Zettelkasten Forum


What are you working on? January 12, 2023

I'm curious. Indeed, others here are too, and lurkers might decloak if the interest builds.

I'll share some behind the scenes with you. The notes on forgetting started as one note then I saw that they were about different aspects of forgetting. I had critiqued @ctietze's note and suggested explosion, so I eat my own dog food, as we say colloquially.

This morning a note in my review cycle stimulated the creation of a hub to bring the ideas about 'Prompts' together in a bumper car fashion. Ideas around creating prompts and their use have cropped up in recent readings, and the note that kicked me in the butt was dated December 19, 2020. It seemed like I couldn't not make a hub. The 'Prompts' hub currently organizes 17 notes on the topic.

What I'm Working On

12 New Zettel in the Last 7 Days.

Titles and one-sentence summary/meaning of atomic zettel. These are the ideas I'm currently wrestling with. They represent a 7-day window of new notes.

This is generated with nothing held back. I would love to talk to you about anything on this list. If this interests you, please start a thread here, DM me.

Will Simpson
The quality of our thinking is directly proportional to the quality of our reading. To think better, we must read better. - Rohan
kestrelcreek.com

Comments

  • Thanks @Will for keeping up this series of posts! I usually check it out, but have not been contributing a lot, mostly because due to external circumstances my ZK process was in very low gear during the second half of 2022: only 7 new Zettel between September and December 2022.

    Last week I started working systematically again, every morning about an hour. Result: 18 new Zettel (of course mostly backlog of fleeting notes on paper or other digital inboxes).

    Other backlogs still to be processed: about 20 pages of handwritten notes on two books I'm reading. About 250 new academic papers to be sorted and sifted, not to be all read surely, but some to be annotated into the ZK as reading notes. Then to be processed into atomic notes (not my strong point). I will process this backlog very slowly and systematically in the coming months.

    For next week, I intend to make a big structure note containing all relevant concepts in my undergraduate course. The intended end product is a kind of syllabus and/or script for course videos. I have hubs or structure notes for most of the concepts, but they are scattered all over the ZK. Need to bring them together, need to make sure I get them all in one place. Need to also create literature lists for every concept, i.e., Zettel containing links to the source PDFs of books or papers or to Zettel with reading notes.

    Funny you should mention Luhmann's reference to producing garbage. I was just now reading "Lesson lernen" ("Learning how to read") that contains the phrase you made the note on. I think the garbage is not really a problem. The value of the ZK is in the links, not so much in the note contents.

  • I've been writing a blog on our company intranet to encourage young engineers to educate themselves about various topics in which they are not trained formally at university. I'll tell you a bit about the blog below, but what is interesting to me is that I have used 10+ zettels from my "normal" ZK in preparing each of these posts, despite the fact that I have not written a single zettel with this blog in mind.

    I've also had fun with the process, creating a separate zettel for each post and then either linking to or bringing in portions of other zettels as I am writing the post. This is a gross violation of the atomic principle, I know. As each post is finalized, I transfer it to Pages (or PDF) and then delete the post zettel. So, the only point to creating that zettel was being able to write the post in The Archive. That's the first time I've used this approach; I usually transfer the various zettels to Scrivener for the composition process, but it worked fine just staying in The Archive.

    As a side bit of information, each post has taken 5 to 10 hours to "write".

    Here are the titles of the posts so far:

    1. It's what you learn after you know it all, that counts. This was an introductory post with a funny/embarrassing story to get people's attention and an encouragement to continue in a life-long learning process.
    2. Learning with humility, thoughtfulness, and passion. This explained my take on the "why" and "how" of learning for engineers, who often need to strengthen various "soft" skills.
    3. Developing work relationships and becoming a team player - essentially a plea to move from being independent to being inter-dependent in our relationships.
    4. How does a consulting company work (and why should I care)? This post I hope will enlighten young engineers with information that is far from their minds but essential to their maturing as an engineer.

    Future posts include:

    1. How to progress in your career.
    2. Important communication skills.
    3. Values, goals and personal qualities.
    4. Developing excellence in technical areas. This one will come at the end. I don't want it near the beginning, creating an impression that it is somehow more important than the rest of the learning areas.

    There may be others; not sure at the moment.

  • Another note of thanks! I'm a long-time lurker, "decloaking" as you put it : )

    Over the holidays I scrapped my old zettelkasten and moved on to my 3rd iteration of slipbox. I've been slowly building up literary notes on probabilistic circuits and Fiona McPherson's /Effective Notetaking/. I have just started getting around to writing some permanent notes (5), which is exciting!

    I'm about to start attending a conference, so if anyone has pointers to not get overwhelmed with the usual conference business and also try adding thoughts to your zettelkasten, please let me know.

  • @stites said:
    Another note of thanks! I'm a long-time lurker, "decloaking" as you put it : )

    Welcome!!

    I'm about to start attending a conference, so if anyone has pointers to not get overwhelmed with the usual conference business and also try adding thoughts to your zettelkasten, please let me know.

    Take notes ("fleeting" or "temporary", if you like to call them that) and then process into zettels (and include in your ZK) later. I take notes using the "Cornell Notes" format / page layout, which allows extra marginal and bottom of the page scribblings to draw attention to important ideas, for later processing.

  • @erikh said:
    Last week I started working systematically again, every morning about an hour. Result: 18 new Zettel (of course mostly backlog of fleeting notes on paper or other digital inboxes).

    Congratulations. This is quite a swing from "between September and December 2022."
    Thanks for sharing.

    Funny you should mention Luhmann's reference to producing garbage. I was just now reading "Lesson lernen" ("Learning how to read") that contains the phrase you made the note on. I think the garbage is not really a problem. The value of the ZK is in the links, not so much in the note contents.

    The note you are referring to was sparked by @Nick's forum post on the very same "Learning how to read" by Luhmann; I linked it to a note with Ira Glass' famous quote about beginners overcoming having more taste than time invested in developed skills. It doesn't refer to the note but to the notetaker and how their/my 'garbology' changes/changed as they/I gain skills.

    Will Simpson
    The quality of our thinking is directly proportional to the quality of our reading. To think better, we must read better. - Rohan
    kestrelcreek.com

  • @GeoEng51 said:
    I've been writing a blog on our company intranet to encourage young engineers to educate themselves about various topics in which they are not trained formally at university.

    This sounds fun and an opportunity to inspire young engineers. We all can benefit from this kind of study of topics we are not trained in formally.

    I've also had fun with the process, creating a separate zettel for each post and linking to or bringing in portions of other zettels as I write the post. This is a gross violation of the atomic principle, I know. As each post is finalized, I transfer it to Pages (or PDF) and then delete the post zettel. So, the only point to creating that zettel was being able to write the post in The Archive. That's the first time I've used this approach; I usually transfer the various zettels to Scrivener for the composition process, but it worked fine just staying in The Archive.

    I, too, love The Archive's editor. I've become comfortable with it, where I create writing as a note and then copy and delete it. I wish The Archive's editor would allow the import of the text without making a note. You can't even open a markdown file in The Archive if you start from the file and select "Open in ..." You get the error message "The Archive cannot open files in the “md” format." This is one of the reasons I keep IA Writer around.

    Will Simpson
    The quality of our thinking is directly proportional to the quality of our reading. To think better, we must read better. - Rohan
    kestrelcreek.com

  • @stites said:
    Another note of thanks! I'm a long-time lurker, "decloaking" as you put it : )

    Welcome to the forums.

    Over the holidays I scrapped my old zettelkasten and moved on to my 3rd iteration of slipbox. I've been slowly building up literary notes on probabilistic circuits and Fiona McPherson's /Effective Notetaking/. I have just started getting around to writing some permanent notes (5), which is exciting!

    I got many ideas from McPherson's book, the biggest being just how keystone reading as a skill is. We'd be interested in hearing what you thought were the key points.

    Here is a link to a discussion of the book and its ideas on the forum; you've probably seen it, but others might not have.
    Effective Notetaking by Fiona McPherson — Zettelkasten Forum

    Will Simpson
    The quality of our thinking is directly proportional to the quality of our reading. To think better, we must read better. - Rohan
    kestrelcreek.com

  • edited January 15

    I have been making progress on a fully asynchronous transceiver program for the REYAX RYLR998 900MHz LoRa module for the 33cm band. No threads allowed. The instructions are for connection to a Raspberry Pi computer, but I may adapt the code, which is morphing into an IRC-like chat program for off the grid texting, to a Pico or some other microcontroller. As for notes, as I try various python libraries and techniques, I find it relatively easy to track. I wonder why some people report difficulty using a ZK for technical programming projects. I have little problem with this, perhaps because my programming is exploratory.

    Here is the link:
    https://github.com/flengyel/RYLR998-LoRa

    Post edited by ZettelDistraction on

    Erdős #2. ZK software components. “If you’re thinking without writing, you only think you’re thinking.” -- Leslie Lamport. Replies sometimes delayed since life is short.

  • @GeoEng51 said

    This is a gross violation of the atomic principle

    Looks like an interesting collection of blogposts. These posts may be the sources for someone else's atomic notes. Apart perhaps from a bit on your no.3 and no.6, universities indeed do no train people for these skills.

    I often have the same "problem" as you: it is very difficult for me to write atomic notes, at least from the start. I do not write fully rounded papers or post in the ZK, but I'm most comfortable writing non-atomic notes where the connections become clear inside the note. Of course, these later need to be converted into atomic notes, a time-consuming process that all too often gets backlogged. But this "simmering" also has the benefit of consolidating connections and distinguishing important from non-important stuff. I still can't decide whether this is a feature or a bug in my system.

    @stites Welcome!
    As to conferences, my experience is that a good conference can be very densely packed with new pieces of information and new connections. Personally, I try to write everything down (as fleeting notes) during the sessions, or, when talking with someone, immediately afterwards (I mean the next minute).

    Also I got into the habit of taking time off during the conference (so, not attend all the sessions), specifically to process the fleeting notes into more coherent notes. This all happens outside the ZK. Even these more coherent notes will need processing to get into the ZK.

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