Zettelkasten Forum

What Are You Working On? June 22, 2023

Another installment of the What Are You Working On? thread.
Here's your chance to enlighten the community about your knowledge path trajectory.

I'm reading:

  • Joyful: The surprising power of ordinary things to create extraordinary happiness. Lee, Ingrid Fetell. 2020.
  • The Art of Brevity: Crafting the Very Short Story. Faulkner, Grant. 2023.
  • The Planets: A Cosmic Pastoral: [Poems]. Ackerman, Diane. 1976.

I'm programming:

I'm listening to:

I'm thinking about the following:

  • I've been thinking about how technology positively affects experiences, especially those of people in different social and economic situations than myself.

My seven day zettel production

Will Simpson
I must keep doing my best even though I'm a failure. My peak cognition is behind me. One day soon I will read my last book, write my last note, eat my last meal, and kiss my sweetie for the last time.


  • Traveling (today I passed through the brutal, bloody and yet magnificent Colosseum in Rome), and delighted at an accidental happening. I am reading two books and not taking notes on my computer (which I did not bring along for the trip, yay). Instead, I am making notes in the margin, and discovering that I am engaging more deeply with the material. Assuming I have the discipline to convert that to notes in my system, this is a win. Even without such latter transfer, I think I am getting much from the books.

    The books are Toulmin’s “the uses of argument” (a classic and unbeknown and unexpected to the author when he wrote, but which he later came to accept, this is a crucial text in rhetorics) and Andy Clark’s “ Supersizing the mind” (a book about extended cognition; zettelkasters will find him appealing).

  • @amahabal, good luck with the discipline thing.

    I'm tempted to call this a trick, but it ain't.

    The trick is to create an "Idea Index." Writing marginalia will only get you so far. Try building an idea index. The link below is to a 2020 discussion similar to your quandary. It describes an old-school paper project and shows how marginalia can be linked in a physical ZK.

    Read this thread and look at the pictures letting your mind drift together with your current situation, looking for sparks of inspiration. Steal what works and abandon the rest.

    Extracting ideas from texts, my epiphany — Zettelkasten Forum

    Maria Popova talks about the idea index in the interview linked below.

    Maria Popova on Writing, Workflow, and Workarounds (#39) - The Blog of Author Tim Ferriss

    • Around thirty-one minutes into the interview, Popova explains how she takes notes on books:
    1. As she reads, she creates an index at the front of the book that lists its most interesting ideas. We could use the back of the book, a separate notebook, or cards.
    2. Whenever she encounters a passage relevant to one of these ideas, she adds the page to the relevant line in the index. She creates a new line for it if it's a new idea.
    3. As she reads more, the index grows.

    Will Simpson
    I must keep doing my best even though I'm a failure. My peak cognition is behind me. One day soon I will read my last book, write my last note, eat my last meal, and kiss my sweetie for the last time.

  • edited June 2023

    What about an overall idea index for all the bib cards? Any thoughts?

  • edited June 2023

    I've been using index cards for projects and ideas for the past 25 years. I have stacks/drawers full. I'm working on trying to figure out how to incorporate them in my analog zk system (only the remaining topics/focus areas that feel relevant to me now. Luckily, there are only a few topics. Classes/workshops I've taught on the same topic and what I've learned, read, and researched on these topics. I was doing bib cards long before all this Zk took off on the Net (thank goodness) with great thoughtful note taking. I've been working on crafting a top-down numbering system on a mind map. Gone through three drafts. As of this evening, I've separated my learning from my instruction/teaching in the different topics. It doesn't feel right and I'm working with this lurking feeling it's simple and I'm overthinking it.

  • Please excuse my ignorance, what is a bib card?

    Will Simpson
    I must keep doing my best even though I'm a failure. My peak cognition is behind me. One day soon I will read my last book, write my last note, eat my last meal, and kiss my sweetie for the last time.

  • edited June 2023
    • More on the Visual Studio Code extension Zettel View for viewing Zettel titles (H1 headers of markdown files). The extension implements a valuable function within VS Code familiar from Zettlr. The filename of a Zettel in my system is the ID of a Zettel; there is precisely one H1 header in any Zettel (this is a markdown standard), and each H1 header has the form # ID TITLE. The VS Code File Explorer view lists only filenames, so the extension makes VS Code more useful than Obsidian. I am adding to this extension. Some Obsidian functions, such as re-linking notes when IDs change and viewing the Zettel graph, would help.
    • Reading through Personal Knowledge Graphs. I did not know that logseq could export the graph of notes in RDF format. Since I am taking handwritten notes while reading, it may be my first time earnestly following the Zettelkasten method after writing over 500 Zettels.

    GitHub. Erdős #2. CC BY-SA 4.0. Problems worthy of attack / prove their worth by hitting back. -- Piet Hein.

  • Finally solved my problem of selecting a skeleton and laid down Sapolsky's Behave's first chapter and started to fill the gaps of it with the papers.

    Meanwhile, after writing this, I've bought three books

    1) Solms and Turnbull, 2002. The brain and the inner world: Neuropsychoanalysis book that tries to explain everything. That everything helps to fill in the gaps of Behave but it's a bit boring when you already know the content.
    But I'm better at shaping my ZK now. I'll rewrite my notes according to a general algorithm (or phases) of the brain that I saw here to make things more organised. The main theme of my ZK work is to get used to toolbox thinking and creating toolboxes.
    2) Lewin, 2011. For the love of physics.
    3) Wilson, 2007. Evolution for everyone.

    I'm thinking about using the ZK for studying chess. It's straightforward when you think about it but jotting down tons of chess moves without memorisation is just a waste of time. I haven't decided what to do yet.

    Selen. Psychology freak. https://twitter.com/neuro__flow

    “You cannot buy the revolution. You cannot make the revolution. You can only be the revolution. It is in your spirit, or it is nowhere.”

    ― Ursula K. Le Guin

  • Since I'm currently freelancing for a macOS app, I'm picking up a metric ton of knowledge about new technology. This is such a refresher from my previous "day job". It takes time, but I also have like 200% energy.

    One downside of maintaining apps for many years is that you usually don't get to play with the shiny new things. I'm really looking forward to being able to up the minimum requires macOS version to macOS 12 or 13 in a couple of years.

    I'm planning to overhaul my smaller Mac apps (WordCounter and Move!) next year with this new knowledge. The Archive would suffer from adopting the new text editing technology Apple introduced, because it's super buggy. So no change there. But drafts for version 2's UI are being overhauled.

    Incidentally, a lot of Zettel updates for details, and new cross connections, but not much new this week:

    • 202306220909 Sentinel value in programming indicates failure
    • 202306220841 More nutrient dense food enables survival in extreme heat waves (original: "Nährstoffdichtere Nahrung ermöglicht Überleben in extremen Hitzewellen")
    • 202306220833 Soil fertility in water-storing depths important during drought (original: "Bodenfruchtbarkeit in Wasser-speichernden Tiefen wichtig bei Dürre")
    • 202306211600 Buck stops here responsibility
    • 202306190832 Automatically publish Swift library docs
    • 202306181753 Run loop observers can intercept key events in menus
    • 202306171349 Habsburg AI - ugly, in-bred, self-trained AI
    • 202306161015 SwiftUI State-to-Binding wrapper for interactive Preview
    • 202306160849 Google Authenticator's business model is likely to spy on you
    • 202306160808 Google Authenticator leaks two-factor auth secrets

    In other news, the ZKM book v2's illustrations progressed well, so Sascha can continue with the next steps very soon.

    Author at Zettelkasten.de • https://christiantietze.de/

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