Last week at the 3rd Dutch language Obsidian meet-up one of the participants showed Excalidraw. This is a browser based sketching tool, that was created early last year (so about as old as Obsidian itself). There is an Obsidian plugin for it, which I first assumed would allow you to embed images made in the browser tool, but I was wrong.

  • The plugin allows you to create sketches with Excalidraw inside Obsidian. Using command+P and typing create, you can select to create a sketch in various ways
  • The sketching is done inside an Obsidian pane
  • You can link text in a sketch to any other note simply by adding a markdown style link [[note name]]
  • You can even embed another note in the sketch by adding the markdown, using ![[note name]]

The files with the sketches are saved inside your Obsidian vault. I took a look in one of the files, and they are JSON descriptions of the sketches. They’re not images, they’re text descriptions and as such small flat text files just like the notes themselves.

I’m impressed. I could even see myself sketchnoting on a tablet right in Obsidian with this.

Exalidraw living inside an Obsidian note, through a plugin. I made a basic sketch, with a link to a note at the red pin.

Opening a sketch in a text editor shows it to be JSON

Did what the title says, and installed Electric Drummer. Drummer is Dave Winer‘s new outliner tool, which I mentioned earlier. Dave blogs directly from his outliner, and his entire blog is a single outline. Electric Drummer is Drummer packaged in an Electron shell so I can run it locally on my Mac (as opposed to on a webserver provided by Dave).

This way I can play with the tool locally, to get a feel for how outlining in it works, how smooth it feels as a writing aid, and how it compares with my note taking in Obsidian (which isn’t an outliner but has outlining functionality). After all Obsidian is my core tool these days. I’d be interested to see if there are affordances in Drummer that I see myself immediately taking to, and whether those affordances exist or can be emulated in Obsidian.

One thing immediately stands out: if I import OPML files, like my book lists, that have additional data attributes, those attributes are shown in Drummer. And through the ‘suitcase’ icon I can see, edit and ammend the attribute list. The first time I see that in an outliner, which is extremely welcome functionality.

How long is the list of draft postings in your CMS? I had about 30 from the past 3 years. This morning I went through them and moved those that still look like a posting could come from them into my Obsidian notes. I have a writing folder there, and I find it easier to write there than in the back-end of WordPress, where I still do most of my blogwriting (including this post). Those drafts that had no actual content or were very much connected to a specific moment in time (today we went…) I deleted. About a dozen drafts remain and now live in my notes. Let’s see if having those drafts in an environment where I can encounter them more regularly leads to finishing them. In the past weeks I’ve done my weeknotes postings in Obsidian first as a note, and noticed how it increased the speed of writing. (Afterwards I still need to add links and images in WP though, it’s not a micropub editor.)

Bookmarked Een coronapas is repressief, niet progressief. (by Jaap Henk Hoepman)

Hoepman loopt op de feiten vooruit (er is nog geen akkoord voor een wetswijziging naar 2G beleid, doch poneert het als al voldongen feit), maar beschrijft adequaat de situatie, of beter De Situatie. En hoe de brandstichters het debat kapen, of beter door de andere partijen het narratief láten kapen. Wat weer een rem zet op een open debat. (Al moet ik er aan toevoegen dat ik heel wat mensen die oorspronkelijk een redelijk en beargumenteerd kritisch geluid lieten horen heb zien opschuiven, correctie: heb zien afglijden, naar de samenzweringshoek en dat dat me ook minder genegen heeft gemaakt om anderen het voordeel van de twijfel te geven.)

Bovendien moeten we niet vergeten dat de situatie waar we nu inzitten het gevolg [is] van eerder gemaakte keuzes. Daarmee is dit pleidooi juist ook een progressief geluid. … We moeten het verzet tegen een repressief, discriminerend, en op dwang gebaseerd antwoord op een door neo-liberaal beleid veroorzaakt probleem niet door extreem rechts laten kapen! Een grote groep mensen, inclusief in eerste instantie ikzelf, voelen zich daardoor zeer bezwaard zich uit te spreken.

Jaap Henk Hoepman

I don’t use iCloud in any way. I don’t have anything to sync as this is my only Apple device. I don’t let my Mac store things in its Apple key chain. So I block connections to iCloud, there is no reason known to me for them to exist other than Apple being overly eager in collecting data.

This results in my Mac doing 16 attempts per second in reaching iCloud on a keychain related domain. Over 10 million times this week. I allowed it this week once to see if it would shut up consequent attempts, but the crazy speed of trying to connect resumes not long afterwards. At 16Hz it’s just a few attempts per second shy of being within hearing range, otherwise I’d hear my Mac doing it 😉

Little Snitch showing what’s going on. Click to enlarge.

When I wrote about outlining last weekend, I mentioned Dave Winer’s blog being an outline document. Yesterday, in the context of Drummer he referred to a 2013 posting “Two ways of looking at an outliner“. In it he goes into detail how outliners aren’t only creating files (a single outline, saved in a file), but can be viewed as file systems as well. At the end of that posting he talks about how his entire blog is an outline, all stored in a single opml file. When I mentioned how Dave Winer seems to blog by starting an outline each day, I was partly right. He’s starting a new branch (i.e. a day file) in a month branch (i.e. a folder), in a year branch (i.e. a folder), in the entirety of his blog that is a single OPML file.