Snippet/Note tracking system requested.
January 4, 2011 1:53 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a snippet tracking system (for notes). Any recommendations?

I need a piece of software (either hosted, local or something I can host myself) that will allow me to collect simple 1-2 line snippets of information from technical (e.g. "bash: CTRL+R will reverse search history", to academic "facebook released a new memory allocator based on tcmalloc", to personal "good tomato juice = MR & MRS T Bloody Mary Mix")

Of utmost importance is that I should be able to add notes with the minimum of effort, (i.e. pref via command line in Linux, or some javascript extension or similar). I would like the ability to categorize/tag these snippets and some interface to search across them.

I've used evernote but it seems cumbersome, currently I just send myself one line emails to a gmail account but this isnt scaling very well.
posted by gadha to Grab Bag (6 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
SimpleNote is like evernote, but less.
posted by chairface at 2:09 PM on January 4, 2011

I use tomboy, which maybe is overkill/not what you want. Harkening back to an old lifehack video I saw that surveyed prolific linux hackers, I'll propose something simple: logger.

Create a mental log file, and a shell alias, like note='logger -f notes.log'. Then when you want to make a note, you simply write something like note facebook forked tcmalloc. You can also tag notes with -t. Searching the log is as easy as grep, and we have all kinds of syslog parsers if you want to narrow it down by timestamps.

I haven't actually tried this, but it seems like it should work. If not, you can always just have one giant file open in a vi screen session. Or you could fork logger and make it work this way.
posted by pwnguin at 2:15 PM on January 4, 2011

Ok, so logger is designed to work for syslog. So here's a first draft that can be done with some CLI tools from the moreutils package:

alias note='echo -n "" | vipe | ts >> /home/pwnguin/notes.log'

Type the note in your favorite text editor, and hit save to dump the result to your log file. You'll have to manually tag in the editor though.
posted by pwnguin at 2:58 PM on January 4, 2011

xPad is my go-to for these situations. The names of notes appear in a document list on the side of the text window. I use this to write down: lists of books I need to read, my comcast account number, quotes, kanji to memorize, poems (ew), to-dos, model numbers. I can usually find what I need.
posted by elephantsvanish at 4:04 PM on January 4, 2011

I don't know if there is a similar app on Linux, but open source application Notational Velocity (for Mac) is, I think, precicely what you're looking for, and may provide a jumping off point for looking for a similar app on Linux. Creating notes is instant, searching is extrordinarily fast, and it supports syncing with SimpleNote for nearly instant and seamless versioned syncing across computers or platforms. It's really slick.
posted by raygan at 7:23 PM on January 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

This may be overkill, but if you're on Mac (not sure from your post if you're limited to Linux), try DevonThink. It's a fantastically extensible/scriptable application that also has a wide variety of input options, from scripts that can monitor incoming emails that you send yourself to lightning fast dashboard widgets where you can enter free form text notes. Totally tag-friendly, too.

The search function of DevonThink is awesomely powerful and simple, too. Great user forums of users who tend to be engineers, academics, researchers, and writers. Very active development and responsive.

But again, perhaps overkill for what you need and may be wrong OS.
posted by webhund at 8:35 PM on January 4, 2011

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