For Nerds and Geeks

After 3 years of working on the Note Garden, I got to work with my friends and co-founders, Young-mok Kwon and Ji-hyeon Heo, who most insisted on a complete overhaul of the design. While I can do it, but should I do it? That was a strong question inside me. Looking back, I had a reluctance to say that the design of Note Garden was sophisticated and stylish. All things being equal, a good design is of course good, isn't it? The identity of this mysterious rejection can be found by changing the content of the question.

At the time, what was I trying to avoid by avoiding fancy designs? My answer now is that it was the result of risk detection that I had been learning all my life. Whatever the field, the same trend can be seen in a community of enthusiasts in one field. At one end there is something well-known and sophisticated, which is popular with the masses. And at the other end, there's something clunky and uncool, but popular with enthusiasts who appreciate 'true value'. And, consciously or not, the fanatics ridicule the rest of the public. Looking at the world like this, people who like popular and stylish things seemed to be ignorant at best, and stupid at worst. If that's what being popular and sophisticated meant, I had no intention of liking it. The first design of Note Garden reflected my thoughts. Sometimes some people deliberately exaggerate their awkward and clumsy appearance to look smart, and that's what I was trying to do.

Anyway, in the end, the design of the Note Garden was completely changed. It became socialized. That was acceptable, but I insisted that still we should have something like this. Because I thought there would be people like me. Those who would rather remain untamed wild dogs than be reduced to average intellectual abilities. I thought there had to be someone to tell them everything would be fine. With the influence of my two newly joined friends, it is inevitable that Note Garden will become popular in the future. However, like the merciful Virgin who tempers the wrath of God, I will remain the one who prevents the Note Garden from degenerating into mediocrity.

That's what I meant, so what's so special about the Note Garden? Software that uses SR algorithms for learning is an old idea. And a few years ago, a lot of people came up with the idea of combining the SR algorithm with a good note-taking tool. There are other programs that combine tree-structured notes with SR like Note Garden. Nevertheless, there are still important concepts that still exist only in the Note Garden.

  1. In Note Garden, you do not have to specify which is the problem and which is the answer while taking notes. They are automated and designed to minimize human intervention. Just write in a natural way, and it works. Until now, tools using SR always had to specify which one was the problem and which one was the answer, and the same goes for other programs combined with the note taking tool. Such things eventually make writing an unnatural behavior, and the writing done to use the SR algorithm becomes labor to create problems. This is important, and the 'just be able to work' something that few enthusiasts knew has always been a turning point for something to become popular.
  2. I don't know how other software is doing, but the best combination between the tree structure and the SR algorithm is probably the Note Garden. For example, in what order will the tree structure knowledge be displayed? It's something that many people don't think deeply about, but if the program is just set the order to breadth-first or depth-first, it feels messy from the user's point of view. Also, at what level should the content corresponding to the ancestor of the content currently displayed be shown? Or how do we deal with the content that is the descendant of the content we do not currently know? Note Gardenze is paying close attention to these parts.
  3. If you go back to the study course of Note Garden, you will find that there are many differences from the SR software so far. In Note Garden, for example, the problems don't come out as one, but grouped together in an appropriate way. And without showing the answer right away, the question and the moment of seeing the answer are separated. In addition to that, there are several elements that cannot be seen in other programs. There are also parts that collect such elements at all. Those parts are all new attempts by Note Garden. Regarding how to apply the SR algorithm and the parts that are not, Note Garden has something close to the obsession to implement and experiment with anything that can be helpful for learning.

And if you've always been interested in SR programs, you'd probably want to ask what algorithm Note Garden uses, which is embarrassing to say, but it's an improved version of the old SM2 algorithm. There is nothing special about this algorithm itself. Up to now, the priority has been to implement a version and program that can use the algorithm. This part will be improved later. Of course, these words are just hopes for the future. But do you know that? As with SR programs, the past few years have been a period in which new SR algorithms have emerged. It seems that there are no programs that properly apply these new algorithms yet. To deal with these things properly, for example, to evaluate which one excels in which way, to gain insight into how it can be applied to new applications, to combine them, and to transfer records from previously used algorithms. In addition, we need competency in artificial intelligence and mathematics, and a program with completeness to apply them. Now that I have a Note Garden along with the knowledge I've acquired by chance, I'm in the right place for that. I can deal with it. And that may be more than just a better estimate of the right time to learn. For example, the learning schedule is adjusted just by viewing without evaluating the difficulty of the content, or the difficulty of content that has not been viewed at all is assigned. Perhaps the later appearance of Note Garden is not a note program. There has always been an unexpected effect when something is uploaded to the network, and the effect that people have when their knowledge structures can be shared through the network may be more unexpected. Then, will Note Garden be called something like a knowledge network service? I admit it's too hasty to draw a roadmap like this now. If I wanted to introduce Note Garden as a knowledge network service that I don't know yet, rather than a note for learning, my two friends would probably tell me to fuck you up. Anyway, what I wanted to convey was that there is still a long way to go and explore, but there are good things that can go on that way. And if you've read this far, this might interest you, because learning is the beginning of achievement. We want you to know about us. And if you'd like to be my partner, I'd be happy.


Sungho Yahng