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Show HN: Save, annotate and organize podcasts, blog posts, newsletters, videos (shelf.so)
181 points by louisfialho 7 months ago | hide | past | favorite | 31 comments

I am both excited and terrified by the vast amount of high quality learning resources available online. Indeed, while I've learned so much for free online, it has also been hard to manage the information I encounter. More precisely it takes important mental effort to save, organize and annotate all the podcasts, blog posts, newsletters, articles, videos and other resources that are interesting. I have built and used Shelf personally for 2 weeks now and I am impressed at how efficient it has been in helping me convert information into knowledge more efficiently: I now save almost every resource with a glimmer of interest for later, but then ruthlessly prioritize resources that truly seem important, and finally systematically take notes for the very best resources. Curious to know how you deal with information overload and hope Shelf can help!

So how does this work? What's the privacy policy? Is there a pricing plan at some point? What's the limit? Send data using a telegram bot to a service? What kind of data can be sent? Is this an alternative to pocket? I don't wish to come off as rude but there's just no information of any sort that i could find.

Hi @pratio - thank you for the great questions! 1) How does this work? Whenever you encounter an interesting resource, say a podcast, a blog post, a newsletter, or a video, you can save it to your Shelf - either by using Telegram Bot from mobile or the 'Add' button from desktop. Once the resource is added to your shelf, you can assign it to a space, say "Neuroscience", in order to keep your resources organized. Finally, you can add notes to a resource in order to retain key insights, and share those with others if needed. For the v1 I focused on the 3 main pain points I had - save, organize and annotate resources - so that's pretty much it! Let me know what features would you like to see next! 2) What's the privacy policy? Every shelf is public for now. I believe in "open-source" knowledge and "learning in public". Knowledge is better shared than kept. 3) Is there a pricing plan at some point? Some users might adhere to 2) but still want private spaces. In this case, they could have to pay a small tax, say $2.99 for privacy (similar to GitHub's business model). 4) What's the limit? No limit! The beauty of technology is that, unlike our brains, it offers almost unlimited storage. 5) Send data using a telegram bot to a service? What kind of data can be sent? You can send URLs to Shelf Bot - those will be added directly to your Shelf and formatted accordingly (e.g. a URL for a podcast will be rendered as a podcast resource in Shelf) 6) Is this an alternative to pocket? Pocket is an amazing tool but it is almost 15 years old and quite abandoned by Firefox. This is a shame. I believe every user of the internet needs a place to save, organize and annotate information. Pocket could be 10xed.

I don't think that it's obvious from the website that the bookmarks are public? I understand the belief in opensource knowledge but a user would've to find a separate private place for stuff they don't want to share with the world. I think it should be mentioned that there's a plan to monetize this before users start using this a repository.

> Knowledge is better shared than kept. Yes, but if a site like this offered to cache the webpages that i send so that if the site disappears the pages remain available

Agreed 100% - I have to clearly communicate that profiles are public by default, and add an option to make spaces / resources private! I did not realize how important this was to users, as I was using it mainly for myself until now. Thank you for the feedback!

Okay this looks kinda useful, I actually like the idea of using a Telegram bot, I know many people will be against it but it's an app that runs everywhere; I always have quick access to it, and honestly it's the fastest way to share/save things, I use Saved Messages all the time to transfer files or save screenshots.

Thank you for the feedback - using a Telegram Bot is a useful hack to let users share resources from mobile without having an iOS app. This adds a small friction for non-Telegram users but is a good way to test demand!

I built a very simplistic webapp to save some notes and links mostly for myself. Unknowingly I have around 50 users using it. It's written 4yrs back and it's working.

https://stash.bobbydreamer.com uses Firebase in bg.

One problem I had encountered is. After some time links don't work meaning. The author either deleted the webpage or they have upgraded their site either the link is changed or entire website is shifted.

One needs to be careful in saving links.

This is really cool! Shameless plug, I built https://makechaos.app which also lets you save links from the web to your own collections

Thank you! Chaos looks really nice - would you like to set up a quick call to discuss our respective product approaches? If so feel free to reach out at louis@shelf.so !

This sounds very much like something I need, but just to clarify, this requires me to use Telegram? I am unsure as to why that is, and why I can't just use the normal Android sharing.

Also your example doesn't quite show how I can annotate a podcast, which is (as far as I am aware) your biggest differentiater compared to something like Pocket.

I am a bit mystified, but I am super interested.

Hi Tom, thanks for the feedback! Since the v1 is desktop only, building a Telegram bot was a hack to help users share resources directly from mobile - if things go right we'll build an ios app to replace the Telegram Bot! As for podcast annotation, the third video on the LP shows how the desktop experience works - and the mobile experience is pretty similar. Did you have a different type of experience in mind for podcast annotation? Thx!

Why the bot? I'm building something similar but for PC. A way to organize files and stuff on a drive without touching the actual file. Something Google Picasa PC like but for all kinds of files. I found my girlfriend organizing her graphics for a cricket and had no way to tag them or group them. I didn't like anything I could buy or that I read about.

Thanks for sharing this! The bot is here mainly as an MVP to let users share resources easily from mobile. In the future, it should be replaced by an ios app with traditional mobile sharing. Shelf is mainly focused on online learning resources but I'd be super curious to discuss your approach. Feel free to reach out at louis@shelf.so

Interesting. I am trying to tackle the same problem i.e so many resources online, how to gather and annotate it all. But I am coming at it from a few different angles. Annotation is definitely part of it, but I think it is a small part of the problem.

Hi Dexter - agreed, annotation is only one pain point among many others. I'd be curious to discuss our respective approaches for tackling this problem - feel free to reach out at louis@shelf.so !

Interesting... where can I see Lex Fridman's shelf?

It seems everyone and their mother is working on a knowledge management / list curation tool these days—well, including myself (I'm working on Trove [1, 2]). IMO, the key value that has yet to be unlocked (though we're trying to do this with Trove) is layering a community / social network on top of a tool like this—so that it's not just a single player utility.

Always happy to chat / share notes if you have any thoughts on this! (email in bio)

[1] https://trove.to/

[2] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=26582658

Hi Wes - thanks for your feedback! Indeed PKM is still a big, unsolved problem. Too bad many of the solutions created only end up being side projects - I still believe there is room for an end-to-end integrated "Figma" of resources management. Sent you an email to share our thoughts! Cheers

Doesn't seem to work correctly on my Android mobile. Sharing to the telegram bot does not add the object to the Shelf; I see no updates on the browser.

Interesting concept, look forward to using this.

Hey vyrians - thank you for the feedback. Traffic from HN took the SMS API down but it should be back up. I also sent a link via e-mail for you to try to connect again. Let me know if you need support at louis@shelf.so ! Cheers

So nice to see that I'm not the only one trying to solve this problem :D

I love the simplicity of the tool. Which means it's pretty easy to integrate it with your own personal workflow.

Great work man.

Thanks! I am a big believer that "simplicity is the ultimate sophistication" so your feedback is encouraging! Feel free to reach out at louis@shelf.so if you have any suggestion!

This seems cool. I was just today thinking that I wished there was a way to save podcast snippets easily for annotation and later retrieval.

If you’re on iOS (there is a Android waitlist), I might have an even better workflow:

I use Airr[0] to listen to podcasts. It has a feature which enables you to save the last x amount of seconds (default is 45) and has transcriptions for popular podcasts. If there isn’t a transcription you can request one within minutes.

From there on I share my quotes via email to have them on my desktop(there are integrations with some services, but I don’t use them). Once I have them on my desktop, I will put them into my Obsidian notebook and organize them there.

[0] https://www.airr.io/

Love Airr! Tried it but did not manage to make it part of my daily routine - the audio highlighting feature somehow did not feel natural to me. However, I was really impressed with all the transcripts they generate - I think those could be super useful for me, once I have finished a podcast and want to retain key insights. Feel free to reach out by email - I'd be curious to learn more about your workflow!

Sweet. What's the business model? Looks like it's free — is it a data play?

Thx! I'd be curious to learn more about your workflow - feel free to reach out at louis@shelf.so

I use markdown files with a couple of VSCode extensions for links mainly.

Thanks for sharing this! I'd be super curious to learn more about your workflow - feel free to reach out at louis@shelf.so

Not really much to it. A directory with notes that has subdirectories for different things.

For your example, I've a directory called resources and it has subdirs like books, videos etc.

Each note is a markdown file with some front matter, including a source. The body is what you call annotations and I call notes.

I've got kortina.vscode-markdown-notes and davidanson.vscode-markdownlint extensions for VSCode.

I also have a couple of scripts for housekeeping: to quickly generate an entry and to create indexes. If you're interested you can read more about it here: https://ognjen.io/markdown-notes-improvements/

Sweet - simple and effective - thank you for sharing!

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