Early days – Pinboard and friends
I read/skim a lot of news on the internet and my current major problem is information retrieval. For a while I used a combination of Pinboard with Pocket, and later, Diigo with Pocket.
Eventually I realized that it was painfully hard to recollect something I’d come across a few months back. I don’t use too many tags and what really mattered was the full text search.
The other problem was link rot. For both reasons I wanted an archiving service that would cache the page and let me search through and see the content even if it disappeared down the line. Pinboard has one, but my next problem/solution was PDFs.
Files (PDFs) instead of links
I have a few 100 PDFs I’ve collected along the way. It would be a pain to upload each of them somewhere just to archive it. So the next option I investigated was one that would combine the two approaches. I already use Google Drive and the web interface has decent search functionality. What if I could archive my remaining bookmarks as PDFs and just dump them to my Drive?
And along the way.. Evernote
The last piece is with Evernote. I started using it sometime back and have already imported my bookmarks and PDFs to it, but at this point it only has the title, tags and url for the links. It has pretty decent full text search as well. I’ve started storing a lot of other notes to it, with cross-references to other notes and links.
Where do I go from here? Evernote is actually pretty good except for the nagging fear of what would happen if it ever shut down.
So my current hobby project has two pieces to it.
- Import a bookmarks.html file and convert every link in it to a pdf. I’m picking python for this and have found weasyprint which seems to do the main conversion pretty well.
- Once I have a few thousand PDFs in my filesystem instead of links, find a nice, cross platform way to search through them. Evernote still works perfectly fine here so I’m not too keen on doing this immediately.
In summary: Evernote is cool. The web clipper works great from browsers (not so much from the android app). The native windows client is pretty nice too, and its lightning fast to take a quick note and organize it later.
PDFs are probably going to be the main thing I’ll base my system on. I don’t have to depend on a closed-source service going down, nor do I have to worry about the source itself disappearing.