Relatedly: I often run while listening to podcasts. When I do, I remember much more of the material. And when I revisit certain blocks around the neighborhood, I find myself recalling what I heard during the run.
The spacial encoding of memories seems very potent and under-investigated.
- The recall effect when you see the same areas again. 
- The effect of running itself. Your ARAS (or Ascending RAS, or Ascending Reticular Activating System -- not everyone uses the same acronym) in your brainstem is hurling a whole lot of neurotransmitters (like adrenaline and dopamine) towards your hippocampus. Long story short: you'll be able to remember better for the next 30 to 60 minutes. 
 Too lazy to look up the source (sorry, not having my day in terms of productivity), anyone who studied psychology would've learned the study about people diving under water and doing a memory task and then having a much better recall underwater then on land regarding that memory task.
 Source: learned it at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam from Prof. Dr. Erik Scherder. I still don't know where a paper is that describes the full story. I also couldn't find too much information about it online, and I never had enough time to fully figure the story out. So if there's a neuroscientist in the room, please help me out :D
You're effectively building "memory palaces" without consciously doing it by associating podcast content with real-life locations.
Some memory athletes use that ability to remember digits of pi or decks of cards!
BTW, I wonder if anyone here in HN used it to learn significant things using this method?
This website is a bit of a let-down for me since it's just a bird's eye view, it would be cool to create a palace using a 3d game engine, with signs that point to things like physics formulae, and then some Sims or Google-Sketchup-like tool to add objects that you want to remember.
 The relevant excerpt about Hannibal's memory palace: https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/illusion-chasers/hannib... , it describes a painting that he uses to remember the fictional address "3327 Tindal, Arlington VA 22308".
No one can arrive to use a memory palace technique proper good without first learning to visualize space-time. That is FOUR dimensions, not a 2-d map, not a 3-d picture, an actual space you can walk around that changes.
He used the memory palace method to remember his lecture's organization.
Each function is a little building like an office or a shop, which has a sign out front telling what services or products it sells, and contains everything inside you need to solve some kind of problem or produce some kind of product or service (where equipment in the room is like references to other objects and functions and imported libraries).
You're standing behind the front counter, just about to receive a customer though the front entrance door with the parameters you need for one particular instance of that problem.
You go into the back room, solve the problem, then deliver the results out the exit door at the back of the building (or through any of the other earlier emergency exits, if you had to exit prematurely or throw an error and run away).
The front/back flow is a metaphor for the top/bottom flow of control through a function.
If you squint you can see the example Nassi-Shneiderman diagram in that article as a map of a building, with its front at the top, and exit at the bottom.
You can have internal hallways and rooms for branches and loops, like a Nassi-Shneiderman diagram. The "Sub to Determine Wiki-Article" room is like the front entrance lobby of a theater where buy your ticket. The "Select Favourite Genre" room is like the stage of The Price is Right, and you get to pick what's behind door #1 (History), #2 (Science), or # (Geography), or else choose Other. They each have one or two rooms behind them with your rewards, and then they all finally exit out to the same back stage loading dock, where you take your wonderful prize (or consolation donkey) home.
When I accidentally listened to an old gym playlist from 2 years ago at my office desk, I felt a rush of the old determination that used to fuel my HIIT workouts. It was jarring and incredible.
The Method of Loci is an ancient technique that used to be taught for thousands of years as a standard part of a classical eduction, way back when people needed to remember things before the invention of smartphones and printing presses. But in the middle ages it was banned for being immoral! Apparently, some bad apples were abusing the Method of Loci to remember "immoral" things they shouldn't be thinking about, using "fabulous" images they shouldn't be imagining.
>Remember to use physical objects in these palaces since they have easily imaginable traits; when you are dealing with more abstract or untranslatable ideas it is best to convert them into objects based on the way the words sound, so Valmur becomes Val Kilmer, Les Preuses becomes purses, etc. Additionally, you don’t need to be concerned with reality when making these memory palaces. The more slapstick, unique and vivid they are, the easier they will stick. Raunchy imagery always works well, to the point where some religious orders in the middle ages banned the practice because it was deemed immoral.
Memory Palace techniques have been known as the Mind Palace, Method of Loci, and Memory Journey, Art of Memory, Ars Memorativa, Memorative Art, Mnemotechnics, Architectural Mnemonic, Graphical Mnemonic, and Textual Mnemonic.
>The most common account of the creation of the art of memory centers around the story of Simonides of Ceos, a famous Greek poet, who was invited to chant a lyric poem in honor of his host, a nobleman of Thessaly. While praising his host, Simonides also mentioned the twin gods Castor and Pollux. When the recital was complete, the nobleman selfishly told Simonides that he would only pay him half of the agreed upon payment for the panegyric, and that he would have to get the balance of the payment from the two gods he had mentioned. A short time later, Simonides was told that two men were waiting for him outside. He left to meet the visitors but could find no one. Then, while he was outside the banquet hall, it collapsed, crushing everyone within. The bodies were so disfigured that they could not be identified for proper burial. But, Simonides was able to remember where each of the guests had been sitting at the table, and so was able to identify them for burial. This experience suggested to Simonides the principles which were to become central to the later development of the art he reputedly invented.
>He inferred that persons desiring to train this faculty (of memory) must select places and form mental images of the things they wish to remember and store those images in the places, so that the order of the places will preserve the order of the things, and the images of the things will denote the things themselves, and we shall employ the places and the images respectively as a wax writing-tablet and the letters written upon it.
>[...] However, this transition was not without its difficulties, and during this period the belief in the effectiveness of the older methods of memory training (to say nothing of the esteem in which its practitioners were held) steadily became occluded. In 1584, a huge controversy over the method broke out in England when the Puritans attacked the art as impious because it was thought to excite absurd and obscene thoughts; this was a sensational, but ultimately not a fatal skirmish. Erasmus of Rotterdam and other humanists, Protestant and Catholic, had also chastised practitioners of the art of memory for making extravagant claims for its efficacy, although they themselves believed firmly in a well-disposed, orderly memory as an essential tool of productive thought.
>One explanation for the steady decline in the importance of the art of memory from the 16th to the 20th century is offered by the late Ioan P. Culianu, who argued that it was suppressed during the Reformation and Counter-Reformation when Protestants and reactionary Catholics alike worked to eradicate pagan influence and the lush visual imagery of the Renaissance.
>Whatever the causes, in keeping with general developments, the art of memory eventually came to be defined primarily as a part of Dialectics, and was assimilated in the 17th century by Francis Bacon and René Descartes into the curriculum of Logic, where it survives to this day as a necessary foundation for the teaching of Argument. Simplified variants of the art of memory were also taught through the 19th century as useful to public orators, including preachers and after-dinner speakers.
"The Art of Memory" is also the title of a 1966 book by Frances A. Yates about the history of mnemonic systems.
Here's some racy discussion from that book about those problematic morally reprehensible corporeal images:
>What we are reading is very extraordinary indeed. For scholasticism in its devotion to the rational, the abstract, as the true pursuit of the rational soul, banned metaphor and poetry as belonging to the lower imaginative level. Grammar and Rhetoric which dealt with such matters had to retreat before the role of Dame Dialectic. And those fables about the ancient gods with which poetry concerned itself were high reprehensible morally. To move, to excite the imagination and the emotions with metaphorica seems a suggestion utterly contrary to the scholastic puritanism with its attention severely fixed on the next world, on Hell, Puratory, and Heaven. Yet, though we are to practice the artificial memory as a part of Prudence, its rules for images are letting in the metaphor and the fabulous for their moving power.
>And now the imagines agentes make their appearance, quoted in full from Tullius. Remarkably beautiful or hideous, dressed in crowns and purple garments, deformed or disfigured with blood or mud, smeared with red paint, comic or ridiculous, they stroll mysteriously, like players, out of antiquity into the scholastic treatise on memory as a part of Prudence. The solution emphasizes the reason for the choice of such images is that they 'move strongly' and so adhere to the soul.
>The verdict in the case for and against the artificial memory, which has been conducted in strict accordance with the rules of scholastic analysis, is as follows:
>"We say that the ars memorandi which Tullius teaches is the best and particularly for the things to be remembered pertaining to life and judgment (ad vitam et iudicium), and such memories (i.e. artificial memories) pertain particularly to the moral man and to the speaker (ad ethicum et rhetorem) because since the act of human life (actus humanae vitae) consists in particulars it is necessary that it should be in the soul through corporeal images; it will not stay in memory save in such images. Whence we say that of all the things which belong to Prudence the most necessary of all is memory, because from past things we are directed to present things and future things, and not the other way round."
Lots more on the Memory Techniques Wiki:
Here's some more recent research -- isn't the point of memorizing to cause lasting changes to the brain?:
An ancient memorization strategy might cause lasting changes to the brain
Using the memory techniques of the pros alters patterns in brain activity, new research says
Is there any name for this effect, or any related research? It’s kind of like the memory palace idea in reverse, where the concept sparks the imagery of the place involuntarily, instead of intentionally thinking of places to spark recall.
I feel that apps like this can be incredibly useful but ultimately, if they work for you, you'll spend years shoving data into them only to have it lost the moment the site shuts down, or in the case of desktop apps, the app stops working with the latest OS upgrade.
If it was open source and I could host it myself I'd _seriously_ consider using it.
The way I study math usually (actually not usually, because it's not very pracrical, but the most productive way I found) is by locking myself in a classroom, laying all my notes spread on different tables, and using the chalkboard as a temporary playground to redo demonstrations and exercises, and sometimes explore ideas on my own.
Theorems and objects end up having a literal spacial position in the room, and I have to move around to study. It feels like being a craft man in his workshop.
It's fun, really. It got me excited to study maths.
But I need a room for it, and I can only get one if I come super early, before class starts, to get 3 or 4 hours of productivity.
Maybe a virtual one like that can work. It's really appealing.
That to me sounds like a key thing. This app looks neat and probably will work for some, but I think it will only fully click for me if I ever would get a VR equivalent of it where I can have a full embodied experience of walking around. It's one more reason why I really hope Dynamicland will "escape" out of its experimental lab setting
> Text is tough in VR. It’s hard to read, given the resolution of today’s HMDs and it’s hard to write, since you’re typically blind in a headset and it’s annoying to be tied to a keyboard at a desk when you’d rather walk and move around in VR. I tolerate these problems with RiftSketch by making the text in the editor extremely large. I can only see 20 lines of code at a time in VR whereas my physical desktop has a 4K monitor where I’m usually looking at 140 lines of code per file with several files open side-by-side. (https://uploadvr.com/riftsketch/)
And that isn't even trying to give you a pen & paper experience. (<- something I'd also like to have.)
If anyone has questions feel free to ask me here! or at firstname.lastname@example.org
I would happily pay for something like this if it worked well and addressed above concerns.
I’m going to try it anyway.
It reminds me of some experimental user interfaces with pie menus I designed for creating and editing memory palaces: "iLoci" on the iPhone for notes and pictures and links and web browser integration in 2008, and "MediaGraph" on Unity3D for organizing and playing music in 2012, both of which I hope will inspire you for ideas to implement (like pie menus, and kissing!) or ways to explain what you've already created.
A memory map editor can not only benefit from pie menus for editing and changing properties (like simultaneously picking a font with direction, and pulling out the font size with distance, for example), but it's also a great way for users to create their own custom bi-directionally gesture navigable pie menus by dragging and dropping and "kissing" islands together against each other to create and break links (like bridges between islands). (See the gesture navigation example at the end of the MediaGraph demo, and imagine that on an iPad or phone!)
I think your crisp clean abstract graphical style would go nicely with something like Simon Schneegans' designs for Gnome-Pie, Coral-Menu, and Trace-Menu:
Some HN posts (updated with updated links):
I wrote an iPhone app called "iLoci"  that was based on the Method of Loci , which had a gestural interface that let you construct and navigate your own networks of locations by dragging rooms around and "kissing" them together to connect and disconnect them. Another way to think of it is as a pie menu editor.
Later I elaborated on the idea in a Unity prototype called MediaGraph , which lets you arrange your music in an editable gesture navigable map.
 iPhone app iLoci by Don Hopkins @ Mobile Dev Camp:
A talk about iLoci, an iPhone app and server based on the Method of Loci for constructing a Memory Palace, by Don Hopkins, presented at Mobile Dev Camp in Amsterdam.
 Method of Loci: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Method_of_loci
 MediaGraph Music Navigation with Pie Menus Prototype developed for Will Wright's Stupid Fun Club:
This is a demo of a user interface research prototype that I developed for Will Wright at the Stupid Fun Club. It includes pie menus, an editable map of music interconnected with roads, and cellular automata.
It uses one kind of nested hierarchical pie menu to build and edit another kind of geographic networked pie menu.
Discussion of the pie menus:
Pie menus frame this kind of interaction as pop-up menus, which provide a "self revealing gestural user interface". The menu pops up and leads you through the possible selections. That feedback trains you to rehearse the gestures. Soon you begin to make the gesture without looking at the menu, then wait for the menu feedback to confirm you're doing the right thing. Finally you gain enough skill and confidence through "muscle memory" to make the gestures quickly without even looking at the screen or requiring any feedback.
It's best if the menus can provide real time in-world feedback, like applying the effect of the interaction immediately as the menu is tracking. That makes it feel more like immersive "direct manipulation" than indirect "menu selection". It's important that pie menus support "reselection", which makes them much more forgiving and differentiates them from traditional blind gesture recognition, so you at any time during tracking you can change the selection to any item you desire.
Pie menus completely saturate the entire possible gesture space with usable and accessible commands: there is no such thing as a syntax error, and you can always correct any gesture to select what you want, no matter how bad it started out, or cancel the menu, by moving around to the desired item or back to the center to cancel.
Handwriting and gesture recognition does not have this property, and it can be quite frustrating because you can't correct or cancel mistakes, and dangerous because mistakes can be misinterpreted as the wrong command. Most gestures are syntax errors. Blind gesture recognition doesn't have a good way to prompt and train you with the possible gestures, which only cover a tiny fraction of the possible gesture space. All the rest of the space of possible gestures is wasted, and interpreted as a syntax error (or worse, misinterpreted as the wrong gesture), instead of enabling the user to correct mistakes and reselect different gestures.
Even "fuzzy matching" of gestures trades off gestural precision with making it even harder to cancel or correct a gesture, without accidentally being misinterpreted as the wrong gesture. That's not the kind of an interface you would want to use in a mission critical application such as a car or airplane.
Another way to reframe the gestural, self revealing and reselectable qualities of pie menus is as navigation through a map, as opposed to climbing up a hierarchical menu tree. Instead of laboriously climbing up a tree of submenus, you simply navigate around a map of "sibmenus" -- sibling menus that you can easily move back and forth between by moving in opposite directions.
This demo of an iPhone app I developed called "iLoci" demonstrates the idea, enabling users to create their own memorable maps of "locations" instead of "menus", which they can edit by dragging around, that are related to each other by two-way reversible links. It exploits the "Method of Loci," an ancient memorization technique from the time before iPhones when people had to use their own brains to remember things, in order to leverage your spatial navigation memory and make it easy to learn your way around. http://vimeo.com/2419009
"The Method of loci (plural of Latin locus for place or location), also called the memory palace, is a mnemonic device introduced in ancient Roman and Greek rhetorical treatises (in the anonymous Rhetorica ad Herennium, Cicero's De Oratore, and Quintilian's Institutio Oratoria). In basic terms, it is a method of memory enhancement which uses visualization to organize and recall information. Many memory contest champions claim to use this technique to recall faces, digits, and lists of words. These champions’ successes have little to do with brain structure or intelligence, but more to do with their technique of using regions of their brain that have to do with spatial learning."
I like the idea of moving away from hierarchal menu navigation, towards spatial map navigation. It elegantly addresses the problem of personalized user created menus, by making linking and unlinking locations as easy as dragging and dropping objects around and bumping them together to connect and disconnect them. (Compare that to the complexity of a tree or outline editor, which doesn't make the directions explicit.) And it eliminates the need to a special command to move back up in the menu hierarchy, by guaranteeing that every navigation is obviously reversible by moving in the opposite direction. I believe maps are a lot more natural and easier for people to remember than hierarchies, and the interface naturally exploits "mouse ahead" (or "swipe ahead") and is obviously self revealing.
Here is another video demonstrating a prototype exploring this interface that I developed in Unity3D for Will Wright. It shows both an "iLoci" map editing interface, as well as traditional pop-up pie menus using "pull-out" distance parameters with real time in-world feedback to preview the effect of the selection (plus it also has cellular automata, at Will's request!):
MediaGraph has a special place in my heart. Back in 2014 I built a zoomable UI prototype that very much embraced the concept of real-world objects as metaphors, which I think is vastly underappreciated. An antithesis to traditional graph visualization techniques of sorts, and it even had radial pie menus!
That project grew in scope and work on that prototype was discontinued in 2016 pending a major redesign.
The funny part is, I didn't discover MediaGraph until just a couple years ago, so it blew my mind to learn I was unknowingly on a very similar path back then, long after I had mothballed the thing.
As a solo founder, to find out my thinking was even in a remotely similar neighborhood as you and Will, was incredibly meaningful. It was and still is one of the few tiny little kernels of hope I hold on to that keeps me going. Thank you.
shame on he who thinks evil of it ;)
- Placing a note automatically creates an island around it with a recognizable landmark nearby. Add a tree after each addition. Add or enlarge a pond after each deletion.
- Dragging a line between two islands/hills either merges the two or moves them closer, depending on the size of the islands/hills involved and the population of the area. Locations, distance, and scale can change but the relative direction should not.
1. automatically adding landmarks
This is a potential solution to a problem that we think about quite often: it's easy to teach people HOW to place components, but it's hard to teach people WHERE to place components.
We introduced templates to not only help people get started with their notes but also give them an example that they can follow when it comes to making memorable islands.
2. I'm not sure what exactly you mean by dragging a line. Do you mind expanding a little?
Re 2. I mean the gesture of pressing mouse or finger down on an island/hill then drag to another island/hill then releasing to gesture that the two are related. The line I mentioned is just a feedback mechanism. You can also use an outline of the first island/hill. The ideal reaction to such a gesture is bringing the two notes/topics closer which is where my comment about changing location and/or scale of island/hill while keeping the relative direction (angle) constant. I think relative direction more sticky than the other two.
As a trial, I'll map all James Bond movies in chronological order to the track while I drive through it and see whether I'll be able to recall them more easily than I can now.
But I do have a question though---I have my island with the "World Domination" plans on it. On that, I have a plateau with plans for the "Mega Death Laser". But those are related to Tesla's patents, and all his stuff is over there on the other island. Is there a way to link the Tesla patents "over there" with the Mega Death Laser plans "over here"?
- Older ideas based around Xanadu ZigZag (e.g. fenfire.org): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ACPav69eW78 .
- Tinderbox guide videos
- An old HN comment I rediscovered that lists out many older note-taking projects: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4401550 (notably realized connectedtext had a feature akin to roamresearch)
Wilmot's Warehouse also comes to mind  :-)
I have a few odd memories of Echo Arena where I swear I can remember feeling the cool air of the arena on my skin and smelling the cold metal walls mixed with sweat. It felt like I was "there".
I wonder if some memory palace concepts could be combined with VR.
Someone did a research study on it here if you're interested.
Here's some raw feedback from an n = 1. I'm being as critical as I can here, because your project can take it.
Personally, I don't think this is the final answer to the problem your solving but a good step towards it. I see some UX issues. It feels like I'm looking at a Blackberry (in a pre-Blackberry era) and not an iPhone.
So in conclusion: you found a key insight that everyone missed, executed well on it, but I'm missing a certain polish. I wouldn't know what this certain polish is, otherwise I'd have told you. It's simply a gut feeling (and gut feelings are terrible at picking things apart).
I know it sounds a bit nitpicky, but view it this way: your one step away from world domination as far your product is concerned in my eyes. I'd say in a sense that's really positive feedback, isn't it?
I'm going to riff on this idea in my free time: how can visual layout information help recall? I mean, one quick thought I have is: you can also make a VR app for this. Not sure if that would be the way to go (I think not), but I can imagine how it could help.
You could integrate it into the site a bit as well and display release notes or your blog.
It's also got a ton of potential as UI for blockchain exploration, where the elevation and other topographical features are influenced by transaction characteristics.
Along the same lines about digital habits & itunes and gmail: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=22087406
Why do I still need to sort & remember where I put my note/email/idea? Why not just search for keywords and bring all the relevant notes up? I do agree that part of the problem/key is how the user inputs their idea, but the memory tool should bring it back w/o myself remembering.
Nice execution on the tool - my criticism is in challenging what the right recall mechanism should be vs. the input mechanism.
However in my case I think it wouldn't do anything for me, I'm not a visual thinker, I think in paragraphs, I understand things that are written down, even simple diagrams of server client interaction can slow down my understanding of what something is supposed to do in my job. Perhaps that's why I find it enchanting, it seems a fantasy because my brain doesn't work that way.
All that said I think my daughter's brain works completely visually, she struggles with language, her memory for abstraction is not good, but she is great with visual ideas. I guess I might start her on this, however like other people I find myself a little hesitant given that you haven't figured out a cost for the service yet.
Also holy crap the body type in these notes is microscopic.
So, we used to have somewhat like a tag system that we thought would lower the friction required to make a note. Where you can open up a notebook anywhere and we'll put it on the correct island for you after #tag it. But it kinda defeated the purpose of this app, for people to place their notes down like how they place a lego block down.
Also, it turns out, people usually don't fill up their islands to the point of collision. They have a lot of empty spaces between notes. So, it's actually a problem that we haven't encountered yet.
Additionally, note blocks can be seen as their own word documents and the tiny words on top are previews. So you can also just "open up" one of these blocks and put your idea there.
OR, what I do, is I have an island for random ideas like that. Write it down first, organize it later.
lastly, we will add a font size option for the rooftop fonts soon, don't wanna get eye damage lawsuits haha.
Also need a drag feature for increasing island size, not just click. I would like to be able to create a large island quickly, like using a paintbrush almost. Even if I don't have notes to populate it with anytime soon.
Really love all this though.
I wasn’t talking about the fonts in the scroll-around-the-islands view being tiny, I meant the body copy when you open up a note. At least on OSX Safari it is like 6pt.
Right click can be context menu for changing color/placing objects etc.
I like where this is going. You are right that humans are visual. But we are more than that; we need to create more tools that complement our biological form. This is a cool step.
I think it would be cool to visualize notes of other apps (Notion, Evernote, ...) with maps via APIs. Maybe even automated somehow.
If you are interested in reading more about knowledge management in a software engineering context, you might like my blog post: https://tkainrad.dev/posts/managing-my-personal-knowledge-ba...
It seems that it's only 2.5D though. Have you considered making it truly 3D somehow? There's a surprisingly large amount of extra space you gain with that third dimension.
Also, fun idea: what if the island evolved over time? Like every time you visit, trees grow a bit and some new trees grow next to them, so eventually you get a forest, etc. I wonder what the implications of this would be to remembering things? Would the constant change help, or no?
...and everything old is new again, apparently.
Memory palace is a good description of what I want and this app encourages me that others are doing work in the same space!
Much more relevant and sustainable than logs of notes.
It's pretty interesting that people remember much more about their own Minecraft creation than their notes/ tasks. This balanced approach is very interesting!
Cause of concern: business/ pricing model.
I’ve been tracking the Munx VR  app which is similar, but unable to try it out without a VR headset. They just announced desktop version support so going to give that a go soon along with this Nototo app.
A native app is definitely on the to-do list. The reason why we chose the browser is mainly so that we can distribute it to a broader audience. Also, I use a MacBook and my Co-founder uses windows, and we'd both like to use the app ourselves haha.
I may be wrong on this, but I think the friction to download a native app is much higher than a web app. And we really want as many users, from as many demographics, as we can to test the product and guide our development.
A demo portal/sandbox on our front page would be cool too! But we have some bugs/features that are much higher on our todo list.
Again, thanks a lot for the feedback!
what you are creating is something that will be filled with peoples personal data. Many of us, are required by employers, law, or a sense of owning the data, are going to prevent people from storing the data on your server.
you could look at a native app, if your rending is done client side, you could make the data files exportable, and make use of client side encryption.
Think the way a lot of password managers are working.
Additionally, on your demo video, I know voice over can be a pain for small devs, but have some on screen techs would really be helpful, or hell even some background music.
I know I personally started checking my headphone, trying to see if they were muted.
We will definitely work towards that, however, at this moment we are quite limited by our development speed. So it is unclear how long it will be until our #1 prioritization becomes creating a native app.
Also, will definitely make the demo vid better, eventually!
Thanks for your feedback, I really appreciate them.
This is awesome!
I have been thinking about how augmented reality might help with notes/todos and a memory palace might be it. Still unsure about how to execute this but intriguing nonetheless.
reminds me a bit of Jurassic Park's OS :)
Second thought: "wait, this actually makes perfect sense. I want it"
Kudos for the great idea!
1. How you navigate through the environment matters. A lot. Let me use an example to try to illustrate how navigation plays a role in the method of loci. You're tasked with remembering how to solve a maze you must walk through. Consider how your brain ultimately end up encoding the solution. The brain only retains information that's (likely) relevant to solving some problem it is motivated to solve, and, also noteworthy, it tries to encode this information as sparsely as possible. Thus, what you end up remembering is not the precise spatial layout of the maze. Instead, you remember a stack of instructions/decisions associated with certain visual cues that contain a very small handful (say 1 to 3) of precise identifying details framed within a very undetailed visual "gist". How does this relate to the method of loci? Well, as the encoding of your memory palace matures in your brain it is precisely these pictorial memories that end up solidifying in long term memory and becoming the "loci" in which you place the items you want to remember.
This entails some important things: first, to actually use a "method of loci" it is important that the environment change little. The solution here does not appear to afford that; you generate the environment, you can change the environment, etc. Well, learning is ultimately a generative activity, so this is okay. Chunking is a generative activity, and that is a highly effective memory technique. But I am going to guess that this, as a generative activity, is not significantly more effective than the generative activities of spider diagramming or outlining in a word document. Worse, if it's implemented poorly or lacks certain features it's probably worse. Second, to actually use a "method of loci" it is important that you have a clearly defined path to navigate. Again, the solution here does not afford this, as you seem to be constantly moving around wherever you like in the environment. Exploration is fine as a learning activity but if you never boil it down to a specific path (like you do in the maze example), you're not creating a true "mind palace" and getting the benefits thereof. Third, each loci must have specific and fairly apparent details that distinguish it from the others, or else your images will tend to get confused. Doesn't look like this solution offers much in the way of that with the little models you can place on the islands. I assume that will change over time.
As a side note, I also once tried to use the method of loci with such a top down perspective as you see in the demo (specifically I was using the Sims 2, ah how I love that game...). I found it didn't work that well.
Some years ago my experience was further validated by reading Mary Carruthers' work on the medieval idea of _ductus_, a core concept in medieval memorytechnique. Ductus doesn't have to do with a defined navigation of your body through an environment, though, but a defined navigation of your eyes through an image.
To sum up point #1, this solution does not help you produce strong loci like you get with a true method of loci. The "loci" it helps you produce are, if I had to guess, not significantly more effective than the "loci" you produce in your mind when you create, view, and encode the spatial relationships in, say, a draw.io diagram.
2. The loci are not being populated with imageable contents, and the method of loci works best for imageable content. I remember reading some cog psyche studies showing this somewhere but CBA to go find them. Also, the more specific the images the more memorable. E.g. apple is worse than Macintosh is worse than "that one Macintosh apple I saw on the floor at the store last week".
3. Related to #2, converting non-imageable concepts to images is expensive and, when you don't have at least a partly preconceived "memory language" of images, this almost always offsets the advantages of using the method of loci. I think the problem with non-imageable content is probably the biggest obstacle to using the method of loci for real work (There are some exceptions to this, e.g. if you're learning Art History or Medicine) and this does nothing to solve that big problem. Again, I think this puts it in the same league as other diagramming/outlining techniques.
The solution to this problem I found was creating a bunch of rules for creating such a "memory language". Most of these images (I call them "esographs") are compiled and a few can be made JIT when you need them. Another advantage of using these rules is that creating and using the esographs can be a mnemonic/memory exercise in of itself that can be used for real work. An example. I might use a black chicken to represent the concept of a decimal point. The connection comes from a story that I heard from watching the TV show QI. The story goes that John Napier, the inventor of the decimal point, had a thieving servant. Now, to figure out which was the thief he persuaded his servants that he owned a magic black chicken that could identify thieving hands when touched. He placed this chicken in an empty room and had each servant go in and touch it. In reality, the story goes, the chicken was actually covered in soot and he identified the thief by seeing which servant had clean hands.
Now you can see that this image packs a whole parable-like story (which is itself a memory techniqe), and every time I use this image it reinforces my knowledge.
The trick to creating a "memory language" like this is to get into the habit of creating these images whenever possible and eventually you will build up enough images to have some sort of fluency in the language. Admittedly, this is a difficult habit to pick up. But after a while it has been paying off in my case, and can be enhanced with the method of loci. YMMV.
Digging through some old notes I found a list of good "rules" for converting non-imageable concepts into imageable ones. I'm not sure if I should share them since this post is already really long.
In any case, such a framework is actually more important than the method of loci since, without it, it's very difficult to use the method of loci for real work.
Funnily enough, such images representing abstract concepts is also core to medieval memorytechnique and also seems to be a major underlying motivation for religious iconography. And of course you can use the iconography as readymade images for certain concepts.
I guess the last thing I will mention is that the method of loci seems to work quite well for some people, especially when they are highly motivated and interested in content that is more imageable, but it does not seem to be all that effective for others. So YMMV.
 Anecdotally, I have a long commute that doesn't require a lot in the way of cognitive effort to navigate. I noticed that it took a very long time for me to remember the landmarks on long stretches of road where I don't have to turn.
 Season 3, Episode 3
I think given the amount of manpower we had, it was the best choice to make the browser version first. If we desperately want a desktop version, we can use Electron or some tools to convert the browser version into a desktop version. The performance may not be the greatest, but it's cheap.
We can do the same for iOS and Android.
This may just be me, but I feel like the app is somewhat like my kid. This may make it tough if we need to ditch the app or pivot one day, but yea...great question!
Also, it's quite unethical to just shut the app down without giving people the ability to export the notes. I can't really see myself doing that. And I don't think neither of my 2 teammates would allow that to happen.
> We are just three engineering students in an apartment living room, eating lentils everyday, and spending every waking moment of our lives trying to make Nototo into something that people love.
> Therefore, we really can't afford to spend time and figure out the best way to take money from you.
I really dislike this trend of "formulating a business plan for our business isn't important for us". It's supposed to come off as "we care so much about delivering a great product that we don't care about money" but once you remove the stigma about making money (you're a for profit business, you should be making money. It's a good thing. There's no shame in that) it just comes off lazy. Designing a pricing system and monetizing strategy is just as much a part of making a product as designing the frontend or the tech, and all that directly affects me as a user.
It doesn't really inspire me to try it if I have no idea if their pricing will be something I'm ok with or if their product won't exist because they didnt think coming up with a business plan was important.
We kind of scrambled that page together quickly because we wanted to get launch and get users as quickly as possible. Designing a pricing system may not take too long, but implementation would have delayed our launch date quite a bit and we really didn't want to delay the launch any further.
I think our lack of professionalism can also be an upside. It kind of allows me to create a personal relationship with some of our hardcore users and talk to them in order to guide the development direction of the app.
All in all, I appreciate the criticism!
Good luck with the product, looks very cool! Mistakes happen, nothing that would be a problem in the long term
You could also argue in the other direction that they could release the source and let people self-host it.
For someone with the intention to make a profitable SaaS business (which, as you say, there's nothing at all wrong with) it'd be valid advise, but there are many models under which to release software and not having it figured out yet is totally fine too.
Incidentally, that also excludes most VC-funded companies, because these are neither long-term nor sustainable and usually have a user-facing lifespan of 3-5 years.
Pricing in this regard is a signal for stability. If you’re paying for a service, it is far more likely to stick around. And the more stable the product, the more likely is a user to actually use the app — especially for a note taking app.
Clearly this is all just validation of a product. Will people use our product if it's free? Will they use if there is a small price? A business plan is easy when theres demand for a product established.
Also, the number of people requesting a native app for purchase and talking about pricing… Something isn’t right here.
It's not uncommon that a post like this strikes a whimsical chord. Promotional behavior is usually more mechanical and samey.