March 28, 2021 at 9:49am

The Archive

The Archive owes its heritage to nvAlt, which owes its heritage to Notational Velocity — a unique piece of software that broke new ground by integrating new note creation with search in an Omnibar. I’m old enough to remember using the original Notational Velocity. The Archive is true to the heritage of the OG, but moves it in a direction specifically suited to the zettelkasten philosophy of note taking.

What’s zettelkasten, you ask? It’s too much for this software review, but in short it’s a note taking methodology that sees the deconstruction of source material broken down into atomic facts/points, expressed in its own words by the note taker, and given a unique reference link such that it can be tied to other items of knowledge held within the corpus of notes.

A key to the zettelkasten, and thus key to The Archive, is the generation of a Note ID. Upon creation of a new note in The Archive it is given a Note ID which is a concatenation of YEAR MONTH DAY HOUR MINUTE. This ensures that every note can be identified as a unique item, because each note will have a different ID.

To tie these notes together, The Archive supports wiki-links, in the form of [[Note ID or Note Title]]. This makes it possible to create a web of notes, where each atomic note can be tied to others: a key requirement of a zettelkasten.

The app is a good Markdown citizen, and it supports the streaming API to Brett Terpstra’s Marked app. It can also be configured to use an external editor, should you have a preferred one. Given The Archive is quick and efficient, and supports typewriter mode, I don’t bother using an external editor.

The Archive allows you to generate and keep saved searches in a sidebar. This could be useful if you want to show all notes tagged with a particular #hashtag. I use it to break down my notes into years - by relying on the first element of the Note ID, which is the year.

A fun element of The Archive is the range of Keyboard Maestro add-ons that have been built for it. My favourites are the ones that search the notes corpus and allow for quick creation of wiki links. Make sure Keyboard Maestro has full disk access to guarantee some of these work, though.

The user community has built a range of alternative themes so the app is customisable to a point. It also supports multiple text corpuses (corpi?) but only one can be loaded at a single time. A corpus simply represents a folder of text files in the standard filing system, which means The Archive can be complementary to other Markdown/text editors. It doesn’t lock you in. While it doesn’t have an iOS app, the ability to work with files stored on a cloud storage platform means it works nicely with unrelated iOS text editors.

The Archive can be used as a replacement for nvAlt if that’s all you need. It feels more stable than that app. Of course, there is nvUltra in development - but that has had a very long gestation period, whereas The Archive is here and now.

software review
March 7, 2021 at 12:57pm


It was amazing to be able to see the giraffes at Perth Zoo close-up yesterday. They have big heads!

giraffe flickr
March 6, 2021 at 6:05pm

Audio-Technica ATH-M50x

I bought a set of Audio-Technica ATH-M50x to replace my ageing Bose QuietComfort 15s.

I’d already replaced the earmuffs on the Bose’s a couple of times. Now the headphones have the exterior coating of the foam flaking off. I was also getting sick of having to replace the AAA battery on a regular basis.

My headphones are basically restricted to desk use only these days, so I was happy to buy new headphones that didn’t feature Bluetooth - wiring into my EVO4 audio interface is fine, and in terms of latency and audio quality, preferable.

So far, I’ve only listened to a bit of music with these new cans. To my ears, they sound great! A crisp, clean and rich sound. As they are monitor headphones, they’re not designed to adjust the music, such as adding additional bass or anything. I like this, and I think it suits my needs perfectly.

I do notice they sit more tightly on and around my ears than the Bose and that the pressure on my ears is stronger than the Bose. I think my ears are getting hotter wearing these. I may find the need to take them off to give my ears some fresh air.

I need to keep listening to these to see how they perform over a longer time, with a greater variety of music - and when I record podcasts. So far, though, I’m giving them two thumbs up.

hardware review headphones
March 1, 2021 at 10:36pm

Take two at publishing via When did this become a thing? Fascinating.

March 1, 2021 at 10:01pm

I Forgot About 1Writer

I also own 1Writer, which also plugs directly into Dropbox, and is, arguably, a better editor. It’s certainly a more fully-featured one.

Yes, I own many text editors. It’s the curse of the tinkerer.

I also forgot that you can pretend a file name with _ in Blot and it won’t publish it as a live post. I’ve done that with this entry, so ideally it will publish when I’m finished and ready - not when I’m just getting started.

So many different ways to skin this cat.

test workflow software
March 1, 2021 at 9:38pm

Posting Here Using Byword

I’ve owned Byword for many years. I think it was the first Markdown editor I bought, for both iOS and macOS. I abandoned it a long time ago as well, as it seemed to pale in comparison with other Markdown editors.

In looking for an easier way to post to Blot via Dropbox, however, Greg Moore suggested Byword.

I’ve installed it here on my iPad, and it does connect neatly to Dropbox - bypassing the futzy iOS interface.

I’m typing this directly into Byword into my live Blot site. That may not be the ideal workflow - perhaps a non-published draft might be a better option, with the file then dropped in as a finished item. Nevertheless, it’s interesting that a very old tool such as Byword may be the best one for the job.

That job being, making it as easy to publish to my Blot site as it is to publish to my If it’s not easy, I won’t do it. That much I know to be true.

test workflow software