Tana Weekly 2023-04-29: Inaugural Post, Tana AI, Formulas, Upcoming feature (mobile?), Tana event/travel planning and lots more.

A look at the latest Tana news, updates and thoughts during the past week. Tana Weekly 2023-04-29: Inaugural Post, Tana AI, Formulas, Upcoming feature (mobile?), Event / travel planning in Tana, log in and performance and more.

Tana Weekly 2023-04-29: Inaugural Post, Tana AI, Formulas, Upcoming feature (mobile?), Tana event/travel planning and lots more.

Hi Everyone, and welcome to the inaugural Tana Weekly Post. You may know me from such publications as LogseqWeekly and, more recently LogseqTimes, but given the tremendous work that has been going on at Tana, I only thought it was right to help repay the team by hopefully making more people aware of what Tana is, can do and encouraging users to test it out.

After all, no matter what tool you use, improvements in a competing tool should lead to improvements elsewhere. Prime examples of this include:

  • Microsoft Loop (eventually) gets launched, Notion adds 2FA (one of the most requested features over the past 5 years or so) about 10 days later. Coincidence, I think not!
  • Spatial thinking gets popular, the other apps introduce spatial thinking. Coincidence, quite low.
  • Tana releases AI in columns and some very nifty features, Notion showcases a demo of AI in columns. Coincidence, possibly, possibly not, but you get my point.

What is definitely not a coincidence is the tremendous work and quality leaving the Tana.inc factory, so let's get right to it.

Tana News

  • This is currently a placeholder section. I am still getting myself up to speed with Tana after a bit of a hiatus, so please bear with me.  

Releases

This past week Tana released the following:

Features

  • Tana AI for Builders
  • Work on both [REDACTED], [REDACTED] and [REDACTED] continues at pace!  (Very useful, thanks, Brage)

Bug fixes and improvements:

  • Support BC/AD dates.
  • Renamed some commands from 'Create ...' to 'Convert to ...' (E.g., "Create command node" -> "convert to command node". ) The old names still exists as synonyms.
  • Export to plain markdown & export to Tana Paste now work on selections
  • Show a confirmation dialogue when running the command "Convert to workspace"
  • Copying and pasting dates did not work. We made it work.
  • Previously didn't show the inline video player for webm-files. Now Does.

For the post in all its glory, click here. 

Tana News

Firstly, Want to try Tana out? Patience, we will get to AI in a moment.

Although there is a waitlist to enter the Tana gates, you can speed up the process of getting an invite by joining the Tana Community and posting an introduction on the Introduce-Yourself channel).

Twitter post from the Tana team showing that if you register and post in the Tana community, an invite will quickly be on its way to you.

All it takes is a few clicks, a brief one-liner in a channel (which can be as personal or as vague as you want), and a bit of patience, and you should be good to go. I have seen that the team is very quick to distribute invites to newcomers, so don't think doing these two steps will be in vain.  For ease, here is the link again Tana Community.

PS. If you are looking at getting started once you have access to Tana, be sure to visit the official documentation, as well as YouTube (CortrexFutura, Ev Chapman, Santi Younger, Andre Foeken and many more) - lots of great content.


AI

Does it need any other sort of introduction?

As most of you know, Tana recently released their AI integration. All I can say is, wow. There is already a significant amount of videos showing us how to set it up, but I really liked following. Not only do they show how to get it set up in easy steps, they also touch upon some examples of what it can do.

Video by @Ev:

Ev video on getting started with Tana AI

Video by Santi:

Santi video on getting started with Tana AI

Video by @Andre:

Andre showcasing an example of what is possible with Tana AI

Of course, there is also the official documentation which is worth checking out. https://help.tana.inc/ai-for-builders.html, as well as many other videos out there.

If you are wondering about the cost of using the OpenAI API:

  • Ev confirmed that over the last few days, with some intensive playing around, she was at USD 0.07.  
  • Eurunuela - After heavy usage for over 2 hours, ChatGPT 3.5 only cost me a whopping $0.06!
  • Brage -  "I've yet to hit my $10 limit, and have done A LOT of AI work in tana."
  • Santi is at about USD 0.20 as can be seen in this video. Obviously, Santi is trying to break OpenAI and went a bit nuts ;), but he does mention he was playing around with it on other things.

In summary, as a user, you should have no issues on the cost side - but just in case, in OpenAI make sure you set a spending limit. It takes about 2 seconds and is worth it to avoid any unpleasant surprises.


AI, but feeling more Adventurous

If you are feeling more adventurous with AI and want to test it out further, then check out these few videos from Stian:

What I like about these videos is that Stian explains step-by-step how to implement a few things that are understandable and desirable. You can then let your mind wander and tweak a few things to input whatever you want, but at least you will have learned the basic steps.


Tanarian Brain Template Update

Cortexfutura updated their Tanarian Brain template. The update includes nine special commands and fields to take your note-taking and thinking to the next level.

Here is a link to the tweet with a more detailed explanation of what is new.

Tanarian Brain sample image

Formulas In Tana?

I am sometimes amazed at what people think of and then put into action. And this could not be more personified by Sarah. While tables in Tana do not have formulas (yet, from what I read), she used AI to generate calculations and display progress in tables like the one below.

Formulas and progress bars using AI developed by Sarah

"Simply feed the formula and any applicable fields to the AI and specify your output format. I’ve found GPT4 to be far superior for this use case. Luckily working with mostly simple calculations takes up very little tokens (at least for me)."

If you are as lost as me reading that, then for us mere mortals, here are a couple of templates you can use as a guide: Simple Math and Progress Bar + Status.

Just a note on the above: She found you really need GPT4 for more math/formula-oriented stuff.


Something is Brewing

There have been a few references to something being readied for launch, possibly as early as next week.  The Tana Team have been very coy about what it is, but after putting on my Sherlock Holmes hat, I think it might be something to do with mobile. Why?

The first clue was a couple of responses to a Tweet saying the OP stayed away from Tana until mobile was there. As you can see, Brage (Engagement Manager of Tana) responds with a somewhat cryptic message (if there were any more maybes, the message would explode). Check out the other replies for possible hypothetical discussions with the word Andriod in one of the posts.

Tweet suggesting Mobile may, potentially, be coming soon

The above coincided with a message in Slack about "Work on both [REDACTED], [REDACTED] and [REDACTED] continues at pace!" lastly, we have this tweet by Stian (Builder at @tana_inc).

Tweet suggesting a big feature (Mobile?) may, potentially be coming soon

I mean, it's got all the signals in the right places. Of course, it could be something else, like taking voice notes in Tana. This in itself would be an amazing feature, but MOBILE, MOBILE, MOBILE! :)


Moving from Other Tools?

Whilst the import from other tools to Tana leaves a little to be desired, Sebastian asks the group:

"Any Obsidian users in here? Are you looking to replace Obsidian with Tana or use them together? I found the flow of daily notes and immediate ideas, etc, to be superb to catch in Tana, but I think longer notes on advanced topics might be better in Obsidian. Interested in hearing some thoughts"

A few responses include:

  • Had very similar thoughts about that, but now, to be sincere, I work only in Tana - from scratch. Looking for something in Obsidian 3 times per week.
  • Ex obsidian user. I replaced it with Tana 6 months ago. I just open Obsidian to export my old notes.
  • The only issue with longer-form writing that I’ve come across and noted in this community is flexible formatting.
  • I use them both.  Not sure how long is long when you say “longer notes” - but I too, use Obsidian for longer things (narratives longer than can fit on the scene). I also love Obsidian Canvas for brainstorming.

That is a very good point on the Canvas - hmmm, could that be coming up next in Tana?


Tana London, UK Meet Up Anyone?

Tweet asking for any Tana users in London, UK

Todo / Tasks Workflow Advice

Carl asks, "There really is more than one type of todo, and I think I need a new tag type for one of them.

  • Type 1:  Stuff that just needs to get done and checked off.  Examples of this are: “reply to Emily’s email”, “change due date for students’ third project”, “write reference letter”, “reply to referees on paper about project X”
  • Type 2: Bigger-picture things that are often parts of larger projects.  Maybe I’ll do them, or maybe I’ll decide not to.  Examples of this are: “See if multithreading will improve algorithm speed”, “Verify the accuracy of derivation in paper X”, “Figure out if the result in paper Y impacts our result.” They tend to be more along the line of directions that I want to go with some project or at least explore.

The above generated much discussion, so it is worth checking out this thread for more info.


Travelling with Tana?

Andre recently used Tana to plan my upcoming trip. It worked great, and he seems to be back from Japan so managed to catch his flight on time - most likely with the help of Tana letting him know where he should be when.

Trip Planning in Tana by Andre

Great idea for planning any type of event, and the layout gives plenty of ideas. The overlay of the calendar view also allows you to quickly glance at what is planned. Thanks for sharing, Andre.


Google / Apple Only Registration / Login

When signing up for Tana, you are currently limited to using a Gmail or Apple account to log in.

Markus, sums up the problem eloquently: If it weren't for Tana I would have stopped the signup process at the google / apple choice. This is because I usually also want to access my knowledge graph at work and I don't log in with my personal cloud accounts (personal email etc.) there. It would have been cool to have a login method that is more tied to your email address.

I understand the Tana devs are looking into different ways to move off the Google / Apple only log-ins. Stay tuned for more news.


Tana Performance

A key aspect of any notetaking app is the ability to open, write notes, move on, return with more notes and build your knowledge base, knowing that performance will not be impacted.

To understand whether the growth of a knowledge base causes problems in Tana, I searched and found that comments on slow performance are few and far between. This gives me great comfort knowing I have some room to grow my knowledge base, but of course, the team should not rest on their laurels (which I am sure they are not).

Hopefully as the development of the app progresses, so will the performance so that we will never have to worry about laggy or slow performance.


To Provoke some Thought

Before closing off, I wanted to share a post from my internet buddy, Chris (you may know him as TfTHacker). This morning he posted a very thought-provoking article. The article is not necessarily pertinent to Tools for Thoughts or PKM or note taking but about life in general. Sometimes, we just have to take a step back and regroup before we go at it again.

I thought it was a fantastic read, so I wanted to share it with you too, in case anyone needed to read it.

No Shame in Self-Care: Reframe Your Life’s Journey with the Bike Analogy
The Bike Analogy — sometimes, you have to dismount your bike and fix it before continuing the journey.

Until Next Time

I hope you found this blog post helpful. If you have any comments or questions, please let me know.

Thanks again for reading and I look forward to chatting with you again next week.