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Daylog: One or multiple entries per day? (Read 7783 times)
Jack Baty
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Daylog: One or multiple entries per day?
Jan 15th, 2008, 9:51am
 
As part of my main Tinderbox file, I have a Daylog node with a single entry (note) for each day. Within that note I divide the day's "tasks" by using a quick TextExpander template. each daily note is named for the current date (e.g. 2008-01-15 Tuesday) and the contents looks something like this....

Code:
8:10 AM - Inbox, email, etc.
--------------------
8:39 AM - Prediction. In 1 Year Git will have as good a tool set as SVN
--------------------
9:42 AM - Asked about Daylog usage on Tinderbox Forum
 



Searching is becoming problematic, since the search results only show the note title, which isn't helpful in this case. I'm considering changing the approach to using one note per "entry," but this will lead to 20 or 30 new notes every day.  

My question, finally, is this: Considering that I would like to keep a significant period of daylog entries (at least 1 year) within my current Tinderbox file, will this one-task-per-note approach cause significant performance issues any time soon?

I know, I could just try it and find out, but thought I'd ask first just in case someone else has tried this approach and failed.

Thanks,

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Mark Bernstein
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Re: Daylog: One or multiple entries per day?
Reply #1 - Jan 15th, 2008, 11:17am
 
Doug Miller gave a nice talk about a Day Log at Tinderbox Weekend San Francisco.  He was running an IT department, and logged each event in the day.  

The log turned out to be very useful as a diagnostic tool, revealing unexpected patterns of problems: for example, one system suddenly began to have unusually fast overnight backups, except that the backup still took a long time to run on Tuesdays.  This sort of consistency is a terrific clue, but it's very hard to find if you're not looking for it.

If you have a year of notes, 20-30 notes per day and 6 days per week, that's going to run to perhaps 7,000 or 8,000 short notes.  I made a sample file (the events contain only a time stamp in their text); it takes about 20sec to load (1.8 GHz G5 -- your computer will almost certainly be faster). Searching, even for simple regular expressions, is too fast to measure with a stopwatch.  The file runs to 4.6M.

So, it's certainly plausible!
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maurice
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Re: Daylog: One or multiple entries per day?
Reply #2 - Jan 15th, 2008, 7:56pm
 
There could be a problem viewing a file containing that number of notes in outline. Once you have more than 1,638 notes visible in an outline, you lose the ability to scroll vertically, so notes not directly in view become inaccessible. Closing open containers to the keep the number of visible notes below 1,638 allows you to carry on working normally. But you'd need to avoid a flat outline that attempted to reveal more than that number of notes at the same time.
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Jack Baty
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Re: Daylog: One or multiple entries per day?
Reply #3 - Jan 15th, 2008, 8:51pm
 
Mark, I think you're right. I'm already beginning to like the one-note-per-task approach much better. And using  DisplayExpression to automatically prefix each note's name with the time of day is great.

Maurice, I don't plan on keeping all of the notes in one node. I've got them divided by year, month and day so that should keep the list manageable, yes?

Now, a couple new prototypes and I should be all set!

Thanks!
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Mark Bernstein
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Re: Daylog: One or multiple entries per day?
Reply #4 - Jan 16th, 2008, 11:08am
 
Maurice:

The limitation isn't precisely 1638 notes, but rather that the overall length of the outline (not counting collapsed items) can't exceed 16384 pixels (that is, about 227" or 18 feet of outline window).

This limit won't be with us much longer, but in fact you seldom if ever want a flat, unstructured list to be this big; scrolling is great for lists of a few hundred items but it gets cumbersome or worse at this scale.  You'd almost always be far better off, for example, making a container to hold the 20-30 notes collected each day, or perhaps all the notes from a given week.
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Jack Baty
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Re: Daylog: One or multiple entries per day?
Reply #5 - Jan 16th, 2008, 11:34am
 
Now that I've begun fleshing this out a bit more, I have another question regarding performance.

I've added a "Duration" attribute (numeric) so that I can record how long a task took. I would like to now show the total in the Name of the parent note. Currently, my daily outline looks something like this....

* 2008-01-16 Wednesday
** 7:20 AM : Played with Tinderbox
** 8:00 AM : Cleaned up JIRA issues
** 8:35 AM : Modified DNS for Gitweb server


Each of those entries has a Duration set (in minutes).

I'd like to be able to quickly see how much time I've logged for the day, ala...


* 2008-01-16 Wednesday (3 hours 20 minutes)
** 7:20 AM : Played with Tinderbox
** 8:00 AM : Cleaned up JIRA issues
** 8:35 AM : Modified DNS for Gitweb server

First I'll need to figure out *how* to do that (should be a rule on the container, right?) My question is, over time will this degrade performance enough to worry about? Are rules in general efficient enough to use regularly on many notes? Ideally I may want to add the same information to each task's name as well, so there'd be a *lot* of them. It's definitely only a nice-to-have, but would be handy just the same.

Thanks for all of the help so far!

Jack
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maurice
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Re: Daylog: One or multiple entries per day?
Reply #6 - Jan 16th, 2008, 1:41pm
 
Mark Bernstein wrote on Jan 16th, 2008, 11:08am:
Maurice:

The limitation isn't precisely 1638 notes, but rather that the overall length of the outline (not counting collapsed items) can't exceed 16384 pixels (that is, about 227" or 18 feet of outline window).

This limit won't be with us much longer, but in fact you seldom if ever want a flat, unstructured list to be this big; scrolling is great for lists of a few hundred items but it gets cumbersome or worse at this scale.  You'd almost always be far better off, for example, making a container to hold the 20-30 notes collected each day, or perhaps all the notes from a given week.


Mark

Thanks. I don't deliberately structure a file to be as flat as that, but I run into the problem periodically on some large files, eg an agent to find all notes modified in the last year will often hit the pixel-limit.

Delighted to hear the limit is going!
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Mark Bernstein
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Re: Daylog: One or multiple entries per day?
Reply #7 - Jan 16th, 2008, 2:08pm
 
Rules and performance:

In general, you don't need to worry excessively about performance of rules.  But it's always nice to avoid extra computation.  For example, you can save steps by testing some condition:

    if($NeedsUpdate) { Duration=.....; NeedsUpdate=false;}

This is especially helpful if the calculation is intrinsically computation or network-intensive.


On "Computing" New Names:

A number of people use rules to compute the names of notes, adding more information than a simple label.  That's cool.

But Tinderbox 4.1 has a new way of doing this, and it's going to be shipping soon.  So, before spending a lot of time perfecting your rules for computed names, it might be better to wait for the next release for this one specific detail.  Or write Eastgate to get into the beta program if you're in a hurry.  (I'm breaking the rule here about not discussing unreleased features.....)
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