Research is fun when I care

Realisation a couple of days ago about just how dogged I am when I’m researching something that interests me. I saw it last year when gathering information about a new camera1 and it’s been present the last few weeks as well as I’ve adjusted to having some Friday’s off work as annual leave.

I had started to think my notetaking was not as good as it could be2 only to have a client sit down in front of me with a Remarkable 2 tablet. I was aware fit-for-purpose writing tablets existed as my daughter and sister have one. The person I sat opposite was highly adept at using their tablet and it got the brain ticking (yeah, so what if I created a desire for new tech based on a tenuous link?). In the two weeks since I’ve:

  • rethought my note taking in light of Zettelkasten and a simplification of notes
  • researched quite a few tablets
    • Remarkable 2 - too dark without backlight (tried my sister’s), and doesn’t take notes on epubs in a useful manner.
    • Supernote Nomad (aka. A6X2) - better at taking notes, but writing size too small at A6. I tried handwriting notes for a day on the same size paper and it wasn’t great for me.
    • Kobo Libra Colour and the larger Kobo Elipsa 2E - this was the point where I decided I needed an ebook reader first, note-taker second. Thumbs up for being outside of Amazon’s system. Glass screen not ideal.
    • Kindle Scribe - had been off the radar as what I heard at launch wasn’t great but it was an ecosystem I’m familiar with having owned both a Kindle Paperwhite and currently a Kindle Oasis. Wacom screen is a positive.
  • learned about EMR Pens and their applicability across multiple tablets.

In total easily 10-15 hours of time spent watching YouTube and reading. The end result is that today I took delivery of my new Kindle Scribe and so far I’m very happy with it. Even spent close to an hour writing a long, exploratory journal entry. I can load the books I want3, take handwritten notes fast in situ, and spit those out as literature notes into my Digital garden.

The great note clean-up

How far down the rabbit hole do I want to go? Sam Matla’s video on the hidden procrastination in note-taking apps got me thinking4. A lot of the past two weeks (past 15 years) has been juggling digital notes around. I’m simplifying once again, and it feels like work but isn’t. I started to organise some notes this morning and felt the weight of having to review everything to get it consistent with my current thinking. Let’s assume 1,000 notes. Sure it’s work, but the use is marginal. Not only do I have to fix up what’s there, I still have new sources coming in.

Spending time moving Personal knowledge management notes from format to format is a wasteful as Niklas Luhrmann rewriting his whole Zettelkasten simply because he found a new favourite pen.

So, I’m not going to refactor my existing main notes. Right now they are in 3-4 different places. I had planned to review each before moving to a “final” destination. As soon as this is posted I’m going to stuff them all into the same folder. I do have an improved workflow which is resulting in better quality literature notes coming into the system. I will adapt existing notes on sources to this format. Why? Because the original notes are so bad as to be useless, I need to revisit the material anyway and with some templating, it’s only a few seconds of time.

Pulling notes from my site

David, you just said you weren’t going to muck around with this stuff! I did, but there is a cognitive dissonance between the notes in my private system vs what I’ve shared here. It’s grating on my. There has been too much over-sharing going on. The Quantum Garden should be about sharing what I’ve learned, the insights I’ve had, the processes I’ve developed and can share. It’s not about my definition of Microsoft Word or the site I used to pick parts for my new computer. By all means blog, and share what I write as articles, but not all that I type.

Some content is going to go. I have always been upfront about this site having transitive content5.

Footnotes

  1. I finally settled on a Canon R50

  2. Reflections on my note taking, 18 May 2024

  3. I can actually load all of them. 600+ books in epub format total just 2.5GB and I have 11GB free on the reader.

  4. Matla (2023) — Stop Procrastinating with Note-Taking Apps Like Obsidian, Roam, Logseq

  5. Nothing is Sacred