Thursday, November 15, 2018

Linking Textfiles with Backlinks

Here is a very simple AhK script that opens up or creates text files from their names in a file. It also inserts a back link to the file from which it is created.

^+o:: ;link text files in D:\Texts

SetWorkingDir, D:\Texts

WinGetTitle, Title, A
StringReplace, Title, Title, - Notepad, , All

clpboard =
Send, ^c
thefilename := clipboard

IfExist, %thefilename%
run %thefilename%
IfNotExist, %thefilename%
FileAppend, %thefilename%, %thefilename%
run %thefilename%
sleep, 500
Send {End}`r`n%Title%{Up}

Just select the entire file name, like "start.txt" or "start.rtf", and press ^+o.

You can, of course change the hotkey as well as the directory. It should also work with other file types, as long as they are registered in Windows. The script is not a wiki, of course, but its linking behavior comes close. If you use a rtf files, you have other markup as well. In fact, it is a very rudimentary wysiwyg wiki.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Sign of the Times?

TrunkNotes is being discontinued, as I just found out. The author of the program openly states his reasons in his blog post:
Trunk Notes has been in development since 2009 and unfortunately it has come time to say goodbye. Revenue from Trunk Notes in the past couple of years has been very low. The interest in personal wikis, especially when lacking a companion web or desktop app, just isn’t high enough to generate the sales needed for further development. To give an idea of monthly income from Trunk Notes - it is equivalent to about one hour worked on projects for clients. The lack of competitor personal wikis on the App Store is a very clear indication that not many people are looking for one.
I am sorry that he could not make a go of it. I am even more sorry because he seems to be right. The interest in personal wikis, while never really as enthusiastic as I would have wished, definitely has diminished over the last few years. "[N]ot many people are looking for one."

In my view, many people unfortunately don't know what they are missing. In any case, I continue to find personal wikis—and especially ConnectedText—most useful, but I obviously am in a fairly small minority—or so it seems. Too bad! I just hope that ConnectedText will continue to work for a long time.

Recently, in the spirit of "future-proofing," I have been playing around with personal wikis based on text files. LoneWiki is the winner in this department. It takes 15,000 entries exported from ConnectedText without the slightest problems, and while it is missing many of the functions of ConnectedText, it has enough of them to make me happy. To be sure, I am not using it as a replacement as of now, but it is good to know that it will be there, should it ever become necessary.

Saturday, September 15, 2018


wik, a wiki in a browser.

No further comment!

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Popper on Writing and Objective Knowledge

Sir Karl Popper made a sharp distinction between subjective and objective knowledge. Subjective knowledge is, he thought, deficient. It is expressive of our concrete mental dispositions and expectations; it consists of concrete world 2 thought processes. Objective knowledge is far superior. But how do we get from subjective to objective knowledge?

Popper believed that objective knowledge comes about by writing ideas down:
Putting your ideas into words, or better, writing them down makes an important difference. For in this way they become criticisable, Before this, they were part of ourselves. We may have had doubts. But we could not criticize them in the way in which we criticize a linguistically formulated proposition or, better still, a written report. Thus there is at least one important sense of "knowledge"—the sense of "linguistically formulated theories submitted to criticism." It is what I call "knowledge in the objective sense". Scientific knowledge belongs to it. It is knowledge which is stored in our libraries rather than in our heads.[1]
Knowledge stored in libraries and in our notes is much more important than knowledge stored in our heads; it leads to the growth of knowledge in the objective sense of the word because it allows of and enables serious criticism. That is one of the reason why I consider it so important to take notes.

1. See Bryan Magee, Modern British Philosophy. Dialogues with A.J. Ayers, Stuart Hampshire, Alisdair MacIntyre, Alan Montefiore, David Pears, Karl Popper, Anthony Quinton, Gilbert Ryle, Ninian Smart, Peter Strawson, Geoffrey Warnock, Bernard Williams, Richard Wollheim. (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1971), p. 74.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

One Notecard at a Time

How I Wrote My Memoir One Notecard at a Time is an intersting account by Melissa Stephenson of how she wrotee Driven: A White-Knuckled Ride to Heartbreak and Back.

It's an interesting account, not a new approach. Still ...

Friday, June 22, 2018

Reading versus Writing

I noticed this claim today in Christian Tietze's blog:
Some software nudges you, sometimes even pushes you, towards system design decisions. Take Wikis as an example. Most of them have two different modes:
  • The reading mode.
  • The editing mode.
The reading mode is the default. But most of the time you should create, edit and re-edit the content. This default, this separation of reading and editing, is a small but significant barrier on producing content. You will behave differently. This is one reason I don’t like wikis for knowledge work. They are clumsy and work better for different purposes.
This is, unless I am very much mistaken, a subjective reaction not an objective observation. It isn't my experience, in any case.
  1. "The reading mode is the default." There may be some wikis that make reading mode the default. The personal wiki I chose, ConnectedText, let's you decide whether you want to always view topics in view mode. I did not turn on that option. But even if I had, hitting Alt-E for edit (or getting out of edit) is automatic. There is no barrier in my experience.
  2. {Wikis] "are clumsy." Not my experience either. On the contrary, I find the separation between topic names and topic identifiers that is a basic feature of The Archive much motre clumsy. It may be true that "to create links between notes" in an application like nvALT, "you need to define how to target a note first. One response is to use file names. If you want clickable links the full path to the note could be used. However this is a fragile solution. It breaks when file names change or the location of the file changes. A better answer is to use an unique ID for each file. The Archive uses a timestamp ID. These timestamp IDs are by definition unique" (from a review). In a real wiki, the program keeps track of name changes for you.

I do not want to knock The Archive: to each his or her own. I would find the opaque first layer a much larger problem.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

CintaNotes, One Last Time?

I recently downloaded a free version of CintaNotes, just because it appeals to me on so many levels. When I activated Simplenote synchronization, almost 11,000 notes appeared in it. And I can testify that it has absolutely no problem dealing with that many notes.

The notes must have come from previous nvAlt adventures with my ConnectedText exports. I thought I had deleted them, but I must not have. So they did show up in CintaNotes. However, the joy did not last long, as I managed to hose the database by trying to do massive changes to entries, using a keyboard macro program.

In any case, I would suggest that the author of the program look more deeply into SimpleNote synchronization for getting stuff into CintaNotes. The only reason someone like me cannot use it as a serious alternative is that I have many electronic notes that I cannot import into the program's database. (Nor will it be possioble to export them in a format usable in another program.)[1]

1. Export also may be a major problem with TiddlyWiki, but I was still not able to test it.