In the past I have always taken heavy notes in my harder college courses (think things like Algorithms, Cal III, Operating Systems, etc) and have always felt like I would prefer to do so on the computer. Mostly because I want to know that if I am going to take the time to write them I want to know I'll have them forever. I have lost so many notebooks full of knowledge from courses I have taken that I may have put up somewhere that I'll never find it, or possibly lost completely. I have always used Word, or more recently Google Docs in order to take notes. However, the ones I do have saved I find wishing that they were in a format better suited to sharing online with others.

When I would write my notes in Word, semseters past, I would think about doing them in HTML. HTML would allow me to do formatting on par with Word, but there is no way I could keep up writing notes in class if I was worried about the formatting markup as well. I could always add it in after I took my notes, but I know I would never get around to doing it.

Coming Up With A Better Way

Over the past year I have started using Markdown heavily and am absolutely in love with it. I try to do everything in Markdown. I am writing this post in Markdown. So the other day I thought about using it to write notes and how much formatting HTML I would get for free. Using a text editor that understands markdown will allow me to do it even easier. Not only that, but after a quick git init I'll get easy version control. Being in Markdown, I can push my notes up to GitHub and they'll take care of rendering them to HTML for me so I know it can easily be shared with anyone who wants to learn from them. I also know it'll make my notes more safe, putting GitHub's data center redundancy to work. I feel like I'll be able to take notes more quickly in a light Markdown editor than I would in Word or Google Docs.

This is my last semester coming up in the Fall so I will be trying this out then. I just wish I had all of my notes from all the courses I've taken as browseable and rendered Markdown on GitHub. Another benefit for anyone that decided to do this as they were going into computer science or software engineering is that they would be able to show employers all the work they did and everything they learned first hand. I really wish I could do that. I don't think I can send in seven beat up old notebooks full of handwritten notes in with my resume. Will try open sourcing all my notes for my network security course next semester for sure.


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