Obsidian Notes

I spent the last few weeks traveling and working out of hotels.1 Much of that work involved text files in Obsidian. I have a few notes on the experience.2 Most of the themes in Obsidian are just not that attractive to me. Some use monospace fonts in the body text. Some use wacky colors for every attribute, which I find very distracting. I’m not a huge fan of the variable size header styles in most themes.

A Couple New Python Tricks

It’s a slow week around here while I attend to some new projects. But these two python links are just too good to not share. First up is the announcement of a new O’Reily book about Excel automation with open source python. I don’t buy many O’Reily books these days but since I can get a PDF version I’m all in on this one. So much data is stored and used in Excel that it’s a no-brainer to get better at using it.

Jupyter on the Web

JupyterLab has announced JupyterLite: The goal of the project is to provide a lightweight computing environment accessible in a matter of seconds with a single click, in a web browser, and without having to install anything on the end-user device.

The Engadget Escape Room

I confess that my RSS subscriptions include the likes of crappy tech blogs like Engadget. It’s a throwback to the days when I loved Fever Reader and its ability to filter out repetitive web articles. I occasionally find something new but more often I find articles like this Engadget gem. I call these articles “Escape Rooms” because they challenge the visitor to find a link to the main subject.

COVID Links in Raindrop.io

I switched my bookmarking to Raindrop.io awhile back and I’m still pretty happy with it. Sadly, I’ve also been using it to collect bookmarks about COVID. That collection is now publicly available without needing to sign-up for Raindrop.

Obsidian Onboarding

Obsidian is a nice application with an uncomfortable on-boarding for new users. It was a struggle for me to remain committed to using the application because the settings are poorly documented and the defaults limit its usefulness. Many of the features I would normally consider “standard” for a Markdown writing tool are actually plugins. The following setup process gave me a reasonably good editing environment that works on all of my devices.

Critic Markup for Note Tags

Readers of this blog may have guessed it, but I don’t do a whole lot of copy editing these days. That means I don’t have a lot of need for CriticMarkup (CM) in my daily life. But, I do still use one feature of the syntax almost everyday: comments. My meeting notes often have annotations like this: 1{>>Q<<} Does this guarantee FIFO ordering 2{>>A<<} No. The order is maintained by the time stamp The {>>Q<<} comment is a reminder that I had a question while meeting or working.


PDFPen and Gaia GPS have both been acquired. I can’t think of many products that were better after they were acquired. I’m disappointed because I genuinely like Gaia GPS for iPhone. I’ve also been close to purchasing a PDFPen upgrade for a few weeks because it’s one of the most powerful Mac-native PDF editors. It’s not that I worry about lower software quality from new owners. I worry about the dark market of data skimming which seems to be so lucrative.

Notes on Obsidian

I’ve enjoyed using Craft app for the past few months but I’m not thrilled with the incomplete markdown support and the lack of end to end encryption. Like every other nerd, I’ve watched Obsidian rise to the top of new age text editors. This article is my reflection on using Obsidian as a note manager. Let me start with the baseline. I am using version 0.12.5 of Obsidian on macOS. I prefer the subtlegold theme in dark mode.

Stones Turned This Week

Matt Stoller wrote about the same old new efforts to regulate tech To understand why it’s so hard to get these laws right, it helps to start with the two basic problems with antitrust law. The first is that regulators and enforcers make key policy decisions, and have done a very bad job at it. A good example is they just decided to stop enforcing the anti-chain store Robinson-Patman Act, which prohibits certain forms of kickbacks, as well as prohibiting giving better prices to bigger customers.