Drew Diver

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The Plain Text Life

27 Sep, 2023

I finally flipped the table over my frustration with “modern” applications and tech stacks when it comes to simple note taking, calendar and lists.

My current setup is a folder containing the following text files:

These are kept in sync via Syncthing over my WireGuard mesh on each device. I can open any of the above in any text editor or pull the info I need in multiple ways via in-app search, ripgrep, grep. There’s no uncertainty in getting the data out, no ties to a specific protocol or app and will work on any operating system.

For instance, I live in the terminal so I created the following alias agenda along with an echo statement in my ~/.zshrc to display today and tomorrow’s entries when I launch a shell:

alias agenda='grep -A 1 --colour=always $(date +"%Y-%m-%d") "$HOME/Productivity/calendar.txt"'
echo agenda

Which displays the following when launching a new shell or running agenda:

Last login: Tue Sep 26 18:14:08 on ttys000

Today's Agenda:
2023-09-26 w39 Tue  @Video 14:30 Boring Meeting.
2023-09-27 w39 Wed  16 Pick-up kids.

[✓] >

Another example, using tags and the done.txt I’ve managed to automate an annoying weekly email I have to send to my manager using a small shell script and regex. I’m not familiar with Windows these days, but I’m sure you could rig the above via PowerShell or whichever nonsense they use.

I don’t think I can ever go back to CalDAV, CardDAV, ${NOTE_APP} or ${CLIENT}. I can freely move around Neovim, iA Writer, Xed or Sublime Text. No surveillance capitalism or other funny business at play and easy to keep backups.


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