[EE]: How do you organize your 'notes'

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[EE]: How do you organize your 'notes'

Neil Cherry-3
The 'hiring firmware people' thread got me to thinking about asking this
question:

How do you organize your notes so you can find them later for reference?

At the moment I have about 7 years worth of notes with code and links and
other references kept inside Emacs and org-mode (it's text base so I can
look at it with any editor). I use a lot of features such as links (URLs
and local file links and same file links), block mode (usually executable
code fragments) and notebooks pointing to notebooks pointing to notebooks.
Problem is that I'm beginning to find that I can't recall some detail that
would lead me back to the specific notes. Lots of my projects have odd
names or worse geek-code (letters and numbers - not as bad as UUIDs).

I have attempted to use MS notes but find it annoying and limited (no
lisp ;-) ). So I tend to take my org notes and print them out to a nice
format MS Notes can use and stored them there. But Note's search is worse
than my gigs of org files. I do have Unix tools on Windows and I have been
using grep -rn . -e 'whatever' which helps but as the data grows the time
it takes is getting worse.

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Re: [EE]: How do you organize your 'notes'

James Cameron-2
I've been using emacs in text mode for a few decades.  A single file
for work and play.  New stuff is put at the top.  I've macros for
inserting the date and time.  I link out to the filesystem for code
greater than a line or two.

My current file was started 2009-11-03 when I joined OLPC, and is
112597 lines as of today.  That's about 30 lines a day.

Whenever I've struggled to find something, when I do find it I add the
keywords that I had expected to find it with.  This tunes my search
practice to compensate for normal memory loss and reassociations.
Failed searches are inserted at top of the file; they are an activity
after all.

The file is not under change control, but there are multiple backups.

I'd call it a journal, or an engineering notebook.

Some projects have their own file, which ceases to be maintained once
the project becomes idle.  Usually no more than a few hundred lines
each, and about 132 of them on my system today.

I've keyboard macros that open selected string as a URL, or as a file
in a new buffer.

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Re: [EE]: How do you organize your 'notes'

Ryan O'Connor
In reply to this post by Neil Cherry-3
I saw Russell's when I visited him, and in the interest of improving his
security, I'll share it here (you're welcome, Rus). He has tons of nested
folders where he downloads everything from PDFs to web pages with important
research and images of circuit diagrams. They are all filed in a hierarchy
under project names, research topic, or year, whichever is most relevant to
the collection. He then uses shell commands to quickly browse through the
folders of files and something like irfanview to popup images to show
people. Years of practice has made him quite efficient at this, and his
monitors are "bloody huge" in physical size which helps with all the text.
Additionally, he supplements this with nested bookmark folders for active
research and links he wishes to keep live (Rus, feel free to clarify this
distinction). Am I close?

As for me, I just remember everything by keywords that I later type back
into google (yes, for the last 10 or so years of information, our brains
are awesome). It's surprisingly worked for me, except for in private
intranets at work where I have to use browser bookmarks.

On Wed, 18 Nov 2020 at 12:10, Neil Cherry <[hidden email]> wrote:

> The 'hiring firmware people' thread got me to thinking about asking this
> question:
>
> How do you organize your notes so you can find them later for reference?
>
> At the moment I have about 7 years worth of notes with code and links and
> other references kept inside Emacs and org-mode (it's text base so I can
> look at it with any editor). I use a lot of features such as links (URLs
> and local file links and same file links), block mode (usually executable
> code fragments) and notebooks pointing to notebooks pointing to notebooks.
> Problem is that I'm beginning to find that I can't recall some detail that
> would lead me back to the specific notes. Lots of my projects have odd
> names or worse geek-code (letters and numbers - not as bad as UUIDs).
>
> I have attempted to use MS notes but find it annoying and limited (no
> lisp ;-) ). So I tend to take my org notes and print them out to a nice
> format MS Notes can use and stored them there. But Note's search is worse
> than my gigs of org files. I do have Unix tools on Windows and I have been
> using grep -rn . -e 'whatever' which helps but as the data grows the time
> it takes is getting worse.
>
> --
> Linux Home Automation         Neil Cherry       [hidden email]
> http://www.linuxha.com/                         Main site
> http://linuxha.blogspot.com/                    My HA Blog
> Author of:      Linux Smart Homes For Dummies
> --
> http://www.piclist.com/techref/piclist PIC/SX FAQ & list archive
> View/change your membership options at
> http://mailman.mit.edu/mailman/listinfo/piclist
>
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Re: [EE]: How do you organize your 'notes'

Neil Cherry-3
In reply to this post by James Cameron-2
On 11/17/20 6:47 PM, James Cameron wrote:

> I've been using emacs in text mode for a few decades.  A single file
> for work and play.  New stuff is put at the top.  I've macros for
> inserting the date and time.  I link out to the filesystem for code
> greater than a line or two.
>
> My current file was started 2009-11-03 when I joined OLPC, and is
> 112597 lines as of today.  That's about 30 lines a day.
>
> Whenever I've struggled to find something, when I do find it I add the
> keywords that I had expected to find it with.  This tunes my search
> practice to compensate for normal memory loss and reassociations.
> Failed searches are inserted at top of the file; they are an activity
> after all.
>
> The file is not under change control, but there are multiple backups.
>
> I'd call it a journal, or an engineering notebook.
>
> Some projects have their own file, which ceases to be maintained once
> the project becomes idle.  Usually no more than a few hundred lines
> each, and about 132 of them on my system today.
>
> I've keyboard macros that open selected string as a URL, or as a file
> in a new buffer.
>

Thanks

Look into org-mode, it has all the above and quite a bit more. But be careful
it's a rabbit hole.

I can't quite ignore the projects, they come back again and again. They're the
thing I most need to find. I have projects dating back to 2016 at this point
and they're consuming 88M of text.

My home machine is a bit better in that I have the notebooks a bit more organized.
I can also convert them to HTML and post them to my web pages. I can use google to
search those (no proprietary information there). I can't do that with my work notes.

Right now the notes system works well but I am failing at organizing them. I may
need to do better with keywords though a lot of my work covers multiple keywords.
I also have all my notebooks linked at a main notebook so I can find them. But it
is the specific information inside that's the difficult part to find now.

Mine isn't under change control yet either (I won't go into why, grumble grumble
grumble).

--
Linux Home Automation         Neil Cherry       [hidden email]
http://www.linuxha.com/                         Main site
http://linuxha.blogspot.com/                    My HA Blog
Author of:     Linux Smart Homes For Dummies
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Re: [EE]: How do you organize your 'notes'

Joe42
Hi Neil. Long time lurker etc...

On Wed, Nov 18, 2020 at 9:07 AM Neil Cherry <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Look into org-mode, it has all the above and quite a bit more. But be
> careful
> it's a rabbit hole.
>  . . .
> Right now the notes system works well but I am failing at organizing them.
> I may
> need to do better with keywords though a lot of my work covers multiple
> keywords.
> I also have all my notebooks linked at a main notebook so I can find them.
> But it
> is the specific information inside that's the difficult part to find now.
>
> I have customer service requests in 10,039 HTML files on my employer's
private network, extracted from Remedy and ClearQuest, that we search using
Omega. It's a search engine based on Xapian (xapian.org), running on Ubuntu
Linux, and it does a good job of locating stuff in that huge pile. I have a
Python script that checks for changes every three hours and creates new
HTML pages as needed. You could probably set up something similar by
exporting your org files to html.

I use org-mode for my day-to-day journal; I should take my own advice and
put those files into Omega.
/Joe
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