Friday, February 3, 2017

Read Today

I read about Gaussian processes today on Wired: "deep neural networks" and "Gaussian processes". The following quote caught my attention: "Gaussian processes are a good way of identifying uncertainty. 'Knowing that you don’t know is a very good thing,' says Chris Williams, a University of Edinburgh AI researcher who co-wrote the definitive book on Gaussian processes and machine learning. 'Making a confident error is the worst thing you can do.'"

This is obviously also very important for note-taking. Any relevance to recent political developments is, of course, purely accidental.

Back Links

Back links are a standard Wiki Technology. A list of back links is the same as the list of all pages that refer to the page you are viewing. This makes the navigation in the Wiki much easier. See here.

There are quite a few "wiki" apps that do not have this capability.[1]


1. See previous post (plus comments).

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Bear

Bear is a relatively new application. It seems to be very popular.

I have fooled around with the desktop application, but I have no real need for the iPhone and iPad apps at this time. This might be the reason why I find it less than compelling.

It has a clean interface, and I like it. Whether it is "beautiful," as they claim, I do not know. To me, it looks like many other note-taking apps on the Mac.

They claim: "Link notes to each other to build a body of work. Use hashtags to organize for the way you think. All notes are stored in portable plain text. Yes, it allows you to link notes--very much the way that nvAlt allows you to do it: You enclose words in double brackets, and if those words correspond to a note title, it links to the note. This looks like a wiki-link, but it has only some of the characteristics of a wiki-link. Chhange the title of the note and the link is broken. No back links either.

Bear supports its own version of Markdown and has a "Markdown compatibility" mode. It handles pictures very well, and it also exports to PDF and Word, and it has many other interesting and useful functions. It is a good applications. I recommend it, but I myself would have liked a stronger linking capability.

I would very much like to see something like "ConnectedText for Windows," and I had some hopes "Bear" might be it. But it isn't. To be sure, this is a very esoteric expectation, but I cannot help myself.

If you would like to see a more thorough review of Bear, see here.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

20,000 Notes in Evernote

It appears that Evernote can handle 20,000 notes with relative ease. That is good to know, even if I don't use Evernote extensively. I am very worried about putting that much trust into an online system that is under someone else's control.

Still, it is interesting that it can be used as a heavy-duty note-taking system.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Searle on Writing

Writing "has enormous meta-cognitive implications. The power is this: That you cannot only think in ways that you could not possibly think if you did not have the written word, but you can now think about the thinking that you do with the written word. There is danger in this, and the danger is that the enormous expressive and self-referential capacities of the written word, that is, the capacities to keep referring to referring to referring, will reach a point where you lose contact with the real world." (Interview)

I'd prefer to aay "can reach" a point where you lose contact with reality. But that does not indicate deep disagreement.

Monday, January 9, 2017

OneNote Links

OneNote is another application I don't use much. In fact, I have never really used the latest Windows version. But my last post motivated me to try and see what happens when I rename the target of wiki links in this application. Anyone who really uses OneNote probably knows the answer: The referring link does not get changed when you rename the target, but the link does not break (as it does in TiddlyWiki. So [[xyz]] continues to link to "xyz" even when it is called "abc". I suppose that is better than TiddlyWiki, but I think it would be better still if "[[xyz]]" became "[[abc]]".

I would find the behavior disconcerting in the long run. But that may just be a sign of my limitations.

A TiddlyWiki Limitation

When you talk about a personal wiki in any context, it does not take long for someone to mention "TiddlyWiki" as one of the best and most useful implementations of this concept. I have never had any serious reason to doubt such claims, even though I personally never took to any kind of TiddlyWiki because they seemed to "busy" to me. That's very subjective, I know. I was also worried by the fact that TiddlyWikis usually consist of just one file that needs to be opened in a browser. I am told that this does not present a big problem, as even large files can be navigated quickly, but it was a worry.

In any case, neither one of these would have been the biggest worry. I found out today that a TiddlyWiki does not keep track of all the tiddlers that refer to a renamed tiddler. Renaming a tiddler breaks all the links.[1] But, one of the most important things of any wiki-like application for me is just this: the application keeps track of everything that links to a particular topic or entry, and I do not have to worry at all about what happens when I rename it. This seems to me an essential part of any "wiki." I am glad, therefore, that I never seriously tried to make TiddlyWiki work for me. I also think that anyone thinking about adopting TiddlyWiki should seriously think about this. Can you imagine what happens in a wiki with more than 10,000 entries, if you have to keep track of such changes.[2]



1. https://github.com/Jermolene/TiddlyWiki5/issues/196, for instance.
2. Nor does this seem to be a superficial and easily fixed problem. I suppose it will eventually be solved ... but as far as I can tell, it hasn't so far.