Software for Information Management?

Ok, I’ll again turn to you to help me in my neverending pursue to organize my life. I have a big Problem organizing myself and all the information. Leading to much extra work finding things i already had once figured out or plain not having information i should have.

I never was able to stick to any tool yet. But now, i’m determined. My job starts to require me to keep information and have it archived iff needed later. Since written notes aren’t really searchable, i’d like to do this in software. I’ve tried some but none where 100% great.

My requirements:

  • Linux Client (Native, Electron i don’t really care. Website works, but application is prefered)
  • Android Client
  • Sync between devices (automatically would be ideal)
  • Windows and iOS would be nice but certainly not needed
  • Formating (Nothing major, just underlining, Bold, maybe Code Blocks)
  • Table Support (Ideally flexible in Size after creation)
  • Image Support
  • Powerfull Search and a Folder System

I’ve tried OneNote in the Browser. I hate that you can place text anywhere, i don’t use handwriting and it’s incredibly slow. I find it hard to just jot down things quickly in an organized fashion.

SimpleNote is decent, but lack of Image Support and no Folderstructure or internal links is a bummer.

Evernote has beed a year or two since i looked at it. I just never got the hang of it and found it overly complicated. Should i give that another try?

I’m currently testing Notion. I’ve heard a lot of good things and it seems to do what i want. I’ll see how far the free option goes. But even at 4 bucks a month it’s reasonable. No native Linux Client is a bummer, but the website is responsive and works with keyboard shortcuts. The search is only basic, but i’ll only know if that’s a Problem when Information increases.

I tried turtl but it too lacked image support and other features i’d want. Same for Cherrytree. This had great Code and Syntaxhighlighting though.
Maybe VSCode/Vim plus a folder structure is it? There are treestyle file navigators for vim, aren’t there?

So, are there any others that you’d recommend i look at? I really want to look at all the options before committing. I want this to be a long term decision for a tool i’m going to use for a few years.

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As low-tech as it is, I’ve tried a bunch of different options for organization and what ultimately works best for me… Plain text, using Markdown.

Want search? Grep! Need to work with a specific column? awk it! Infinitely scriptable if you find yourself referring to the same things over and over. Trivially easy to add generated things to your notes, like users on a system or lists of IP addresses.

Tables are a little trickier, since Markdown doesn’t support them natively, but various flavors of Markdown do, like Github and Gitlab flavored Markdown.

Couple it with Gitlab, and you can keep things synced, have unlimited reversion and history, a web-based editor in a pinch, and you get stuff like task lists, flowcharts, and mathematics “for free”.

Wanna publish your notes? Most static site generators natively handle Markdown, so it’s almost trivial. You’re also set for Git{Lab,Hub} Pages.

It goes without saying, plain text is super minimal, so updating and moving your notes around on headless servers doesn’t require anything special.

I even do my budgeting, accounting, and time tracking in plaintext. More info on that:

https://plaintextaccounting.org/

The Unix engineers really were geniuses for insisting everything be text.

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I really would like that approach. I even used org-mode for a while (awkward as a vim user).
The only real problem is availability on mobile. On windows i can use git and i think VSCode even has a git Plugin. Also, sync is manual, so one would have to think about that on any change.

Other than that, i can see that it’s a decent solution. And futureproof! I’ll invest some time and try to replicate some things. Markdown certainly is enough in terms of structuring and formating. For anything more i can always use Latex.

I just remembered why Evernote is sub par. I re logged in to my account and found that there still is no option for preformated Text. Like, headers or code. This make structuring Notes incredibly tedious.

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Maybe instead of git, use syncthing. But then no version history.

There are markdown editors on f-droid like:

Markor (Text editor - Notes & ToDo. Lightweight. Markdown and todo.txt support.) - https://f-droid.org/app/net.gsantner.markor

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I thought syncthing had some type of versioning system. I don’t believe it is very robust.

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The only real problem is availability on mobile.

There are git clients for mobile. Anything that can sync files works with plaintext, too. Stick them Google Drive, Nextcloud, whatever. Syncthing also works.

If you edit them using the Gitlab web based editor, they still get committed, the logic just doesn’t happen on your phone.

Also, you could use something like Termux and set a cron job to sync using whatever tools you want. There’s lots of options for the sync component.

The real problem with mobile isn’t the sync… it’s the keyboard (or specifically, the lack of it).

I’ve never found a really good mobile keyboard app and that pretty much makes productivity on mobile a non-existent thing for me. I don’t even try. I’ve admitted that if there’s anything really important, I need my laptop.

Even on-call duty for work isn’t so important that I’m willing to try to force that into a mobile workflow. “I’m aware of the problem and will get back to you in 10 minutes when I have my laptop” does wonders to reduce the anxiety of freaking out bosses and clients.

For me, mobile exists soley to fight my way to better tools, and I think I’m more productive because of it.

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I too have this problem, I have never really solved it completely but…

I now have a Pcloud life account (one off fee for 500GB, there are free accounts and subscriptions too). It has Windows, Android, Linux clients. This allows me to use txt, markdown or excel files and get to them from any device. You can do the same with google drive but I’ve found pcloud just gets out of the way and is nicer from Linux.

https://www.pcloud.com/

Having said that I also use onenote - especially if I need more than just plain text.

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Ok, after all your replies, i’m probably going with Google Drive + Markdown.
Google Drive Integration seems to be rather decent in Linux, Typora supports a Folder Structure View and Typora as Well as StackEdit can support Pictures in Markdown.
It’s still readable as Text and less hassle than Git. Plus most android Markdown editors integrate with Drive.

Probably not as OSS as many Linux “Users” would like, but i think it could work for me. Plus Drive supports basically any Media Type i can throw at it. So, pretty flexible. And In the end, it’s totally portable. If i decide to leave google, i just download one folder and upload it elsewhere. Point Typora to a new folder and be done. I think that’s better than most other solutions i tried so far. And Gitlab Backup is still an option.
It’s not as neat as Notion, but far more flexible, portable and cheaper too.

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Probably not as OSS as many Linux “Users” would like, but i think it could work for me.

Your workflow is far more Unix-like, even using a hosted service. When the mood or need arises, you can swap out problematic components for better ones later.

You’re piping data through to Google, rather than relying on a set of snowflake apps that depend on their ecosystem.

Plus, the first hit’s free. Every problem you solve with a simple, modular tool hooks you that much more, and it’s only a matter of time before you’re so addicted you need to start ripping out binary blobs just to feel anything at all.

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