for by their employer.

      But why can't it do both?

      Because it's on the same platform, they could allow people to make their notes public and shareable. They could add Webmention support so that one notebook could talk to another!

      C'mon people!!? Don't you remember the dream of the Memex?

    4. It’s been less than a year since Roam started to gain traction, Notion just added Roam’s signature bi-directional link functionality, and there are already open-source “Roam compatible” apps on the horizon, like Athens.

      This is the first reference I've heard about [[Athens]], but there are many others that aren't mentioned here including Obsidian, Foam, TiddlyWiki, etc. which have been adding the backlinking capabilities.

    5. Personal todo lists don’t depend on others using the same system (no network effects)

      They don't unless you're building a wiki or commonplace book that can interact with those of others. (Roam research isn't doing this---yet, but they should.) Ideally small building block pieces will allow it to dovetail with other systems that could potentially do the same thing.

  7. Dec 2020
    1. It needs wiki-like superpowersIf there is one feature that excels above all others in information software of the past two decades that deserves its place in the note taking pantheon, its the humble double bracketed internal link.We all recognise power to store and retrieve information at will, but when you combine this power with the ability to successfully create new knowledge trees from existing documents, to follow thoughts in a ‘stream of consciousness’ non-linear fashion then individual notes transform from multiple static word-silos into a living information system system.Sadly, this is the one major feature that is always neglected, or is piecemeal at best… and one time note taking king Evernote is to blame.

      Tim Kling posits that one of the most important features for a note taking app to have (which most lack at the time of writing) is the ability to link to other notes with the wiki-standard double bracket command.

    1. 第三步:渐进式归纳(Progressively summarize)虽然手头有已经导出的笔记可用,但这些笔记毕竟是抽离了具体语境的只言片语或框架结构,若要令其有用武之地,就有必要增添内容,但这又需要在简洁和易懂之间取得平衡。为实现这一目的,本文作者提出了「渐进式归纳」(视频、文章)的概念,下面简述之。(按:这个视频结合了具体案例,可以帮助自己具体执行技术性步骤,强烈推荐全程观看。)

      正是目前阶段需要的自下而上的笔记整理

    1. Jeff Sonnabend in the Ecco Yahoo forum: "I remember first trying to learn Ecco 1.0. It was tough until the proverbial light went on. Then it all made sense. For me, it was simply understanding that Ecco is just a data base. So called folders are nothing more than fields in a flat-file table (like a spreadsheet). The rest is interface and implementation of various users' work or management systems in Ecco. That learning curve, to me, is the primary Ecco "weakness", at least as far as new users go."

      There was a steep learning curve involved with using ECCO Pro. Reminds me of Roam, which also has a steep learning curve, but then it feels like it's worth it.

    2. Chris Thompson: "If your goals in using a PIM are mostly calendaring, todos, and a phonebook, then Maximizer, Outlook, and Time and Chaos all do a reasonable job. On an enterprise-level, Lotus Notes would be another good choice. If you're more interested in keeping track of notes or research, Lotus Agenda, Zoot, or InfoHandler are better choices. For keeping track of miscellaneous files, InfoSelect is pretty good. On the other hand, if you want to do a little of everything, and do it well, Ecco really has no rivals."

      ECCO Pro was loved for its ability to do a lot of different things versus being good at one narrow thing. Reminds me of Roam Research.

  8. Nov 2020
    1. At the same time, use of the web is now ubiquitous,and ”Google” is a verb. With the advent of search en-gines, users have learned to find data by describing whatthey want (e.g., various characteristics of a photo) insteadof where it lives (i.e., the full pathname of the photo inthe filesystem). This can be seen in the popularity ofsearch as a modern desktop paradigm in such products asWindows Desktop Search (WDS) [26]; MacOS X Spot-light [21], which fully integrates search with the Mac-intosh journaled HFS+ file system [7]; and the variousdesktop search engines for Linux [4, 27]. Indeed, MacOS X in particular goes one step further and exports APIsto developers allowing applications to directly access themeta-data store and content index.

      With the advent of search engines, search as a paradigm for retrieving files has become ubiquitous.

    1. I've spent the last 3.5 years building a platform for "information applications". The key observation which prompted this was that hierarchical file systems didn't work well for organising information within an organisation.However, hierarchy itself is still incredibly valuable. People think in terms of hierarchies - it's just that they think in terms of multiple hierarchies and an item will almost always belong in more than one place in those hierarchies.If you allow users to describe items in the way which makes sense to them, and then search and browse by any of the terms they've used, then you've eliminated almost all the frustrations of a file system. In my experience of working with people building complex information applications, you need: * deep hierarchy for classifying things * shallow hierarchy for noting relationships (eg "parent company") * multi-values for every single field * controlled values (in our case by linking to other items wherever possible) Unfortunately, none of this stuff is done well by existing database systems. Which was annoying, because I had to write an object store.

      Impressed by this comment. It foreshadows what Roam would become:

      • People think in terms of items belonging to multiple hierarchies
      • If you allow users to describe items in a way that makes sense to them and allow them to search and browse by any of the terms they've used, you've solved many of the problems of existing file systems

      What you need to build a complex information system is:

      • Deep hierarchies for classifying things (overlapping hierarchies should be possible)
      • Shallow hierarchies for noting relationships (Roam does this with a flat structure)
      • Multi-values for every single field
      • Controlled values (e.g. linking to other items when possible)
    1. It is exactly as though the physical items had been gathered together from widely separated sources and bound together to form a new book. It is more than this, for any item can be joined into numerous trails.

      Although Bush envisioned associative trails to be navigable sequences of original content and notes interspersed, what seems to make more sense when viewed through today's technology, is a rich document of notes where the relevant pieces from external documents are transcluded.

    2. The human mind does not work that way. It operates by association. With one item in its grasp, it snaps instantly to the next that is suggested by the association of thoughts, in accordance with some intricate web of trails carried by the cells of the brain. It has other characteristics, of course; trails that are not frequently followed are prone to fade, items are not fully permanent, memory is transitory. Yet the speed of action, the intricacy of trails, the detail of mental pictures, is awe-inspiring beyond all else in nature.

      The human mind doesn't work according to the file-cabinet metaphor — it operates by association.

      "With one items in its gras, it snaps instantly to the next that is suggested by the association of thoughts, in accordance with some intricate web of trails carried by the cells of the brain."

    3. The real heart of the matter of selection, however, goes deeper than a lag in the adoption of mechanisms by libraries, or a lack of development of devices for their use. Our ineptitude in getting at the record is largely caused by the artificiality of systems of indexing. When data of any sort are placed in storage, they are filed alphabetically or numerically, and information is found (when it is) by tracing it down from subclass to subclass. It can be in only one place, unless duplicates are used; one has to have rules as to which path will locate it, and the rules are cumbersome. Having found one item, moreover, one has to emerge from the system and re-enter on a new path.

      Bush emphasises the importance of retrieval in the storage of information. He talks about technical limitations, but in this paragraph he stresses that retrieval is made more difficult by the "artificiality of systems of indexing", in other words, our default file-cabinet metaphor for storing information.

      Information in such a hierarchical architecture is found by descending down into the hierarchy, and back up again. Moreover, the information we're looking for can only be in one place at a time (unless we introduce duplicates).

      Having found our item of interest, we need to ascend back up the hierarchy to make our next descent.

    4. So much for the manipulation of ideas and their insertion into the record. Thus far we seem to be worse off than before—for we can enormously extend the record; yet even in its present bulk we can hardly consult it. This is a much larger matter than merely the extraction of data for the purposes of scientific research; it involves the entire process by which man profits by his inheritance of acquired knowledge. The prime action of use is selection, and here we are halting indeed. There may be millions of fine thoughts, and the account of the experience on which they are based, all encased within stone walls of acceptable architectural form; but if the scholar can get at only one a week by diligent search, his syntheses are not likely to keep up with the current scene.

      Retrieval is the key activity we're interested in. Storage only matters in as much as we can retrieve effectively. At the time of writing (1945) large amounts of information could be stored (extend the record), but consulting that record was still difficult.

    5. A record if it is to be useful to science, must be continuously extended, it must be stored, and above all it must be consulted.

      Bush emphasises the need for notes to not only be stored, but also to be queried (consulted).

    1. You need to have a habit of tagging something as a to-do to synthesize the idea further, and then periodically go back and review those and write them in a more crisp language, or build up your evergreen notes so that you have this library of thoughts that you are able to get that compound interest on.

      You need a system inside Roam which helps you review notes that are not yet refined.

    2. We encourage people to use the daily notes and to brainstorm and brain dump, and just write all the things they’re thinking. I think that the first thing that we’re interested in is, how do you build systems so that it’s easy for you to take those and gradually refine them?

      Conor is asking himself, how do you get people to take (daily) notes, and how do you get them to refine them.

    3. I think that you need to be able to get compound interest on your thoughts. Good ideas come from when ideas have sex: the intersection of different things that you’ve been reading or different things you’ve been seeing. So you can have better ideas faster if you are actually reviewing the old things and you are building up. You’re not throwing away work.

      Good ideas come when ideas meet, so it is beneficial to promote this.

    4. We’ve always wanted to build a layer on top of the web where every person can have their mental model of how the whole world works, and they can start to share ideas across everything.

      Conor's idea of Roam was a layer on top of the web where everyone can have their mental model of how the world works.

    5. I was originally interested in figuring out how you could figure out what’s actually true online.

      Conor was trying to figure out how to find out what's true online with Roam.

    1. One pane: With one pane outliners, the content is displayed immediately below the category. A printed legal document is an example of a one-pane document. A web site with a table-of-contents "frame" on the left hand side is similar to a two-pane outline. A Usene t news group is similar to a three pane outline. When writing documents, or organizing ideas for a project (such as a speech, or for software design) I much prefer one pane outlines. I find they are more conducive to collapsing ideas, because you can mix text with categories, rather than radically split ting the organizational technique from the content (as the two and three pane outlines do).

      In one pane outliners the text is displayed under its parent.

      This can be more conducive to writing because you're not splitting work on the organization from work on the content. In writing this separation is fuzzy anyway.

    2. With Lotus Notes, I can combine a hierarchically organized outline view of the documents, with full text searching, hypertext links and traditiona l relational database like reports (for example, a sorted view of items to do).

      What Lotus Notes allowed you to do is to combine a hierarchical organized overview, achieved through an outliner, with search, hyperlinks and relational-database-like reports. Lotus Notes also allowed you to organized different document formats (Word, emails, etc.)

    1. Alexanderproposeshomesandofficesbedesignedandbuiltbytheireventualoccupants.Thesepeople,hereasons,knowbesttheirrequirementsforaparticularstructure.Weagree,andmakethesameargumentforcomputerprograms.Computerusersshouldwritetheirownprograms.KentBeck&WardCunningham,1987 [7]

      Users should program their own programs because they know their requirements the best.

      [7]: Beck, K. and Cunningham, W. Using pattern languages for object-oriented programs. Tektronix, Inc. Technical Report No. CR-87-43 (September 17, 1987), presented at OOPSLA-87 workshop on Specification and Design for Object-Oriented Programming. Available online at http://c2.com/doc/oopsla87.html (accessed 17 September 2009)

    1. Connected to this are Andy Matuschak’s comments about contextual backlinks bootstrapping new concepts before explicit definitions come into play.

      What Joel says here about Contextual Backlinks is that they allow you to "bootstrap" a concept (i.e. start working with it) without explicit definitions coming into play (or as Andy would say, the content is empty).

    2. Easily updated pages: don’t worry about precisely naming something at first. Let the meaning emerge over time and easily change it (propagating through all references).

      Joel highlights a feature here of Roam and ties it to incremental formalisms.

      In Roam you can update a page name and it propagates across all references.

    3. Cognitive Overhead (aka Cognitive Load): often the task of specifying formalism is extraneous to the primary task, or is just plain annoying to do.

      This is the task that you're required to do when you want to save a note in Evernote or Notion. You need to choose where it goes.

    4. The basic intuition is described well by the Shipman & Marshall paper: users enter information in a mostly informal fashion, and then formalize only later in the task when appropriate formalisms become clear and also (more) immediately useful.

      Incremental formalism

      Users enter information in an informal fashion. They only formalize later when the appropriate formalism becomes clear and/or immediately useful.

    5. It’s important to notice something about these examples of synthesis representations: they go quite a bit further than simply grouping or associating things (though that is an important start). They have some kind of formal semantic structure (otherwise known as formality) that specifies what entities exist, and what kinds of relations exist between the entities. This formal structure isn’t just for show: it’s what enables the kind of synthesis that really powers significant knowledge work! Formal structures unlock powerful forms of reasoning like conceptual combination, analogy, and causal reasoning.

      Formalisms enable synthesis to happen.

    1. Systems which display backlinks to a node permit a new behavior: you can define a new node extensionally (rather than intensionally) by simply linking to it from many other nodes—even before it has any content.

      Nodes in a knowledge management system can be defined extensionally, rather than intensionally, through their backlinks and their respective context.

    2. This effect requires Contextual backlinks: a simple list of backlinks won’t implicitly define a node very effectively. You need to be able to see the context around the backlink to understand what’s being implied.

      Bi-Directional links, or backlinks, only help define the node being linked to if the context in which the links occur is also provided.

    1. In 1995 Steve Jobs could still remember it exactly. In an interview with Robert X. Cringely for the PBS show “Triumph of the nerds” he said:I had three or four people (at Apple) who kept bugging that I get my rear over to Xerox PARC and see what they are doing. And, so I finally did. I went over there. And they were very kind. They showed me what they are working on. And they showed me really three things. But I was so blinded by the first one that I didn’t even really see the other two. One of the things they showed me was object oriented programming – they showed me that but I didn’t even see that. The other one they showed me was a networked computer system… they had over a hundred Alto computers all networked using email etc., etc., I didn’t even see that. I was so blinded by the first thing they showed me, which was the graphical user interface. I thought it was the best thing I’d ever seen in my life. Now remember it was very flawed. What we saw was incomplete, they’d done a bunch of things wrong. But we didn’t know that at the time but still thought they had the germ of the idea was there and they’d done it very well. And within – you know – ten minutes it was obvious to me that all computers would work like this some day. It was obvious. You could argue about how many years it would take. You could argue about who the winners and losers might be. You could’t argue about the inevitability, it was so obviousSteve Jobs about his visit to Xerox PARC – Clip from Robert Cringley’s TV documentation “Triumph of the Nerds“.

      Steve Jobs when given a tour at the Xerox PARC in 1979 was so struck by the GUI that they were developing that he could not even process the other things he was shown (Object Oriented Programming and Networked Computing).

      "And within - you know - ten minutes it was obvious to me that all computers would work like this some day. It was obvious. You could argue about how many years it would take. You could argue about who the winners or losers might be. You couldn't argue about the inevitability, it was obvious."

      This reminds me of the moment Roam first clicked for me.

    1. This whole system is much, much better than having to manually update some CRM like in Airtable. Since you're naturally tagging people as you interact with them, you can create an easy record of your relationship with them and compile any useful notes on them as you go.

      If you use Roam as a CRM, in your daily note you can simply tag a person you just had a meeting with and log some notes. Those notes will then show up under that person in the linked references under a block for the current date.

      So in one sentence, with using only your keyboard, you've created a meeting note linked to a person and linked to a specific date.

      With any other solution you'd have to navigate to a person, create an entry, set a date and write the note.

      This "decide where to put it" step is completely replaced with "what entities does this pertain to".

    2. The references also have a really robust filtering tool. For example, I could filter all the references to Mindfulness to only include pages that also reference Books:

      You can also filter the references by Tags/Pages.

    3. This is the best feature I’ve found for discovering new relationships between information.

      The unlinked references section is a great way to discover new relationships between information.

      It's also an area where a digital Zettelkasten outperforms an analog one.

    4. This is another area where Roam really stands out from Evernote and Notion. Have you tried to link to another page in either of them? It’s a nightmare of right clicks or slash commands, it takes way too long. In Roam it’s so seamless that you can do it without interrupting your typing flow.

      A big benefit of Roam is the speed with which you can make a link to a another page.

    5. This removes all the decision making about where to put things that you frequently run into with Evernote, Notion, etc. When everything can be everywhere, you don’t have to worry about the filing structure. You just keep adding links. 

      Nat's conclusion is correct, but his reason for arriving at that conclusion is wrong.

      You're not faced with the question of where to put things with Roam because you can do the following:

      (1) You can tag a new entry on the fly, in-line, CLI style. (2) If the tag exists, it will autocomplete, if it doesn't you can create it with no extra effort (3) Any tags you add are links to their respective pages, which allows you to (a) navigate their as soon as you've typed the tag/page name and (b) it creates a backlink on those pages so your new entry is automatically linked to from there.

    6. This also highlights a big difference between Roam and other note taking tools: tags are both everything and nothing. Every page is a tag, and every tag is a page.

      Nat says that tags are everything and nothing, but I don't agree with that.

      Pages consist of blocks.

      A reference to a page is treated in the exact same way as a tag.

      A block is not treated in the same way. A block is not a tag.

  9. Oct 2020
    1. If you take a bong rip and close your eyes, you can imagine a world where Roam is a new sort of internet. Where people can publish ideas and reference each other’s ideas in deep, interlinked ways. It’d be like a giant public brain, instead of a private second brain.

      This section 6 is a key bit on how Roam can function as a much larger 2nd global brain.

    1. The Instapaper highlights go to my Evernote inbox, then I copy them from Evernote into Roam (annoying, I know, hopefully the Roam API will be set up soon!) 

      Getting data into any of these note taking tools quickly always seems to be the most difficult part of the process.

    1. Storyspace has an always-visible Toolbar and Menu to aid students. The Toolbar (Figure 2) provides, top-left to right and down: a Writing Space tool (to create writing areas), the Arrow tool (already familiar to Macintosh users) for routine selecting and clicking, the Note tool (the star) for attaching notes to text, and the Navigation tool (double-headed arrow) for creating and following text links. The Magnify tool (three windows) decreases or enlarges the size of windows. The Linking tool (boxes connected by line) enables linking of one text to other text areas. The Tunnel tool (box within a box) permits linking over widely separated writing spaces. The Compass (four directional arrows) is used to move quickly through levels of the chart, outline, or windows.

      The design of this, which predates that of the wiki, also seems eerily familiar as a digital version of a zettelkasten or the design which seems to underlie Roam Research's product.

  10. Aug 2020
    1. The main job of TXO is to take a raw Bitcoin transaction and transform it into a structured format on top of which we can run all kinds of powerful query, processing, and filter.
  11. May 2020
    1. First things first, I am new to emacs and the eco system so there are packages I’m not aware of.

      emacs is pretty much an operating system. This makes it infinitely configurable and hard for new comers to grok.

  12. Dec 2019