Taking Notes.

I’ve always taken a keen interest in note-taking in general and recently I’ve been obsessed with how other people do it.

There tends to be a push toward avoiding information silos while at the same time making your content available or at least putting it online where it can be found, (even if you specifically aren’t writing for mass consumption).

As for me, I keep see-sawing between the convenience and ubiquity of online silos and the “privacy” of self-hosting.

I’ve gone from keeping all my notes in a single text file (not quite as ambitious as this, but close) to a private dokuwiki, back to individual text files to moving them all online to my Google Drive.

Currently, I am migrating most of my notes out of Google a into a single folder of markdown files managed by Joplin, an open-source note solution that allows you to sync your notes to a back-end you control (Dropbox or better yet, NextCloud).

I like self hosting because

1. There’s a matter of some pride in saying “I built/maintain this” (even if if is an open-source project from github) and

2. There’s no chance of a big company closing up shop or switching from free to a paid or subscription model on you.

I’ve discovered that while I’d love to say I’ve been managing my notes in a single location for years, the truth is what keeps my note-taking process interesting useful is migrating it periodically. Migrating allows me to updates notes, combine notes and prune old notes. With each iteration of my notes system I have left a little pile of notes behind. A collection of notes that no longer serve me and can be discarded.

But make no mistake, so far, self-hosting is still a lot of work. Maintaining your own backups and updating your platforms. Patching bugs and working around limitations takes up a lot of time. But in the end – is it all worth it?

I’m still trying to answer that question.

Until the next system comes along.