Twelve years ago today I blogged a video by Gary Hayes visiting 50 virtual worlds. Reading Hayes’ accompanying 2008 blogpost which is still online, I wonder what today’s VR trends and hotspots are. How well is the virtual control of the real and the fully virtual a seamless experience these days? How far along are we to the Metaverse?

SecondLife still exists, not surprisingly as it was profitable right from the start, but I have no idea what it has evolved into. At some point I rented a bit of land there, to use as a sandbox. Does it still feel mostly empty?
What is the current status and role of immersive virtual worlds?

Are there any AR worlds that provide a seamless experience between the physical and the digital? I do regularly see people on the streets of our hometown trying to catch Pokemons, but as with a lot of these VR/AR things that seems gimmicky to me mostly. Last year at the Energie.Digital conference in Germany I saw a bit more of Microsoft’s mixed reality Hololens, and while some use cases were convincing, others seemed contrived. Yet at the same time there are many moments where I would love to see a much more seamless transition from the material to the virtual (which is partly why I got myself a Nova2: to digitise my handwriting), and bringing the virtual into the material, or making online exchanges much more immersive.

Digital networks and human networks are alike in their distributedness, and completely embracing that overlap for tool design is a source of enormous agency, imo.

Where does the yellow brick road to The Street of the Metaverse run these days?

I just realised that it’s a month this Friday that I started using markdown textfiles and Obsidian for notes, and that I have not used my local WordPress install at all during that time, nor Evernote much. I made 4 notes in EN in a month: 1 bookmark, 1 shopping list, 2 call logs. Compared to 47 notes the month prior to it.

Day logs and work notes are now in markdown files, internal wikipages are now my Garden of the Forking Path notes in markdown files. Those were previously in my local WP install. Bookmarks aren’t mindlessly send to Evernote at a touch of a button anymore, with the vague intention of reading later and/or having it come up in a search at some point in the future. Reading ‘later’ never really works for me (Instapaper never succeeded in really landing in my workflow). So now it’s either I read it and want to keep it for reference by adding a snapshot to Zotero, or I did not read it and trust that if it’s important it will resurface at some point again. Other elements in my use of Evernote I’ve recreated on the go in text files quite naturally: Folders for each of my areas of activity match up with what I have as Notebooks in EN.

It feels like coming full circle, as I have for the most part been note taking in simple text files since the late ’80s. I started paying for Evernote in 2010, after using the free version for a while, and used wiki in parallel to text files for note taking for a number of years before that (2004-2008 I think). Textfiles always had my preference, as they’re fast and easy to create, but it needed a way to connect them, add tags etc., and that was always the sticking point. Tools like Obsidian, Foam and others like it are mere viewers on top of those text files in my file system. Viewers that add useful things like visualising connections, and showing multiple queries on the underlying files in parallel. It adds what was missing. So after a month, I am getting more convinced that I am on a path ditching Evernote.

Time to start syncing some of my notes folders to my phone (through NextCloud), and choose a good editor for Android, so I can add/use/edit them there too.