02-Oct-21: Logseq 0.4.2 Release, Plugins, One vs Multiple Graphs, Acronyms

Pinch and a punch for the first of the month. I started to write this post yesterday for the sole purpose of being able to write this. Interestingly, I had no idea it was said to ward off evil spirits. Salt was thought to make witches weak and the punch to banish the witch forever.

With that said, let’s see what happened in the past week, of course, in addition to the call for volunteers for the mobile app (see here for more info). I have slightly amended the Workflows section to make the text less intimidating and easier to read. I hope this works.

Releases

New release day has to be one of my favourite things that I look forward to.

0.4.2

  • Cool new feature allowing you to use Ctrl+Shift+y to insert a timestamp while watching a YouTube video. Another excellent Quality of Life improvement.
  • Fix to the issue where embedded blocks could not be edited. I do not embed many blocks, but it is handy to be able to quickly edit something on another page without having to go to that page.
  • When inserting a link/text that ends with /, the slash commands are not triggered. This was a real pain point, and I am happy this has been sorted. I like to copy links of the source to my findings, and playing around with text on paste created friction.
  • Fixes to the Cloze for those that use Logseq to do some SRS.
  • Improvements to the appearance and transition of the sidebar.

Full changelog available here

Plugins

This week we have been exceptionally well served with additional plugins that are available via the Logseq Marketplace, including:

  • Convert Blocks to a Page @hyrijk‘s plugin allows us to convert a block, including its children, into a page. This is great if you start writing on one page and then realise you want to split your thoughts into more distinct notes. This can now be achieved through a few clicks and avoids having to copy/cut, create page and paste.
  • Random Note – Have you ever wanted to be shown a note at random to get lost in your world of links and thoughts? Now you can thanks to the Random Note plugin by @TankCool. I love the use of the die icon to demonstrate the randomness.
  • Logseq Tabs – The incredibly talented @pengx17 developed a plugin that allows us to view our Logseq similar to a web browser with tabs. The plugin allows multiple pages to open as tabs within Logseq, allowing you to jump from one page to the other very quickly. You can also pin frequently used tabs or reorder them to suit your needs. A brief demo is included below:
  • Journal Heatmap – Another great plugin by @pengx17. In this plugin, we can quickly see how many blocks we create in the daily journal pages. This is very useful if you perhaps want to track how many blocks you have on your journal pages. It would be great if this plugin counted the number of new blocks added in any given day across all pages, but maybe that is an entirely different ball game in terms of complexity.
  • Extract text@Sid P wows us with a very cool plugin to extract bold and highlighted text from a block and all its nested blocks. Check it out in action below. It is not yet available in the Marketplace but should be soon.

Full disclosure: Not all were added last week, but I thought they deserved mention.

Workflows

One vs Multiple Graphs

  • @Sid P opened with a question that is very close to home on the use of single or multiple graphs. “The question I have is whether it’s a good idea to track technical knowledge (software engineering subjects) in a separate graph or keep it in one main, single graph. The reason I ask this is:
    1. Technical knowledge often becomes obsolete, and bar certain things, little is “permanent”.
    2. I’m not sure how these ideas/concepts will mingle with other non-technical ideas.
    3. I don’t want my main graph to become unusable because of the big size and am ok if I have to keep the work/personal graphs separate”
  • Although the question is focused on technical knowledge, I think the same applies in general. I frequently debate whether to have a personal and “work” graph or a combined graph. @Luhmann provided a very valid point of view in that “the advantages of having knowledge networked outweigh any negatives from the size of the graph. And any usability issues from long notes or notes with too many backlinks are being ironed out quickly by the developers. It is essential for the long-term viability of Logseq that graph size not be seen as a limitation.
  • @LarryK follows up on that with, “The only reason I have my personal and work graphs separated is that they’re on two different computers. If you aren’t doing that, I’d recommend keeping them in a single graph.” @JC5x also points out, “it’s a hassle to switch contexts—and if you’re like me, some of your personal interests and work interests intersect. Why not take advantage of that?”
  • If you do want to use two graphs for sharing purposes, @Sabre23t offers us a good solution “You can actually “separate” but still keep your Logseq notes in one big graph. Logseq keeps the notes in journals and pages folders within your graph. Just create another folder called say personal and using some file manager move your personal pages into it and re-index the graph. It makes it easier for you to duplicate only the pages folder to share with others. Or to duplicate just the personal folder for a personal graph on a different machine.”
  • All in all, there were some very valid points of view, but being able to have a complete networked knowledge in one place and the hassle of switching between graphs means that I will stay with the one graph approach.

Acronyms and Disambiguation

  • @JC5x raised the question of how do we manage aliases and acronyms/abbreviations in our Logseq. The question came up as “I’m running into the problem that I refer to [[IRM]] as various things. I keep telling myself to be consistent and use the full term (whatever it may be), but it happens I keep talking about [[IRM]] as information risk management and [[IRM]] as information rights management.” This is an important point and one to get right early on because as our second brain grows, there will be nothing worse to have to spend an excessive amount of time to find a note or going back to tweak old notes.
  • @qwxlea provided a simple solution whereby we add a key identifier to the acronym such as “[[IRM-risk]] and [[IRM-info]]? Long descriptive page names are good: “information risk management” as page title, and #irm (or #irm-risk) as an alias. Then if you hover over the tag, you get an explanation of the meaning as a popover.”
  • Or we can use Hatnotes (I had never heard of this, so thank you @Sabre23t for posting). @Sabre23t tends to “use lots of short forms for my page names. Description of the short names given in its page. I tend to make sure to define unique short names. I would likely have used [[IRM]] for Information Risk Management and [[IRgM]] for Information Rights Management. Picking up from Wikipedia hatnote/disambiguation style, I may put at the top of [[IRM]] “For Information Rights Management, see [[IRgM]]” or thereabout.”

Empty Journal Pages

  • A few questions were raised in the past week regarding the journal pages and whether there was a way to delete the blank/unused pages to avoid having to scroll past them, as asked by @timurb. I personally use the daily page as my starting point and branch off from that, but many users go straight to the desired page and avoid keeping a journal.
  • There is no solution to this yet, but there is a feature request on the Discourse.

Up Next

  • Mobile app – does anything more need to be said?
  • We may soon be presented with a lefthand sidebar. I cannot wait to try this out.
  • What I would love to see is a bit of an improvement in the startup speed. I have the habit of closing everything done at the end of the day as part of my shutdown routine and opening Logseq back up again is a little cumbersome.

Other Topics

  • The early bird price on Obsidian Sync and Publish has ended so the cost is now USD 8/month and USD 16/month, respectively.
  • Athens are progressing with the Real-Time Collaboration early working copy. It seems like an interesting concept, but I fear too much effort is being put into RTC at the expense of fundamental usage features. I hope RTC ends soon so that they can work on something else.
  • Remnote 1.4 was released, including a complete visual and UX redesign that touches every corner of the product. Check out the video here.
  • Shu Omi got me interested in Raindrop through his recent article. I have learned that Raindrop/Hypothesis/Readwise should not be feared but instead be tamed as there are many benefits to using them. I wish I had spent the time on them in the past.
  • This week I finished The Racketeer by John Grisham, my 18th John Grisham book. If there are any other aficionados out there, please do get in touch.