A map of my year in Obsidian

Posted on 2023-09-11 20:07 +0100 in Life • Tagged with journal, Obsidian, graph • 3 min read

Some time around late October or early November last year, around the time I started working at Textualize, I "discovered" Obsidian. While I didn't need another note-taking application (having gone through Evernote, trying to use Org, dabbling with a couple of other things and finally settling mainly on Apple Notes), I was quite taken by its style and ubiquity and the fact that it was, at heart, just a bunch of Markdown files.

So quite quickly I started using it; not to replace Apple Notes (which is still my general note-taking tool of choice), but to keep work notes and a daily coding journal, the latter coming in useful for the quick end-of-day meetings we normally have.

One of the things I was quite taken by was the graph. It was interesting and fun to see how each of my work days related to other work days, and what subjects kept getting pulled in, etc.

So come the start of this year I had an idea: what would it be like to keep a personal vault, but one where I track things I've done. Not a journal as such (I do keep one of those too, have done for many years now, but that's for other far more important reasons -- perhaps I'll write about that one day too), just a daily record of stuff I've achieved, stuff I've actually done, the routine things and the exceptional things?

What would that graph look like?

While it's not the end of this year yet, here's how that's shaping up:

The main graph

Each of the yellow circles is a day, each of the blue ones is a tag of some sort. As you'd imagine, the size of the circles relates to how often that item is tagged. So I can see what proportion of my days so far this year have been tagged with being heavily involved with work:


Likewise, if I want to see how many days this year have involved a significant spot of gaming:


Ditto for days where I've done some coding on pet projects, or even some personal-time coding relating to work projects (it might be work, but it's also Free Software and I do like to support FOSS!)


I sort of have a curated set of tags I apply, but I've not made it a strict set; if some new situation crops up that calls for a new tag I'll use it. Mostly though I try and keep the tags pretty general so lots of days can relate to the same general subject.

Another thing I've done is tag each and every day with the day of the week, so while it's not really surprising to find that Sunday doesn't dominate over other days, I can see which days are Sundays and perhaps wander along the connections and see what I get up to:


I don't quite know what I hope to get out of this, I don't really know if there's anything useful to be had here at all, but it will be interesting to look back over it at the end of the year. It also means that I'll have a directory hierarchy full of Markdown files, all tagged and filled with information, which I'll be able to grep and slice and dice and count and perhaps pull into a database and cross-reference with stuff and things.

Or perhaps it's all just really me not having a good use for Obsidian but inventing one anyway. ;-)

I turned it off and on again

Posted on 2023-08-10 18:17 +0100 in Tech • Tagged with Obsidian, Apple, iCloud, iPhone, Mac • 1 min read

Following on from the previous entry, where I outlined a weird problem I'd started having with syncing Obsidian via iCloud, I finally decided to sit down and try and work out the exact flow of the problem. Today, for example, I'd created an entry in two different vaults on my phone while on the bus into work, and when I got to my desk the vault I use on my work machine had updated.

However, when I got home this evening, the vault for my personal stuff hadn't updated on my home Mac Mini. I tried a few edits, in both vaults, on the iPhone, and nothing came through to the Mac.

So... before I started really diving into things I decided to "turn it off and on again" -- the iPhone that is -- and when it came back I ran up Obsidian, which told me it wasn't allowed to access my iCloud drive!

I took a moment to go into the settings to try and figure it out, didn't find what I wanted right away, then got to thinking that perhaps some of the phone's services were still spinning up, so I ran Obsidian up again (after killing it).

Sure enough, this time, it saw my vaults. With both vaults open on my Mac I made edits to open entries and the edits started to flow.

So, yup, looks like it was a simple case of "turn it off and on again".

Apple: #ItJustWorks.

Strange Obsidian sync issue

Posted on 2023-08-08 20:55 +0100 in Tech • Tagged with Obsidian, Apple, iCloud, iPhone, Mac • 2 min read

Since October last year I've been getting into using Obsidian. Not that heavily, not to the extent some people do, but just as a way to keep a daily journal of work-related things. Each day at Textual HQ we finish off with a chat about how our day has gone, stuff we're wondering about, etc, etc... So I don't lose tack of what I've been up to I keep notes and Obsidian is how I do that.

One of the things I really like about it is how I can have iPhone, iPad and macOS versions on the go and have it all sync via iCloud. It generally works well.

But in the last couple of days I've noted the oddest problem, and I've yet to pin down the exact flow. But it seems to be this:

  • If I create or edit a note on my iPhone, it doesn't turn up on my Mac.
  • If I create or edit a note on my Mac, it turns up on my iPhone.

I think I might have seen variations on that theme but I've not made careful note -- normally I'm made aware of it when I'm trying to get something done.

What's super weird is this: on the iPhone, if I create a note, and then go into the Files app and look at the iCloud folders for Obsidian, the file isn't there! It's there in Obsidian itself, I can move it about, edit it, etc, etc... but it's not in the "vault" as seen from the Files app.

It's the last part that has be really puzzled.

If I get to the bottom of this I'll try and remember to write up what I find. I suspect I'm going to need some proper clear time, without other distractions, and experiment with all the edit and sync options and see what works and what fails.