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  • Showing only topics with the tag "personal information management". Back to normal view
    1. Announcing the alpha release of Intergrid

      Intergrid is an online outliner and note-taking app. It's inspired by – and in many ways replicates – Indigrid, except it's on the Web. It's free to use, and it's readily available right from the...

      Intergrid is an online outliner and note-taking app. It's inspired by – and in many ways replicates – Indigrid, except it's on the Web. It's free to use, and it's readily available right from the main page.

      Why Intergrid?

      The main goal of Intergrid is to help you focus on the notes.

      There are no settings. You can't pick the font. Theming is not an option. There's only content, and what you want to do with it.

      Plus, it looks cool.

      Is it feature-complete?

      Hell no. It's been in development for three months – which is to say, not very long. It still has ways to go.

      Which is why I'm keeping the initial release rather quiet: Tildes and a handful of friends are the only people to know about it so far.

      Are there bugs?

      Afraid so. There are some I know about, and there are probably some I couldn't even reach.

      Why release it, then?

      Because it works already. You can add, edit, and save your notes in-browser. As long as you have cookies enabled, it will serve you. (Intergrid doesn't use cookies, and has no tracking to speak of, but the permission for localStorage – the technology used to store and gather data about your notes – is adjacent, as far as browsers are concerned.)

      It would be of particular use to people on systems other than Windows. While the current version is focused on desktops, future versions may gain mobile support – all the more likely because, outside from a handful of hardcoded interactions and design considerations, there's nothing preventing mobile users from enjoying the app.

      There's also the pragmatic reason: something Jeff Atwood called "Always Be Shipping", all the way back in 2007. You can't get feedback on an app that has no public version. Your programming expertise and design sense will only get you so far. Getting it out there – and going forward with the feedback – is a generous part of the process.

      Where are you planning to take it?

      The first step would be the fix the bugs. There will be a list of known ones in the comments.

      Once those are fixed (or can be postponed without repercussions to being able to use the app), there are features I'm going to implement within the next couple of months. Most of them, at least initially, are going to be put in to keep up with Indigrid's feature set.

      • Views: open, move, and close columns, each hosting a different view on the notes, allowing you to gain perspective or edit multiple ideas simulatenously

      • Bookmarks: store views as separate named bookmarks, allowing you to traverse different mental spaces within the notes

      • Action History and Undo/Redo: record changes to the notes and time-travel between its different states, because sometimes, you want to be able to "go there" and not be weighted down by rock-solid commitment

      • Offline Use: work with your notes even when the Internet is down

      (Even though the code for columns is already in the development branch, I was unable to come up with a respectable way of handling it before New Year, which is when I promised to release the app.)

      In the long term, I'd like to make sure you could access your notes from any browser on any device. This plan also includes the ability to create and share read-only or editable partial copies of your notes – for example, as presentation or a basis for an online discussion. After finishing with shaping up the current, local-only version, this is where want to take the development. I reckon it would take me somewhere between 6 and 12 months to finish the codebase for this.

      Anything else I should know?

      Do keep in mind that this is an early release. There may be bugs – perhaps even the kind that will rid you of your notes. If you're uncomfortable about using software this early in development, please don't: your sanity is dearer to me than getting users.

      It will, however, get stable over time. If there's ever a breaking change on the horizon – the kind of change that will change an aspect of Intergrid radically – users will be notified about it at least two weeks ahead, so that at least they could backup their notes. I want to ensure the safety of mind for the users of Intergrid, so that they know their notes are in safe hands.

      That said, make regular backups anyway. The nodes are encoded/decoded as indented plain text, which means they can be transferred to and from a simple textfile with copy/paste. Any single whitespace character – space, tab etc. – is considered one level of indentation, so it doesn't matter how you indent your plain-text notes: they will be aligned as you'd expect. Intergrid and Indigrid both export tab-indented text.

      Can I help?

      From the coding and design perspective, I would appreciate open-source involvement. However, at this stage, even though there's a repository awaiting changes, I'm uncomfortable making it public just yet, because licensing is hard and I don't want to get into any sort of legal trouble without at least understanding what I'm dealing with.

      Once this and other aspects of open-sourcing the code are dealt with, I'm going to post another update.

      If you'd like to support the development financially, you could donate via PayPal.me. The first $5 or so will go to supporting the infrastructure: the monthly hosting payment and 1/12th of the yearly domain name price. (Even though the domain name has been paid for for the next two years, I'd like to be able to host the app reliably. The domain name is directly tied to the data saved – you can't access another website's saved data unless they're on the same main domain – which is why it's important to keep it.)

      Check out Intergrid

      19 votes
    2. Please criticize my idea for CHORES - a short-term TODO app for ADHD people (and myself in particular)

      Introduction I'm a beginner in programming, but a veteran in film and literature. I know that ideas come easy. Any normal person can come up with a good idea in a matter of minutes. The main...

      Introduction

      I'm a beginner in programming, but a veteran in film and literature. I know that ideas come easy. Any normal person can come up with a good idea in a matter of minutes. The main problem is doing it.

      Besides, I couldn't care less if someone does that before me. I'd probably benefit from their program, and even offer to collaborate. I have a bunch of other ideas in the oven anyway.

      And I'm humble enough to know that such a niche project would never attract the interest of a mega-corporation anyway.

      2. What is CHORES?

      CHORES is a short-term task manager. It's meant to organize nothing more than a few hours or less of your tasks. Month, weak or even your entire day are entirely out of its scope.

      3. Who is CHORES for?

      First and foremost, this app is for my use. But I'm certain there are other people with conditions similar to mine, especially ones with ADHD. I'm also autistic with a compulsive personality, and won't stop until I tinker with every aspect of an object. Not surprisingly, I'm a Linux, i3wm, Emacs and Neovim user. And they're excruciatingly customized.

      What I need is not a full-featured a TODO app like Remember The Milk, Todoist or Org Mode. They're too distracting, I end up just playing with the tools. I need something that allows me to track very short term chores. Thinks like brushing my teeth, taking a shower, eating, walking my dog, washing the dishes and making my bed.

      That's what I intend to do.

      4. What is ADHD

      From the United States National Institute of Mental Health:

      Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a disorder marked by an ongoing pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development.

      4.1 Warning

      Please refrain from suggesting that the ones who use such tools just need to make an effort instead. That's a cliche most people with ADHD and other mental health issues probably heard many times, and by saying that you may cause distress. If you need more information, please refer to the link posted above.

      5. Why another "TODO" app?

      People with severe ADHD like myself frequently forget what they're doing, and what they should do in the very short term. I'm talking 2, 3 or 5 tasks from now. To give you an idea of how bad it is, right now I have an Emacs Org Mode file with the following tasks:

      * Now
      ** TODO Take Ritalin
      ** TODO Start chronometer on Ritalin
        - Tells me when the effect wears off
      ** TODO Take a shower
      ** TODO Take the laptop to the living room
      ** TODO Wash the dishes
      ** TODO Study Python
      ** TODO Post on Tildes
      

      But Emacs and Org Mode do a lot more than that, and this can be very distracting (right now I'm writing this post because creating another file from my now.org file was way too easy, for example).

      Considering that I am the main target audience of this program, any space for tinkering is a dangerous avenue for procrastination.

      6. Who is CHORES for

      The primary target of this project are people with:

      1. ADHD (Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder)
      2. similar conditions or personality traits

      In sum: if you have extreme difficulty focusing, remembering and fulfilling your tasks in the very short term, you may find this program useful.

      7. Who is CHORES not for

      The majority of people can concentrate and perform their short-term tasks with a reasonable degree of efficiency. If that is your case, you have little to gain by using CHORES.

      8. Features

      CHORES is a short-term task manager. It's meant to organize nothing more than a few hours: not your month, weak or even your day.

      1. CLI Linux app (Mac, Windows, GUI, and mobile could happen in the future)
      2. Hard limit of ten tasks (with the option to reduce)
      3. Only the very essential configurations available
      • tinkering is a huge time drain for ADHD people
      • because of that, the defaults will have to be extremely sensible.
      1. Started Stopped status clearly marked by character or highlighting

      8.1 What you would be able to do with CHORES:

      1. Add up to ten tasks
      2. Reorder/Start/Stop/Done these tasks
      3. Undo only one operation
      4. See only the last ten completed tasks

      9. Answer to Possible Questions

      9.1 Why Not Keep Using Org Mode? Or maybe Taskwarrior?

      Org Mode and Emacs are wonderful tools, but they're also a perfect playground for procrastinators. It simply does too much. Emacs is like a box of legos, and that's the last thing an ADHD person needs when it comes to tracking short-term tasks.

      Taskwarrior suffers from the same issue.

      9.2 Why Not todo.txt and similar apps?

      This may seem crazy, but for a severe ADHD person, even todo.txt gives way too many options and features. It is, after, an actual TODO app. I can add 1000 tasks todo.txt. It has an extensive wiki, projects, tags, context tags, special value tags. You might just say: just don't use these options. But that

      9.3 Why not use the extremely minimalist t task manager, by Steve Losh?

      I like t very much, and, depending on its license, I'll probably use at least some of its code. But t lacks some features CHORES requires, such as:

      1. Limit task amount
      2. Add tasks to the bottom (t last tasks randomly, or at least something that seem random to me)
      3. Reorder tasks
      4. Undo
      5. Easily view completed tasks
      6. Add Start/Stop status to a task

      9.4 Why not pen and paper?

      This is a very personal anwer, but here we go:

      1. I will lose the paper every 30 minutes
      2. I will lose the pen every 30 minutes
      3. I will forget to look at the paper, it will probably end up crumpled in my pock
      4. Many of my tasks, such as programming and studying, already happen in the computer anyway
      5. One of my medications interferes with my motor skills and my handwriting is hard to understand - even for me
      6. I like computers. The fact that I like computers makes more likely for me to actually look at the tasks.
      7. In the future, I can add alerts. Can't do that with paper
      11 votes
    3. Personal Wikis

      I have been looking for some software where I can brain dump all the things I need to remember on a constant basis so I can easily find it again in the future. A personal wiki basically. I am...

      I have been looking for some software where I can brain dump all the things I need to remember on a constant basis so I can easily find it again in the future. A personal wiki basically. I am wondering what any of you tilderians are using?

      The things I am looking for:

      Absolute requirements:

      • Open Source: I want to be in control of the data myself, and I want to be able to hack on it myself as the need arises.
      • Self Hostable: Goes hand-in-hand with with open sourceness, I want the data to live on the server in my apartment, under my own control.
      • An API of some sort so I can programmatically add/read/modify data.

      Nice to haves:

      • Revision history of some sort.
      • Common/simple data format for easy backup and longevity.
      • Web interface, with mobile compatibility.
      • Lightweight as possible, so I can run it on a low powered server.

      Does anything know anything like that?

      Options I have heard of:

      Here is a previous discussion on the topic @ Lobste.rs

      25 votes
    4. Need advice about Tomboy notes and note apps in general

      I'm looking for some advice on what note programs people recommend. Not a basic text editor, but something capable of doing some basic categorizing, chronological sorting, that sort of thing. I've...

      I'm looking for some advice on what note programs people recommend. Not a basic text editor, but something capable of doing some basic categorizing, chronological sorting, that sort of thing. I've used Evernote most recently, but I'm becoming less and less of a fan. I don't need cloud sync necessarily, although device sync could be handy. A pleasant UI (not fettered with extraneous crap) would be nice, but aesthetic appeal takes a backseat to navigation and stability. Target OS is mostly likely going to be windows 10.

      What are you experiences with note apps, what are your favorites?


      (A bit of context for anyone interested)
      Years ago, I used tomboy notes in Ubuntu for keeping track of timesheets/daily logs. It seemed like a good program to set up for my step dad to use as well. A few years later, Tomboy notes petered out without much fanfare. I've kept his laptop running with that setup for as long as I could, but the hardware is just getting worn out (it's about 10 years old now).

      So! Time to get him an upgrade. This time around, I don't think I'm gonna set up up with Linux. He isn't really up to the task of doing his own troubleshooting in linux (i.e. when an automatic update breaks something), and I haven't even been keeping up on Linux for the past few years myself. So I'm probably going to set him up on a Windows machine.

      I should be able to export the tomboy notes database fairly easy, but it would be a huge load off my mind if I could settle on a decent program to migrate to first.

      Thanks in advance for any input!

      11 votes
    5. Alternatives to Markdown for writing short documentation/TODOs?

      Hi guys, I often find myself writing small text files for projects, like a bit of documentation or TODOs. I have a proper system in place for larger projects, but would love to be able to scribble...

      Hi guys,

      I often find myself writing small text files for projects, like a bit of documentation or TODOs. I have a proper system in place for larger projects, but would love to be able to scribble down things for larger ones.

      As big of a fan of Markdown as I am, I find that it's often inappropriate for these kinds of tasks. For example, I find myself mimicking a task list with multiple-paragraph list items.

      What do you guys use? Do you know of any Markdown alternatives that give you a bit more control over the layout?

      Thanks!

      14 votes