11 Dec

What Programs Do I Use: Manuskript

Like I said, I try to write fiction which I recently realized that what I was planning to write back in 2009 (gave up in 2013) is more of a Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) world/realm then an original world (now I decided to make it back to one).  But I never really had a way to organize my thoughts/parts expect with individual word processor or .txt files within folders.  I either outline or just write something down in those files.

Recently I came by a program called Manuskript, which is an Open Source clone of Scrivener.  I took the time to review it by video because I found that it would be hard to do it by text:

I have a playlist where I talk about the app along with me creating a D&D campaign with the program.

The main problem of this program that it looks like the development has stalled and maybe is already dead because, “QT Webkit is depracated [and] may have built it on dying tech” (Darrell Breeden, comments on the story on OMG! Ubuntu).  Hopefully it isn’t because none of the other suggested programs are suited for what I’m trying to do with what I’m working on.

07 Jul

What Programs Do I Use: Thunderbird Mail

As I said before, I like to use and support FOSS and one of the other programs that I use is Thunderbird Mail for my e-mails, calendar, and task list.  I tried other e-mail clients, but Thunderbird always stuck with me.  Why?  Because it has good support for multiple e-mail accounts and the addons make it easier to consolidate programs

Like Firefox, I have a two addons to make it more useful in my workflow:

  • Lighting: My calendar and task list.  Because I don’t use G-mail, I don’t need the addon that makes Lighting work with G-mail- I use Fastmail.fm for my e-mail.  Yes!  I pay for my e-mail, but it’s better than trusting Google.
  • Bamboo: A RSS reader.  I’m not sure if I will move on to something where I can sync since I have two devices but this one will do for now.

Thunderbird is a wonderful preinstalled program for users that want an e-mail client.  Try it out!

12 Jun

What Programs Do I Use: Xournal

I stated that I own a drawing tablet where I try to draw/paint, but I also use it to write notes and/or brainstorm. Roughly two years ago I started to think about using Xournal in my workflow as this quote states (taken from here):

It’s only going from analogue to digital. But it’s something that I wanted to do for maybe two years. I was able to finally use my Wacom tablet in November of 2013 when my trackpad (read: laptop’s mouse) stopped working and I had some weird issue with anything that mouse-like on Ubuntu. Luckily, I had my Wacom tablet that was meant for me to do digital artwork, but I never found that I liked my style and gave up for a while. Also, a bit before, one of my Twitter pals, AJ Linux, posted a blog post about note-taking software for Linux and that post introduced me to Xournal. From then (November 2013) to now, I rarely use a mouse with my laptop (the netbook that I have, the 2005 one is a desktop for me), I just use my Wacom tablet. This allows me to hand-write all of my notes for my classes that I take (and amaze everyone around me).

Workflow
Why Xournal? Because it has more features/tools than the others.  On the screenshot to the right, you can see that I can add photos to the page, add writing to them, use different colors, export to PDF (which the image is from a PDF of the file), a way to draw straight lines, ect.  Simply an amazing program for those who like to handwrite notes on their computers.

This page is from my personal notebook that is five plus pages of notes/brainstorms.  This page details the pros and cons of digital versus analogue.  The photo on the top of the page is from my personal analogue notebook (dated on November 1, 2013) that I rarely use.  I think I only filled up maybe ten pages out of 500 (it’s a FiveStar three subject notebook).   The last time I wrote in it was in September of 2015.  On my digital notebook, I started to write in it in January of this year and my last was written on May 1st of 2016.  I think I will be using the digital notebook more.

I’m also not sure if I will use my phone for notetaking as I have Note Edge.

Here are my other workflow posts containing many redesigns on which programs to use. In fact, the only thing that is changing is the programs that I use to take notes with.  And I feel that GitHub’s Atom will be the new one since I use it for code, but lately for more note taking than coding.  Someday, I will blog about that….

10 Aug

Workflow Redesign (Again!)

Since I have fully made the commitment for using Ubuntu as my only OS for all of my devices, it’s time for me to rethink of my workflow.  Before I was using Zim Wiki as my primary note-taking program along with some hand-written notes using Xournal (I have a drawing tablet) or pen and paper.  Now, I have switched back to Evernote through the Notes app.  I’m modifying my original Evernote workflow  because there are some features that the Notes app doesn’t have as of now.

The new plan:

  • Use the same notebooks as the old plan (including the ones from this plan)
  • Because Notes doesn’t support stacking of notes, I will use tags to keep related notes together and those tags will act like sub-categories/pages
  • I’m moving my task list from Thunderbird/Lighting to Notes, but keeping each sub-category and titling those notes “To Do List”.
  • As for projects, the task lists will be those notes.
  • I will use reminders for tasks with due dates and a tag called “Reminder” to find them quickly.

Hopefully, this will work out as I want to try to whole covertance (SP) story for myself.

NOTE: You need to add the PPA, ppa:ubuntu-touch-coreapps-drivers/daily,  to your system’s Software Sources and than updating your software to get the app to work after installing the Notes app (search “Reminders”).  The package in the software center is outdated and doesn’t work.

10 Nov

Why is my Workflow the Way it is?

As I said in my last post, I’m trying to find a program that suits my workflow in terms of being organized.  In this quote:

My plan on how to use Zim [Wiki] is as followed:

  • I will use notebooks to keep related stuff together.  Example: All of my Ubuntu stuff in a nokebook called, “Ubuntu”.
  • Within notebooks, minus the “Pickle Jar”, I will use pages as major categories.  Example: I have a “Ubuntu Sense” page within my “Ubuntu” notebook.
  • Within major categories (as pages), I will use sub-pages as the “pages”. Example: I have a “Things to Blog On” sub-page in my “Ubuntu Sense” page.
  • […]
  • I will use a “Pickle Jar” notebook for random thoughts just has David Seah does [both links removed].

The first four are things that seem to stay with me no matter what program I use, so I know those things are set in stone but the program that I use isn’t.

The quote is talking about how I organize things within the notebooks themselves.

Today, I was thinking on why I organize my “notes” this way instead of just having .odt or .txt files.  What I believe is that I taking some of the ideas that I was forced to do in middle school into high school, which was to have binders (or one mega binder) for each subject and within each binder, have a divider for the subcategories that was required for that subject.  Within those dividers, the notes, handouts, ect would be placed.  What I’m doing is trying to recreate that in a digital setting in order to get closer to my “be closely 100% digital”.

07 Nov

Using Zim Wiki in my Workflow

As I said in this post, I ditched Evernote as my note-taking program because I don’t like the UX on the Andriod. A few days ago, I thought about my workflow again, mainly how to deal with the various text-based notes and how organize them. For some reason, I don’t like or just don’t do well with just having a folder full of text files (either in .txt or .odt). I would rather have a hierarchical system. I once used KeepNote, which had awesome freatures but it isn’t developed, as it was some student at MIT’s pet project. Then I moved to CherryTree and I don’t remember why I stopped using it, maybe because of the UX. When I started to use Ubuntu back in 2009, I took note of the defult note-taking program, Tomboy Notes. I think I only used it for maybe a month and I don’t remember why I ditched it. For two (2) years, I never looked into a new note-taking program until I started to think about going close to 100% being digital for taking notes. Within the last two (2) years, I skipped between many programs and still really haven’t settled on anything. Perhaps, I should write a “lessons learned” blog post about creating the workflow that I use now.

Since I’m not using Tomboy for my note-taking then what I’m using? Once again, I looked back at my one of Linux using friends, AJ Linux, and his HubPage where he talks about three note-taking programs. This time Zim Wiki caught my eye:

Zim is a graphical text editor used to maintain a collection of wiki pages. Each page can contain links to other pages, simple formatting and images. Pages are stored in a folder structure, like in an outliner, and can have attachments. Creating a new page is as easy as linking to a nonexistent page. All data is stored in plain text files with wiki formatting. Various plugins provide additional functionality, like a task list manager, an equation editor, a tray icon, and support for version control. (Zim Homepage)

Zim wiki is basically your desktop wiki without a wiki server that you set up.  So far, I played around with it for an hour last night.  I like but I still have things to learn to increase my usage and a few more settings to tweak.

My plan on how to use Zim is as followed:

  • I will use notebooks to keep related stuff together.  Example: All of my Ubuntu stuff in a nokebook called, “Ubuntu”.
  • Within notebooks, minus the “Pickle Jar”, I will use pages as major categories.  Example: I have a “Ubuntu Sense” page within my “Ubuntu” notebook.
  • Within major categories (as pages), I will use sub-pages as the “pages”. Example: I have a “Things to Blog On” sub-page in my “Ubuntu Sense” page.
  • I will use Dropbox to sync.
  • If I have projects to work on, most likely the task lists will stay with the projects and not be transferred on to my list on Lighting on Thuderbird.
  • I will use a “Pickle Jar” notebook for random thoughts just has David Seah does.

The first four are things that seem to stay with me no matter what program I use, so I know those things are set in stone but the program that I use isn’t.  And watch this change in a month or so.  But hopefully, I can finally settle onto one note-taking program and improve my workflow.

30 Aug

Why do I Use Open Source?

I decided to respond to Michael Hall’s post, “Why do you contribute to open source?“, but first I will explain why I use open source and in the next post, I will explain why I contribute to it.  I don’t only use it because it’s almost free to use but for the intuitive sense of things that I see in all of the programs that I use.  This intuitive sense matches up with the way that I think and how I do things.

I have three examples why I use Open Source:

Example One: Evernote Ink Notes vs. Xournal- A Shift in My Workflow

This example is a recent thing that happened to me.  On Monday, August, 25, 2014 (first day of my last school year of my undergrad years), I was able to restore my Nexus 7 2013 back to Android from Ubuntu Touch since Ubuntu Touch wasn’t worth while to use (for now) as a working tablet.  For those who want to know, you need at least 2 GB of RAM to use the ./flash-all.sh command.  I only restored my tablet- meaning that I didn’t brother to install a custom ROM on it (don’t ask me why).  After I restored, I installed the Evernote app and signed in to it.  The hour before I restored my tablet, I was in my eight A.M. class and I took hand-written notes on my netbook, Evernote Ink Notes, and my Wacom Intous 4 pen and tablet.  When I opened the notes on my tablet and they looked horrible!  Not because I have chicken scratch for my handwriting (it does get bad at times) but because it was zoomed in and I had to finger scroll.  I had no way to zoom out.  And the UX of the app is just not fun to use.

After that first use of the Evernote, I decided to go back and use my favorite handwritten note-taking program, Xournal, but with some tweaks.  One of them being all of my notes for one class is be one file, when possible, which is for my eight A.M. class.  The other one is be convert the presentation slides for my second and also last class (I have two this term) into PDF and annotate that PDF.

The only problem with this workflow is that Xournal is X based not Qt based.  That means when Mir and Unity 8 comes out, I won’t be able to use my favorite program!  But maybe I could work with some developers and get some of the features of Xournal into the Reminders app.

Example Two: Open Source has More Intuitive Minds

I have noticed that many of the programs that I use have features that are latter used in non-open source programs.  Who had tabs first in Internet browsers?  Firefox.  Conversion from a word/spreadsheet/presentation to PDF?  OpenOffice.  This goes to show that who are more daring to be more intuitive.

When Unity first introduced back in Ubuntu 11.04, it was hard for me to get used to it at first.  I think it took me maybe two months to tell myself to that is the change can be good.  After I installed 11.04, I saw that Unity increased my productivity.  I found that searching in the Dash of Unity was faster than scrolling and clicking through folders on the menu.  Unity is quiet intuitive to my mind and it was here before Windows 8.  Another example of open source having more intuitive minds.

Example three will be in my next post when I will talk about why I contribute to Open Source.  Most likely, I will have a series of posts about why I’m in the FOSS community and other subjects such as why I blog.

 

02 Jul

Doc Team Wiki Page Clean Up

Today the Wiki Sub-Team of the Ubuntu Doc Team had a mini-sprint over the team’s homepage (https://wiki.ubuntu.com/DocumentationTeam).  We have cleaned it up by removing some of the unwanted sub-pages, rewrote some of the pages to make it easier for new people to get involved with us, and much more.

Hopefully this is the best step to help people to understand our team’s workflow.

14 May

Evernote Workflow Design

Evernote is what I was looking for since the summer of 2012.  Before it, I looked at note-taking programs like KeepNote and Cherry Tree but they didn’t have multimedia (such as hand-written and audio notes).  And, as I said in my “Workflow (Re)Design” post, I’m looking for something that can tie in hand-written notes and typed notes and have them syncing between my four devices. It’s hard to believe that I overlooked at Evernote when it was suggested to me by someone on IRC.

And so for the last two hours, I have downloaded the .exe, since there is no Linux program for it yet, not even the clones are good, and installed it under WINE.  Like with all new programs or devices (or systems), I like to sit down and change the settings first to have the feel and the workflow that I need.  I hate to admit this but I never read the help files for anything.  I seem to apart of that culture that never read directions.  I also looked at how others are using Evernote.

Here is my plan:

* Have (at the moment) three notebooks that will be used for:

* Personal (Matters)
* School
* Ubuntu

* Use tags for “sub-notebooks”, Ubuntu Sense as an example
* Stack notes when needed.  This will come useful for class notes for all of my classes.
* Use the Camera App to take photos of hand-written notes and other things.  Scanning will be used also.

Hopefully this will work out or else I will be stuck with my old workflow.

P.S. One good thing about Evernote is the notes that are stacked within the notebook is not dynamic like in M$ OneNote or BasketNotes.  That’s one thing that I hate about those type of programs.

EDIT: May 15, 2014- Afterthought, it was in the summer of 2012 not December of 2012.

06 May

Workflow (Re)design

Over the past month or so, I started to think about my workflow and I found that I’m at the point of redesigning it, mainly because I have new tools that can be used in my workflow.

Since I started to talk about tools, allow me to list what I have:

For analogue, I still have a notebook for paper and a pen.  But for digital, I have more tools then just a computer, screen, and a mouse/keyboard.  I have a Wacom Intous 4 (that I don’t even use for drawing that much anymore), the pen to that tablet, two smart devices: a Nexus 7 2013 and HTC ONE V.

I weighed the pros and the cons of both of them and I found that going digital is the way to go but not 100%.  I still need to use a bit of the analogue to still have a functioning system.

Most of the pros dealt with saving physical space, eco-friendlyness, and the functions of editing, pen colors, and different sytle of paper for the background in the program that I will be using called Xounral.  I will also use myPaint for brainstorming using idea webs/maps.

The only con that I was about list was the fact that both of the programs, myPaint and Xournal, is the fact that these programs are not for the smart devices and their main file type (.ora and .xoj, respectively) doesn’t work with another programs.  Well, .ora works with GIMP but GIMP is only for the PC.

I’m not sure if there is any OpenSource based program like Xournal that can sync between PC’s and smart devices.  The only program that I saw was Quill but again that is only for smart devices. And for some reason, it’s free on F-Droid but not Google Play. Maybe I should ask the developers of Quill to port it for the PC. Another thought that came to me was what if I could develop a program that does what I want.  The only problem and, this problem always run into this, is that I can’t code.  I only have the basic concepts of how code works.  Before I move on, I want to say sorry for getting a bit offtopic but it’s needed.

/start_offtopic

The reason why I joined the Ubuntu Community in the first place is to get my ideas for programs/games to be developed with code.  But I like I already said, I quickly found another niche to be in.  While it was the best thing for me to do, I still, time to time, get ideas for programs.  Lately, I have been thinking what if I started to network with developers and get one of my ideas developed into a program.  But I have no way to start this and I’m asking others to help me network with developers.  Thank you.

/end_offtopic

Back to the workflow redesign, I also looked at my task management system.  Currently, I’m just using Lightning for both my calender and tasks.  But it alone cut it for me.  It doesn’t do my day to day planning.  What I use now, is David Seah’s Mini Emergent Task Planner, which is an analogue planner.

When looking back at my redesign, it is not a major change.  It’s only going from analogue to digital.  But it’s something that I wanted to do for maybe two years.  I was able to finally use my Wacom tablet in November of 2013 when my trackpad (read: laptop’s mouse) stopped working and I had some weird issue with anything that mouse-like on Ubuntu.  Luckily, I had my Wacom tablet that was meant for me to do digital artwork, but I never found that I liked my style and gave up for a while.  Also, a bit before, one of my Twitter pals, AJ Linux, posted a blog post about note-taking software for Linux and that post introduced me to Xournal.  From then (November 2013) to now, I rarely use a mouse with my laptop (the netbook that I have, the 2005 one is a desktop for me), I just use my Wacom tablet.  This allows me to hand-write all of my notes for my classes that I take (and amaze everyone around me).

This sums up everything of my redesign and like David Seah, I might be writing another blog post on how it’s going for me.