[LFR] Letters from a Roaman - Letter XLVIII

Hello Friends,

I’m holidaying in beautiful Scotland, taking a well-deserved break to swap my computer screen for walking boots to explore the Cairngorms.

This is the view I’ve been waking up to, and aside from continuing with my writing habits, I’ve been having a bit of a digital detox, so this letter will be a little briefer than usual.

Around the Roaman Empire

Roam Depot

I expect by now that you’ll have seen the new Roam Depot menu item in your left sidebar. The extension store went live a few weeks ago, and a steady stream of extensions is starting to be ported over.

Now that there is a more verified and simple way for users to extend the functionality of Roam, plus the financial incentives for developers from the Roam team, I hope we’ll start to see some exciting plugins.

David Vargas announced a migration plan to migrate or consolidate the current 56 extensions on RoamJS into new extensions in Roam Depot, so there’s less duplication.

Check out the tweet to see how the different extensions will be managed.

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July 17th 2022

Migrating SmartBlocks

RJ Nestor shared a short video showing the steps you must go through to migrate from the original SmartBlocks extension to the Roam Depot version.

“Secret” features

Conor shared a Loom video where he demonstrated several features that are in Roam which haven’t formally been announced. They are primarily useful for working collaboratively. While I have shared most of them before, the x-unread command was a new one I hadn’t come across before. The video is also worth watching to see how Conor uses Roam himself.

Speaking of secret features, in the Roam Slack, Matt Vogel discovered a new hotkey in the Roam settings (Change Block View), which, if set, allows you to toggle between different views for blocks. Fair warning: It may disappear since they definitely don’t look pretty or finished right now and are likely only exposed to allow for some real-world testing by the Roam team.

Floating Table of Contents

This little extension from Sean Vosler (ironicart on Reddit) is very handy when you have a long page in Roam with lots of headings. It gives you a table of contents to make it easy to jump to the section you need.

You can find the code and instructions to install it on their public Roam page, plus see it in action with a quick video. Hopefully, it’ll be migrated to Roam Depot soon.

The machines are coming

John Yeung shared a brief video on Twitter of an as-yet unreleased plugin but this shows some promise for integrating GPT-3 with Roam and not losing your context.

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John Yeung (🥃, 🎟)
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July 10th 2022

Roaman Interviews

Conor recently did a couple of interviews with stalwarts of the Roam Community, David Vargas and Abhay Prasanna.

David demonstrated his Query Builder extension. You can see the Grain recording of the session here.

The impromptu Zoom call between Conor and Abhay covered Roam Depot and Abhay’s Auto link extension. It is available to watch via YouTube.

Roam How-Tos

Long-time Roam user, Mickey Mellen, has been adding a comprehensive set of videos covering various practical use-cases for Roam, as well as a set of video tutorials for using Roam effectively. Check out his YouTube channel.

Somehow I missed these when they were first released, but Mat McGann shared some short Loom videos showing how his team use Roam to manage their CRM and how they use workBench to move People and Organisations.

David Vargas also shared a Loom video demonstrating how it’s possible to create a messaging system within Roam using SmartBlocks and Query Builder.

Writing exercises for non-journalers eBook

Tracy Winchell has written a new eBook to help you use written reflection as a way to untangle your thoughts from emotions.

The frameworks and principles she shares are backed by science and will help whether or not you consider yourself a journaler. They are also tool-agnostic, so while using them in a tool for thought like Roam may make it easier for you to interact with them over time, they are equally applicable to a paper and pen approach too.

Brief Thoughts for Tools

  • Jeffrey Webber walks through a real-life example of how he took material he consumed and processed it using Tiago Forte’s CODE system to write an article. He demonstrates using Zotero, LoqSeq and his physical note-card zettelkasten in the process.

Thanks as ever for reading.

Until next time,


P.S. If you enjoy my work, please consider contributing to my running costs. I accept donations via Buy Me a Coffee, and you can now also sign up as a member to support me regularly and get a few perks into the bargain.

A big thank you to Tom and Pierre. I really appreciate your support 💖

Alternatively, if you'd like some coaching to get the most from Roam, I offer a few private 1-1 Roam coaching sessions.

Andy Henson

I write Letters from a Roaman, curating community news and resources primarily around Roam Research, though I also include other information applicable to other tools for thought and the area in general. I also share my thoughts on a wide variety of tools for thought topics.

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