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Journalled Out

I’ve been thinking in recent days that I could use something journal-ish. There are two aspects to this thinking. For one, I tend to accumulate documents and links to things that will probably be useful someday, or I want to remember short-term, but they get smeared everywhere. Bookmarks across several machines and browsers, text documents tucked into folders optimistically labelled ‘to-do’ or ‘in progress’, stuff in various note-taking applications. All of which leads to a definite sense of mental clutter which I really want to eliminate. I have identified that one of the things that makes me anxious is physical and mental clutter, a sense of being overwhelmed by Stuff To Take Care Of Right Now.

It would be nice just to declare mental bankruptcy, throw all this in the bin, tear off my clothes, and run naked into the woods to live as a wild man, feeding on berries and roots. Regrettably while this simple life has certain attractions – not the least being an opportunity to dispense gnomic wisdom and entirely fabricated home-spun philosophy to unsuspecting passers-by – it does not appear to be paid particularly well anymore. Besides, brambles, briars and badgers are not a good match for running naked through the woods at my age.

Initially I’ve been thinking about something like Day One, which has the attraction of being somewhat insulated against future obsolecence (as far as I can tell, the data is stored in individual PLIST files), as well as having a frictionless interface. That’s important. The benefit of pencil and paper is that it’s always on. The disadvantages for me are that I cannot read my own handwriting, and generally cannot fit a usefully large notebook in my pocket. Also, so much of what I need to refer to comes with a URL or an image associated with it, there’s friction arising from needing to manually link together disparate data repositories.

The elephant in the room for all of this (see what I did there) is of course Evernote. I was startled to discover how many apps I already have on phone, iPad and desktop natively link to Evernote, and the environment Evernote occupies is rich and varied. Which makes me a little nervous: if I went this way, would I then still have different bits of data scattered across multiple interfaces? Additionally, even though they appear to be an honest and reliable company, the product still revolves around having my data on servers for a ‘free’ service.

Sigh. Thinking is in progress.

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