The second edition of Tools for Thought Interchange took place on June 3rd – or June 4th if you were joining us from the other side of the international date line! And in fact, Iian Neill did just that from Australia, plus Frode Hegland calling from the other side of midnight in the UK, rounded out by Brian Rubinton in North America.

Fission: IPFS as global data commons

Boris kicked things off with why we at Fission care about the category of tools for thought, and offering the IPFS protocol as part of the answer to interchange: a global data commons.

Slide deck PDF »

For those that aren't familiar with it, InterPlanetary Linked Data (IPLD) is also worth digging into.

JeffG from Fission also briefly talked about an idea we're exploring: an open source browser extension to be used as a shared web clipper by any tool for thought, with content clipped and shared to IPFS for maximum re-use. If you're interested in #ProjectPachyderm, get in touch with JeffG @midijeffg.

As always, drop by the Fission Discord chat to find out more »

Part 2 Presentations

Here are the presentations, notes, and video from Part 2. Part 1 is also available on the blog here.

Iian Neil, Codex Editor & Standoff Editing

Iian Neill talked about Codex Editor and the concepts around it:

The follow up here with Iian and what he has built with Codex was meant as a compliment to Blaine's talk on atJSON: the concept of Standoff Editing, where annotations don't just exist as inline markup, but in fact are meant to be multi player – including with past / future versions of yourself.

"Liberate the user from the tyranny of embedded markup" was a particularly strong phrase!

As well as his on camera presentation, Iian also prepared an extended demo to YouTube:

Frode Hegland, Visual Meta

Frode Hegland took us all the way back to the original Tools for Thought: Howard Rheingold's book by that name.

Visual Meta is what Frode demo'd for us, "BibTeX and a little JSON": a way to put metadata directly into documents, that is both human readable and machine readable.

Frode made an amazing case for PDF as the 1000 year format:

His sentiment about building for his son called back to our presentation with Tienson, creator of Logseq, who also mentioned building for his daughter.

Frode invites everyone to join the Future of Text community, as well as to submit work for inclusion in the forthcoming second volume.

Brian Rubinton, Kanopi & RDF for interchange

Brian Rubinton joined us to talk about and demo Kanopi, his fully RDF-based note taking tool.

This point about "digital paper" in the crowded market of note taking was in reference to limited "meaning" embedded in those notes (same as Frode's PDFs-as-JPEGs comment). Which perhaps was the theme that ended up emerging from all three presentations: more meaning.


Even though we had one less presentation, we still ended up going for almost 2 hours.

We had many wonderful attendees keeping the chat active, including a number of European night owls. The chat log is once again checked into the TFTInterchange repo.

TFTInterchange Community

This two part series was organized by Boris and the Fission team. Tools for Thought are a recurring theme in our presentations, and we'd love to keep supporting Interchange with our Zoom webinar account and our time at the very least!

We'd like to get a more diverse group of people involved, and make this more of a community project, that bridges community discussion, open source code, and interoperable formats.

There seemed to be general interest in at least a monthly community event, so perhaps along with timezone differences, we'll see if we can stagger them and so still have a presentation every 2 weeks or so.

Next steps:

  • Please share your thoughts and notes from Part 1 and Part2: #ToolsForThought on Twitter, add a link in the comments on this post
  • Who wants to help organize ongoing talks? @shuyunzhang99 has already volunteered in this thread on Github. She's in Australia, which naturally may give us an organizing lead for that time zone.
  • What open source code and interchange can we work on together? Boris has proposed ePub to atJSON in the Github repo as a project, please add your own ideas.

Fission invites presenters most Thursdays on a broad set of tech topics. Sign up to get notified of future events »