Big questions about Obs / alts, from undo/redo to sync, and Pegram neediness v. value helping produce and manage ideas


I have some big questions about Obsidian (‘O’), related programs, and knowledge creation and management. I think it is good to ask for your help by way of examples of my troubles with O, and then move to a big ask about thrle future.

I have lost data repeatedly while trying to sync between an android-powered phone and windows laptop. Onedrive / onesync, and google drive / drive sync… I repeatedly tried Dropbox too. (I would pay for O sync but am homeless, without income; one of my intended uses of O was to write materials that generate income.) So I beg thee, and how!?
Even undo / redo have eluded me on android. Most of my problems seem to be with the android app, which I would ideally use often. It’s lack of functions and the difficulty finding simple things like undo have become too much for me.

Problem I.
[Imagine that underlined. I do not know how to underline; when using Android, i have no clue about bold.]
I presently have dozens of folders and many dozen files. Almost all have duplicated± themselves repeatedly. Dunno why. Ditto some ‘conflicts’ files, though they are lessernin # / sporadic (and i do not know how to learn what the conflicts are, nor how to address them). There are still some folders / files that I have created on one device that have never synced onto the other; then, on the other device, seeing that it does not have what I was working on, I have created a second version under anothernnamen(or worsez the same, and some conflictnor number of faux-duplicates have emerged…), and start over, creating misaligned approaches that I would like to re-form into a singular, … etc.

Lots of troubles these last few months.

I previously merged all the files (taking hours). The next day (may have been a few days), they all came back. They, meaning the duplicates with ‘1’ or ‘2’ after them. I learned that ‘merge’ sounds promising but amounts to taking the text of one file and inserting it below the text of the file the user keeps. (So, not very helpful.)

Now I have dozens of lost folders and many dozens of lost files.
Files duplicated and disappeared.

ALSO, I took about three weeks trying to use onenote instead of O (as i briefly describe below). I very much wish to integrate this third (onenote wjndows) and fourth (onenote android) into the as-unified-as-possible product of what has been made with O.
Does that make sense?
I am lost, and I appreciate you considering these issues. ANY help would be so vwry appreciated!

Woud someone more knowledgeable than me advise on how to create single copies of each of the files / folders in the condition of highest functionality?

The choices and format may also involve …

Issue II
I like the basic idea of a simple program that offers numerous ways of organizing material based on a folder / file system. Or even more abstract methods - it’s great. But … I am ready to leave Obsidian. I fear that i must.
Onenote has proven problematic, too. [If it matters, most of the problems with it probably relate to a windows problem (unique to my laptop as far as i know) where I cannot sign into office, yet it hassles me to in an assaulting fashion. Ha. Really, it’s tough. I tried reinstalling. I have never been able to load MS stores etc., and I guess it is inter-related; there is a wall betweenMS and me and as a result I cannot sync onenote, among other things.]

What programs would you recommend as second to obsidian? easier for non-CS people to use and similarly potent in potential? Etc.
What do you like about Pegram(s) X, Y, &or Z?

I would love to employ concepts that many obsidian plug-ins offer to the ideal user. (But, retroactively predictably, i have also had disastrous efforts with O’s plug-ins.) For example, it would be beyond awesome to scan all my content, and use AI to create links between files, or consolidate disparate writings on Subject Q in one place, etc, etc, etc. I would be ever-so grateful for access to any ‘second mind’-type functions … oh, to discuss with AI how to improve arguments; to prompt it to conduct literature searches and display results in helpful ways, etc, would be dreams come true each day! I would love to explore so many of the neat ideas people are coming up with, as evidenced with many O plugins, but I must …
I must sadly conclude my four-month experiment learning to use O a failure.

I am a researcher / writer and that is the primary use for O & co. I would much prefer not to go back to disorganized, 100s-of-pages docxs and pdfs, xls, etc., especially when I know that more is possible. Thousands of papers everywhere - eek!

But I do not know programming. Though many good people profess that a solid background in CS isnt necessary to do well wtih O-type programs, my experience is that it is essential. It is vital. And i won’t anytime soon. (I do not know how to use github, etc.) When well-intending people write careful descriptions of how to program an app to do , I find a way to make it not qork. Dunno how. And I have high- priority things gathering dust.

What programs would be good to start with now, solid and capable craft to use most, and would be able to help me move into tech solutions and tools in the decades ahead?

Ideally, I can sync multiple devices, even if I have to use them differently. For example, if I am backpacking (or secluded from laptop somewhere with a new lover) and type words into my phone at night, it would be great to be able to access my existing knowledge, and integrate new stuff into it, you know? (Just simple syncing, but into a well-organized library of my own design thanks to Program [Y].)

Privacy is a civil right I very much want to maximize for all of us, and so i try to practice privacy good manners to the utmost. (It’s good for each of us as individuals, and necessary for society that all of us to push back against evil multinationals with undressing concentrations of power, limited perhaps someday soon only perhaps by what we do now, today, to constrain the rich-and-obsessed-with-oppression class.)

Open-source is preferred. (I will donate when I can.)

I have 10k pieces coming up for publication, and see books in time. Each project exists within my intellectual universe(s?) In its own way, though they share similar fundamental assumptions abiut physical and supernatural systems. Sorry it is a bad analogy. But you know?

Thank you for any help you can offer getting my data into good order, identifying a new playground, and migrating there. i would really value whatever you have to say!


FYI, by looking far and wide through the forums, it is pleasing to find that this program works for many. But it seems no matter what plug-ins I try, or solutions I adopt, it fights me.
I am not adverse to following multi- level instructing when setting something up; a big O issue is that nearly everything in it requires significant time and thought in on almost a minute- to- minute basis.

I do not want to have to think about the program. I must focus without distraction in other stuff, and O, after months of trying, still requires I focus on it. And it had never been worth it to me.

P.s. - I will check thus again and again, and read and play with ending that is said, but it may not be eith the immediacy that seems common in the internet. It may take a couple of days sometimes. Just please do not think me ungrateful; that is the opposite of my reaction to an individual who shares!

Hi there,

There is a lot to address in this, and I don’t have any definitive answers. But may I make a short-term suggestion?

It seems like the main problem right now is conflicts with these cloud syncing tools. And this is really blocking your thinking and working.

Perhaps you could make a test vault. Just a small vault with unimportant data. And test syncing on this vault.

Keep your real vault with your research and notes in a local vault for now, until you get some of these things solved. Then the problem of syncing can be a minor problem that you can figure out later. First priority: Protect your data.

For me personally, I haven’t set up any sync on my phone. For writing on my phone, I use another note taking app to take scratch notes. Then when something is important, I’ll just send that over to my computer to add to my vault.

I know that doesn’t address the ability to access your vault when you’re isolated from your laptop. But dealing with losing data sounds like a worse hurdle to overcome for now.

I don’t know the precise nature of your work. But I know when I disconnect from things, I often have the most profound insights. Your knowledge and perspective and perceptions are still with you. And the ideas you capture can be integrated into the main vault later, when you return. (“you” - I’m speaking to me right now. Maybe it’s true for you too.)

Also, please make sure you’re making some kind of backups/copy of your data from your laptop. These cloud syncing tools are not sufficient as backups.


Hi Rigmarole,

I appreciate the suggestion! I think you are right and will do so tomorrow. What is the best-case outcome of a test vault? How can the knowledge be applied? (I worry that scaling up again may yield similar results as before.)

I conduct manual back-ups, but until this other sruff is settled, i have been unsuccessful at systematically getting it done. So there are numerous incomplete backups of materials in different places and times. Itruly hope to find a way for awesome programs to go through all the data, and according to its clever adaptive intelligence, it will sorrt (and cross-reference) stuff I will henceforth work with simply andnmethodically.
Indees, I hope to establish a longish-term system that will allow for regular automsyed backing-up, and periodical physical back-ups.

You are right that my thinking is confused! Ha. It is frustrating to come across insights, sometimes when working on something else; and it is troubling to hope to continue to develop existing materials, and in both cases and many others, to feel like your tools are adding friction with each keystroke or swing. I feel like my spontaneous thoughts are not being incorporated effectively so they would improve my first-draft idea # 8972.

Quick detour paragraph: One such spontaneous idea for any enlightened coders advising grad students: I am a member of a class. This class of folks has gone through 5 and 3.5" floppy disks, compact disc’s and dvds, emails of many addresses, sometimes with attachments, across many computers and zip drives … and now have two decades of personal and professional stuff. Some of those in this class desperately want ways to connect our disparate data.
Intermingle the poems we scribbled on the side of our handwritten lecture notes with our journals
And benefit from a coherent means of gathering, collating, and being able to effectively deploy our accumulated achievements over the years.
Who may respectfully request build thre machine? :wink: the o ly way i know how to now is to write short stories, or just scribbles of scenes, and i do … but these stories would be animated with the vivscity of my soul were i able to harness my collective works ably, and populate the story with my most apt expressions used to lesser effect elsewhere]

[In obsidian, I cannot even figure out how to link one file to another, and definitely not between sections of the same file, nor to a table of contents …]

Return to narrative:
You seem enlightened and the advice to be untethered and disconnected is excellent! (I cannot see the words you’re using in the little box in the android app, so i hope these words capture your idea.) Some of my most valued creative work was made by pencil and paper on road trips or dated while backpacking. I try to actively free myself from the urge to consistently produce and/or improve content, and enjoy meditating in wilderness. Though I am grateful for the chance, I also struggle with the sense of being opposed with too much work to do just to have a minimal wispy of life in this society. You know. Everyday obstacles to balance with the stuff we find pleasure in and drive meaning through.

So you use obsidian on your main computer? Any other forms supplementing programs? And a sorts notebook type app in your phone? How many primeval of what level of organization are you bringing to life?

I work mostly with text. My background in multi-discplinary research and writing across some social sciences, law, and areas of intrigue like human-animal relations, First Nations and U.S. history, and how are evolutionarily adapted brains and socisl behaviors confront contemprary regimes of power in bewitching ways. Now, i have the fortune of pivoting to two primary foci for the present-to-medium term. 1) short non-fiction pieces that I do not yet know how to monetize well (wish that were not post of the calculus), coupled with longer-form work co-developed after an initial pitch with luminaries at esteemed media publishers (it sounds unlikely when i pose it thusly); and 2) manuscript-length fiction.
Maybe a podcast series fits one of the projects. I dunno - I have to start building connections with producers and editors :slight_smile: I have done the prep work, as Malcolm fowl pages, and am in need of some luck.

With such broad and ever-advancing interests, I am grateful for some digital tools, but have also found them unnecessarily limiting. When is the liberation going to come, so we may all be free from the tediums we know too well?

I share this plethora of data in case it gives you a sense of the uses i seek from an Obsidian Replacement System. Others have similar needs to tend to a bunch of fires that they are keeping their eyes (and fingers) on while experimenting with someone in this sector and devoting most time to The Project. Each potentially involving ten thousand interwoven parts.

I have read many posts here and on reddit about programs that will scan ones existing library, help to develop more links in the existing world of stuff the user knows but has not previously interconnected, and provide all sorts of innovative ways to boost creativity, originality, and generally hone the wheels and cogs of the production and sharing of knowledge. I have tried to get this going for months, and do not yet understand footnotes. [What is a back link?] but it has been at the expense of things I cherish, as mentioned ad nauseum, supra.

Lastly, it almost seemed to me as though you are suggesting I should humbly accept that technology will not save us? That there is no good set up to work on stuff on two perfectly syncing devices?

Thanks again! I’ll check back soon.

I welcome anyone input!

(This was conceived far past bedtime, so I hope you’ll forgive the occasional flight of Gandy)

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