A rantbox by Michiel Scholten

Second brain part 0

Building a Second Brain logo

I have been thinking lately about how I organise my thoughts, notes, files, todo's, incoming messages, and much more. This was partly fed by Ryan Rix and his quest for the ultimate way of organising data, be it org-mode or a variant, TiddlyWiki, or something entirely self-built.

I have quite a bunch of tools that help me in my daily (digital|analogue) life. Currently I use:

  • Various Git repositories for documents that are best kept versioned (notes, planning, etc)
  • A few big-ish directories that I keep in sync over my various machines using syncthing, mostly for binary files
  • TickTick for todo's, (shared) shopping list
  • Google Keep for quick notes (also to share with my significant other)
  • digimarks for bookmarks
  • Evolution for email on 'desktop', aquamail on mobile clients
  • Google Calendar for appointments
  • Inoreader for RSS news feeds
  • Pocket for articles to read later (or never)

These are all moving parts in my 'second brain', in which I keep my notes, appointments, and basically everything. Well, there are more people interested in Building A Second Brain (BASB). One of the authors/teachers of this initial concept has a nice intro article in the matter. I also like the CODE acronym: Collect, Organise, Distill, Express.

I collect useful methods and other links on my 'building a second brain' link page.

So, what now?

My vim-reloaded article showed a lot of love for vim, and that's because I find it such a fun text editor to work in. It works everywhere, from remote servers, to laptops, and my phone (go termux).

That's why I would like to incorporate some of this brain offloading into my vim setup. I started with Markdown file navigation, which I quickly forked so it works correctly with Python 3 and my preferred style of Pelican links. This way I can link various notes together, simply by adding a (relative) link from one file to another.

Apart from those notes, it would be nice to have 'relevancy filters' in my incoming messages/news feeds. I have to investigate in how smart Inoreader can be. This reminds me of the 'overload' feedreader I wrote ages ago, and abandoned. Its goal was rather similar: deduplicating news, trying to find interesting articles. I would also like to be offered interesting new stuff, from outside my filter bubble.

For mail, I already have extensive filtering in place, which helps me a lot with reading relevant messages. Creating actionable items (todo's or similar) from an email is something that is still on my wish list though, especially because I would love to have it link back to the original email.

This post really is an initial brain-dump (hrr hrr) of thoughts, current tools, and such. I would like to have it bootstrap an effort in making my life better.

Naming is hard, what will it be called?

Does this project need to have a name? Oh well, why not? :)

I am inclined to call my project Phren, after the ancient Greek word φρήν for the location of thought or contemplation.

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