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🌠 Use Cases for Canvas & New Courses and Sample Vaults

Mobile has Canvas now, you can render 3D model files, and there's a new Clockify integration.

Eleanor Konik
Written by Eleanor Konik

I write stories & articles inspired by all eras of history & science... so I wind up putting notetaking software like Obsidian & Readwise thru their paces.

7 min read.

Housekeeping

The Great Newsletter Consolidation of 2023 is happening now. Don't panic but some things might break or be wonky while I hunt down unexpected problems and fix them😅I've got professionals helping me but technology has a way of breaking when I'm around no matter what I do, and the actual changes will stretch into next week.

Anyway, the website looks a little different, and more importantly, there are lots of new articles on a wide variety of topics. As such, there's a new name: this is now the Obsidian Iceberg, of which the Obsidian Roundup is a (large!) subset. Email subscribers should continue to only receive Obsidian Roundup content unless you specifically opt in to the extra stuff (sign in, there should be a list and a checkbox), but RSS subscribers might want to switch their feed over to the Roundup specific tag if they aren't interested in book reviews, musings on AI, the history of sleep across species and cultures, etc.

For the roughly 500 of you who were subscribed to both Eleanor's Iceberg and the Obsidian Roundup, this should make things easier for you. It will certainly make things easier and cheaper for me, and I'm grateful that Ghost has added features that allow me to do this, because while my actual publication schedule will not change at all, this means I can stop maintaining two entirely different sets of newsletter infrastructure.

In The Community

Obsidian Updates

Insider v.1.1.10 got a bunch of quality of life improvements, like a new “Narrow to block…” menu option for Canvas, and a new Canvas settings tab for configuring Canvas preferences for your entire vault. v1.1.11 and v1.1.12 involved small bugfixes.

Mobile Insider v1.4.2 brings Canvas to Mobile, as well as a vault picker and a configurable ribbon menu (for phones).

Plugin News

New in Community Plugins

These plugins went through code review and are now available in Obsidian's plugin list. For the full list, check out the plugin stats page.

  • Short Internal Links to Headings by @scottwillmoore  will display internal links to headings as just the heading name.
  • Vega Visualizations by @Some-Regular-Person  makes it easier to create highly-customizable data visualizations like line charts and scatter plots using Vega or Vega-Lite.
  • Canvas CSS class by @Lisandra-dev  will add a CSS class to the canvas, along with other attributes. If you are trying to export a canvas, please check out these directions in discord about how you should set the behavior of the plugin.
  • Terminal by @polyipseity  will open terminals in Obsidian directly.
  • Smart Connections by @brianpetro  finds links to similar notes using artificial intelligence from OpenAI.
  • Contacts by @vbeskrovnov  makes it easier to manage and organize your contacts.
  • Canvas Random Note by @jmilldotdev  add random notes from your vault to the Obsidian canvas
  • ArchiveBox Plugin by @invariant  archives links to ArchiveBox, a self-hosted archiver, upon file modification.
  • Hints Flow by @neoantox  lets users save data directly to Obsidian with a specified template. Capture from Telegram, WhatsApp, Slack, Email, SMS, Raycast and more.
  • Hyphenation by @7596ff  enables justified text and hyphenation
  • Link Nodes In Canvas by @Quorafind  is a plugin for you to add edges between notes in Canvas based on their links.
  • You are now able to export your document (or whole vault) on Windows as a fully interactive html website using Webpage HTML Export. It supports Kanban and Canvas, as well as custom themes and snippets.

Pending (as of Friday morning)

Note: Not all new plugins are available in the community list yet, as they need to go through code review first. You can manually install plugins that aren't in the community list yet by using the Beta Reviewer's Auto-update Tool. Note, though, that this is not as safe as waiting for them to go through code review.

  • Unicode Search by @BambusControl  makes it easier to search and insert Unicode characters into your editor.
  • Awesome Image by @AwesomeDog  makes it easier to automatically download images from the internet so you always have a local copy in your vault, process them, and put them into a user-defined folder.
  • Babashka by @filipesilva  allows users to run Clojure(Script) codeblocks in Babashka.
  • Obsidian Tab Key by @jrymk  allows users to insert a tab basically anywhere, including mid-sentence, or inside code blocks.
  • Brainframe by @pedersen  is a set of tools to help Obsidian manage extras (such as storing links like products and software) that it doesn't currently do.
  • Weather & Moon Phases by @mubarizahmed  allows you to insert weather and moon phase information into your notes.
  • Omnivore by @sywhb  imports your saved Omnivore articles and highlights into Obsidian.
  • Kindle CSV Converter by @alvaro-cas  lets users import Kindle notes in .csv format to Obsidian.
  • 3-D File Viewer by @kiichi  lets users drag and drop 3-D model files, such as .glb, .gltf, and .obj file, and have them render in reading view.
  • YTranscript by @lstrzepek  will fetch transcriptions for Youtube.
  • Folder Notes by @alangrainger  adds Folder Notes to the default file tree.
  • Tolino notes Import Plugin by @juergenbr  imports notes from a Tolino E-Reader.
  • Quip by @sblakey  provides commands to publish Markdown documents to Quip.com
  • Clockify by @davojc  integrates with the time tracker Clockify to submit timers.

Updates

If you want a comprehensive list of what plugins updated this week, check out this plugin updates index by Ganessh Kumar.

  • Plugin Groups 1.3.0 got a major UI rework that makes it possible for editing groups to be organized in tabs. It's also possible to bulk (de)select and filter.
  • Obsidian Chat View now supports LaTeX Rendering, and you can escape the pipe character using a backslash, i.e. \|
  • Map View v3.0.0 is faster and has note embedding support, which allows for use with the Canvas plugin among other things. There were also some other fixes and improvements.
  • Make.md spaces have been rebuilt for scalability and customizability, has support for tables and databases and lets you sync frontmatter and inline dataview fields, and got some improvements for the flow editor that lets you directly edit backlinks in the Context Explorer without leaving your note.

Betas

Note: these plugins have not yet been submitted for code review, and are being made available primarily for testing purposes.

  • Task Collector beta release 1.0.1 drops the task flow state-machine-like behavior, and switches to task configuration groups. Task Collector can now move around unchecked tasks, or deferred tasks, or just tasks with questions, or outstanding high priority tasks, etc.

For Developers

  • Insider v.1.1.10 fixed Menu.showAtPosition not working when user has enabled “native menus.” and processFrontMatter passing null when frontmatter section is empty, fixed not working with CRLF line endings.
  • Johnny is looking for a new maintainer to continue development of the Workspaces Plus plugin. Please see Issue #93 for more details.

Appearance

  • Minimal 6.2 is now available and adds the Ayu color scheme
  • Abyssal is an upcoming theme by @tazpellegrini that improves the reading and writing experience without dramatically changing Obsidian’s interface by upgrading the typesetting of system fonts. It focuses on white space and mute colors while respecting accessibility standards.
  • Shiba Inu v1.0.2 (formerly Shiba Uni) added custom colors palettes and some other fixes. 1.0.3 added folder and files icons.
  • Aura v1.5.0 has an all new alternative layout and new color customization options.
  • Ultra Lobster had major performance improvements, enhanced support for community plugins, and more customization options.
  • AnuPpuccin v1.2.7 added the kanagawa.nvim colorscheme, support for rainbow tags by @raisabelatrix, and the option to invert icon colors in colorful frame.
  • Prism 3.2.0 got a bunch of fixes, support for more community plugins, and a new roadmap.

Guides

Discussions

Showcases

Food For Thought

  • Here's some insight into what how AI might influence our notes in the future, and a response from Benjamin Shafii on the forum about how actually the real advantage of plugins like AVA is that they let you turn messy jotted notes into coherent longform things you could send to a friend. Like Benjamin, I don't look forward to any of the things in that article: I don't really want AI to organize my notes for me at all. I don't particularly trust it, because if I could programmatically and intelligently do that in a way even another human could do, I would have already automated the process already). I do not want automated linking and tagging and I have yet to find the autocompletes valuable for writing. That said, one thing I have found super useful is Readwise's Ghostreader function, which lets me input my highlights and summarize an article based only on what I cared about; it's been useful to shove at the top of my notes. There's no obvious reason this can't be replicated with one of Obsidian's many AI plugins.

Ancillary Tools

Note: There are a couple of affiliate links & codes scattered around, but these always come from links I was already recommending and usually I share them because they benefit you too (i.e. getting you extra time on trials).

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