Today’s updates (and upcoming ones) re-focus attention on the ability to quickly collect thoughts in engram. Clicking the engram logo now takes you to the Brain Dump page, sharing to engram on iOS and Android is much easier, and new help documentation has been added.
I’ve spent the last few months scouting around some potential future avenues for engram. One important outcome of this exploration has been a transition towards an offline-first system. However, I quickly became bogged down with subtleties of dragging and dropping. After taking a step back, I realized that my use of the app had declined quite a bit - Brain Dump to the rescue.
When I have a thought that I want to jot down, I need to have the least amount of friction possible when entering it.
Brain Dump is accessible from anywhere within the app by clicking the engram logo in the top right corner. Once there, you can rapid log any notes, tasks, or events that come to mind.
The page is intentionally left blank when first entering it. For me, any other information risks pulling my attention away and then I’m stuck trying to remember what I was just trying to make note of. This currently poses a bit of an issue, as right out of the box there is no simple viewing mode to see all notes entered in a day. For now, the Dashboard plugin can be enabled to bring this functionality. I suspect there will be a new core page shortly that is just a simple log of the current day’s notes.
I often found myself wanting to just quickly send a browser URL to engram. Just the existence of a link to something I read allows me to remember most of the thoughts triggered by the article. Quick share currently works on iOS and Android with a Chrome extension on the way as well (currently pending approval).
Android Native Sharing
Google has been at the forefront of pushing new Progressive Web App standards. Android’s support of the Web Share Target API means that sharing to engram on Android looks just like any other app on your device. engram must be installed on your Android device and then engram will show up in the Android Share Sheet.
iOS Send to engram Shortcut
I hope to avoid the Apple App store for as long as possible…So, while they don’t currently support the Web Share Target API yet, I have managed a workaround that works equally well. The solution involves installing a custom Shortcut for the iOS Shortcuts app that can then be added to the iOS Share Sheet. See instructions here for how to configure.
If you’re one of the few that has been around from the start, you’ll notice that a few things have disappeared on next log in. I have been scouting ahead on several features, but have recently felt like these have been detracting away from the primary goal of quickly getting information into engram.
In the sidebar menu, you will find a Settings page. This page allows you to enable “plugins” for Workspaces, Dashboard, and Pages. This list will expand over time and allow engram to be configurable for your needs. These settings are on a per-device basis, which allows you to have slightly different views on your phone vs. your desktop.
At this point, I would consider all plugins to be experimental. I use Workspaces, Dashboard, and Pages frequently, so I suspect those will slowly become more and more stable.
This change paves the road for future functionality that may be super specific to an individual’s needs. I have found it distracting in other note taking tools that integrations are enabled by default, when I have no plans to ever use them.
A Getting Started series has been added to the Help page as well as some background information on what engram is trying to solve. These pages will be expanded as new functionality is added.
Upcoming improvements will likely be centered around getting information into and out of engram.
- A chrome extension will enable instantly saving your current tab to engram
- Watch apps will allow you to add notes using speech to text
- A Zapier integration will create endless possibilities for bringing data into engram and sending it to where you want it to go