Like many other developers I've come across, most usually take notes, this could be little sticky notes on their desk, a notebook, even gedit on their desktop. I love taking notes in my notepad, it's simple and clean. Every day I pop open it, review what I did yesterday, and plan my attack for today. However, that's all changing.

Outgrowing written notes

I've outgrown my notepads, I've got 4 of them full of over 2 years worth of notes, meetings, things I've learned, and things I've wanted to learn. It gets tedious to maintain these, and review. I began searching for better solutions to this, I ran across Notion and it seemed great – but it wasn't able to be self hosted, which for me is a big no-no. I like to be able to retain full control of my data at any time.

There's a few great projects like Redmine which sort-of do what I'd like. I'd like a glorified notepad that's digital, and doesn't cost an arm and a leg. Confluence meets this bar pretty good, the price of $10 one time and a small fee to re-up is hard to pass up on. The biggest issue I've seen is how heavy on resources it can be, it is definitely a giant. I've used Confluence and Jira for a long time, I'm familiar with the workflows, and enjoy the experience in Confluence. It is truly simple to create pages, search, and manage accordingly. I can share my notes with other developers, write down network diagrams for my various systems, etc.

But what about the existing notes?

Alas, we hit my current struggle. I've got years of notes, but no easy way to digitalize them without a significant amounts of work. Obviously, I'd like these digitalized somehow, and scanning each page in isn't appealing, because it will need to be transcribed at some point. So, my running strategy is to just collect all the pages I care about over the next few months and manually transcribe them. These include network design, how I've setup the DMZ + FW configurations, etc. I can keep the others in their folders until I need them.

Yes, it's adding some debt to the future, but in the long run I feel it's a necessary evil, as at least 50% of the things in there I will be able to trash. Here's to the future!



Senior Software Engineer, Labber, Sysadmin. I make things scale rapidly. Optimize everything.

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