When I was collecting materials for this article, it was hard to not get a feeling that Obsidian is either THAT genius or authors did some homework and created a viral promotional campaign by early adopters. The number of YouTube videos about Obsidian is overwhelming.
So, I did give it a try.
This article will neither guide you through the process of creating your first Obsidian vault, nor how to configure it. If you are interested in these, please see the linked videos in the bottom section.
When I started learning ethical hacking, I thought it could be useful to have a database of some useful scripts, techniques, links, etc. For example, during the CTFs, I tend to use the similar Python code to communicate with exposed binaries using telnetlib. It really grinds my gear when I jump into the challenge and spent another 5 minutes searching my offline notes or blog articles for the boilerplate code I always use.
I know many folks recommend
cherrytree - as far as I remember it was also included in the older Kali distributions, not sure how it is now - I have tried to force myself a bit to use it, but it is not my cup of tea.
Then I tried organizing my snippets and tips using VNote. I did it that way for some time, but that was a demanding "partnership". As the Nicole van der Hoeven mentioned - you can't put a single file (note) in two different folders (category, and well, technically it is possible via symlink, but it feels more like a workaround than an actual feature).
So, I have forsaken the VNote, Evernote (that one always feels awkward to use, no matter how many times I approach it) and now I have my notes, scattered around in three GitHub repos and multiple write-ups...
Also, recently, I've won a great book about web application security (physical book) that I'm eager to start reading - but I want this experience to be as useful to me as it can be. And so, I've recalled Obsidian.
I think the first time I've heard about Obsidian was from a video of a girl nicknamed morganeua on YouTube. I thought of it as an interesting alternative of what I was doing back then with my notes. It also feels unique and distinctive from other applications because:
Encourages mind mapping approach
Notes can be mentioned from other notes, creating associations between them, which can be displayed as a neat graph.
Notes are Markdown files
Which means the product of your note-taking is future-proof because
*.md files are text files, so even when (somehow) Markdown parsers would be dead, you can still read the files.
It is Electron-based application. It launches quickly, works fluently - basically these are my favourite types of apps. That is precisely why my code editor of choice is Visual Studio Code.
I've watched a few videos about different systems of note-taking to see how others do that. I have configured some folders and templates. Created to-do note with all resources I would like to have imported to Obsidian.
I was trying to keep the goal in my mind, so I tried not to get distracted with all plugins and different methods of note-keeping, so overall I can tell that I needed two days to feel comfortable within this environment. What do I mean by saying that I feel comfortable?
- I take significantly more time on actual note-taking instead of browsing the configuration options or internet resources how to do stuff or is it possible to do;
- I don't struggle so much on where to put this note, which tag should I write down or is it tag or a reference - I do developed my own workflow
And most important - it just feels right, what I do.
And this is how my graph looked after one day:
And after two days:
Also, this a folder structure I'm having so far:
I'm happy with the direction where it's going.
That one I actually have to think about. I love
git but I must verify how to work with it on Android, so I'm also thinking about Google Drive. Especially when they've recently announced increasing free tier space from 15GB to 1TB.
See? I've even linked the Google blog post about it - because I have that one stored in my Obsidian in References folder. Try look for that original announcement on the internet - pain in the ass: lots of citations, but noone references the original page.
🔁 Your turn
- What note-taking system are you using?
- Are you satisfied with it?
- Would you consider switching to Obsidian?
- Did you learned something from this article?
- morganeua | The FUN and EFFICIENT note-taking system I use in my PhD
- John Mavrick | I Tried Obsidian Note Taking for a Week... (MD App Review, Tips, Features, Guide, and Setup)
- Linking Your Thinking | Obsidian for Beginners: Start HERE — How to Use the Obsidian App for Notes
- Nicole van der Hoeven | How to organize your notes in Obsidian // The LATCH method