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My Hacker News knowledge assimilation stack

Posted at — Nov 14, 2021 by Abishek Muthian

Long time Hacker News readers would agree that the real gold is in the comments, There are very few platforms left where people with subject matter experience and authority share valuable insights with less noise.

HN provides a way to save those comments, but I also wanted a way to retrieve those comments when I need them. I've been building my Hacker News knowledge assimilation stack to address this problem.

Reading

I read Hacker News on my Kindle, I started doing it for its E-paper goodness, accessibility but it later became the crucial aspect of this stack.

Although the minimalist HN website works well even in the Kindle browser, to take advantage of formatting, highlighting, note-taking features of the Kindle I created HN to Kindle for sending formatted Hacker News content to my Kindle.

Through HN to Kindle I receive the best HN stories with comments as a book on my Kindle filtered by categories. I can even send particular HN item (story or comment) via HN to Kindle.

HN to Kindle can send the best kindle stories to Kindle e-reader or the Kindle app on mobile.
HN to Kindle can send the best kindle stories to even the Kindle app on mobile.

I use Kindle app on my mobile to receive specific HN content filtered by categories and Kindle e-reader for unfiltered content.

Saving, Highlighting, Note-Taking

Since now each HN story is a Kindle book, I can leverage all its features.

Although 'HN to Kindle' works great with Kindle app on phones, The highlights need to be exported individually for each book but there are wide variety of options available for storing that data on a phone.

I will be using the Kindle e-reader for the rest of this post as organizing content from Kindle app on mobile is straight forward.

I highlight the useful HN comment on Kindle and it gets automatically saved.
I highlight the useful HN comment on Kindle and it gets automatically saved.
I highlight the useful HN comment on Kindle and it gets automatically saved.
These tags helps me categorize the HN comment.

Knowledge Management

The content highlighted on the Kindle gets stored in My Clippings.txt file in the documents folder of the Kindle. I transfer the content from it into Obsidian; a value focussed knowledge management suite as Markdown files.

This is achieved through obsidian-kindle-plugin. This plugin offers Nunjucks template, which I use to remove few unnecessary HN artifacts.

{{ text | replace(r/([0-9]{1,2}) (hour|hours|minutes) (ago) (\\| ((next \\[\\–\\])|(((root \\| parent)|(parent \\| prev)|parent|prev) |\\| next \\[\\–\\]))|\\[\\–\\])+/gmi, \":\") }} — location: [{{location}}]({{appLink}})\r\n\r\n{% if note %}{{note}}{% endif %}\r\n\r\n---"

The developer Hady Osman was kind to promptly fix issues I raised regarding using this plugin for this purpose.

Obsidian renders the markdown files automatically,

The Hacker News comment I highlighted on Kindle is now available on Obsidian along with the notes.
The Hacker News comment I highlighted on Kindle is now available on Obsidian along with the notes.

Since many HN comments use Markdown formatting themselves they are rendered automatically on Obsidian.

Markdown in the Hacker News comment is rendered automatically on Obsidian.
Markdown in the Hacker News comment is rendered automatically on Obsidian.

Of course getting the Hacker News comment on Obsidian is just the start, The possibilities to assimilate this knowledge are many due to builtin features like search, graph view, back links which helps me refer to the HN comments in any of my other related notes and process it further using endless supply of community plugins.

I will update this post in the future with more specific use cases and would also love to hear if you reproduced this stack for your own use.

Change log

November-14-2021: Replaced the image to showcase automatic rendering of markdown in HN comment on Obsidian. Added Kindle app screenshot with HN to Kindle content.

November-16-2021: The outstanding issue with obsidian-kindle-plugin has been fixed, So I removed the workarounds.

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