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Evaluating the Customizable Windows Solutions

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Posted by megatron
Feb 20, 2020 at 08:15 PM

 

Howdy all - long time lurker, first time poster.

I’ve been evaluating the more complex options for task and knowledge management on Windows and thought I would share my thoughts and perhaps compare notes if anyone has insights about these particular programs. I’ve been using Evernote for the last two or three years, but I’ve been experimenting with Infoqube as well as Emacs and Org-Mode since the beginning of the year.

Among the three options, none organize everything quite so easily as Infoqube. This program has every conceivable feature - metadata, hierarchical tagging, related notes, multiple parents-child relationships - to help stay organized. I’ve been able to setup some very convenient workflows of information using these features. For example, I can receive email into the application, read it in an ‘email’ grid, and check a metadata box if there is something actionable and the item will appear on a grid of things on which to follow up. The reason I like to keep knowledge and projects together is that I want to learn things and apply them to accomplish my goals. The related item feature allows me to link tasks with reference material and makes that possible. There are downsides with Infoqube as well. The program appears to work slightly slower than I can move. I’ve made a point to start using all of the keybindings to zoom around (it is well optimized to not require the mouse to be used) and sometimes the program cannot load the correct document for the item selected in tree before I can get the cursor in the document window. There some random freezes as well. Sometimes the cursor refuses to move when the arrow keys are pressed. Pressing F6 twice to bounce the selection back to the tree typically clears this up, but not always. None of these are showstoppers, just small annoyances, and I do firmly believe it is the most capable information manager for Windows.

A second program I’ve been testing is Emacs with Org-Mode. I don’t think Org-Mode is as good at InfoQube at managing a large amount of data - scaling is my primary concern with this or any plain text system. I will say that that the editing system is first rate. I’ve been using vim keybindings which make editing text occur very quickly. Org mode has syntax for quotes, source code, tables, pictures, and any other type of data. In some ways, Org-Mode reminds me of InfoQube - Org-Mode uses headline folding, which is similar to an InfoQube tree with details that can be found underneath. In theory, I value that there is no lock in as the text that is produced is plain text, however, I wonder how portable the plain text files are - I doubt they would be very useful outside of Emacs. I guess it is reassuring that the notes that are made in Org-Mode should be readable for life time.

The third option is just to stay where I am with Evernote. The thing that I appreciate most about Org-Mode and InfoQube is that they both impart a sense of urgency with the data associated with each note. I am able to piece together what I did each week looking at the files that were created or marked complete. Both InfoQube and Org-Mode have superior editors to the EverNote. They are both keybinding driven and have a sense of styles. The two killer features of Evernote is that it is so easy to get information into it and it is accessible everywhere. I don’t know if those two features make up for the shortcomings in almost every other area.

Has anyone have any experience building a large archive with one of these programs where you would have some insights?

 


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