Personal Work Flow

#personal #life #updates #pkm #personalknowledgemanagement

Not sure what's taking me so much time to finish my Nation of Victims review. I keep coming back to it though. Hopefully I'll be done changing things around and rearranging paragraphs enough to post a fairly decent overview and recommendation for the book soon. Right now though, I'd like to talk a little about life and get into some personal knowledge management (or, “pkm”) software that I've been using.

Life has been weird. I think everyone is in tune to a great change that is coming, or a series of little changes that are already happening. I took the plunge and quit my job last week. A series of events beginning as far back as a year to a year and a half ago just culminated in me having to walk out the door. There was some negotiating. I may have been able to stay, but it was clear that the situation wasn't getting better and everything promised me were just platitudes. It was little things that pointed to bigger things, like having never been given another office chair from the time I started the job 8 years ago, and the fact that my chair was already used when I started. I could have prepared a whole list of things like that.

And they may have made accommodations at just the threat of me leaving... if I had energy enough to hold them to it. But I didn't, and I don't. I would have happily dealt with the chair and the millions of other tiny inconveniences, if there had been some sort of an assurance that the things which concerned me about the business were being addressed. Unfortunately the majority of my job was to handle things that other people couldn't handle, or items where the ball was dropped by the person before me, so I was never able to be proactive, I was always reacting. And that was in addition to routine and predictable tasks that I was responsible for. The problem being that trying to get the timing right for all the routine stuff was always fucked because I was constantly getting hit with random shit that would come up at least once a week.

Replacing people and re-staffing roles was a problem. More often than not the decision was made to simply spread out the work of a terminated employee among the remaining staff. I absorbed at least 4 to 5 other positions during my tenure. After nearly a decade of that, I just couldn't take it any longer.

Fortunately, walking away has done wonders for my mood and even my physical health. For a while now I've thought that I might have gout, turns out that it was probably just stress. Don't get me wrong, I've thrived under stress for the past 15 years, but burnout is real.

In any case, now that my overall disposition has gotten better, I reached out to an old friend of mine and asked him if he wanted to get some coffee. It's probably been the better part of a year or two since him and I sat down and talked. It was nice that he agreed to come out and meet me. Part of the reason we haven't hung out or talked was because of the way my attitude has been.

During our conversation he brought up Obsidian. As a matter of fact, that's the software that I'm using right now to write this blog post. Although I've only been using the software for a couple of days, my experience has been good.

You can read about my friend's experience with PKMs here.

While it's not open source software, it is free to use. I could be wrong, but I'm almost certain it's an Electron app (or similar). It is definitely built on web technologies given the fact that the plugins are written in JavaScript/TypeScript. Basically just a super fancy Markdown editor.

Since / WriteFreely uses Markdown for all it's posts, it makes Obsidian the perfect editor for me to use; it stores a local .md file of my post and also formats my Markdown as I type it in a live-preview style mode, so I can see in real time what my styling, links, images, etc. all look like before copying over the Markdown to be published online. That makes it nice for me, since the programming path that I decided to go down was Nodejs and JavaScript frameworks, and I'm already writing all my content in Markdown.

Obsidian has a .deb package so I've gone ahead and installed it on both my desktop and my laptop. Both run Debian... albeit, “Debian” is just a CHROOT on laptop, since that's a Chromebook.

Additionally, the software just autosaves the files as you work on them. In a way it has a similar application design philosophy to VSCode. What's nice about that is I've chosen my desktop to be my pkm server, so it hosts the folders that I've defined as my vaults. This means I can be working in Obsidian on my desktop and when I move over to my laptop, I can continue where I left off—provided I'm on the same network as my desktop—I can even have the same files open on both systems and work on them without skipping a beat. I could take this a step further and deploy a tiny Linux VPS that is hosting my vaults, but I'll probably just stick to a local solution until I need to be able to access my files all the time from anywhere. This HERE is similar to what I did on my own network. I also tested working on the same file while it was open and loaded in Obsidian on both my desktop and laptop at the same time, it was actually pretty painless. No strange errors.

Should I want to take my laptop to the library or a coffee shop or something to work on stuff outside of the house, I'll probably just set up a “mobile” vault that I can sync into my main vault.

Hopefully I'll be updating this blog a bit more as I navigate unemployment. 15 years is a long time.