Single datapoint, but... I love markdown for notes. The formatting shorthands are great, and an automatically-generated Table of Contents is a nice plus.

It hasn't been easy for me to find anything that offered both flow-chart diagramming and cloud-sync, though. And both markdown and HTML are bafflingly awkward to make tables with (Why can't somebody just set up a painless csv wrapper? Or if that exists, please tell me?).

Most decent markdown editors are also LaTeX capable, which I probably use even more than diagrams. There's a bit of a learning-curve for t

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Paper Trauma

by Qiaochu_Yuan 1 min read31st Jan 201863 comments

134


Andrew Critch thinks people should be spending more time than they currently are using paper as a working memory aid while thinking, especially large paper (for even more working memory). It is really astonishing how helpful this can be. We consistently encourage people to do it at CFAR workshops nearly every time they learn a new technique or attempt to debug themselves or each other.

Paper is both very helpful and very easy to use - so why aren't people already using it all the time (including me)? I have a few vivid memories of times at CFAR workshops where I had to prod two people who were having a cognitively intensive conversation to use paper as shared working memory, and by "people" I mean CFAR instructors. It's harder than it looks.

My guess is that people have unresolved aversions to paper coming from school, where paper was how other people forced you to do things like homework and tests.

Really, it's horrifying to think about how much of what you've written down on paper was entirely forced on you.

So, you'll need to do some work if you want to reclaim the right to write whatever you want on paper, instead of whatever you've been trained to write. Good luck. Here are some words to take with you on your way.

Just because you are writing on paper does not mean you are still in school.

Nobody is going to grade you.

This is not homework. This is not a test.

This is your mind.

This is your life.

Think.