10 Nov 2003 Xorian   » (Master)

I've got to stop reading Advogato diary entries late at night. They keep me up following links and thinking when I should be sleeping!

Last night I came home and read dyork's entry pointing to a discussion about running a personal Wiki on a USB Disk. That got me thinking about the possibility of running a Wiki on my Linux handheld. It could be a very powerful way of both recording notes and keeping them readily accessible. My brain's been spinning on this all day, when I really should be hacking on my main project.

For pretty much my entire professional career, I've had a habit of writing notes as I work. I just use Emacs with a few personal macros. For a while I've wanted to do something that allows me to record a little more semantic content in my notes. (For example, tagging areas of text as source code, program output, etc.) I've hesitated for a couple of reasons:

  • Using a markup system for formatting could be trouble long-term if whatever engine reads it dies off. ASCII text is pretty safe.
  • I've developed my own way of doing this. I'm reluctant to try to adapt my way of working to the paradigm of an existing piece of software. At the same time, I'm not sure I want to invest the time in writing something new that works the way I want.

But maybe I'm underestimating the software that's out there. SnipSnap looks pretty close to what I'd want, but it also looks too hefty to run on my PDA. Maybe I could adapt one of the Python Wiki engines, perhaps even give it a PyQt front end, since I'm running a Qt-based GUI on my PDA.

I guess the bigger problem would be finding a system that would allow me to automatically merge changes made to multiple copies of my journal/knowledge base. (Or extending an existing one to allow this.) I would want to be able to make changes on my PDA or my workstation or my laptop. Ideally, changes made on any one would merge into a "main" data store without any manual effort.

Maybe this is more trouble than it's worth. But on the other hand, all my notes for the last 5+ years take up less than 4M in their current text format. I could easily fit that on a CF card in my PDA, and it would be awfully handy to have them all in my pocket.

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