Over two months ago I released workBench (wB), part of roam42, now maintained by @dvargas92495. A while back I promised @cortexfutura that I would explain a little of my motivation behind it. It is an amazing tool to help you work with your graph as it grows.
workBench is complex since it is keyboard driven. We learn quicker when something visual & we use the mouse. But it is more about working with the unseen than the seen. I can’t emphasize enough that if you spend a few hours with it, it will benefit you.
In summary, wB allows you to work with parts of your graph that are not currently visible. Example 1: you are working on a block & want to move it or block ref it to another point of your graph not currently visible. Without leaving your current context, wB allows you to do this.
Example 2: You know in another part of your graph, not visible currently, you have data you want to move to the current location, wB lets you do this.

The goal is to prevent changing the context of your current work. Context shifting creates mental friction.
Mental friction is a negative: it distracts you from what is important, it can cause you to lose your place, or worse: the thought of friction can prevent you from doing something you know you should do, but mentally the thought exhausts you. wB reduces/eliminates mental friction
Brains are amazing, remember more than we realize. As graphs grow, deep structure forms. So without even looking, we know that there is info in other parts of our graph that we need in this context or we know from this context we want to push into other parts of our graph.
Example: in my graph I have 10 active projects. I have a template for projects so they follow a general structure. If I want to add a task to a project, why should I have to stop working on what I am working on? No, I just create the task in a block and push it to the project.
Another benefit of wB is it keeps your fingers on the keyboard. If you are a keyboard guru, wB is like a Ginsu knife, sharply cutting in and reshaping your graph.
What can you manipulate with wB?
+ Move blocks (refs)
+ Pull blocks (refs)
+ Jump to blocks
+ Interact with DNP via NLP
+ Sidebar interactions
+ Delete pages (even when not on the page)
+ Call SmartBlocks (global SmartBlock as well)
+ Define Inbox (Specialized entry points)
workBench is context sensitive and adjusts its behavior based on your context... it knows if you are in a block, have multi-blocks selected or nothing selected.

workBench even has its own API, so developers can quickly add new commands.
In conclusion, wB is an advanced tool, but as your graph grows, this is a tool that will help you reduce mental friction and maintain flow. Invest in yourself and take the time to learn this tool. It will pay off.

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More from @roamhacker

25 May
This requires a few tweets to answer. I do trust cloud services. You can use @Tresorit which is zero trust e2e encryption. @obsdmd also has a service called “Obsidian Sync” which allows for cloud based zero trust (you provide your own encryption key).
Of course using any program on a local computer requires a level of trust with the vendor. This is true just using Windows, or Mac OS. So I trust @obsdmd, especially on the foundation of their openness and approachability.
Plugins are not necessary to use. But I do use a few. Of course as a JS dev, I can audit the code myself, but not everyone can do that. however the obsidian model currently is “safer” (not guaranteed safe). Why do I say that?
Read 5 tweets
24 May
1/ This is a good article from @davewiner, let us call him one of the founding fathers of modern outliners. He has been outlining for decades, this means he has gained insight into them in the school of "experience". Worth reading and pondering his ideas.
2/ He released ThinkTank in 1983. Ran with the ad: "See what you think." Made for people.... interested in tools that could make their thinking more powerful, as a spreadsheet. Does it look & sound familiar? Yep, outliners have been around a long-time.
3/ the new generation of TfT tools has inspired him to stay committed. I am happy to hear that. Happy to hear Dave will continue to blog and talk about outliners as a tool for thinkers. Interestingly he mentions:
Read 6 tweets
23 May
1/ Years ago I used something called paper, often with a pencil or pen. Maybe you have seen these ancient writing instruments in a museum. For handwritten notes, I used the Cornell Note taking system. I really liked it, it worked so well! Here is what a Cornell note looks like:
2/ Basically you write the topic in the header, take notes in main part of the page, then in left column write brief highlights (like callouts). Then at the end, you write a summary of the main ideas.

Simple simple simple.

This method is still taught:
3/ The benefit of the system is that it forced me to make very brief summaries of my notes as I was taking notes, and then to think about how to best summarize the whole lesson or research in the end. This method served as a way of being mentally active in the learning process
Read 10 tweets
21 May
This tweet generated some interesting alternatives to Zettelkasten. Let me list off a few. If you have some you have found not in my list, let me know.

@JamoeMills has two approaches documented here. HQ&A and jump notes.

Seems #roam centric, but guessing concept applies to any #TfT based on my initial reading.

Also one of my #roam community favs, @adolforismos with Antifragile Writing
Read 5 tweets
20 May
1/ Really interesting question Mark poses here. Basically many now see blocks as fundamental building pieces in their Tools for Thought (a competitive advantage). However, the block itself is really a concept to make it easier for users to comprehend/visualize the data element.
2/ In other words, a block doesn't really exist. It is an abstraction for us as users to the underlying data store. What is crucial for understanding with these systems, is that each data element (block) is represented by an internal identifier that makes that data unique.
3/ This is actually what is important. Each block has its own address, which makes it easier to find, get to and reuse elsewhere. I explain this here:

Read 16 tweets
15 May
1/ This looks important, interchange between TfT tools. Interchange historically fails due to competition between companies. (Lockin customers by controlling their data).

But it would be wonderful in #TfT infancy, if we can already establish interchange as a strong selling point
2/ The truth is, no matter how loyal you are to one product, you will always need to at some point interact with other tools. Why? Other tools may have some feature that you need for some project? Or you might be working with people who use different tools.
3/ Regarding this, #roam is doing a good job. you can export your entire graph to EDN (full fidelity), JSON (close to full) and Markdown files. Their export is improving. Lacking:
+ Image export
+ MD doesn't export all data elements yet
Read 7 tweets

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