notebook-fetish

In the time of the cloud, paper notebooks

notebook-fetish

I love paper notebooks. I have several at a time: the reporters’ favorite Green Apple steno small enough to fit in your pocket, a pair of Moleskine plain cahier journals and OhYeah Moleskine knockoffs (see photo). When I’m in the bookstore, I never fail to stop by the notebooks section, often going there first. I go over the items one by one, the notebooks I checked just last week.

I panic when I don’t have one: notwithstanding the fact that my phone has Evernote and Simplenote, which are both connected to an online account and syncs to all my devices.

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New screencast on using a TiddlyWiki

I’ve recreated my earlier video guide on using a TiddlyWiki, a single-page wiki you can use for your notes and task lists. Instead of Wink, I used CamStudio to capture screen activities this time.

Wink is an easy to use free software to capture videos of your screen activities and it’s great for creating tutorials. My only problem with it is that it doesn’t offer an option to capture screen activities in video format (i.e. mpeg or avi) so that it can easily be uploaded in video sharing sites like YouTube, Metacafe, and Revver. Wink outputs the screen activities in .swf and .exe formats.

My previous screencasts– one is on how to turn any web template into a WordPress theme–are in .swf format and hosted in the Internet Archive. I’ve had complaints on its playback quality and how it can be slow at times so I decided to try hosting it other video services. These services, however, do not accept .swf files so I spent days trying one application after another to convert the files into .mpg or .avi formats to no avail.

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Using a TiddlyWiki: a video guide

I am a long-time user of TiddlyWikis and its various adaptations. Before a catastrophic accident involving the synchronization of various offline files wiped out my tasks list, I was an extensive user of GTDTiddlyWiki. After the accident, I moved to a server-side TiddlyWiki, alternating between Serversidewiki.com and ZiddlyWiki before finally settling with TiddlySpot.

I am also a long-time TiddlyWiki “evangelist.” Any chance I get to introduce TiddlyWiki, I’d show it off.

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FEAC2006: technical notes

Since last year, I have been actively moving files that I need to access anywhere online, in an experiment to “make the network my computer.” This served me well during the recent Free Expression in Asian Cyberspace conference in Manila.

The greatest benefit is that the files I needed for things I was working on was accessible whichever computer I was using. I host all my files with Box.net, the best online drive I’ve tried so far. Streamload is a close second and I use it for backup.

I used one of the newsroom’s laptops in the conference and it was a plain vanilla installation. In a few steps, however, I turned it’s Firefox into the browser that I use at home and at the office. When I used one of the laptops set up by the organizers at the conference hall, I was also able to turn it into my familiar Firefox installation (after they installed Firefox): with the same bookmarks and bookmarks toolbar. I did this using Foxmarks, a Firefox bookmarks synchronizer. Foxmarks synchronizes all your bookmarks into a central server, so you essentially have the same set of bookmarks and bookmarks toolbar for each browser that uses your account.

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Wiki on a K750i? A txt file will do

I’m a huge fan of TiddlyWiki, a standalone web page that you can edit through a browser for just about anything: to-do lists, notes or any other text data. I’m an extensive user of one of its derivatives: the Zope server-based ZiddlyWiki but before that, I used GTDTiddlyWiki, a version that incorporates a getting things done menu and is formatted for easy printing on index cards.

ZiddlyWiki fits my need for a server-side notes taking and archiving solution that is accessible anywhere. I host my ZiddlyWiki on a free Zope hosting account with Objectis. I needed a server-side solution because I wiped out a lot of notes trying to synchronize the GTDTiddlyWiki in my home PC and in my office PC last year.

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The network is my computer

Early this year I experimented with having all my essential work related data online. I wanted things I needed for my section, my copy desk job and columns centralized on free online accounts and accessible anywhere.

I wanted to be able to work on things anywhere – office, home or an Internet cafe – if I wanted or needed to. I used several free services in my attempt to make the Internet my computer. I am listing the services below in the hope that if you know of a better one, you’d leave a note so that I can transfer to it.

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Revisiting Serversidewiki.com

Early this morning I revisited my ServerSideWiki.com account for the first time in more than a month. I used my account again because the free host of my ZiddlyWiki, Freezope.org, was inaccessible this morning and my previous host‘s service has become intermittent. As I said in my previous posts on ZiddlyWiki and ServersideWiki, the free account of ServerSideWiki is already sufficient for most users, if they use it merely to keep notes. I group my notes into: blog, wordpress, journalism, personal and into my different tasks in the newsroom-online, column and copy desk. These still fit into the 10-page limit of the ServerSideWiki free account. Unless anyone knows of a more stable free Zope account provider, I’ll just stick with my free ServerSideWiki account for now.

Another online to-do list

I recently found a link to Rememberthemilk.com, a free online to-do list management service similar to Backpackit.com. I tried it for a few minutes and I’m still unfamiliar with the system. Right now, I think Backpackit is easier to use. I might try Rememberthemilk.com out for a longer period later today. I’m such a sucker for online to-do lists and TiddlyWiki adaptations. The best phrase to describe my current state of affairs would be: “too busy checking out how to get things done to actually get things done.”

Journalism experiment and recovering from a ZiddlyWiki disaster

I was asked to write a special report on a topic I can’t disclose yet. I’ve already sent preliminary e-mails to people I would be interviewing. I had planned to do all my note-taking using ZiddlyWiki. While finalizing my notes it occurred to me: why not give the people I would be interviewing read-only access to my wiki? After all, the topic I’m writing about isn’t controversial – where people might try to influence you on how your draft article is shaping up.

I immediately set up a new wiki for the notes. I had previously hosted my notes in my main wiki. ZiddlyWiki allows you to easily create multiple wikis, you just had to copy the index_html file and place it where you want the new wiki to be hosted.

I created a new sub-folder and placed the index_html file there. I, however, forgot to create a tiddlers folder in the new subdirectory. Because of this, the subdirectory was using the tiddlers of my main wiki and when I started deleting notes not related to the article I also deleted these notes from my main wiki. The disaster would have been complete had I not saved a copy of my main wiki in another sub-folder. I was able to partly reconstruct my main wiki using data saved in the abandoned sub-folder.

More experiments, a welcome assignment and NerdTV

I’m trying out Matt’s Asides. I’ll check it out first with my test blog and if I can make it work, I’ll implement it here. I’m also running the beta version of Open Office (version 2.0 beta 2). I used to run the stable version, 1.14. I installed Open Office 2.0 this afternoon.

I was asked to write for a special report in our paper on a topic I really like. I can’t disclose the assignment, the editors might kill me. For this assignment, I plan to use Backpack (www.backpackit.com) and ZiddlyWiki (www.ziddlywiki.com) for my tasks lists and notes. I’ll then write about it here.

NerdTV‘s first episode is out here’s PBS’ teaser on the episode: Andy Hertzfeld, the original Macintosh systems programmer, talks about MacHistory and how he fell in love with Open Source software. I’m still downloading the episode.