Waiting for the angels

So I'm up late... third night in a row. I'm waiting for the angels of insight and inspiration to come and sing to me, but so far they seem to be off somewhere else. Diego suggested before he went to bed several hours ago that maybe they're getting drunk or caught in a traffic jam. Yeah, I can see that... Where ever they are, they aren't here right now. I'd hate to go to bed and miss them, but then again, maybe they're waiting until I've gotten a good night's sleep and had a shave? Maybe. Always hard to tell.

In my eternal quest for a system that will organize my life, I just tried out EverNote which Diego blogged about before going to bed. It's a Windows based note-taking, task-tracking sort of app which seems pretty interesting. But after about two minutes it was clear that the UI was too clunky and proprietary for me to think about using daily. Though the one feature I really liked was the "automatic saving/archiving" feature, i.e. no control-S to save, it just happens. That's pretty great. I've beeing thinking a lot about this lately - You know what OSes really need? A folder I can mark as an "active archive" folder, where every time I save a file in it, a copy is made somewhere, sort of like CVS without the geekiness or even the intelligence of saving just the differences. I've got gigs of disk space - I just want to make sure I always have a copy of what I did before. It would take me 1000 years to fill my drive up with copies of 35k text files with notes like "go to dentist" written over and over again. I actually made a Macro for Ultra-Edit which does this sort of thing, but it's not as good as I'd hoped. Ultraedit is sort of anemic in the automation side of things - I ended up having to call out to a Bash script I wrote using CygWin, but it won't work on FTP files I've opened up, just local text files. I'd like it to be completely automatic and cross-application, so I could just have a constant history of things I've added/deleted/updated in every app I use all day long.

Well, that's sort of pie in the sky, what I really need is just an auto-save of my text file I use for my to-do list. Each day I start a new section at the top of my todo file, inserting the day's date and start writing down things I need to accomplish (usually I do this quickly so I can get the thoughts out of my head quicly before I get sidetracked and forget about them completely). The problem with this is that I end up having a lot of duplicate info. This isn't that bad of a system, actually - back when I was using a paper daytimer and the Covey system, the idea was that you'd start each day with a little review of the things you wrote down the day before, and you'd copy over the important items to do - then you'd sort of do a weekly review as well, to make there was nothing you missed. The idea is that way you won't miss following up on calls, or overlook things you need to do. Obviously I never actually used it like that, but it was good in theory. What I want is an automatic idea-capture editor with free-form text (so I don't have to bother filling out little forms which slow me down) where I can type names, addresses, things to do, ideas I had, etc. You know how they'd always demo the Newton picking out addresses and phone numbers automatically? How come the apps on my laptop computer a decade later don't do that sort of thing for me yet?

But again, I really just want to be able to clear stuff off the page but keep a record of the changes for later - that's where the archive stuff comes in. Again, like CVS does or like a wiki with a history... Hmm. there's a thought. But I don't really want to type all my stuff in a browser all the time, and I don't want to have to deal with "read" mode as it'd always be just for me. But hey, you know? A wiki might be a good idea (and in retrospect, maybe an obvious one...). A personal wiki. I tried that desktop Wiki app that Erik tried a while ago, but it was way too wonky and trapped on one machine. The universal accessability and archiving of a server system might be exactly what I'm looking for. Or I guess I could just learn to use the to-do list in Outlook or Yahoo! Mail as well (with the latter having the advantage of appearing on my phone's idle screen auto-magically via Yahoo! Go Mobile). But those things never seem to work for me... A wiki will be good to try.

Now, see? That thought was worth the diversion of typing up a blog post at 3 a.m. no? (And, YES, I remember... my new year's resolution was going to bed by midnight. I know, now quit bugging me.)


Update: Very early in the morning, and TiddlyWiki is completely blowing my mind. It's a Wiki in Javascript, with the data stored in the page itself... Completely tripped out. Try it and you'll see what I mean.

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