Stone's note-taking week in review #3

I explain my `no love` for Apple, tell my payphone story, reflect on using one or multiple Obsidian vaults, and deliver my 52nd note-taking app review: GNotes!

Happy weekend everyone and welcome to episode # 52 of my series where I review Android note-taking apps.

A big thanks to the new subscribers this week:

Welcome Aadam ‍from Pakistan, "zeh gz" from California
Daniele from Italy, Frédéric from Brussels, Nikol from Serbia, Alex from Arizona, Ali from France, "sah" from India, Colin from Pennsylvania, Eric from Georgia U.S.A., and Sebastian from Germany!

Each time someone subscribes it motivates me to keep on the winding road to find the best note taking app!

Why no love for Apple?

Why no love for note-taking apps for Apple? Well, I use two Android phones – a duty phone and a booty phone – and although I test with Apple devices at work and I repaired iPhones as a hobby for a couple of years, I still cannot convince myself to spend $1,500 for a phone. When I see this, my inner voice says:

$1,500 for a phone? FTW!

... but they do make nice looking devices

But you have two phones Stone! Yes, I do. One of my phones is the one that work pays for (the duty one) and the other is my personal one (the booty one). I do this for two reasons. First, I don't want any company that I work for controlling my personal device nor do I want them accessing my personal data. Second, payphones now cost $0.50.

My Payphone story

A couple of decades ago I was laid off from a startup and they took away my work-provided cell phone right away. I was allowed go to my desk to gather my things and while there I quickly grabbed a handwritten note that I pinned on my cubicle wall. It had the names and phone numbers of a few recruiters, folks that I had been using to hire a lot of people at that startup.

Having been laid off twice before, I felt the urge to start looking for a job immediately. On the 20-minute walk to the GO Train to go home, I found two quarters ($0.25) in my pocket. I knew there was a payphone at the train station so I had enough change to make two phone calls: my wife and one recruiter.

This is a pay phone.

A payphone

When I got to the station and went to make the first call, I realized the price had gone up! It had increased from $0.25 to $0.50 so I had to decide: do I call my wife or call the recruiter? I chose the recruiter. After the "HELP!" call to the recruiter, I got on the train for the 50-minute ride home and ended up telling my wife about the layoff later that day.

I never wanted to be in that situation again so now I always have a booty phone. It's been very expensive, cheaper than iPhones, but I never need to worry about having enough change in my pocket nor being without a phone.

Now speaking of not having money, a quick message to support an app developer.

Please support Om!

A big shout out to Om, developer of Notally which I reviewed last week. He replied to my email which is rare for an app Developer so thanks Om! Here's what he said when I asked him about his app:

Notally was a personal project, I never expected it to become this big.

And when I asked him what he does for a day job:

I'm in high school :)

OMG that blew me away: a student built that great little note-taking app. OK, so now I want to support him on Patreon even more than last week. Join me if you're not a starving student and if inflation leaves any money left over!

Can we get to the review, please?!

Not yet!

This week I tried a couple of apps. I was thinking that I was close to hitting the bottom of this rabbit hole. But no, I stumbled upon GNotes and it got my blood flowing again. Before diving into GNotes, let me tell you a bit about another rabbit hole I started down this week.

One Obsidian vault or multiple?

As you may know, I use Obsidian a lot and as I learn I take notes about it. That sounds recursive: creating notes on Obsidian inside Obsidian. I know, right?!

I split out my notes on the Obsidian software from my single personal vault into a second one. For those who don't use Obsidian, a vault is actually just a folder on your computer. That's right, your computer and not someone else's aka "the cloud" which is exactly why I love their app.

There have been a number of discussions about using a single vault or multiple vaults. As a teaser to see if there is any interest in Yet Another Obsidian Resource, I posted this on r/ObsidianMD:

"Last night I went to the dark side and created a 2nd Obsidian vault (basically a folder) for my Obsidian notes. I'm thinking to publish them on github but need to scrub and make sure all the attributions are correct."

Shortly after I created that post where I included a screenshot of my vault in light-mode, someone commented:

Not in the dark side yet, missing the dark theme xd

So here's the screenshot in dark mode :)

Here are my initial thoughts on the matter of single or multiple vaults. I copied from my comment on this r/ObsidianMD post.

Migrating from 1 vault to multiple is a royal pain and I'm going through it now. The other way is easy. So, it's good you ask early.

Here's what I've learned this week about multiple vaults in Obsidian:


  • Allows me to have a stronger separation between projects
  • I can prepare in one vault and move to another with simple copy and paste or move the file
  • Don't have to worry about accidentally publishing my personal notes
  • My personal notes don't get mixed up with my project notes


  • Unable to link from one vault to another
  • Two places with Daily notes
  • Share to in Android can't choose which vault so goes to the last one you opened

And now for the review:

GNotes is GGood, but who is TickTick?