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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: 2) by hendrikboom on Sunday April 24 2016, @12:54PM

    by hendrikboom (1125) Subscriber Badge on Sunday April 24 2016, @12:54PM (#336525) Homepage Journal

    Tech writing is a skill that can be learned. If you were to learn it, you'd probably find that you would require different tools to express yourself after that. You won't get it by getting a machine to write for you.

    As for how to learn it, the only way I know is to do it, and revise mercilessly, getting constructive criticism from readers.

    I used to hate writing. My Phd thesis was an exercise in tears. What turned me around was a good workshop on creative writing, followed by several Novembers of nanowrimo.

    After that, I no longer feared writing lots of text. If something wasn't clear enough, I rewrote, and rewrote again. often from scratch each time, until it was good enough. (no that isn't the recommended approach for the nanowrimo November; then you just write the *first* draft; rewriting later). Now I just emit words roughly on topic and then change them a few times once I've found out what I was writing. Often you only find out what you have to say by saying it wrong.

    -- hendrik

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