# New overview/structure notes Q4 2021 / project material inception

edited December 2021

Since structure notes and conceptual overviews can quickly become the foundation of actual projects, I thought we might all enjoy taking inventory of the past 3 months in terms of which structure notes we've tended to.

Since "tending to" isn't trivial to figure out (without at least modification date sorting), might as well kick this off with new notes.

So in reverse order, here's mine:

• 202112061117 § Emacs debugging tips: I had 3 notes about how to find out why Emacs is slow at times, and error debugging, and grouped them that day.
• 202111241304 § Drag and drop in macOS apps: Stuff I researched in 2017 just ... existed. So I created an overview and outlines topics a bit more orderly. Unlike the Emacs debugging tips above, this is not a mere collection of tips, but becomes more and more of an overview of various related things with commentary and questions.
• 202111231036 § DeviceCheck API: New API (to me) that can be useful to (un)lock apps per-device, e.g. for copy protection.
• 202111062022 § Emacs widget UI libraries: collections of button libraries, tree/hierarchical outputs, interactive forms
• 202110291444 § JS Boilerplate to start simple projects: I don't need a JavaScript library for my web projects, and this is a beginning collection of stuff I think are useful right away to get started, and to remind myself how to do them.
• 202110250932 § Elisp coding tips: the name's a WIP; intended to get a user started modifying the very editor under their feet
• 202110211548 § Maintenance of remote computers: "Checklist of things to do when deploying e.g. a Raspberry Pi to a remote location where you don't have remote/internet access to." The intro paragraph says it all. Most prominent tip: "If in doubt, schedule a daily reboot as cron job" to fix hangups and service failures.
• 202110190921 § reTerminal: usage overview of a gadget. I have similar notes for development on the M5Stack and Pi Pico, e.g. when kids in the family are old enough to want to tinker with this, so I don't have to find all the tutorials again.
• 202110151642 § Text folding in TextKit: high-level, conceptual overview of what it means to fold text in an editor. Also starts with a note from 2017. Back then, during the inception of The Archive, I didn't think of grouping my findings strategically.
• 202110151031 § CoreAnimation: high-level API overview to animate stuff in apps. Tons of links to details (e.g. each component involved, animation timings, and effects I liked)
• 202110141809 § Raspberry Pi project ideas: Similar to the note above about reTerminal, but less about how to boot the device for the first time, and more about what a Pi could be useful for. Home automation is an obvious example, but I'm so much not interested in that, I don't even list this
• 202110141807 § Raspberry Pi maintenance: This is more technical. How to backup, how to flash the operating system, how to check performance.
• 202110130834 § Docker containerized software: title is WIP; is an overview of things I know Docker could be useful for in my life. Currently I do use it on our home server for e.g. Nextcloud.
• 202110121142 § NSView hierarchy control: another new collection of very old knowledge. Meant to provide a beginner-friendly overview.
• 202110120827 § Typisch Opa, Sprüche: list of things my grandfather used to say. Quirks I fondly remember. And from which I try to extract wisdom.
• 202109271033 § SwiftUI Text component: SwiftUI is weird, and new, and I don't know how to work with it. This is one component's overview.
• 202108270840 § Learn programming the hard way for children: trying to make sense of how I picked this up, and which pieces of that journey might be useful. For example, working in the QBasic DOS editor on a very old x86 instead of having the luxury of an always-online computer + its distractions.

And from these, I think the following could be (obvious) candidates for writing projects beyond the length of a tutorial/article:

• 202110250932 § Elisp coding tips: could be an interactive guide of sorts if enough material pops up.
• 202110151642 § Text folding in TextKit: could be a very long article or a very short ebook. Text folding is just on interesting use case for editor customizations on Mac and iOS. To do it, you need to understand all the components involved for typesetting. So this is more a vantage point or a view into the text editor component topic.
• 202108270840 § Learn programming the hard way for children: Why stop at a guide to be used in person when I can spin-off a reproducible setup?

What are your most recent structure notes (that you want to share)?

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

• I'm not sure if you want us to comment on your review or see mine, so here goes.

Your review is exclusively coding. In-depth and advanced. When I review my structure note, I see where most are still a bit broad. As time progresses and I have more atomic notes, I'll refactor the structure notes refining them into fragments of what they are now. They will become super zettel and want to be focused on an "atomic topic" where the individual zettel will be "atomic ideas."

All the examples you listed have UID's created in this quarter. So are mine. What does this say about all those structure notes created in the past? Interesting?

I love to review my ZK, and I'm stealing this idea and folding it into my monthly review process. The item will be called "Monthly Structure Note Progress Review." The goal is to see where my attention is focused and spur myself into action.

How can/do you look at a structure note from a couple of months ago and determine what you worked on? I found that the hardest thing to review. When I work with structure notes, I find I'm refactoring and editing all over the place. Structure notes aren't just a list of links with one after another. They are grouped into categories. Some are annotated. Categories, titles, and annotations change. My memory is not too good or reliable. Monthly snapshots might be the ticket. Um?? I sense a Keyboard Maestro macro that takes a monthly snapshot of all the structure notes and then will provide comparisons when requested. As a bonus, this could be rolled into your annual review, looking at the 12-month changes! We are in this for the long haul, aren't we?

Structure note review 20211201-20211208 (8 days)

1. Reading As A Skill [[202111260902]]
• Actively working on this. Reading Style: lessons in clarity and grace 1 on @ZettelDistraction's mind-rocketing advice. I've learned to read like a writer. Some of my other reading and listening to podcasts on the neuroscience of metacognition are helping form this structured note.
• Reviewing Metacognition, comprehension monitoring, and the adult reader. 2 Connected to the structure note G-Metacognition [[202111260910]].
1. G-Metacognition [[202111260910]]
Thinking about thinking and knowing that I am thinking.
• Added podcast and book Know Thyself: The Science Of Self-Awareness by Steven Fleming. The neuroscience of metacognition.
1. G-Science Hub [[202106230622]]
• This is too broad, but I've had to start somewhere. As I add links, I begin to see areas of connection and spin them off onto their own structure notes. Doing this will steer my attention into unexpected areas, I hope.
It has a subheading for books, articles, and 'flora and fauna' that are science-based and don't necessarily fit on other structure notes. Like - Bat Eared Fox [[202109160759]]
1. G-Drawing And Sketching [[202110270759]]
• Started this one because of a drawing class the finishes on 12/10/2021. This is an activity I've delved into along life's path. I have a few notes with ideas about/from sketching. We'll see where this goes?
1. Collection Of Tools For Thought [[202106271526]]
How to develop a more expansive "work surface."
• Honestly, this is a @thomasteepe lovefest. One way of looking at a structure note is to view it as a collection of atomic ideas focused around a more or less atomic topic.
• In this case, I can't figure out what I worked on this month. Some kind of tract changes or using GIT might be helpful in this process, but I'm afraid that tracking changes might cause too much overhead.
• Looks like I just added #drawing as a tag to the structure note.

1. Williams, Joseph M., and Joseph Bizup. 2017. Style: lessons in clarity and grace. Twelfth edition. Always learning. Boston Columbus Indianapolis New York San Francisco Amsterdam Cape Town Dubai London Madrid Milan Munich Paris: Pearson. ↩︎

2. Baker, L. (1989). Metacognition, comprehension monitoring, and the adult reader. Educational Psychology Review, 1(1), 3–38 http://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007/BF01326548.pdf ;↩︎

Will Simpson
“Read Poetry, Listen to Good Music, and Get Exercise”
kestrelcreek.com

• edited December 2021

@Will I still recommend Style: Lessons in Clarity and Grace, but I can't recommend the post I wrote in which I made the suggestion (I can't stand my writing and don't entirely recognize myself in it). Must postpone discussion of writing in my ZK lately, since some of it might be publishable.

Post edited by ZettelDistraction on

Erdös #2. ZK software components.~~~~ “If you’re thinking without writing, you only think you’re thinking.” -- Leslie Lamport.

• edited December 2021

@Will Everyone chiming in and share was my intention, yes -- sorry that wasn't made clearer after the initial wall of text

G-Science Hub [[202106230622]]

This is too broad, but I've had to start somewhere. As I add links, I begin to see areas of connection and spin them off onto their own structure notes. Doing this will steer my attention into unexpected areas, I hope.

Yeah, that's the spirit -- one needs to start somewhere Refactorings are always possible later.

When I assembled the list of roundabout the last quarter worth of structure notes, I was surprised to see so little personal, non-programming things there. I remember working on them, though, but they are older, and thus not part of the selection.

That's why I think filtering by modification date in the past month(s) might yield a better result when it comes to figuring out: where did I spend my attention? -- At the same time, listing only new notes shows what was deemed important enough to make into a "thing", or even department in the Zettelkasten.

Am postponing judgement as to what is more valuable. Needs more experimentation.

Hence the invitation to y'all to take a couple minutes to look back on what you added

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

• @ctietze said:
That's why I think filtering by modification date in the past month(s) might yield a better result when it comes to figuring out: where did I spend my attention? -- At the same time, listing only new notes shows what was deemed important enough to make into a "thing", or even department in the Zettelkasten.

I don't think The Archive has a "filter by" setting. It only has a "sort by" setting. When we "sort by," we can't tell where the month starts in the note list. The UID's only tell us when the notes were created. You have to poke under the hood with command-line tools to get a list of zettel modified in a time period. Not impossible but a trick for some.

Am postponing judgement as to what is more valuable. Needs more experimentation.

I chose to look at structure notes modified, and you chose to look at structure notes created. Both methods reveal surprising information about oneself and where the focus lies.

Will Simpson
“Read Poetry, Listen to Good Music, and Get Exercise”
kestrelcreek.com

• edited December 2021

It indicates my low interest in creating structure notes that with around 300 zettels created over 18 months (I'm a careful writer of zettels; definitely not prolific), I only have 12 structure notes. Five of those were written within the first month of my ZK journey and four in the second month, when I had no idea what I was doing. Since then, I've only created 3 structure notes, (the most recent being last month), that is, about one every 4 months or every ~80 zettels (if one assumes my ZK progress is relatively uniform). I don't have the statistics to be any more specific than that. However, it gives you some idea that efforts to organize or access my ZK are not focused through structure notes.

Having said all that, I realize my ZK is small compared to many who post here. Despite it being small, it also covers a lot of ground. That is, it's not focused on one area of study or research, but ranges over whatever I find to be of interest.

I just noticed that a zettel that I wrote in about month 3 of my journey was specifically about structure notes - me trying to understand what they were and the various ways one could access the information in a ZK. Thereafter, my rate of creating structure notes dropped way off - not quite to zero, but close.

• I don't use structure notes; however, I found the exercise interesting from two perspectives. First, I had modified many more notes than expected (granted, I am still converting older notes toward a Zettelkasten format). Second, I was happy to see a few "personal prose," notes.

Legend:
Green = Reference note. Text from article/book contains Zettel note thread link + idea in my own words.
Red = Zettel - Entry note. I rarely modify an entry note; therefore, any new Zettels that show up under "modified" would be a new discussion thread.
Purple = personal prose. Generally, in a mini-blog format linked to a Zettel note thread.
Grey = Archived reference note. Generally, archived reference notes are "fleeting" at best; a newspaper article or stock report fit this bill for me. To be included in a Zettel thread, the piece would contain information on a topic of interest, i.e., trends in technology, biosciences, etc., fall into this category.

• 202110120827 § Typisch Opa, Sprüche: list of things my grandfather used to say. Quirks I fondly remember. And from which I try to extract wisdom.

I am disappointed that I didn't get a note governing my best smack talk since I deem it legendary at least.

I am a Zettler

• @ctietze wrote:

What are your most recent structure notes (that you want to share)?

• I'm reluctant to share actual notes, paper notes in my case, but here are some thoughts in the context of my pet topic "ZKs as problem-solving machines".
• As usual in my posts, these ideas are meant as building blocks that can be substituted by other blocks, combined, adapted, maximized and minimized, put to other uses, eliminated or rearranged - in short, they can be SCAMPERized to fit individual needs.
• What's the potential of organizing ZK session work via "project management notes"?
Such notes are meant to help organizing work on a topic over long-ish time intervals. They could work as a kind of "dashboard", linking to tools like work breakdown structures, linking to lists of open issues, linking to to-do-lists, linking to surveys of work done so far, etc.
(I suspect however that many classic elements of project management play a minor role in single-author ZK work.)

• These notes do not emerge in a bottom-up fashion as bundles of previous notes, but they are designed from the beginning as control tower notes to guide the process of solving a problem. They can be adapted at any time when needs arise.

• The work itself may then generate notes that are cross-linked with others in the usual way of what is sometimes referred to as "The Zettelkasten Method" in this forum.
• I suspect that "hierarchical" structures are viewed with some skepticism in ZK circles.
In my view, hierarchies can be extremely valuable when forming and following chains of thought, and excluding hierarchies from one's tool repository would be another really bad, self-crippling move. The same is true in my view for any reduction of one's work to solely bottom-up, solely literature-driven, solely markdown-based writing of solely atomic notes that relies solely on link-based serendipity as a major mechanism of generating insights. I hope I didn't forget any of the major orthodoxies.

• What I would like to advocate here is "driver-driven" work that concatenates coherent directional thoughts. The "drivers" that can be used to propel work of this kind are for example

• tools to generate and to detect open questions and tools to generate answers,
• tools to identify open problems and tools to generate solutions,
• tools to generate goals and tools to generate paths to these goals, or
• tools to generate ideas from existing material.
• I wonder how much of this is linked to questions of "information capacity" and the productive interplay between having a narrow focus on a single aspect and having a broad overview of the entire topic.
I suspect that many ZK practices are somewhat underwhelming when it comes to the latter.

• @thomasteepe said:

• What's the potential of organizing ZK session work via "project management notes"?
Such notes are meant to help organizing work on a topic over long-ish time intervals. They could work as a kind of "dashboard", linking to tools like work breakdown structures, linking to lists of open issues, linking to to-do-lists, linking to surveys of work done so far, etc.
(I suspect however that many classic elements of project management play a minor role in single-author ZK work.)

There is lots of potential in organizing ZK session work via "project management notes." When sitting down for a zk session, a dashboard focuses attention on what wants focus. This focus drives writing projects. A simple example is an outline of chapters to write in one zettel, checked off as completed. A slightly more complex example is programing a particular app enhancement where PM includes code, snippets, samples, help chats, GIT commits, etc.

The one aspect of traditional PM I can't get my head around in the zk session work arena is that PM is concerned with timelines. The organization aspect of PM is compatible with stimulating and focusing a zk session. I can't see the purpose of imposing time frames in personal knowledge management.

• What I would like to advocate here is "driver-driven" work that concatenates coherent directional thoughts. The "drivers" that can be used to propel work of this kind are for example
• tools to generate and to detect open questions and tools to generate answers,
• tools to identify open problems and tools to generate solutions,
• tools to generate goals and tools to generate paths to these goals, or
• tools to generate ideas from existing material.

This outline of tools for thinking puts my brain in high def. A quick search of the zettelkasten tuned up these complementary generative tools.

1. Attention to routine experience
2. Articulation via story and image
3. Exploration of memory and imagination
4. Precisely focused sensory attention
5. Engagement with others
6. Absorption with science

Will Simpson
“Read Poetry, Listen to Good Music, and Get Exercise”
kestrelcreek.com

• @thomasteepe said:

• What I would like to advocate here is "driver-driven" work that concatenates coherent directional thoughts. The "drivers" that can be used to propel work of this kind are for example
• tools to generate and to detect open questions and tools to generate answers,
• tools to identify open problems and tools to generate solutions,
• tools to generate goals and tools to generate paths to these goals, or
• tools to generate ideas from existing material.

Which "tools" facilitate "driver driven" work? "Driver driven" work is defined as work that "concatenates coherent directional thoughts" we mean intentionally furthering knowledge growth.

To build your knowledge intentionally, what "tools" are employed?

2. writing
3. walking
4. a mentor

Everything else only marginally contributes.

Will Simpson
“Read Poetry, Listen to Good Music, and Get Exercise”
kestrelcreek.com