Wendell’s (and others) Notetaking/Filing Solution

I’m directing this question at Wendell because of the video he did several months ago about Obsidian where he mentioned his personal note taking solution in passing but I’m curious if more details can be given? However, I’m also curious about other people’s workflows/solutions as well.

Such as:

Do you just save everything as pdfs into a folder/folders and then use search on the parent directory? Or do you use a program like Obsidian to make a reference entry to each document with tags?

If you come across a webpage with helpful info or instructions, do you just bookmark it or do you also save it as a pdf and do something like described above?

Thank you very much! :grinning:

I take my notes in VisualStudioCode and encapsulate them by topic in curled brackets so I can fold them away.

   Notes here
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That’s so wicked!

Do you host the file externally so you can access it on more than one device? Do you do any external referencing to documents that way?

Thanks for the cool idea!

It sits on a Pi0 and gets backed up daily to my NAS. Since I only have two machines accessing it locally, that is all I need.

I usually just leave search terms next to it (if I need them) and rely on the search in Linux and Everything on windows.


Im using Standard Notes. It has iOS/Linux and Windows clients and can sync across devices.

It is open source, of course. Paid tier includes:

  • “To Do” checkbox function.
  • save notes in plain text, markdown or rich text format.
  • Can do basic spreadsheets.
  • Can do simple encrypted file storage.

I looked at the site and it looks like a good contender in it’s niche.
How does Standard Notes compare to Microsoft OneNote?

Emacs Org-Mode is pretty good


I don’t think I watched the video but I’m pretty sure it’s related to Wendell’s The Ultimate Home Server - Component: Knowledge Repository thread. There he compares quite a few note taking apps (including Obsidian) and also talks about the Zettlekasten method he uses for filing. Also lots of discussion from the community about other editors… Jopin, Emacs, Simplenote, Evernote, and OneNote. Personally I settled on Joplin because their mobile app was free, but I think Obsidian is probably the most polished of the bunch.

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neovim + vimwiki plugin setup for markdown files.


Thank you for the recommendation!!

I’m still equally frightened and in awe at what I’ve read about regarding eMacs lol.

Thank your the reference! That was indeed the video I saw. I didn’t realize there was a whole conversation on this topic already. Sorry for the duplicate content!

Thanks for the recommendation and resources!

I guess as a follow-up question, which may really be the crux of this topic, at least IMO):

When you search for an answer to a question, like when trying to do something in Linux, or when coding, or instructions to do something in an application or a diy guide to build something, how do you record/document/save it for later?

Ie: Save the whole page as a pdf to file? Copy and paste the content into a note taking app with the note title being the question/answer? Bookmark the page and hope it is there later when/if you need it again? Offer a silent thank you and hope you can find it or something similar next time you search for it on the web?


For me it just depends on how likely the site is to be there when I need it later. If the information is coming from a blog or forum post I’ll capture what I want by copy and pasting or PDFing the entire webpage and linking it in Joplin. But if information is coming from an official wiki for a piece of software, I’ll only include a URL in my notes as the info will likely be superseded by the next software release. And then bookmarks for me are just a lazy way of saving Google search results. I’d be annoyed if I lost them all but could recreate them with a bit of effort.

If you're interested this is how Joplin looks when linking PDFs and pasting code snippets in markdown

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I keep a bunch of subfolders in my internet bookmarks labelled stuff like “code”, “stock image sources”, “design inspiration”, etc. I’ll usually rename the bookmark to something descriptive like “button hover animation” or “source for SVG backgrounds”. It’s not perfect but it works pretty well. I do the same thing for gardening resources.


Thank you for describing your workflow and the Joplin recommendation. I’ll look into it along with some of the others. Do you know which file types Joplin uses? Like if Joplin ever disappears would you be able to access all your notes in a different app or do they use a proprietary file type? Thanks again!

Follow-up Edit: never mind on the file format! lol took me three seconds on their site to find the answer :3

That is also how I’ve done things in the past, though I never got into the habit of going back to them :frowning: Thanks for describing your workflow!

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I learned how to use markdown notation and now I just write everything in markdown and open it with whatever program at my disposal.
My editor of choice is the one integrated in my Nextcloud istance. Those files are also backed-up on GDrive for good measure.
But I sinned a lot in my past so I have an horde of txt files dating back to the 90s. Some are still sitting on floppy drives too.

THANK. YOU. SO. MUCH!!! Up until now, while I knew of markdown and how to use it, for some reason (most likely the way I think) I had never really put together that it was just another open file format. Since I learned of markdown’s existence and how to bold or italicize text while using it, I have always been asking “why does this exist?” It wasn’t until I read your “markdown notation” label in your reply that I did a search, using that label, and found a website (markdownguide.org) that explained it in such a way that it finally clicked! You have metalized my brain! Thank you!

I also think it is crazy, and awesome, that you have floppy drives with notes on them!

So my follow-up question is, do you just use folders to create some kind of structure for your notes to go in? Or do you just throw them all into one folder and use search to find if you have any relevant notes for a given topic? Or do you use tags as well/instead?

As for tags, and I think this is the correct answer based on the research I did, but tags used in NextCloud or Obsidian aren’t universal in that they don’t follow the document correct? Meaning if I decide to use tags as part of my workflow/solution then whatever app I use, at least regarding tags, will be the only place the applied tags would be visible.

Thank you so much once again! I’m definitely closer to figuring out how I want to do things!

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