10 Useful #Obsidian Plugins That Won't Affect Your Plain Text Data

    A hammer making impact.

    One understandable reason some people are hesitant to use community plugins is the fear that the plain text data they’ve worked hard to create will be altered, negatively affecting the portability of their notes, one of Obsidian’s most attractive features. That’s a wise attitude to take for plugins that affect data, but what about plugins that just make Obsidian easier to use? What’s the reason for not trying those? These 10 plugins don’t leave any code fragments in your notes. They just make Obsidian better.

    1. Commander

    Commander lets you add and remove commands from the Obsidian interface. I use it to create ribbon bar buttons for shortcuts that add content to my daily note and to run the Linter plugin on demand. Commander can also edit commands, hide commands and for sync customers, choose what devices commands appear on.

    2. Editing Toolbar

    Even for seasoned Markdown writers, having access to an editing toolbar can come in handy for doing things like indenting or unindenting text. It also has very handy undo/redo buttons, superscript and subscript buttons and convenient color pickers for text and highlights. Inserting code blocks or inline code is also a breeze.

    3. File Explorer++

    One of the most frequently asked questions on Reddit is how to manually order folders and files. This simple plugin lets you both pin and hide folders and files with a click in the file menu.

    4. Mononote

    Another simple but useful plugin is Mononote, by the same developer who created the super useful Actions for Obsidian, Mac and iOS shortcuts enhancer. Mononote does one thing, it keeps you from having multiple copies of the same note open at once. If you ever looked at your tab bar and seen multiple copies of your daily note staring at you, install this plugin to prevent that from ever happening again.

    5. Note Refactor

    Note Refactor helps you split and extract content from your current notes. If you’ve clipped a long web article and you want to break it down into smaller more easily digestible atomic notes, Note Refactor is the tool you want. You can preselect the location where you want your notes to go and even chose a naming convention for them.

    6. Plugin Update Tracker

    I’m not the least bit ashamed to admit that I run between 50-60 plugins in my vault at any one time. Plugin Update Tracker lets me know at a glance if I have any updates and to what plugins. It will let me read the release notes and even wait a specified number days before notifying me when updates become available so that the early adopters can get the kinks worked out. If there are plugins you wish to ignore updates from, you can do that too.

    7. Read It Later

    ReadItLater collects information from your clipboard and creates notes based on the type of content you have saved there. Videos from YouTube, Billibilli, TikTok and Vimeo will be displayed in an inline iFrame based on the clipboard URL. Mastodon toots and URLs will be imported as complete notes generated from nothing more than a URL on your clipboard. It’s one of the easiest ways to get web content in your blog. For plain text, the entire clipboard will be used to create a new note.

    8. Recent Files

    This plugin displays a list of most recently opened files in the sidebar. Optionally include paths of files which should be excluded from the list. That’s it. but it’s something I use every single day.

    9. Tag Folder

    I use Tag Folder primarily to do one thing, show me which notes I have forgotten to tag. It will, of course show your tags as folders and even let you create time-based virtual tags for one hour, six hours, 3 days, 7 days and older than 7 days. You can configure ignored tags and folders if you want to.

    10. Tag Wrangler

    I use this plugin to keep my tags clean. It makes it easy to correct typos (mis-spellings) and capitalization errors.

    My #Obsidian Wish List

    a hand holding a pen writing a wish list

    As an enthusiastic Obsidian user, I’m happy with the way it works and grateful to the developers for the hard work they have put into the app. I offer the following wish list in good faith and not as a bitch fest or criticism. Some of my wishes may have security complications of which I am not aware and others may be in the works. Some of these are partially achievable with plugins, I am aware but my desire is for more robust native functionality.

    1. A way to send HTML emails to Obsidian

    I have a way of sending text emails to Obsidian by forwarding them to Dropbox via IFTTT and then having the Mac utility change them to .md files and move them into my vault, but i would love to be able to figure out a way to het HTML emails into Obsidian with the formatting intact.

    2. Notifications when files become orphaned

    There are plugins that promise to clean orphaned files, but I’d like a way to be notified as it happens so I can fix the issue that caused them to be orphaned or manually delete them on the spot

    3. Print as RTF

    I don’t print often, but having to export as PDF in order to preserve formatting is too many steps for my liking. I want to be able to have a print function that renders the note as a rich text file and prints it.

    4. Dataview queries that render when pasted (like Waypoint does)

    When you copy a Dataview query in a note, the system copies the underlying code, not the results of the query. You can’t paste the results. The Waypoint plugin is different. The links it generates can be copied and elsewhere. I’d like to see that extended.

    5. Native PDF searching

    The Text Extractor plugin allows you to search PDFs, but it creates a bunch of extraneous files in your .Obsidian folder. If there is a way around that, I’d sure like to see it implemented. I do not keep any complicated PDFs in my vault because of the search limitation, something i was able to do in Evernote without a problem.

    6. Collaboration in the form of shared folders

    I’d like an easy way to share data on a per-folder basis with another Obsidian user. There are some hacky ways to do sharing but I want it without the hacking, so I could share something with my mom if I wanted to.

    7. iOS/Mac share sheet integration (out)

    There are a lot of ways to get data into Obsidian via other apps, shortcuts and plugins, but not so many ways to share data out without resorting to copy and pasting or PDFs. Plenty of other apps have sharing, why not Obsidian?

    8. Built-in search and replace across notes

    You can use a pluginor third party text editors like BBEdit or Notepad++ to do global search and replace and it should not be difficult to add a feature like that to a text based program like Obsidian.

    9. Background syncing on mobile (in the way that email fetches in the background)

    Plenty of mobile apps can check for updates in the background, from Instagram to email. Why can’t Obsidian check for updates in the background for people who pay for sync so that we don’t have such an interminable wait when we launch the mobile app?

    10. Integration with IFTTT

    As a long time IFTTT user, I seeall the integrations that other notes apps like Evernoteand Notion have and wonder why we can’t have the same thing in Obsidian. It would drastically improve automation and data collection in so many areas.

    More Obsidian Articles

    My 10 Favorite Things About #Obsidian

    The Obsidian logo and Sharpen Your Thinking

    1. The Fiddling

    A pox on people who complain that it’s too tempting to fiddle with your Obsidian setup and therefore their ability to make more widgets for the man is negatively impacted. I love Obsidian because I can never stop optimizing it. If I wanted something that was set it and forget it, I’d used TextEdit and miss out on so much joy.

    2. The Plugins

    I do not understand the weirdos who take perverse pride in ignoring the 1600+ ways to make Obsidian better. OK, I do get it if you don’t want to affect the plain text functionality of your notes, but refusing to use plugins that do nothing but extend Obsidian’s functionality is just masochism. I love the obscure ones the best

    3. The Daily Note

    My Daily Note gives me a comprehensive record of a snapshot in time, complete with weather, appointments, a running narrative, a gratitude list, tasks completed and more. It’s fun to complie each day and it provides a great reference for what’s been going on in my life.

    4. Writing in Markdown

    I do almost all of my writing in Obsidian. All of my blog posts start there. Although I have the editing toolbar installed, I rarely need it any more as Markdown is pretty easy to learn and use. I love the added functionality that plugins like Paste URL Into Selection add to the writing experience.

    5. Obsidian Sync

    I use Obsidian on two Macs, a PC, an iPhone and an iPad. Using Obsidian sync allows me to have customized plugins on every instance, to omit unneeded folders on mobile, to support Obsidian development by being a paying customer. Since I have a .edu email address, I get a 40% discount.

    6. Interoperability

    I love how the plain text/Markdown features in Obsidian along with it’s local file storage allow me to leverage other apps in my portfolio to extend the functionality of Obsidian. Whether it’s using Drafts or Bebop for quick capture, or doing a search and replace across my entire vault with BBEdit, there are a big selection of companion apps to make Obsidian more powerful.

    7. It’s Better than Evernote

    I was an Evernote user from 2009-2023 and loved the automations it offered natively and via IFTTT. I’ve figured out how to send emails to my vault, and import my Raindrio.io bookmarks and every other thing I used to do with Evernote, plus I get all the other Obsidian deliciousness.

    8. Tags, Folders and Bookmarks

    I started my vault with imports from Evernote and all of my tags carried over. Since then I’ve maintained the tagging habit and it provides a lot of usefulness when combined with Dataview. I also use folders for organization and bookmarks for work in progress notes.

    9. The Obsidian Community

    Whether it’s Reddit, Discord, the official Obsidian forum or all the various YouTubers and bloggers, there are a ton of resources available to get new ideas and solve problems . I know of no other program with such a depth of material available.

    10. Backup Options

    I spend a lot of time working on my Obsidian notes and would be devastated to lose any data. That’s why I have a TimeMachine backup, a Google Drive backup, a GitHub backup, plus Obsidian sync. It’s all done with set it and forget it methods.

    Don't Be Afraid to Use the Linter Plugin in #Obsidian

    Cotton bolls fresh from the field

    One of the most powerful and seemingly complicated plugins in the Obsidian directory is Linter. With nine different tabs in its settings panel, it intimidated me until I spent some time looking it over and testing it on a small folder of test notes. Just installing it will do nothing to your notes. All the features are set to run on command initially and you can leave them that way perpetually if you just want to apply Linter settings manually to one folder of notes at the time. Linter describes itself thus: Format and style your notes. Linter can be used to format YAML tags, aliases, arrays, and metadata; footnotes; headings; spacing; math blocks; regular Markdown contents like list, italics, and bold styles; and more with the use of custom rule options.

    To be clear, this is how you can select default file properties for all your notes or set custom file properties for notes one folder at the time. Using Linter will standardize the formatting of almost every element of your notes.

    If you have a lot of notes imported from different sources and especially if you have been using Obsidian since before the implementation of file properties, back when YAML front matter was created manually, you should be able to standardize the appearance and formatting of your vault. If you are a relatively new user, you can get a lot of benefit by setting some standards with Linter so that they apply to your notes going forward. I use the Commander Plugin to create a button in the Ribbon Bar to run Linter. I also created a keyboard shortcut to run Linter. The plugin creates an option in the right-click context menu to Lint a folder at the time.

    General Tab - This is where you tell Linter when to apply its settings. If you choose “Lint on save”, the plugin will only apply its settings when you manually press Ctrl+S. If you select “Lint on change, then the settings will apply as you edit notes”. This tab is also where you can set Linter to ignore folders so that settings never apply to them. I set my Templates and Attachment folders to be ignored.

    The YAML Tab - The settings I turn on are Add Blank Line After YAML, Dedupe YAML aliases, Dedupe, YAML tags, Dedupe YAML arrays. I set Linter to move all YAML tags to the front matter. In the sorting section, I turn on sorting for aliases, tags and arrays in ascending alphabetical order. In the YAML key sort section I turn on sorting and enable priority sorting for the following properties: title: author: url: tags: creation date: modification date: This will create those properties in every note I create in that exact order, with additional properties included beneath them in ascending alphabetical order.

    I turn on the automatic inclusion of creation date and modification date using the YYYY-MM-DD format. This is useful when building certain Dataview queries later.

    The only other setting I turn on in this tab is the YAML title which I set to match the file name.

    H1 Headings Tab - On this tab I turn on Capitalize Headings, Ignore Cased Words, and Remove Trailing Punctuation Headings

    Footnote Tab - I don’t make any changes here as I don’t use footnotes

    Content Tab - I turn on every setting on this tab for consistency’s sake except for default language for code settings since I don’t use code fences for anything other than markdown.

    Spacing Tab - On this tab I turn on Consecutive Blank Lines, Convert Tabs to Spaces, Empty Line Around Blockquotes, All Heading Blank Lines, Line Break at Document End, Paragraph Blank Lines, Remove Empty Lines Between List Markers, Remove Link Spacing, All the settings for trailing spaces

    Paste Tab - I turn on everything except Remove Leftover Footnotes

    Custom Tab - No changes

    Debug Tab - No changes

    The Linter user manual can be accessed here.

    This is a powerful tool. Before applying it to your entire vault, ensure you have a backup.

    10 Random But Helpful #Obsidian Tips

    1. Sort All Your Attachments in A Folder That Mirrors Your Vault

    With the Attachment Management community plugin, you can have all your attachments renamed to match the note they are attached to and arranged in a sub-folder that matches the folder arrangement of your vault.

    2. Add a Web Page to Your Vault on iOS

    This one is just an iOS shortcut [that works with any browser, not just Safar](RoutineHub • Clip Entire Web Pages to Obsidian in iOS 17). You’ll need Actions for Obsidian to make it work.

    This requires the Dataview community plugin

    > [!abstract]Today's New Notes
    > ```dataview
    > LIST WHERE creation-date = this.creation-date
    > ```

    4. Have New Notes Give You a Popup To Name Them

    This requires the Templater community Plugin. This snippet gives you a pop-up when you first create your notes asking you to name it at that point. You type the name into the resulting dialog box and that’s that taken care of. (Note: This snippet goes at the very top of your note at Line 1. It creates the three tick marks that are the beginning of the code block for your properties.)

      let title = tp.file.title  
      if (title.startsWith("Untitled")) {  
    	title = await tp.system.prompt("Title");  
    	await tp.file.rename(title);  
      tR += "---"

    5. Automatically Download Images from Any Web Page You Import

    The default behavior is for the web pages you download to link the images the original source, but you can automate having them downloaded so the links don’t get broken. All you have to do to make this happen is install the community plugin Local Images Plus and change the setting to “Automatically Processing”

    6. Create a Map of Content Automatically for Any Folder or Subfolder That You Can Copy and Paste as Plain Text

    If you use Dataview to create MOCs, good luck exporting or copying them. You need two plugins for to make that happen Folder Note and Waypoint.

    A Waypoint Created MOC

    7. Use Cool Icons With All of Your Obsidian Folders

    If you’d like to visually enhance your folders like shown below, install the Iconize community plugin.

    Obsidian Folders with Icons

    8. Import Entire Articles from Omnivore, Not Just Highlights and Notes

    If you want to use the free red-it-later service to import the entire text of web pages instead of the default behavior which just brings in highlights and notes, you can tweak your article template like this.

    > # {{{title}}}
    > #Omnivore
    > [Read on Omnivore]({{{omnivoreUrl}}})
    > [Read Original]({{{originalUrl}}})
    > {{#note}}
    > {{{note}}}
    > {{/note}}
    > {{{ content }}}

    9. Customize Your Sidebars

    In Obsidian, you can drag and drop elements like notes, links, or files to the sidebars to move or create new links. Simply drag the element you want to move and drop it onto the sidebar where you want it to be placed.

    The right sidebar of the Obsidian Window

    10. To Add a Geotag and Timestamp to a Note on iOS

    This one requires Drafts, which all Mac/iOS users should have any way. This action will append the info to your daily note but it is easy to edit to create a note instead of appending it.

    This Week's Bookmarks- Learning guides, free transcription, A better Google, income info, YouTube transcripts, communication secrets, Apple's Top 100 albums

    Aretha Franklin in middle age, wearing a blue dress and singing

    The Curricula is a website to help you learn “anything” by generating a guide and resources. I’ve been curious about the history ot the mountain town of [Morganton, NC](the Curricula) and what I was given was a summarized learning path and links to books, articles, and videos for each area of the past: Native Americans, European colonization, Civil War and reconstruction, Industrialization and economic growth, Key figures in its history

    Check out notta.ai, which for heavy users is $8.25 per month and offers 1,800 minutes (30 hours) of transcription. Notta’s free plan provides 120 minutes, which should be sufficient for most people. I’ve also noticed that Notta is faster and just as accurate than other services.

    You may have noticed that recent changes in Google searches are making things hard and not easier to find. If that’s your experience, this is for you. How I Made Google’s “Web” View My Default Search (tedium.co)

    It’s interesting to see where our current family income places us in relation to the other people in our area, and even more interesting to see that played out at different spots nationwide. It makes a good case for people doing remote work..Upper, Middle, Lower Class in Charts: Percentages, Income by State (businessinsider.com)

    The future is here. You can read YouTube now. YouTube Transcript - read YouTube videos

    Why can some people effortlessly connect with anyone while others struggle to converse? Conversational skills can be learned, practiced, and mastered. The author sits down with Charles Duhigg, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist and author of Supercommunicators.
    Watch / Listen Now

    While I disagree vehemently with the results, especially the top 10, everyone should take a look at Apple’s version of the Top 100 Albums of All Time just to see where their opinions falls alongside the so-called experts. For the record, Aretha > Beyonce, All Green > Frank Ocean and where are Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin and The Clash?

    Using Obsidian as a Life Record

    hands typing on a mac laptop keyboard

    Obsidian is powerful and extensible enough to fill many roles: academic notes, CRM, blogging center etc. One space it fills admirably is as a life record. Using a combination of native and community plugins, you can use Obsidian as a way to record every facet of your life that you want to preserve, from health metrics to media consumption.

    Your Daily Note

    The hub of a life record is usually the daily note. Using a template, you can record a variety of information. In my own setup, I record the following:

    • Wake time
    • Status (work, home, travel)
    • Daily weather
    • Appointments
    • Things I learned
    • A chronological record of the day
    • Gratitude list
    • Notes created that day
    • Notes modified that day
    • Tasks completed from my task manager (Things 3)

    Other metrics that are popular to record are body weight and exercise. The Obsidian Tracker Plugin is useful for generating charts and graphs for any metic you can capture numerically.

    My Daily Note in #Obsidian - Byte Sized Chunks for Customizing Every Element, Plugin Recommendations and Links

    Task Management with Things 3 and Obsidian

    Media Consumption

    Using RSS feeds from popular services like Goodreads (for books), Trakt (for movies and TV) and Last.fm (for music) you can automate recording your media consumption. Additionally you can gather information on video games, board games, and manga using the Media DB plugin.

    Automating Obsidian - Generate Notes About Your Media Consumption via RSS - Books, TV, Movies, Music

    Web Content

    If you are inclined to save content from the web, there are a variety of ways to import pages into your vault. Read-it0later services like Omnivore and Readwise have plugins that automate imports. If you want to import pages on a case by case basis, you can use the browser plugin Mark Download, or community plugins like Slurp, Read It Later or Extract URL Content. There is also a bookmarklet written by Obsidian CEO u/kepano to import web pages or excerpts. On IOS, a shortcut works the best.

    The Omnivore to Obsidian Connection Enhanced

    All the Ways to Get Web Content Into Obsidian

    MarkDownload - The Browser Extension that Works With Obsidian


    One of the things people miss when transitioning from Evernote to Obsidian is the custom email address used to send information straight to their notes. Obsidian doesn’t have that feature built in but there are still ways to achieve the end result. Readwise has a “mail to Readwise” feature that will in turn import into Obsidian. My personal choice is an IFTTT applet that creates text files in my Dropbox account that are then converted to markdown and imported into my vault by Hazel, a Mac file management app.

    How to Send an Email to Your Obsidian Vault

    Other Info

    I also keep notes on restaurants where I eat. My template has property fields for location, web site, type of cuisine and rating the body of the note has bullet points for each visit recording the day, who I was with and what I ordered.

    For places I visit, I use either the MapView plugin or a Drafts action that captures geolocation.

    I have a people template that records basic contact information (email, phone, address) and the body of the note is bullet points recording date and time of interactions with the person and details of the meeting/visit.

    My Dataview Use Cases in Obsidian

    What's Your Browser Setup? Hundreds of Tabs? Multiple Windows? Something in Between?

    Two women shown from the back looking at a laptop opened to a web browser

    Recently, I posted on Mastodon, “I do not understand the 100+ tabs open at the time people. Not saying you’re wrong, I just don’t get it. Did you get attacked by a bookmarks.html file as a young child? Is yours the laptop with a petabyte of RAM? What gives?” Surprisingly, I got a lot of feedback from had been no more than a wisecrack. I’m interested in the way people do everything on their computers, from what apps they use, to, yes, how many tabs they work with. Please reach out and describe your browser setup if you’re up to it.

    At work, I normally have two or three windows open in Edge, my browser of choice (because it really doesn’t suck). At home, I only run two windows.

    Work Setup

    Edge has both profiles and workspaces. Profiles have separate settings, bookmarks and extensions. Workspaces have separate bookmarks bars and tabs. At work, I sign into a separate profile to access my university Microsoft 365 account. Group policies don’t allow the installation of any extensions, so it’s pretty bare bones. I normally have the following tabs open:

    • Company directory
    • Outlook email
    • Microsoft Admin Center (plus a tab each for Entra, Defender, Intune)
    • Asset management app
    • CBT Nuggets (for training)
    • Student Database
    • Six different Excel spreadsheets from Office 365 online

    Total work tabs = 15

    Personal Setup

    At work, I also run a window logged in to my personal profile with at least one of my personal workspaces. I do this to have access to extensions (like my password manager) and bookmarks. I have two personal workspaces: one for social media and blogging and another general workspace.

    My social and blogging workspace has tabs open for:

    Total social and blogging tags = 13

    My general browsing workspace has tabs for:

    • Gmail (personal email)
    • Yahoo mail (used only for newsletters)
    • Google Drive
    • Raindrop.io bookmarks
    • Gemini (google.com)
    • Reddit - Dive into anything
    • Plus whatever I happen to be interested in at any given moment, usually about a half-dozen tabs

    Total general browsing tabs = 12

    Total Tabs = 40

    Other Considerations

    I use the great Mac app, Velja, to let me pick what browser or app opens links. I have five browsers installed, Edge, Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Orion and Arc. I prefer to open YouTube links in Freetube. And though I usually use the default web interface for Mastodon, I also use Ivory for its notification center actions. Inoreader is my RSS provider and I use an Edge PWA to access my feed.

    The phones of normal people do not look like your phone and the needs of normal people do not match the wants of the content generation conglomerate. The masses aren’t outraged, and they really don’t want things to change. For WeblogPoMo2024

    Today on AppAddict - MarsEdit which makes writing and publishing to Micro.blog and other platforms a breeze. Not a subscription, thankfully, and also available on Setapp. @danielpunkass

    Did you ever get in trouble in school for reading? I did…frequently. I got negative comments on my report cards for “placing pleasure reading above everything else”. Thankfully, I matured and never lost a job because of an errant paperback. WeblogPoMo2024 My Life Reading

    My WeblogPoMo2024 entry for today - On Writing - we all have a “why” to explain our need/desire/want to put ourselves out there for the Internet world to see. This is mine.

    Task Management with Things 3 and #Obsidian

    Many people choose to do their task management in Obsidian exclusively using different plugins and workflows. The tasks plugin is #5 in downloads at 1.2 million. As much as I love and use Obsidian, I don’t consider it an everything program. Task management applications like Things 3 from Cultured Code are popular for a reason. Their superior design, shortcut integration and feature set are all ready as soon as you install the app with no fiddling involved.

    Things 3 offers projects, areas, repeating tasks, different start and due dates and imports from Apple shortcuts as well as Siri integration and a robust collection of shortcuts. There is a great Raycast extension for it too. There is an active community on Reddit.

    I use two plugins to integrate Things with Obsidian.

    Things 3 Today Sync

     A screenshot of a today checklist from Things as shown in Obsidian

    Things 3 Today Sync puts a copy of my today view (the tasks with a due date of today)
    in the right sidebar of the Obsidian interface. The tasks come in as hyperlinks, so that clicking on them will take me to the task in Things. Checking the checkbox beside the task closes it and removes it from the list. If I add a task in things on the fly, it also appears in Obsidian. It’s a Mac only plugin, so If you are on a PC, you won’t be able to use it even if you have Things installed on your phone or an a Mac somewhere else. It’s dead simple to set up, requiring no complex configuration. Just enable it after installation.

    Things 3 Logbook

    A screenshot of Things completed tasks as shown in Obsidian.

    Things Logbook will periodically sync your completed tasks with your daily note. You can assign a hotkey and sync on demand if you want to. One feature I really liked was the retroactive syncing. I have been using Things much longer than Obsidian and when I ran the sync for the for first time, it created daily notes stretching back years with my completed tasks which has really proved useful since I can now search of those items with Obsidian. Completed tasks show up in your daily note as hyperlinks and if you are on a Mac, they will open Things to your logbook. This plugin works on Windows machines so that if you check off completed tasks on your phone or on a Mac, they will appear in your daily note on Windows.

    Things Sync

    Things Sync is a third plugin for Things and Obsidian. I don’t use it because I’ve never found a way to fit it into my workflow, but it allows you to create tasks in Obsidian that get synced with Things.

    This Weeks Bookmarks - Paleo is BS, Bye Harry Potter, Tech failures that didn't, Best books of the century, Travel destinations, Phones at protests, Clipboard managers

    A photo taken inside a cave with a man standing between the camera and the cave entrance

    Hahaha, all those gym bros have been eating an artificial man made caveman wannabe diet Stone Age Paleo diet was not rich in meat, scientists say | CNN

    How Daniel Radcliffe Outran Harry Potter - The Atlantic - Remember to use archive.io to read paywalled articles

    Remember all the people who though the iPhone was going to fail? These Tech Products Notoriously Got Wrecked by First Reviews (gizmodo.com)

    I’ve got a prize for the first person to finish the whole list. The Top Books to Read From 2000-2023 - The New York Times (nytimes.com)

    I love to dream of traveling almost as much as I love traveling. - The 24 Best Places to Go in 2024

    Practical advice for those going into the front lines of modern protests - How Do I Prepare My Phone for a Protest? (Updated 2024) – The Markup

    For Mac users, a long Reddit thread on what a clipboard manager is and all the many choices you can look at before choosing Raycast - Battle of the Clipboard Managers : r/macapps (reddit.com)

    My Favorite Actions for Hazel, the Preeminent File Management Software for the Mac

    Hazel, by Noodlesoft Software is a Mac utility for automating file management. You select a folder and provide criteria about what you want to happen to the files and folders in that folder and Hazel periodically checks it and runs the rules. Hazel can move, copy, rename and convert files. Criteria you can use include all of a file’s native attributes and even file contents. A lot of folks use it to scan PDFs of their bills for a specific account number and automatically move the file to a folder in their paperless record management system.

    These are my favorite Hazel Actions

    1. Unzip any compressed files in my Downloads folder and trash the zip file - This helps keep my downloads folder cleared of the detritus that occurs because I am a compulsive software addict.
    2. Install apps inside DMGs in my downloads folder via RapiDMG and then trash the DMG - When I download a disk image file with an app in it, I don’t have to do anything else to get the app moved to my Applications folder. It happens in seconds with no intervention from me unless I have to approve replacing an existing file.
    3. Import any image file I place in an Images folder into the Photos app (in the background) - I’m constantly copying photos from Facebook and various web sites. I have them to a folder I have designated in Hazel and they automatically get imported into my photos library with me even opening the app.
    4. Change any text file in my Dropbox to a markdown file and move it to my Obsidian vault (useful in sending emails to Obsidian) - I use an IFTTT applet that allows me to forward emails to a specific address. Those emails are save in a specific folder in my Dropbox account that Hazel watches. When a file appears there, Hazel changes the file extension from txt to md and moves the resulting file into my Obsidian vault. Auto-generated description: A computer desktop screen shows an open file manager window with a list of folders on the left and search options on the right, against a mountainous landscape wallpaper.
    5. Sort all files in my documents folder into subfolders based on file extension. - I currently have 42 sub-folders in my documents folder of different file types ranging from the usual suspects like txt and docx to the more esoteric like saved HoudahSpot searched and Etrecheck Reports.
    6. Purge old screenshots - between my day job and my blogging past time, I generate a lot of screenshots. Hazel moves any screenshots more than three days old into an archive folder to help give a semblance of order.
    7. Color code any application I haven’t opened in three months - I have 416 apps installed on my mac because, well, I just can’t help myself. Hazel will color an unused app red after not launching it for 90 days to help me decide whether to keep it or remove it with AppCleaner.
    8. Keep my desktop clean - I do not like to use my desktop as part of my file system. I rarely even see it since I run apps maximized most of the time. This rule moves any file that ends up on my desktop into a folder in my home directory. I exclude aliases from the rule because there are times when I want to make an app shortcut on the desktop, usually temporarily.

    8 Use cases for Drafts - The First Automation App I Ever Installed, Still on my Dock 10 Years Later

    Auto-generated description: The image displays the logo for the Drafts app, a URL agiletortoise.com/drafts, and an Apple App Store download badge.

    Drafts was the first app I installed when I became interested in iOS and Mac automation. The power users of the world explained it to me as the universal quick capture app for my phone. I was advised to always enter text into Drafts no matter where I eventually wanted it to end up. I dutifully put it into my dock and it’s been there ever since. In this post I’m going to go over eight different ways I use Drafts. It’s important to note that it pays off to give it a prominent place in your iOS sharing setting for ease of use. On macOS it should show up in the share settings by default.

    1. Copy to Obsidian Inbox

    I am all in on Obsidian the massively popular note’s app with a robust 1600+ plugin architecture. It does a lot of things amazing well but mobile quick capture is not one of them. To solve that, I use [this Drafts action](Send to Obsidian | Drafts Directory (getdrafts.com)) which saves the text to the default save location in my vault and uses the first line of the text as the note title/file name. I use a couple of other Drafts to Obsidian actions including Add to Obsidian Daily Note and Add to Daily Note Plus which add text to my daily note in different ways using a time stamp and a geolocation.

    2. The Things 3, Fantastical, Day One Combo

    The Quick Journaling Action Group lets me keep one running note that I can process at day’s end to send the individual lines as entries into Fantastical, Things 3 and Day One.

    • Lines starting with “-“ are collected and sent to Day One as a journal entry
    • Lines starting with “⁎” are sent to Things inbox
    • Lines starting with “@“ are sent to Fantastical

    3. Things Parser

    Using Task Paper syntax I can create a note in Drafts complete with due dates, areas, projects and tags that get correctly imported into the Things 3 task manager using the Things Parser. I use this with a Drafts template to create daily and weekly checklists for reoccurring tasks. I also use the action group, Things for Things which includes actions for:

    • Inbox
    • Today
    • This Evening
    • Tomorrow
    • Pick date
    • Work
    • House
    • Personal
    • Pick a Project
    • Make a Project
    • Selection to things
    • Bunch of todos
    • Process notes from
    • Prompt for new task

    4. Mail to Evernote

    Yep, I still use Evernote for some tasks. Old habits die hard. Evernote eliminated AppleScript a while back and their API has become more and more problematic , but one feature they still support and that works equally well on iOS and macOS is the mail to Evernote feature and this Drafts action accomplishes that without you ever having to use your mail client.

    5. Micro.blogging

    This blog is hosted by Micro.blog and I can create entries in Drafts and have them posted online by running an action. I use the action Post to Micro.blog with Title by the great blogger Matt Birchler.

    6. OMG.LOL Status

    I am a big fan of the almost indescribable web community at OMG.LOL. One of the fun features there is a status board you can share with other members, post on your website and cross-post to Mastodon (where all the cool kids hang out). The OMG.LOL Status action does it all.

    7. Run Shortcut to Save to Thoughts Inspiration Manager

    One of my favorite things to do online is to collect quotes from various sources, I save my quotes in an app called Thoughts Inspiration Manager. I don’t have a Drafts action to write directly to Thoughts but it doesn’t matter because I have a Shortcut that does. I just need to run the Drafts shortcut action explained in the user guide.

    8. Personal Assistant

    Drafts can serve as an interface with OpenAI by using the Personal Assistant action. (using your own API key) It’s a helpful action to run when you know you are going to use the AI generated text in another app. This action allows the user to get an AI-assisted response to a prompt:

    1. The user is prompted to enter input, which can be pasted from the clipboard or manually entered.
    2. The input is then sent to the OpenAI API, and the response is inserted into the current draft 3 lines after the cursor.
    3. If there is no selected text in the draft, the user is asked if they would like to use text from the clipboard. If the prompt is canceled or the input is empty, the action cancels.
    4. If there is no response from the API, the output is set to “No reply received.”

    Nothing too sexy about it, just a day in the life of Mr. and Mrs. Amerpie for WeblogPoMo2024.

    The Road to Hell - a book review. I stayed up all night on the day I checked this out of the library to finish it. It hit very close to home. WeblogPoMo2024, Day 8

    #Obsidian Maintenance - The Steps to Take and Plugins to Use to Keep Your Vault Up to Date, Backed Up and Organized

    A woman using a laptop to perform tests on a network

    Depending on how you use Obsidian, your maintenance tasks may vary, but these are some good general tips. Set these as recurring tasks in your task manager of choice and keep your setup in good shape all the time.

    1. Update your plugins

    Click on the settings “Gear” icon > Community Plugins > Check for updates button. I also suggest using the community plugin Plugin Update Tracker. You’ll need to do this on every device where you use Obsidian.

    2 Update your themes

    Click on the settings “Gear” icon > Appearance > Current Community Themes > Check for Updates. Again, you’ll need to do this on every device where you use Obsidian.

    3 Organize your folders and notes

    If you use a folder system in your vault, you should periodically do some basic file maintenance. I have a couple of folders that serve as Inboxes for me. One is where the mail I forward ends up (How to forward email to your Obsidian vault) and the other is for clipped web pages and the default location where new notes go. I regularly go through those folders and move the notes in them to their permanent home. You can automate part of this process with the Auto Note Mover community plugin. which will relocate notes based on tags. If you use a calendar based scheme for your periodic notes or read it later imports, go ahead and move notes to the appropriate folders during this step.

    4. Clean up your tags

    One tip I give to anyone getting started with Obsidian is that if you are going to use tags, start using them from the very beginning. My starter vault contained a couple thousand notes I bought over from Evernote and thankfully they were all tagged. I suggest using the Tag Folder community plugin, because one of the things it does is show you all the notes you have without tags. Tag Wrangler is also good to have because it lets you edit and delete tags in bulk. If you need to add the same tags to multiple notes at one, use the Multi Properties plugin.

    5. Download and organize attachments

    I prefer to download the images in web pages I clip into my vault and I like to keep those images named according to the note they are in. I also like to have a central attachment repository. The two plugins I use for this are Local Images Plus and Attachment Management. I cover the whole workflow in this blog post.

    6. Check your backups

    There are several ways to back up your Obsidian vault - folder syncing to a secondary location on your hard drive to upload to a cloud service, GitHub or as part of a whole drive backup like Time Machine on a Mac. Regardless of the method you choose, you should check periodically to make sure all your files are getting added.

    In today’s WeblogPoMo2024 entry, I wrote about five times I’ve taken the streets with like-minded comrades over, well, things that people ought to be in the streets about.

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