Makzan / I share what I learned

Makzan’s digital life

Here is my digital life in 2020, on productivity, on writing, on teaching, on drawing, on reading, and on learning.

On Productivity

I built a productivity system to support my daily work.


All my notes and scanned documents go to MZHub—My digital organizing system. This is the Zettelkasten system and my second brain. I built it by using Ruby on Rails and keep shaping the tool to fit my daily note-taking needs.

Flash Card system

Whenever I read books or learn online, I extract key points and store the knowledge points as a flashcard in the system. Then I randomly pick them for review.

Daily focus

I built a focus system that runs 3 focus sessions per day. I can setup focus sessions quickly via custom shortcuts and write a reflection after each session ends. The focus sessions sync with the calendar so that I won’t conflict with them with other events.

On Writing

I write weekly email newsletters and occasional blog posts.

My website is now statically generated using 11ty and hosted on Netlify.

Email newsletter

My newsletter is like my public diary reflecting how I’m doing each week. I also include several links worth sharing each week. They are mainly about web technologies, accessibility, and productivity.

I switched to Substack since 2019 October and it fits my need so far. Simple and work done.

I moved the newsletter from Mailchimp to Substack and now all my newsletter archive are in one place. The Substack reminds me of the TinyLetter service, which I used during my writings in 2014. Both give me the simplicity to write without all those distractions. – Makzan’s Dispatch #19w42: Moving to Substack

iA Writer

My go-to writing app is still iA writer. The color syntax and typography is the reason to use iA Writer. Furthermore, I can use the external folder to sync the file editing between iA Writer and Working Copy. This is useful for my course materials writing which is hosted on Github. Whenever I made changes in iA Writer, I can push the changes in Working Copy app.

On Teaching

I have been teaching since 2010, both in-person classroom and book writing.


I built MakClass mainly for in-person classes. I create a classroom for my students. It is a private space to raise questions, to post class announcements, to share ad-hoc class notes.


My teaching materials stores on Github.

  • Code is for storing PDFs, Jupyter Notebooks, Code examples. I also create a subfolder to store an 11ty-powered website. Each folder comes with README to explain what’s it about for each folder.
  • Issues tab is for learners to raise questions.
  • Wiki for aside information.


I record the explanation and create quizzes on Teachable to sell the course. This is my new move and I’m now polishing my first course before it goes published.

On Drawing

I sketch using Moleskine Flow and draw explanations using Notability.

I like the paper-like feeling of Flow. It is my general drawing and hand-writing app on iPad.

I use vector exporting for Notability. I can change the styles and post-process my explanation graph after drawing on Notability.

On Reading

I use HyRead to borrow books from local libraries. I also read on Kindle and listen to books on Audible.

On Learning

I joined Skillshare and Coursera’s year plan. Every week I finish one chapter in the current course. Currently, I’m learning Mathematics for Machine Learning: Linear Algebra.

Published on 2020-06-12. More articles like this:
- Productivity

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