I stumble more and more on the note taking question, deep implication :
Those are lifetime question, never quite answered, always reflectiong on the matter, learning what you want
- How to externalize Memory
- What to memorize
Here I'll talk about the different tools I used, namely : OneNote, Google keep, Notion, Obsidian (more
broadly .md files), notebooks.
My need are probably not the same as everyone, my bias are :
- I do not need file syncing, using less and less my phone and working primerly on my computer.
- I want it perrenial (local file, universal file type)
- Dead Simple, no stuff that'll eat your time making your note fancy
I used OneNote from Microsft (boohing) for some time (4/5 years), it's the tool my father use, But it's not
my cup of tea.
The spacial way of organizing stuff is really intersting, especially for writing papers, comping data from
multiple pdf and notes.
But it is quite heavy, your file are stored on your one drive (which is sometimes hard to find).
It require a Microsft account.
The folder system is rather strange: virtual notebook contain tab that contain pages, typical
skeumorphism that doesn't make much sense nowadays.
Also the toolbar is a bit bloated, equation are not easy to use.
Have used it for few month, I like the colors and the way note are displayed.
Notion is a wonderful tool, nice color selection, I love it's UI, you can embed wathever you want in the
page by a drag and drop, etc...
In a way it's exacly what I don't want, so close yet so far.
Now way of truly offline syncing file, everything is stored on their server,
The app is really laggy, and I'm not to fond of browser app in general.
They have their own file format and exporting form notion to obsidian has been a pain in the ass.
I mean, don't get me wrong, it took maybe 2 hours, but only because a nice person had made a renaming script
beforehand, and even then, it should be way more easier.
Markdown file is probably the way to go for long lasting notes, there seems to be an infinite ressource of
I like Obsidian because of the way it display Markdown, all symbols are hidden and appear when the cursor
goes above it for editing.
It doesn't need the dual preview pane that is usual in markdown.
Graph view, I gotta say I don't really use it.
There's not much color (also it can be added with plugin), but perfect integration of picture, latex
equation, it can contain pdf in it's folder and split pane with a note.
It's quite versatile, all my marckdown file are stored locally and backed up regularly.
Been using notebook for a long time, but scarcely, for some poem / lyrics and thought
I now use them a lot more, mostly to develop my project idea, as a reflection support.
Use a sprinkle of bullet journaling, At the end of the notebook I keep all the utility stuff : index, to-do,
I made some symbols so I quicly know what a page is about, I use color-coded post-it to mark the pages I may
want to come back to.
The blog has a particular status in all of this, it's made to readable by someone else, there is a kind of
It's an interesting place to develop idea, writing a bit more in depth than I would in other mediums.
It's also a place where I store methodology, how I did something. Thinking it for someone I don't know
ensure that a future me would be able to understand.
A blog also give a form of finality, for exemple, this very page gives me a sense of "ok, this idea has been
researched, my brain can go search stuff elsewhere".
What do I really want to remember / actual use of these tools
Depending on the information, I don't use the same tool, it really comes down to how and if I really want to
It's mostly a question of feeling, for me markdown as this kind of "always present" feeling, when notebook
give you the opportunity to forget, maybe revisit this space later.
I think it's because file can always be rewrote, reorganized. Notebooks are fixed, ink is dry and now
As a tl;dr :
Also I always have an apple stickies open on my laptop for quick to do or cliping text (There is no native
clipboard history on macos)
- Markdown is mainly for big projects that imply a lot of writing and for code journaling
- Notebook for any kind of notes, definition, on-going reflection, learning about stuff, ...
- Gmail for on the go note that I then dispatch on my computer
- HTML to crystallize knowledge and keep an archive of stuff I made and how I made it