126: Productivity vs. Grinding

Re: Highlights in Readwise - the IOS app also has ability to OCR scan from a photo. I’ve been using that with physical books. Not scalable for a lot of highlights - but great when trying to capture a key passage/paragraph.


PDF Highlights

For highlighting digital items, I am trying PDF Expert on iOS. I Web Clip using DevonThink and turn articles or sites into PDFs or just download the PDF. Then using whatever reader I want, I make annotations. Then I export those annotations using PDF Expert.

YouTube Hightlights/Screen Shots

For YouTube videos, I have a Keyboard Maestro script that helps me with screen shots. Screen shots are my version of highlights for videos. I watch a lot of technical videos with graphs, equations, coding and such. It is also good if the video is a slide show and the slides are in the description and I want to copy a block of text.

  1. I take a screen shot of the video using CleanShot. I have it setup to to take a screen shot of the same area every time. CleanShot will also name the image after the title of the YouTube video (name of browser window).
  2. Then I annotate the image if I want.
  3. When I’m done annotating, it asks me What folder? What is the caption? Do I want OCR?
  4. KM then files it in my Obsidian folder and adds the caption and OCR text to the comment of the image.
  5. KM pulls up Obsidian if it isn’t in the font and then insert the image with the caption and OCR text into the note.

There are some chrome extensions that allow you to take notes while watching YouTube videos. If you start typing, they pause and take a screen shot. Some allow you to export PDF or Markdown. Usually they integrate with Drive.

@MacSparky I’m interested in your thoughts on aging, or even resources you find valuable. It’s something I think about often. I’m a little older than you.

I found this book very valuable — but emotionally hard to read. It confronts aspects of aging that are awful to contemplate.



You misunderstood my question about kindle and highlight issues.

The books are Kindle format, and being read in the Kindle App on my iPad. Where the issue is is that the books were NOT bought through Amazon. They are kindle format but not Amazon books.

I can create highlights in these books but you cannot get the highlights onto the Amazon notebook website for use by Readwise or the Kindle Plug-in for Obsidian.

Even if you send the books to the iPad via “send to kindle” you still CANNOT save the highlights out from those books on the Amazon site.

Even worse is that you cannot get the highlights off them AT ALL as far as I can figure. All you can do is a painful process of copying a highlight and then pasting it somewhere else. But oy CANNOT save or copy any of your notes attached to highlights!

As an example take any of the Take Control Books, I can buy the .MOBI format of those books that the Kindle apps can understand. I can move those books onto my iPad easily by dragging the file into the kindle folder on the iPad in files. The books appear in my kindle app and I can read and highlight them there. Sounds like this should all work right?

Well here is what actually happens.

Here is a screen shot on my iPad of a Take control book with a highlighted section and a note about that highlight.

Here is what happens when you select that highlight.

Notice you have the 4 possible highlight colors. Then the icon to allow copying the highlight, the one to take a note and the search icon. If I take a note I can create it and save it but there is NO way to SHARE the highlight and it NEVER shows up on the Amazon website as a highlight.

Contrast this with a kindle format book bought from Amazon.

Here’s a highlight selected.

See the share icon to the right of the take a note?

At least I can send them out but there is NO option for non Amazon books!

THAT is my issue and question.

Over 1/3 of the kindle format books I own and read are NOT from Amazon! I want to highlight and take notes on these books and I cannot figure out a way to do it in a way that saves those items in anything like a usable format.

@OogieM think I know a way that you can get your highlights. But before I suggest a workaround can you verify that for the non-Amazon books that you highlight that the highlights show up on Amazon under the books highlight section?

I can verify that they DO NOT show up ANYWHERE on Amazon.

Try it yourself, go get a .mobi file off of Gutenbooks or something and try to create highlights (which works) then try to save them for use elsewhere!

I was hoping I had a solution for you but if the highlights don’t show up on Amazon then my idea will not work. I wish I had a solution for you. Have you tried to find an Amazon forum that might be applicable and helpful?

Amazon forums are full of peple who have no clue and there is no way to get to a real human via Amazon support. I’ve even searched and asked about finding the file that used to be called Clippings on kindle devices and to see where it is on the iPad but no go.

That is a bummer. ……………………….

Hi, Oogie!

I’ve called them often enough. They are pretty good at addressing your concern. But I’ve never called for tech support.

They are open all night long.

888 280-4331

I’ve spent 4 hours on the phone with Amazon tech support getting nothing but the run-around and zero useful information.

What about iBooks ?

  • able to import epub format of Take Control books to iBooks on Mac - Yes
  • able to highlight and take notes – Yes
  • able to sync to iBooks on iPad – Yes
  • able to export notes in elegant manner – Sort of

You are able to create a mail message with the notes on an iPad. The Mac is a bit more useful, allowing you to select and send Highlights and notes to mail or the clipboard.

Had some problems trying to directly open the same Mobi file with the Kindle app on M1 Mac mini- it kept crashing.

I’m sorry, Oogie! What I do is hang up, call later and hopefully get someone more competent .

um… How? I just tried it. I can download and read and highlight and create notes but the only way to save them is individually share each note and highlight by selecting it one at a time. I couldn’t see any useful export options. I’ve never used iBooks so I may be missing something.

You need click outside of a note but still in the notes “field”. Then select All, copy and paste. There is an option to send the notes to Apple Mail or Apple Notes as well as an option using the secondary mouse click.I have included a small gif.

Exporting multiple Notes from iBook

I don;t see anything like that on my screen.

nope, or at least not on my iPad.

I see nothing like that at all when I’m in an iBook. I’m on the iPad. For my test I moved an .EPUB book onto my iPad by putting it into iBook by dragging the file on top of the books header in a finder window opened to my iPad.

Opened the book, highlighted and made notes on a few things. I can only select a single highlight at a time. I do not get the notes parts only the highlights and then I have to paste them in individually. My screen doesn’t look like your example at all. So I’m still confused.

If the answer is use the Mac version that is not where or how I read electronic books. I only read on my iPad. I will not use iCloud nor any sync system where I do not control the servers. All work with reading and then annotating books and PDFs is done on my iPad.

Sorry I misunderstood. The clip I had posted was from my Mac. On the iPad you need to

  1. Select Notes
  2. Select the share icon in the upper left
  3. Select Edit Notes
  4. Select All
  5. Select Share
  6. Select Mail - this will create a mail message with all the relevant quotes

I have included a pdf of screenshots of the process.

Has anybody had experience with Annotate.tv? I just discovered it a couple of days ago and haven’t had too much time to dive into it, but it looks like it would address one of the issues on this episode. It apparently has the ability to import a YouTube video via the link, create a transcript (with time marks), and then it allows you to highlight certain parts and export them to Readwise or a markdown or PDF file. I’ve got a video of a 1+ hour talk loaded now and the transcript looks pretty accurate. I haven’t tried to do the highlighting and exporting (for me to Readwise) yet, but I’m really interested in how it will do.

Looks like it might be similar to the Kindle export to Readwise or Obsidian. There’s a free starter level, so it costs nothing to try it. Also, as an aside, I had a question for the developer and he got back to me within a couple of hours.

With the Kindle app on the iPhone, with books that I emailed to Amazon (but this may work with your method as well), I am able to email highlights to Readwise using this process:

  1. tap in the middle of the screen to pull up the interface
  2. tap the “notes” icon (top right, between the letter A and the bookmark icon, looks like a document)
  3. this opens “my notebook”, which is a listing of all highlights and notes. There’s a share icon at the top right.
  4. from share icon menu, choose email. Send to Readwise, or somewhere else and parse the HTML.