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 love Apple Shortcuts, but there is no other important Apple software on the Mac which is buggy as this one.

And don’t get me started on the constant sync conflicts.

  • 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.


The Handcrafted Artisanal Web – nadreck.me

I’m still a big believer in having expertise in something and sharing that with your peers.

The future is returning to an artisanal web, where you cultivate your niches and small communities, where maybe you don’t become a millionaire and a star, but you do feel a sense of belonging, and maybe make enough to get by.

But having enough money is what people forget to realize. You can get a nice online side business up and running relatively quickly if you have an interesting “product”. Making that a full-time job is yet another step, but you can still stay a niche without losing your soul.


Append-only storage and developing ideas

There are multiple ways to develop ideas. Sometimes the best one is where you can’t change the history of an idea. It’s there as breadcrumbs to go back in time and see how an idea was developed.

Other people use email as an append-only note-taking tool and storage medium. From How I use append-only log to store information:

Choose any email client you like and basically dump all your PDFs, notes, digitized papers, files into it as it arrives from various sources. Just write a meaningful subject that you can search for later. You can use labels or folders to organize, but mostly just send it to an email address of your choice and archive it. Usually, you will not even read it again after you have saved it.

The E-mail format itself is well understood and has many features. The max attachment size of most service providers is around 20 MB. It’s more than enough. Try to use plain text for just taking short notes and messages to yourself. If you want to dump more than 20mb of files, just archive it or split into many emails or upload it to cloud storage and copy and paste the link to email.

When you need the information. It’s there. Always.

No more fiddling with the file managers, renaming. It is saved as it is.

Even if you would like to edit, you can just forward the message again to yourself with the edit and delete the original one.

You can also use it to schedule mails and track future tasks, TV shows, anime, movies or Reminder to yourself in the future. If you are working on a piece of text for a long time, you can just keep it as a draft and keep working. It will be auto-saved.

I am a fan of the bullet journal method. Handwritten text is immutable. The same goes for emails. Once you send it, it becomes immutable.

I don’t know if other use emails to store all their digital content in emails like me. But it’s a pretty neat trick.

Here’s how Steve Jobs used email to write his Stanford commencement speech:

In January 2005, John Hennessy, the president of Stanford, asked Steve to give the commencement address to that spring’s graduating class. Steve agreed.

On and off for the next six months, Steve took stabs at writing his talk. He emailed stories and memories to himself. He asked friends, Apple colleagues, and the screenwriter Aaron Sorkin for their thoughts. In the end, however, he wrote the speech on his own. Even three days before the event, Steve was unsatisfied with his talk. He sent it to a friend, warning, “I’ll send it to you, but please don’t puke. I never do stuff like this.” He was still refining the speech the morning that he gave it. Uncharacteristically, Steve read from the lectern, rather than memorizing his text (as he did with Apple keynotes) or speaking extemporaneously from a few scrawled notes (as he did in nearly every other talk).

Steve was happy with the speech—he emailed himself a copy a few days after giving it—but he generally deflected the praise that he received for it. “I bought it on CommencementSpeeches.com,” he joked to one person. The commencement address has been viewed millions of times online and is included[…]

These use cases are similar to how I use email threads to develop ideas in the GTD capture phase, where I’m leaving notes for myself within an email thread. All I have to do is send a reply to my own address by replying to an email, so Apple Mail keeps the message in the same thread.

One of the benefits of using this method is that I can still see the email as part of the thread, but my notes will be kept private.

This is helpful for various purposes, such as making code review comments or jotting down ideas by replying to email notifications but changing the recipient to my own address, which acts a bit like the poor men’s version of HEY’s sticky notes

I also have another app where I keep journal entries called Everlog. I’m thinking about applying the same append-only storage idea there and never editing my Everlog entries after I added them. It is also an append-only app, where entries shouldn’t be changed afterward, only deleted. I can always add a follow-up to an entry but I should never change it, so I can see how something was developed over time.

This is why I like to use Drafts for capturing and drafting ideas. I can easily edit them while I’m working on the idea, but I shouldn’t change them too much after I share them with their destination app (except when I continue working on them).

Related posts

Zettelkasten Note


Avoiding Distractions in Modern Computing

Notes from Avoiding Distractions in Modern Computing:

Most of the upcoming generation will never experience “slow computing”.

Slow computing can be done in a “distraction” heavy environment like email. It all depends on how we set up our tools and what we let our computers do. I can still control a lot of aspects of macOS and iOS and I don’t feel them distractions, but simple tools.

It baffles me that people buy pricey phones and have no idea what these devices are capable of. All they do with them is browse TikTok and Instagram.

It is like a blank canvas with no outputs, just waiting for a command about what I would like to do next. At this point I might navigate to a blog directory and open a document with my text editor of choice: emacs. When done writing this post I will add it to git, my text versioning system. After this I do whatever I please with the text file. I might push it to my central blog repository where a static HTML file generates on a public area or I may pipe it to some other program. This is the Unix philosophy.

The terminal-based environment can feel like an island of peace. Not because apps are distracting but because it is a limited interface that is very easy to control.

Some people, like me, feel at home with a customized Unix prompt.