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What notes software have you found it FUN to use?

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Posted by digeratus
Oct 19, 2023 at 09:39 PM


Fun encapsulates neatly a lot of what is mysteriously enjoyable in software.

What notes software have you really enjoyed and looked forward to using?


Posted by MadaboutDana
Oct 20, 2023 at 02:34 AM


Obsidian. Yes, it has its frustrating aspects (notably on mobile devices). But it’s a very attractive app, pleasant to use even in its base form.

The real fun comes when you start adding plugins. I’ve experimented with dozens, and have retained a respectable number, of which 33 are currently active (although I have 42 installed, so I can activate them if required). It’s a long time since I promised myself I wouldn’t install more than 10!

Between them, they turn it into something exceptionally powerful. From link and tag tracking to handling spreadsheet-like tables, you can do more or less anything in Obsidian. And there are often various “levels” involved – I tend to prefer simple, but if you want to go complex, you can (for example, I use DataLoom for spreadsheet-like tables, but you can go full-on Spreadsheets if you want to!) There are any number of tag-handling and task-handling options, many of which are vastly more complex than I need. But they’re there, and often of exceedingly high quality.

It’s a CRIMPer’s delight, not least because you can add/remove plugins as you like. Or you can keep different plugins in different “Vaults” (repositories), essentially changing Obsidian’s character every time you change to a new repository. I’ve been playing with designing simple websites in Obsidian, for example – to do that, I set up a separate repository, installed a whole bunch of web-friendly plugins (like the excellent Webpage HTML and HTML Server), designed some CSS snippets that completely change the “look” of my pages, and can now generate really quite complex websites. No, it doesn’t replace a serious web designer like Nicepage, but it is immensely satisfying. There are currently 1,230 plugins in Obsidian’s Community repository – that’s enough to keep the most avid CRIMPer going!

Another recent discovery (for Apple users) is FSnotes, which is a kind of nvALT equivalent that’s evolved out of all recognition since its early days. It’s a very fast markdown-based app (nothing special there), but you can also embed Soulver-like calculations in notes, which is extremely convenient.

Both these apps I look forward to using, just as I also look forward to using my reMarkable tablet and the rather nice, if currently somewhat limited, reMarkable mobile and desktop apps.

And finally, I’ve discovered what must be the tiniest but also nicest ebook reader on macOS: Murasaki (less than one megabyte in size!) Thoroughly professional – I wish there was a mobile version, but it’s beautiful in and of itself.


Posted by digeratus
Oct 20, 2023 at 03:14 AM


Thank you! What’s a CRIMPer?


Posted by MadaboutDana
Oct 20, 2023 at 07:33 AM


Ah. You’ll find a relevant thread in the sidebar (“CRIMP defined”), but here’s the link for you: https://www.outlinersoftware.com/topics/viewt/17/0/crimp-defined


Posted by Paul Korm
Oct 20, 2023 at 08:53 AM


I’m afraid my toys would be saddened if I picked just one as the fun one.  So there’s three that I play with even when I have nothing important to do: Curio, Obsidian and TheBrain. 

Curio, because it’s just a blank canvas to start with and is so pleasant to work with that I build pages and models just to see them come to life.  Curio is what canvas apps like Notion, and Craft, and whatever that thing is that Apple made, can never be because they put so many barriers in the way of layout flexibility and graphical adornment.

Obsidian because it sparks the same pleasure i had when I was small and kept cigar box treasure chests.  I never thought building scaffolding around notes and links could be so enjoyable.

TheBrain because it’s a bit of both Curio and Obsidian with the addition of a long and broad timeline: my main brain documents go back decades—predating almost all other software I use.  TheBrain is also a treasure chest.  (I hoard notes, now.)

There are more than three fun things of course.  Exploring software and getting to know developers and how they think about their creations is so much more fun than playing games.


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