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Hi all,

Ok, coming back to OF my main problem remains that of the reference material. I've been with reQall for an academic year now, and it's very, very nice to be able to separate actionable materials from "notes" (something the zombie Midnight Inbox seemed to do decently), and it's even better to have those notes a) portable (cloud-based) and b) within the same app as the actionable stuff. Now b) seems to cover a) to some extent: e.g., if notes were part of OF's database, they would get synced as well and be available across my 3 platforms of greatest interest (laptop, iPhone, iPad) [I was made a cloud convert over this year, but the iPad really changed the game and I'm now lugging it around most of the time]
The great advantage of reQall is that it also 'bugs you' with reminders, meaning that I review regularly and in a quite ingenious fashion the reference material; however if reference material [just talking notes here] were integrated to OF, I could see how it would be easy to assign review dates to get around this issue.

Now the reason I'm seriously annoyed by this is that I do my 'brain dumps' in OF, and that includes lots of non-actionable stuff. I've tried keeping it in dropped/on hold projects in OF, but that's pretty counter-intuitive. I'm also not a fan of exporting it to another software (script, etc.) as it breaks a bit the continuity of my workflow (it works for a while but not when you have massive amounts to process, one reason I moved away from the otherwise very interesting Ready-Set-Do). Also, the only export that I'd truly consider at this point would have to be towards either reQall or Evernote so that I could access the data on the go.

I've of course already voted for a notes feature in OF, but I'm wondering if in the great world of the forum there are any new solutions for this particular type of issue (Inbox=>Notes=>cloud-based reference) that I haven't considered. I know that a year or so ago a lot of people including myself were looking at apps like Bento, Together, Yojimbo, etc. (not to mention a lot of the 'black belts' here using OO) but I think things might have shifted a bit?

Looking forward to your ideas!
 
My notes go into Notational Velocity on the desktop and SimpleNote on the iPhone/iPad. All are synced through SimpleNote's web service. I'm looking forward to the iPad version of OmniOutliner, but it's going to have to have very nice syncing abilities to get me out of SimpleNote.

My workflow is probably a bit different than yours. I only throw actionable projects and tasks at OF. Brain dumps to me are a collecting activity; extracting actionable items from the brain dump is a clarifying activity (Allen called this "processing" in GTD, but renamed it "clarifying" in Making It All Work.) I brain dump to either paper or SimpleNote, then sort through the results to decide what actions need to be added to OF. I have steps in my weekly/monthly review checklists to review notes, so don't need the notes in OF to remember to review them.

For me, this firm division between collecting and clarifying is essential. Without it, I resist capturing everything when I don't yet know what I want to do with it. I can be more disciplined at separating collecting and clarifying by not using OF for brain dumps. I don't mean to imply that this is the "right" way to handle this, but thought I'd offer it in case you're interested in trying it. (And process change or not, take a look at SimpleNoteŚlightning fast, bare bones, does one thing and does it extremely well.)
__________________
Cheers,

Curt
 
Hi Curt,

Thanks for your thoughtful reply—you're spot on about the differences in our workflows, but your remarks are very useful nonetheless.
I only just found out about the DA OmniFocus whitepaper: I'm not so impressed by the way they describe their process. Collection happens entirely in OF, but then you move non-actionables to other systems. I just wish there'd be a way to save that step, and unfortunately I really can't do without the single brain-dump place for actionables and non-actionables alike...
Regarding the notes system itself: part of what made reQall very useful for me is that I've been using it to help me memorize/review the massive amounts of tidbits of info we have to learn in med school. Integration with Evernote means that it's very easy to tie those notes in with pictures if desired.
 
Personally, I make HEAVY use of OS X services to send things to the right inboxes. Using Evernote's clipper (well, actually the custom services I built to replace the clipper) and OmniFocus's clippings or send-to-inbox service, I can shunt information from any app into the right "inbox."

I use the same tools to move items between apps as well. Select text in Evernote, then "Send to Inbox" and I've got a task waiting for me. If I have a lengthy note I clipped from a website into OmniFocus, I can select it and send it to my default notebook in Evernote.

This does mean that I have an extra inbox to sort, because there's no automatic tagging or anything in there, but it sure does get the job done, quickly and painlessly.

ReQall would be easy enough to include in this workflow, by just selecting the text in your browser and sending it along with the right keyboard shortcut. Just another inbox.
 
Thanks Nik—this is just what I needed to convince me to finally upgrade to Snow Leopard! ;-)
 
My solution for this is probably too simple, which must mean that I haven't understood the question!

I have a context called Reference and a folder called Reference with a number of single action lists in called: Computers, Excel Advanced Book, Pens etc. etc. Anything I want to dump goes in there. I want to keep all of this stuff together hence why I have tried to stick to OF.

I have not converted to the cloud as yet. I am trying Evernote, more for it's PDF OCRing than anything. I am also playing with Notational Velocity (great app) especially as it nows play nicely with SimpleNote. I have MobileMe and use iDisk, but not often. If I do use any of these it will take me some way from keeping everything in OF, but I think that I can justify that to be able to search PDFs on Evernote or for files in MobileMe. Annoyingly I am going to struggle to justify my favourite apps Notational Velocity and SimpleNote.
 
Hi Dogsbreath,
Not at all too simple a solution! Your vote along with Curt's recommendation of Notational Velocity + Simplenote means that it's something I really need to explore. I really like the idea of Reference context + folder; my only worry would be that it slows down the system and the sync too much (and I want to keep OF fast esp. to be able to always enter actions in very fast). Evernote seems to integrate pretty well with my one-day re-switch to OF as per Nik. It's best for me I think because of the wide variety of format supported. I'm a heavy user of images in particular, and need them cross-linked to textual references etc. I have masses of PDFs that I manage in different ways (and iPad + iAnnotate, the latter being a decent temporary solution, is a blessing for all PDF readers), and Evernote keeps them available for me across platforms. Plus masses of Word and Pages documents, etc. There's some obvious quirks, but contrary to most people I actually really enjoy their Mac desktop app interface.
I also use iDisk mostly for massive backups of my HD and for sync services.
I'm curious, though: may I ask how many "reference" notes you keep in OF, how long they are on average and if you insert media in them, and if you've noticed any decrease in speed as the database gets bigger with those?

Thanks!
 
There are less than 200 reference notes in my library, although some of them have embedded notes of up to 2 pages of A4 (it's like letter, but better!). None have media attached. My sync speed to my iPod Touch is about a minute or less. The increase is notes is gradual, as is the increase of sync time, so I haven't really noticed it build up. I would be loathe to add images as I am sure the speed would be a problem, but perhaps OF doesn't sync in the way I think. Perhaps it only syncs the changes and the time that mine is taking is just checking if there are any differences?

Last edited by Dogsbreath; 2010-05-29 at 02:17 AM.. Reason: Change quoting
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dogsbreath View Post
There are less than 200 reference notes in my library, although some of them have embedded notes of up to 2 pages of A4 (it's like letter, but better!). None have media attached. My sync speed to my iPod Touch is about a minute or less. The increase is notes is gradual, as is the increase of sync time, so I haven't really noticed it build up. I would be loathe to add images as I am sure the speed would be a problem, but perhaps OF doesn't sync in the way I think. Perhaps it only syncs the changes and the time that mine is taking is just checking if there are any differences?
Awesome! This makes me want to try OF for simple text notes, thanks for the info!
 
Dogsbreath didn't mention how much space his db occupies, but my iPod touch (2G model) syncing with Omni's experimental sync server and an overgrown db that has 670 projects, 6209 actions and 241 zip files at this moment, occupying 12.8 million bytes of actual disk space syncs in about 20 seconds. It will take longer on those sync cycles where it compacts the db and has to rewrite the whole thing back to the server, of course. I don't think a reasonable number of text files or lengthy notes are going to have much of an adverse impact as long as you are getting decent connection speeds to the network.
 
 


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