Setting up Type as a quick capture interface for my TaskPaper journal


What the hell happened to messaging apps?

  • I remember when we had Adium and you could connect almost all of your chat services to one client.

    • Some features were missing, but the basic texting part usually worked.

  • We had a way to set our status to online, away, or offline. There was no need for Do Not Disturb or notification management since you just went offline and nobody could reach you.

    • Actually, you can still use Slack like this.

    • Some services even queued up your messages, so the next time you went online, new messages awaited you.

    • I could even set the currently played music as my status.

  • Almost all messaging app had some form of proper native Mac app.

    • Remember that Skype for Mac was actually a pretty decent Mac app with AppleScript support.

      • These days, it’s just an Electron app, although nobody uses Skype anymore…

    • My friends used MSN Messenger too, which was kind of a crappy client, but at least you could use it through Adium.

  • These days, I have to use Cardhop to have proper messaging integration in my contact list to have a central place to jump into the different clients.

  • Almost all clients are stupid Electron apps on the desktop.

    • Mobile clients are better: at least some of the biggest players have proper native apps on iOS.

    • Facebook Messenger for Mac is a React Native app, which is a bit better than Electron.

  • I can’t go offline anymore; instead, I have to manage my notifications and schedule them using Focus modes.

  • I kinda miss old IM apps.


Follow-up on Liked “MailMate”:

I just bought MailMate a couple of minutes ago. It turns out I love to use plain-text email for writing and reading. It’s just way easier to edit my emails in MacVim than to fuck around with the Mail.app compose window.

The Things integration is also pretty cool. I can get the complete plain-text email in the to-do note, which is way more excellent than the jumbled text-fest I had previously parsed by the Things mail service forwarded from Mail.

I’m still developing my workflow around the rule-based smart mailboxes, which are pretty powerful.

I’ll write more about this app in the future.

Messing with Play and YouTube subscriptions

  • Play 2.0 just got released with a new channels feature.

    • It’s behind a subscription, but you can try it for seven days.

  • I started using Play as a replacement for YouTube’s Watch Later list (and for other sites too, like Vimeo).

    • YouTube is an attention magnet, and I want to avoid it when possible.

    • Using the Watch Later feature makes this more hard.

    • Play keeps me out of the YouTube app, mostly…

  • I also follow YouTube channels using RSS from Reeder instead of the YouTube app.

    • This way, I have an integrated workflow of browsing videos, blog posts, Mastodon posts, etc.

    • I’m also trying to give minimal data to Google through YouTube other than my watch history.

      • I have watch history turned off, but I’m sure Google still tracks it.

    • Because of this workflow, it seems redundant to use Play to subscribe to the same list of YouTube channels.

  • I added my list of channels to Play anyway to test the Channels feature.

    • It was a bit annoying since Play has no Shortcuts integration for managing channels or OPML import.

  • I don’t have a conclusion on the usefulness of this feature for me yet, but I’ll test it in the following week, and we will see if I keep the subscription or not.


Giving up the IndieWeb markup on bookmarks for now

  • I’m giving up the IndieWeb markup with bookmarks, since they kinda hard to get right.

  • All I want is a title and a blockquote, but with the IndieWeb markup I have to have a post content just to markup the link properly.

  • So, instead, I just add the “Bookmarked”, “Read”, “Liked”, etc. verbs to the title of the post and be done with it.

  • If someone has a better idea, let me know.

Publish bookmarks from DEVONthink

  • I’m messing with my bookmarks today.

  • I keep a lot of cool articles in DEVONthink as my central repository, but I also want to share some of these links here.

  • I’m testing a simple workflow for this using a DEVONthink smart group, which shows me all my bookmarks from my Decoding database that aren’t published yet.

  • This workflow desperately needs automation, but I want to start as simple as possible and see how it works in practice.

  • Here’s a demo video.

I’m just testing if I can ping another post from MarsEdit using Webmentions.

This is the not-so-poor men’s version of backlinks.

Update: looks like it worked!

Screenshot 2023 11 23 at 09 10 52

Adding Safari selection to my “Respond on Decoding” shortcut

  • It is actually occured to me that I can get the current Safari selection in Shortcuts, convert it to Markdown from Rich Text, then Markdown to HTML, then I end up with a blockquote.

    • You need Drafts for the Markdown to HTML action.

  • Since all my respond type posts are created using one shortcut which decorates them with microformats, this makes me able to select text, and append it to the post.

  • On the long run, this will give me context on why I saved something to my bookmarks.

  • Here’s a demo video in action.


Interesting blogs

  • I think I’m going to start a new post series called interesting blogs.

  • I just want to save sites that I find on the web into a nice journal format.

  • It doesn’t necessary mean that I’ll subscribe to them using RSS, but can be a cool new tag in my bookmarks.


Should I publish longer articles as one big post, or break them up into 2-3 pieces?

Advanced outline post format

  • I created a more advanced outline post format for my Bike based posts.

  • New entries will use a new bike-outline Stimulius controller which I originally created for my Zettelkasten, so I can have basic outline capabilities for Markdown lists.

  • It gets the post content and adds toggles to each outline row, so I can open and close them.

  • It also uses block IDs as row links, so each outline row can be linked independently.

    • I don’t use Bike outline IDs, but generate them on-the-fly using checksums instead.

    • This will change as I update the content, but it’s fine.


We’re getting this little fella in the weekend.

I’m not sure what happened but I rarely listen to any podcast these days.

Sometimes I pick up an episode of something GTD or productivity-related when I’m doing chores around the house, but I stopped listening to the “6 hours-long episode of a couple of guys talking about Apple” style podcasts (except Mac Power Users).

Apple and journaling

Jason has concerns about the format of Apple Journal:

Like Apple Notes, the Journal app works without the Files app. Instead of your journal entries being discreet text files or similar that can be managed in the file system, they’re built into the app itself. It might work, like Apple Notes, using a SQLite database within the Journal app container.

I’m also moving into using more open formats for journaling, although I think there is a slight difference between a journal and a diary.

  • Keeping a journal in general is a mindfulness practice for keeping track of what I’m doing throughout the day.
  • Keeping a diary is more personal on the other hand. It helps us to write about our feelings and nice or bad things that happened to us.
    • This is the reason why I like to have the On This Day notification from Everlog in the morning.

Both of these practices provide a clearer picture, bringing us closer to the state of the past than just a simple memory.

Our memories give a false image because we can only remember the good things. This distorts the past and overvalues things that were not as good as we remember.

We can’t trust our memories, but we can trust a diary/journal, since it acts as a bookmark to the past, showing what happened in our lives. It functions as a backward tickler file, bringing things from the past to us. This retrieved information helps us to better understand ourselves in the future. We can see the difference between the past and our current state clearly, which can provide a new perspective on how we handle a current situation.

In essence: both of these practices allow us to compare our present self with our past one and draw conclusions.

So back to Apple Journal…

The only thing I see myself using Apple Journal for is the missing “add a description to multiple photos” app for now.

Sometimes I want to have a short description of an event that is stored in Photos, and since both apps are from Apple, hopefully, the integration will be better than duplicating my photos into yet another app as attachments.

Otherwise, I don’t see myself migrating away from Everlog in the foreseeable future.


The first Apple event I haven’t watched live in 16 years was today’s one because you know… we were sleeping in Europe.


  • I don’t really care about the outline display now, because I exported it into Bike.

  • I can collapse, expand, and format it anyway I want.

  • Also, adding new rows/zettels is way easier this way, so I’ll create an export shortcut to Markdown and leave it like that for now.

  • Follow-up on 09:58.

  • Also, what if I migrate my outlining workflow to Bike and generate the outline from that file?

    • It is already an HTML structure and the workflow of linking zettels and inserting them into the outline is easier on my Mac than the iPad, because it has a bigger display.

  • This would mean that the outline can link to the actual file in The Archive locally, which can be replaced with a [[wikilink]] when generating the outline from the Bike HTML.

    • I can even do this using Shortcuts, there is no need for Ruby scripting.

  • Today’s project is to write a script which generates the Zettelkasten Outline page automatically, since I have zettel IDs present with the structure in note slugs.

  • I also want to make everything collapsed under level 3.


Follow-up on “Publish daily notes to my Zettelkasten from Bike”

  • Previously

  • I created a shortcut which can export the current Bike selection to a new Markdown file in my Zettelkasten.

  • It doesn’t sync like my publish script does with WordPress, but it was easier to implement, since copy and paste between Drafts and Bike works pretty well.

    • The shortcut just cleans up the text and sets the title if it’s needed.

    • Otherwise it will create a headless zettel.

  • At the end it opens the note in The Archive app where I can edit it, or publish it using Git.

    • This shortcut actually uses the following apps.

      • Keyboard Maestro to copy and paste the text from Bike to Drafts.

      • Shortcuts to clean-up the Markdown output.

      • Then Drafts to create a new Markdown file in my Zettelkasten.

  • Here’s a demo video

    • In the video Archive complains about the “writing test”.

    • It’s not related to the shortcut.

Shortcut: Open Mastodon Posts on Micro.blog

My Micro.blog integration was broken since April. 😳

It’s a good thing that they have account logs. Otherwise, I wouldn’t figure out that my feed was too big.

I fixed the RSS feed, so new posts should be imported into my Micro.blog timeline. I also updated the sidebar to link to my Micro.blog/Mastodon profile.

I know it’s not Mastodon technically, but still easier to explain and understand than this:

You can follow me via Mastodon by searching for my profile (zsbenke@decoding.io) from your instance).

Maybe I should update the blog sidebar to link to my Micro.blog profile instead of explaining how to follow me on Mastodon.

Micro.blog would handle that too.

Publish daily notes to my Zettelkasten from Bike

  • I’m tinkering with the idea of using my Bike journal to publish to my Zettelkasten directly.

    • Blogging with Bike

    • I don’t use month based files anymore in Bike, I create a new outline for each day.

  • My Zettelkasten is a Jekyll based site, so I have to work with Markdown content.

  • In theory, I would use my publish script to manage the Zettelkasten daily notes in the same pipeline as my WordPress posts.

    • Publish from Bike to Decoding

    • Daily notes would be pre-filtered though.

      • I just export notes with the ZETTEL marker only.

      • I have to create a new Bike document for each entry before converting it to Markdown because I want to have separate notes for each entry, not just one big daily note.

  • I could use a daily Markdown file and keep that open in The Archive app, but I want to use Bike for this, because it is the best thinking and outliner tool.

    • Also I’m already writing my journal in Bike. I don’t want to have another app.

  • As an interim solution, I created a Keyboard Maestro macro which copies and pastes the current entry into Drafts (and also converts it to Markdown), where I can post it manually.