5 Replies - 1813 Views - Last Post: 11 February 2012 - 01:01 PM

#1 foyst  Icon User is offline

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How do you keep track of what you know?

Posted 07 February 2012 - 06:56 AM

Hi everyone. Firstly, I'd like to apologise if this has already been answered - I was thinking about it over lunch and didn't really have much time to research it, plus I can't really think of what to google for to get results!

Over the past few years since I've left uni, I've learnt a whole lot of stuff about a whole lot of technologies, and find myself forgetting things that I did know the answer to, but perhaps haven't used in a while.

So my question is, do people have any tips or tricks that they use to maintain some sort of knowledgebase that can easily be searched? Mine so far is a big list of favourites in Internet Explorer, along with ebooks and code samples organised in my documents. I feel that this will at some point get rather cumbersome, so any ideas would be greatly appreciated!

Many Thanks,
Ben

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Replies To: How do you keep track of what you know?

#2 modi123_1  Icon User is online

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Re: How do you keep track of what you know?

Posted 07 February 2012 - 08:10 AM

I guess the question is how do you know retain anything? A blog is always helpful to keep your ideas and inspiration in one spot... I thought the MS Courier would fill this gap for me, but alas no. Honestly what you are doing is about as good as I get with some editions. A repository of links, 'saved to pdf' (if I feel the site is a bit volatile), snippets, and junk saved in folders. I got in a habit of blogging about things as I am interested and keeping that updated with where I found things and what I was doing with them... that and also I find a black moleskine notebook helps too. Chicks dig a guy who is deep and carries the iconic journal. Heh.

Oddly, in my moleskine, I do have an outline of some sort of 'idea tracker' I was going to write "when I had time".. something like a giant spider web of entries, keywords, times, and updates.. sort of like the simplistic looking UI from Terminator 4 when whats-his-buckets plugs back into Skynet at the end.

http://www.moleskine...ssic/notebooks/

Though I am somewhat concerned about offloading my memory into something digital - lest I speed up the timetable for Charles Stross's prediction of humanity in Accelerando (Singularity).
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#3 jon.kiparsky  Icon User is online

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Re: How do you keep track of what you know?

Posted 07 February 2012 - 11:35 AM

I find it more useful to keep track of things I don't know, but want to know more about. In fact, I use a Moleskine for this purpose...

For stupid stuff that you sometimes need to know, like the correct steps to remove and reinstall some program - stuff that takes hours to figure out, has no really clear internal logic or application to anything else in the world, and that you don't do very often - a blog entry is a good idea. You know where it is, and other people can find it as well, so you've made the world a little better place. And it's possible that at some point you'll be searching on "how to reinstall such-and-such on ubuntu" and you'll find yourself reading your own instructions.

That's not knowledge, though. Stuff you can look up is trivia. Knowledge is understanding, and that you get by learning connections and reinforcing them. You keep it by learning deeply - it's the difference between knowing that the Congress of Vienna was in 1815 and having an understanding of the transitions from ancien regime to revolution to Napoleonic wars to modern Europe.

So if you feel like you're losing track of stuff you've learned, learn it more thoroughly. If you learn it properly, it's always there for you. If you just learn to spit facts on command, then it doesn't matter what you do.
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#4 ccubed  Icon User is offline

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Re: How do you keep track of what you know?

Posted 08 February 2012 - 02:54 PM

I have a pretty good memory that borders on Eidactic but isn't quite that. Generally, like Jon.Kiparsky said, you don't need to know step by step instructions for things you use in situations and not all the time.

My method pretty much involves remembering the important parts, and letting everything else go. I loosely know what I need to do to accomplish any goal. I may not remember the specifics on how to use C++ and Win32 API to play a sound using MCI, but I know that my base point is MCISendString.

That's actually a pretty good method period. Remember what you use a lot down to the letter, try to retain the basis of everything else you learn. You may not know it by heart, but if you only use it every so often, you don't need to.
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#5 Raynes  Icon User is offline

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Re: How do you keep track of what you know?

Posted 09 February 2012 - 04:46 AM

Evernote.
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#6 foyst  Icon User is offline

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Re: How do you keep track of what you know?

Posted 11 February 2012 - 01:01 PM

Thanks everyone for your suggestions! I do make a list of things I don't know and need to learn, possibly need to focus more on that approach, look into ways of structuring development plans for learning new things. Great advice though, thanks again!
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