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posted by martyb on Saturday April 23 2016, @10:12AM   Printer-friendly

Emacs org-mode is very powerful tool for personal knowledge management, but can be hard to learn, makes it hard to have the same content (notes) referenced in more than one place, and can be awkward for the hands. Finding other tools inadequate for various reasons, I wrote OneModel to meet my own needs, and made it available. If you touch-type, it is extremely fast for to-do lists and notes of all kinds, and I generate the project web site from part of its data. It is much easier to learn and faster to navigate than emacs, and you can have the same content in as many places as desired, without duplication.

But it wants to be more: It uses an internal structure that has big future ideas for knowledge management, like embedding code within groups of entities, or linking across OneModel instances, so you can choose to share data from your personal organizer, or subscribe to (or copy) data from other instances: like a wikipedia but where the internal knowledge is structured so can be used for computation, rich queries etc. Imagine asking a system: what villages in history had economic improvements in a 4-year period, all external conditions being equal, and what do those cases all have in common?--that is the long-term vision of the system. The vision and internal structure are intended as be a prototype of a platform to manage all mankind's knowledge as a usefully computable whole.

The web site has a few screen shots (remember it's an ugly prototype but works well! -- I have my calendar/life notes/todos/contacts etc in it now) and a demo system to play with without installing anything.

(It is written in scala, using a simple/approachable coding style that should be readable by most programmers with just minutes of scala knowledge--I hope--and uses postgresql for the data.)

I frankly don't mind if someone else takes the ideas and does a better job with them: we can do better than managing mankind's knowledge in the form of huge sophisticated piles of words: words are not the real knowledge but a superstrate over it, and they are hard to compute well. Feedback welcome.

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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Non Sequor on Saturday April 23 2016, @08:36PM

    by Non Sequor (1005) on Saturday April 23 2016, @08:36PM (#336321) Journal

    A number of the things you state as objectives seem to run afoul of the full employment theorem []. Your software may in fact be useful, but some of your aspirational goals seem to be frustrated by the problem that it's impossible to determine what the optimal granularity for data is. In your villages example, picking equivalence classes for your "all external conditions being equal" modifier is fraught with peril. Even if we suppose that there is some real, eternal law to be divined by this analysis, it's not going to be identified by every choice of equivalence classes. The set of reasonable equivalence classes is going to be quite large and there will be a variety of choices which do not find any significant explanatory variable and others which effectively cherry pick a spuriously significant explanatory variable. Before you can hope to look at similarities in economic progress of villages, you first need a theory of what makes two villages similar.

    Stated another way, there are results in algorithmic information theory which say that there is no a priori way to choose an optimal granularity for atoms of knowledge. This is the basis for the intractability of some big picture problems in formal logic, computer programming, statistical inference, machine learning, and human learning. The issues in that last item are noted in Plato's Socratic dialogues, with the Socratic position that knowledge is unperfectable being contrasted with a Sophistic position that perfect knowledge of virtue was possible and teachable.

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  • (Score: 1) by lcall on Saturday April 23 2016, @09:25PM

    by lcall (4611) on Saturday April 23 2016, @09:25PM (#336333)

    Thanks for your perceptive comment. Maybe as the system matures and is more used, we will model things at different granularity levels at different times, or find the best ways to meet the goals we can meet. I don't expect to run into that as a core blocker for some time. Participation welcome :) [] []