4 minute read

Editor’s Note: This is in the category “Ramblings” for a reason. You are promised a ramble, nothing more.

So Apple announced a bunch of things like VR headsets and stuff. The VR headsets caused Adam to go drop a blog post for the first time in a while and motivated all of us to consider recording another episode of our Fractal FM Podcast.

“Wait, what podcast?” you say. Well about three years ago we announced a podcast that … well … didn’t have a lot of staying power. We’ve missed it and we’d like to reboot.

We were excited to try today. We started setting up and then … my daughter woke up early and my role as Daddy overrode my role as Podcaster. We may try again tomorrow - let’s see.

And this is where Obsidian makes an appearance in this ramble. While trying to remember how to setup everything to record the podcast I remembered I had notes on it. I went to Obsidian typed podcast and it was the second hit. This is huge!

Normally when I take notes on something I file it away very logically in a subfolder on my hard drive to never be seen again. That didn’t happen this time.

This leads me back to Apple. While I didn’t watch the WWDC Keynote, I did watch the “live stream” of it in the group chat Patrick, Adam, and I have. Apple announced a diary app. While I don’t have all the details yet, it sounds like they are going to do some interesting stuff in the space.

I use Day One for journaling. But I also take notes in Obsidian. I have a rough idea of what the difference between a “note” and a “journal entry” is in my head. This is the first time I’ve tried to write it down.

Note: A note is a future-useful document which is about work or mundane personal items. Examples include the aforementioned “How to set up to record the podcast” note and various work and house related items. A note has to have some future value, though future may be defined as “useful for the next hour” as opposed to “useful next year.”

Journal Entry: A note that is a memory oriented item. These are almost 100% personal and are everything from what was in my mind, think “Dear Diary” and what goes on in my life that is deeply personal, think “medical notes from visits to the doctor.”

I am not promising you will like those definitions, but that is how they work for me.

So back to Apple … again.

Patrick commented that the new diary app may cause him to finally get rid of Obsidian all together. Everything would be in the diary or in Apple Notes. From my perspective, Notes is a hot mess when it gets more than a few items in it, however the “everything is a diary entry” idea was intriguing.

Thinking about my personal notes, several of them are essentially one-page diaries. Entries like my record of work I’ve had done on my flat or notes about updates to my personal infrastructure take that form. On disk I have folders of things like internet bills, bank statements and more that are essentially journal entries for a year. Those files in particular are crying out for help. Today they are stored in folders by year and named “DATE-description.pdf” Having them more usefully organized would be nice.

I started dreaming about whether I should move everything into Day One and have a bunch of journals, for example, one for my House and another for each of my banks.

And then this note happened. There is no logical way to store a note about setting up for a podcast in a diary. There is no logical way to find it. I am back to “square one” where I need to make piece with my notes and my journal being separate. The files should likely be that way too. It’s a frustration and a solution. So I should walk away … but maybe you shouldn’t.

If you made it this far, you may want to give serious thought to how the stuff you’re doing works and what it is that you aspire to do. I know people who do their note taking and daily journaling in Obsidian because they cross-link a lot. Some people on the internet also put their to do lists in it. I use Todoist and am quite happy. Then there is that whole category of pdf organizing apps that I have been reluctant to use for fear of losing everything into a hash filenamed mess.

It just shows how you need to balance the paradox of the perfect system and the system that is working. And yes, this last sentence means you have more chapter summaries coming, just as soon as life stops throwing curveballs at me that change my whole schedule around.