Ricky Kresslein

Text Notes


I recently read a post by Derek Sivers and it inspired me.

For years, I have been hopping between notes apps, trying to find the "best" one. I have used Evernote, Roam, Obsidian, Logseq, Trilium, and Joplin. Each one held my attention for a while, but I inevitably began searching for something else after a few months. Nothing was perfect. Then I read the aforementioned blog post and realized I don't need any of them!

I started converting everything I had to plain .txt files, organized within a "Notes" folder with sub-folders. I used vim to edit the notes. It is the most basic text editor I could find (plus I'm already familiar with it). Since all of my notes were already in markdown format, converting them did not take long at all.

Now, if I want to search for something within a note, I cd to the Notes directory in a terminal and use the command grep -rn . -e "pandas" (where "pandas" is the word I am searching for). That scans through all of my notes in the blink of an eye and tells me in which file and on what line I can find "pandas". It is simple and fast.

My entire Notes folder takes up around 120 kilobytes of disk space. I do not have a notes application constantly running, hogging system resources. I do not need to worry if my note system works on every device and operating system (it does). Everything is simple. Perfect, even.

I highly recommend moving away from storing your valuable data with big companies who may go out of business at a moment's notice, sell your information to advertisers and AI training platforms, and/or spy on you. Keep everything you own safe and secure on your own hardware. You can start with your notes.