Monthly Newsletter for Tools For Thoughts.

December End PKM One Newsletter

published5 months ago
4 min read

December End Newsletter

Well, Revue, where this newsletter was hosted, was killed by Elon Musk. So I have moved to a new platform which looks just fabulous. This email is being sent to you from convert kit.

They offer a landing page and custom domain in the free plan for up to 1000 subscribers.

Hope I see some growth in the number of subscribers on convert kit. It does have me excited. This is a labour of love, since I love all these knowledge workers' tools and it helps me get my act together.

Table of Contents

1. I stopped using Tana as much as I used to

I was elated when I started using tana, that I wrote a small review also about my initial impression of tana. But as it happens, the initial euphoria of having discovered such a multi-purpose tool soon faded away. The reason is that multi-purpose tools have a steep learning curve. It sometimes takes years to master them. I can think of two such tools.

  1. Scrivener - Which is mostly used by writes of novels and short stories
  2. Tinderbox - This could be the oldest PKM tool out there.

Both these tools are available on one-time purchase with upgrades which come every two or three years. While scrivener is extremely affordable, tinderbox isn’t. Tinderbox being rather indie, is a boutique artisanal software, so quite understandable, but scrivener seems to have achieved mass acceptance among the “author’ community.

I am trying to make the point that tools with steep learning curves need to be one-time purchases with affordable upgrades.

Tana's pricing model, being cloud-based, is going to subscription as, naturally, they have server costs to pay. But this doesn’t sit well with me. It adds to the burden of subscription apps. I wouldn’t want to invest in cloud-based software and tie myself down like I am tied to an essential utility like water and electricity.

This is why I tend to invest less and less in Tana, as it is a subscription tool. However, they plan to price it much more reasonably than Roam Research did. Still, I am uncomfortable with such a subscription-based model unless they have PPP (purchasing power parity) for Indian subscribers.

2. Bike - The super fast and glib outlining tool for mac

Bike outliner is the bicycle for the mind. It is my favourite outliner currently. I don’t think there is any other outliner for mac which is as glib as Bike is. The founder Jesse Grosjean has given attention to detail. He is also the maker of another outliner called Task paper. Though I never really took to task paper, bike has hooked me this time. Every other outliner I tried would slow me down, but bike kept pace with the speed of my thoughts. I tried avoiding it so far as it is a mac only outliner. I spent a lot of time with my iPad and wanted something which supported the iPad also. I don’t think Jesse plans to develop an iPad app.

I highly recommend this outliner if you are into outlining. Let me know your take on Bike.

3. I am writing a novella and these tools are my writing stack.

I am unsure if I can publish my novella, as my literary skills are quite pathetic. However, I feel writing fiction is one of the jobs which makes you a deep thinker. There are so many moving parts. It is a highly complex and cognitive job. I like the challenge of putting something as complex as fiction.

Unfortunately, I don’t have the ability of an author to even dream of becoming a best seller. But still, I am moving ahead with this romantic fiction. In case you have any advice for me, drop me a line.

3.1. My writing stack for fiction writing has the following tools

3.1.1. Scrivener ( Writing and Editing)

Scrivener is an insane writing software. I have been using it for the last five or six years and still feel intimidated by the software. But recently, I have overcome my fear and have started using it to outline my scenes.

It is an excellent outliner, notes and writing app. It is too complex to describe for me. But I highly recommend you take a free trial and try it. Don’t get intimidated.

It is available on all platforms except the web and is reasonably priced at about 60 USD.

3.1.2. ( Re-Writing )

If the name Jordan Peterson rings a bell. Then Jordan Peterson recommends a workflow for writing. The workflow has one very interesting component, which even Derek Sivers recommends. It is that each and every line needs to be viewed separately and re-written till you feel you have nailed it. It can be a rather painful process, and you can do it by adding line breaks <br><br> in an MD to HTML converted application like the stackedit. But the outcome is not as elegant as you get in

I highly recommend if you are a copywriter and need to nail every sentence. I was petrified about rewriting my sentences, but it has become enjoyable.

4. My reading workflow

Earlier, when the only game in town was Pocket and Instapaper. Reading was a bit clumsy. My pocket and Instapaper unread articles count would become unmanageable, and these apps soon seemed bloated. I first stopped Instapaper and pocket I only use for their human-like text-to-speech ability.

For some reason, these apps never added any new features and went stagnant. Until Matter came along. Matter was so good, and I thought, this is it. But then the new badass in a town called Readwise Reader onboarded me onto their beta app. I never imagined that a read-later app could have such a high degree of refinement. It even surpassed Matter (which is still an excellent read-later app). The developers at Readwise seem to be on steroids or what?. They just kept delivering one feature after another.

The Ghost reader feature is so awesome, you ask a question, and it will bring an answer if it is in the article. That is my favourite feature besides all those funky keyboard shortcuts.

4.1. So here is my Reading workflow for articles

  1. Save everything into Readwise
  2. I don’t read it in readwise; I instead use another app inside readwise to summarise my article. The inbuilt summariser is not that good. I use
  3. If the summari from is interesting. I use another fabulous tool called to send the article to my kindle oasis. I feel reading on the kindle is better than reading on the mac or the iPad. I am able not to be distracted.
In case you have any comments, you can reach to me at

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