Thinking and noting tools

Seems like there’s a renaissance of these, with Roam, Obsidian and Logseq usurping stalwart Evernote.

Anyone into this scene?
I’m particularly looking at Obsidian and Logseq right now.

I tried Obsidian, and never clicked with it. I’ve been using emacs for years, and still seem to function best with Orgmode. Will looks at the others that you mentioned. Orgmode has no mobile story.

I like Freemind for mind mapping too. And Mnemosyne for spaced repeition.


A lot of people are gravitating to Logseq for what sounds like similar reasons. Mobile is still not solved

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There’s Beorg, for iOS. It tries to be a normal ToDo app, but if I have understood correctly, it’s an Orgmode editor under the hood.

I’ve not tried it.

Currently I use The Archive for notes and Things for todo lists.

I preferred The Archive over Obsidian. I can’t remember why now.

I’d prefer to have my notes and ToDos under one interface, and collated over multiple projects. I’m gonna look into Orgmode for this but am somewhat daunted by Emacs.

Mild apologies for the Apple-heavy suggestions. I’ve been a fanboi a long time.

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That’s funny, I wasn’t mentioning The Archive because I thought it was too niche!
I treat task management as a separate category from notes.
So yes, I use Things too, as the only GTD app that makes me less stressed instead of more.

I’d be interested if you remember what you liked better than Obsidian.

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I used to use Things. really solid, great design. Gonna try and get some reflective kudos with the irrelevant information that I am working with two Things alumni in my current job, they’re two of the best programmers I’ve worked with.

Yeah, I mean, I only use Orgmode cos I’m invested in emacs muscle memory in general. I’m not sure it is worth learning emacs for Orgmode, but if you use emacs, Orgmode is a great addition. The MacOS emacs story has gotten worse as time has gone on though.

I have an iOS device or two to test our SDK on, but I use Android as a daily driver. Though I think for “mobile” a notebook is better, and then dump to laptop when there is time.

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Things 2 was a masterpiece. I’m still (years in) on the fence about v3. I like the visual style but the UX is too fussy.

Whichever they worked on, I’m impressed!

Something like links not being “live” whilst you’re editing the content. The Archive applies some styling to headings, links and code blocks, including the Markdown syntax, whilst you type it. And if you enter #tags or [[links]], it makes them clickable. I’m fairly sure Obsidian only made them “live” in the preview pane (when I used it). It felt like it was separating reading from writing; you had to have the “editor” and the “preview” open at the same time - two copies of the text on screen at once, just to be able to click links. There’s no Preview in The Archive: its text field is live and editable all the time. I prefer that.

1 Like - Notion might be helpful to some - very customisable and has a mobile app

I can recommend this book (with weak title) to pretty much everyone:

Revies are pretty scathing on amazon…

FWIW I’ve been using org-roam a little, I think I’m getting into it a bit. I like the “dailies” aspect.

Aye, there’s a common complaint that it doesn’t tell you step-by-step how to use a particular tool - but you can quickly figure that out in Obsidian or whatever.

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It is the kind of thing I’d like to leaf through at the book shop before buying…but then again, maybe work can buy a copy, it sounds like it would fit under the work umbrella.


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I am currently following the Building A Second Brain course. Not mind-blowing, but good. Spending more time on the Praxis archive.

My observation, from spending a little time with some of these tools and communities using them, is that these systems encourage expansive and meandering content.

I skimmed a bit of that book and I couldn’t find anything that told me how to take a note, in note form. I want examples, and a terse guide.

(I found myself writing loads here and had to trim it back. So maybe it’s just that wordy people are drawn to this kind of process :D)