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Life Hacks is a summary of approaches taken by uber-productive net personalities like jzw, GvR, Tim Bray or ESR. It’s also summarized here.

My summary: manage knowledge in simple, searchable, cross-platform format. The format of choice seems to be plain text file and a tool of choice is a text editor.

I tried that approach and it didn’t work for me. Storing everything in one file didn’t work because I had too much data to store. Navigating one, big text document was too unwieldy. Part of the blame falls on a tool - despite trying many, I didn’t find really confortable text editor for Windows.

Then I tried storing information in multiple files. I was hoping that by dividing info into files I’ll be able to navigate it more easily. A crucial thing in such a setup is a good support from a text editor for managing a collection of files. While I found an editor that did support that, the support wasn’t good. Simple operations like creating a new file and adding it to a project were annoyingly hard to do. Some desired capabilities, like searching through all files, were not available.

I can see how a really good editor optimized for such usage would solve those problems, but I didn’t find one yet.

Then I tried wiki-like desktop apps like FlexWiki and WikiPad. While the idea is right, the implementation, at least at present, is abominable.

The I tried highly polished product: Microsoft’s OneNet. While looking nice it doesn’t use open format and is very wasteful when it comes to using screen space. The main activity is writing and copy&paste of texts and OneNet isn’t optimized for that.

I ended up using this blog as a note taking app.