Man filling out a form

ideas and notes

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Everyone who can read and write knows them: the notebooks and diaries. The older ones among us also have poetry albums and other nice, colorful little books in which you can record your ideas, thoughts and much more.

However, if you wanted to structure your ideas and thoughts a little better, you could hardly avoid index cards or notes, which were then best collected in boxes or boxes. Some even began to label them with keywords and other tools and to link them to each other.

So it was not surprising that with the advent of the first personal computer, people began to transfer their tried-and-tested analogue tools to the computer world. At the beginning of the 1990s, various small computer programs had become established that mastered all the tasks of file boxes brilliantly in a very simple, fully functional and comprehensive manner — at least in the eyes of the users.

But even then, software companies and developers started throwing database-supported, jack-of-all-trades onto the market that offered hundreds of thousands of fonts, characters, endless color settings, and other unnecessary gadgets. The only thing that fell behind was that as a user you could hardly find the actual functions and the original purpose of the card boxes was forgotten. On the other hand, what appeared on the screen, usually quite randomly, could be printed out as colorfully as possible and, if necessary, almost always transformed into formats that others could hardly read, passed on to data storage devices or even sent via data lines.

Since the e-mail programs became more and more extensive and monstrous, many users began to manage all tasks - including those of the note boxes - with these e-mail programs.

So it is very gratifying today that many developers and also potential users are again thinking about how the functions of the old card boxes can be reproduced as simply and understandably as possible, perhaps also safely and for the long term. My very personal tip to anyone who is dedicated to this task is as follows:

  • KISS — keep it simple and stupid.
  • If the whole thing doesn't fit on a 2 MB disk, it needs further improvement and
  • all data should also be legible in the future.

That's why I'm particularly pleased that Detlef Stern faced this challenge. Even more that he can already come up with a very successful "tester":

Of course has Detlef Stern there is already a dedicated website for this:, And right here the corresponding manual is currently being created, which itself is an example of a card store.

Depending on the computer and operating system, its Zettelstore has around 8 - 11 MB and is therefore a bit larger than I originally expected - but most users should be able to live with it.

In addition, the Zettelstore is not "cloud-based", which may be less convenient, but more sustainable.

Nevertheless, I do not want to withhold from you the other projects that I am now aware of:

Incidentally, this list was created with the help of Detlef Stern and created its Zettelstore.

When deciding on a digital "Zettelkasten" you should be guided by two things:

  1. Is the whole thing easy enough for you and
  2. do you think the software will still be available in the future?

I will probably for Detlef Sterns Zettelstore decide and use the advantages of the "short way", which should be the case from everywhere nowadays.

#zettelkasten #zettelstore #notes #ideas #index cards

"Don't worry about people stealing an idea. If it's original, you will have to ram it down their throats."

Howard H. Aiken, "Portraits In Silicon“ by Robert Slater (1992: 88)

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