Every small piece of information that you want to memorize, create a new card.
Let me give some examples from my current technical deck:
Q: This is an open source data collection system for monitoring large distributed systems. It's a distributed data collection and analysis system in Hadoop. It runs collectors that store data in HDFS and it uses MapReduce to produce reports.
Q: This is an Apache templating language and processing engine that can be used to generate Java code, HTML, JSP's, Hibernate modules and most anything else that can be generalized.
Q: In Ruby, what command lets you determine whether you're running as a main program?
A: if __FILE__ == $0
Q: This C++ function rearranges the elements in the range [first, last) into the lexicographically next smaller permutation of elements.
For example, in lectures I'm usually able to understand most of what is taught on that first exposure, but of course I don't have everything committed to long term memory right away. So, sometimes I'm tempted to write a lot of things down or type them up in Anki (which can get quite tedious).
However, in math for instance, you pretty much have to know the exact definitions of theorems to apply them in proofs. Thus you refer back to the textbook or lecture notes/video (if available) when applying a theorem in a problem, and soon you have that definition down cold in memory. Similarly, in courses or subjects where you need to do a lot of problem solving or application, you can look back at source material for concepts or definitions as needed (this itself is probably a form of spaced repetition). In cases where I wrote down detailed notes or entered them into Anki, I find that I probably recorded a lot more than I should have.
So how do you figure out what is worth (most efficient) entering into cards in that case?
Looking back at source material is not a form of spaced repetition. By learning that you don't need to remember it, it's actually harmful for memorization. Trying to remember things without looking them up (really making an effort) is better and can be almost as good if you fit between the spaced repetition intervals, but you might as well systemitize it.
While there are a number of comments questioning the utility of doing so and comparing it to having notes in a file, the fact that this is stored in my memory reduces latency when thinking or writing code. I no longer have to look things up which really improves my flow. I see the difference whenever I work with an API I already know and one I'm relatively new to.
I find that when I have more information in my local storage (memory), I can make more creative associations among the data and come up with better solutions to problems.
In the meantime, to remember a fact for the rest of your life, you need to add it to the SR deck and spend 30 seconds in the rest of your life reviewing it.
Spaced repetition is a clear win; any attempt to resist it is madness. Imagine being able to just keep everything in RAM and never, ever touch disk.
As for the benefits of human-robot brain-algorithm cooperation (e.g. human+Google), that depends on the level of coherence between the goals of the human and the goals of the creators/financiers of the algorithm.
I liken it to learning how to get around a building by actually walking around the building, as opposed to just seeing a map. Ultimately, when there are no other distractions going on, one is probably as good as the other.
Not that I don't think you can't get this in a notes.txt. Just, I understand why some would want a physical card deck where they flip a question into an answer. Involving your body seems logical as a benefit for some.
1. Frequently (in physics) you can find a core skeleton of fundamental definitions & results. If you know these, you can solve a whole bunch of problems very easily; also, in reviewing those results, you inevitably remind yourself of why they're true (I'm starting to make a re-derivation a criterion for listing a "fact" as memorized), and of the broader logical structure of the discipline.
2. Certain problems exercise a wide variety of important techniques very quickly; I use Mnemosyne to prompt myself to re-work certain problems every so often. I try to be aggressive enough about rating "how well I know this" that I'm actually re-working the problems, not just memorizing. This is sort of like the "code kata" I've seen people suggest every now and then.
Now, this is for physics, which is probably not exactly what you mean by "technical knowledge" :-). I expect this approach would generalize very nicely to mathematics and theoretical CS (and in fact I'm using it for bits and pieces in those fields); code & software engineering would be harder, but probably doable.
Edit: removed pointer to (link to) Gwern's article: it's in the gp. Also assorted stylistic matters.
Specialization is for insects.
Here's a paper with an evaluation of those techniques and here's a pretty, high-level summary.
Only things you can forget is truly learned!
However, his point was something like focusing on rote memorization of detail makes for trite, superficial, and boring fiction-writing, and that you're better off experiencing something as intensely as possible and then forgetting it almost immediately. The idea being that your brain will recall the crucial bits more relevantly and more vividly once they have been yanked back from the fog of utter forgetfulness. I'm not sure how closely related this is to the ideas presented in the article, but for me personally, it became significantly easier to write fiction with a real sense of "immediacy" once embracing this principle.
However, fiction can require a strange sort of learning: it can involve sensory knowledge of scattered quotidian detail. Back when I wrote a lot, things like the discrete texture and smell of different wooden tables were very interesting to me. Or exactly how it feels to be in a room lit by a single large fluorescent light vs other kinds of light. I'm not sure that kind of learning transfers to any other domain, really. But forgetfulness was very useful for it, at any rate. I'm done now.
So if I want to learn European capitals I interleave it with what? The tennis/serve example is obvious, the rest is not.
In principle it should be another piece of knowledge which makes "European capitals" useful, in the same way that having a good backhand gives you more opportunities to serve. Examples would be "European systems of government", "European political movements", "European international politics and diplomacy", "European countries", etc. It's a little harder to think of, perhaps, because "European capitals" per se seems to many people to be an almost useless piece of knowledge.
* European history
* European nation-states and borders
* European language
* European physical geography (major rivers, mountain ranges)
* Famous Europeans and their hometowns
* European architecture
Interleaving, isn't a "right" or "wrong", "black" or "white"... Think of it as, this topic is "less" or "more" effective.
What do I mean? Well, as someone else mentioned, studying "European Nation States" might be a good option for you. Certainly a better option than, say, Swan Diving. You should accept that "European Nation States" is the best you can do right now.
One of the hallmark traits of intelligence is the ability to "relate" unrelated things. In this way, you could - theoretically - interleave ANYTHING, you just need to think abstractly enough about it.
A concept, person or place that is emotionally important to you.
So if learning this to prepare for a quiz show, I'd probably interleave it with specific trivia-esque facts about each capital city's culture, history, etc. That way you both learn the names of the capitals, and you attach varied bits of context to each name.
If I needed to know them because I'm moving to somewhere in Europe and I want to have a "lay of the land," I might interleave other useful tips and tricks I would need to know. Any quirks in how they drive over there, how to order food in whatever languages I need to know, the different new social customs I need to be aware of, how to translate in my head between English and metric measurements perhaps, etc ...
For folks less interested in injecting this into their terminal, check out Anki. It implements spaced repetition as flash cards, and automatically computes how often to show a card based on how often you say you already know the material.
It's a great book but I understand there are others that are more focused specifically on techniques, with much less story.
It's like reading an article on how to make money that doesn't even give you a ballpark estimate of how much money each strategy could make you.
Public strategies have short lives in efficient zero-sum markets. Here is a site with resources and active discussion on mnemonics, memory palaces and other practical memory improvement techniques: http://artofmemory.com/
this is patently untrue, unless human brains defy the known laws of physics. this makes it hard to believe everything that he mentions.
If a human's brain never gets full in a lifetime, the it's seemingly "unlimited" for our purposes. Just like how having 500 PB on a camera SD card would be unlimited for any photographer, yes, it has a limit, but you would never reach it without doing some crazy shit.
This is a very basic fact about human memory that you can find in any psych 101 textbook. You should consider picking one up and reading it.
I am reminded of the immortal character in Douglas Adam's Dirk Gently's, who has been alive too long and forgotten all of his early life (including who he is). I believe he was supposed to be a Time Lord.
I used to work on each tickets one by one, move on when it's fully done but this got very tiring, sometimes I would have to come back to a bug because it was related to another one.
I started to work on each ticket for 15~30min max, moving on regardless of whether I had got anything done. When I started to feel the burn from a ticket I would skip it and move on to the next ticket.
What I found was that I ended up getting far more done in less time. What happened was kind of like skipping a question on a test and coming back to it later. Your brain keeps working on it, or maybe you had to ask stackoverflow and it took time for someone to answer it. Anyways, time automatically began working for me, instead of me trying to bang my head against the keyboard until one thing was completely finished.
Once you shake off the feeling of unproductivity and begin seeing just how easy things are when you work on multiple tickets in short time intervals, its far worth the effort.
I've yet to name this technique, I shall call it 'notastartups maximum ticket resolve method'
Edit: changed it again, because this piece is more interesting than "Interview with Robert Bjork, director of the UCLA Learning and Forgetting Lab" made it sound.