How I use Emacs
I used to use PlannerMode a lot. Then I switched my blog to Wordpress (http://sachachua.com) and started using Emacs Org + Toodledo for my task management. Now I use org2blog to post some entries from my Giant Org File of Awesomeness.
I used to use Gnus, the built-in mail/newsreader that slices, dices and juliennes - not as easy to integrate into a Windows-based workflow, though. When I used it, I had basic splitting set up to file my mail into separate groups neatly organized in a hierarchical tree that allows me to see at a glance how much mailing list messages I’ve received. I used “c” to catch-up groups or even whole subtrees, mark threads as read or even uninteresting. Adaptive scoring meant that I don’t have to manually specify my reading preferences - gnus learned what I don’t like to read, so that I don’t have to read related messages next time unless I really want to. I’d set it to score down all messages from hotmail or aol unless I like the author. ;) I elided mailing list identifiers so I don’t see those [….] things, banners like the ads at the end of yahoogroups, really long signatures or To: headers. Gnus is definitely a mail/newsreader for the netiquette-sensitive. :-)
BbdbMode integrated well with Gnus, so I could easily bring up or create contact records for the people I receive mail from. I had Gnus automatically add notes for the people I know, and it’s interesting to see what mailing lists people are subscribed to. I could add notes, check phone numbers, and even see when someone wrote me last. (Time to write a “Haven’t heard from you in a while!” note…)
Mail is a somewhat dangerous thing to experiment with, of course. :-) I had lost some outgoing mail due to masqmail silently failing if you specify the -f flag (evil!), but some debugging later turned up a message-sendmail-f-is-evil variable I could set to t. I have since then moved to postfix so that I could use + as an address separator, so I haven’t needed that.
(outdated - I no longer send text messages from my computer. I’m in Canada now, and text messages are expensive!)
Ah, yes, text messaging. SMS is pretty big here in the Philippines. I am a lazy computer geek who would rather type than fish out my cellphone and start texting. Besides, I kinda like having all of my text messages stored on my laptop - search, store, reply, and even see threaded displays. :-) I used to use gnokii, alamin, postfix, bbdb and gnus in order to have practically seamless SMS sending. :-) Here’s how it works. I’ve set up alamin (a GSM-SMS gateway that can talk to a gnokii-supported phone) to poll my cellphone for incoming text messages and convert any such to e-mail messages from alamin+<SOMENUMBER>@localhost to sacha@localhost. I receive those messages in Gnus in my mail.text group, and BBDB steps in to fill in the name from my contact database thanks to (gnus-summary-line-format “%U%-40,40uB %S\n”), (bbdb/gnus-summary-prefer-bbdb-data t) and (bbdb/gnus-summary-prefer-real-names ‘bbdb) in the group parameters. My reply is processed by postfix and piped through email2sms, a short Perl script I wrote that just invokes alamin’s client program. Alamin queues the message and tries to resend it at regular intervals until it is finally sent. No more dealing with “Message failed.” or lack of signal, and I get a full record of all of my text messages, and I can text while in class.. ;) Unfortunately, I don’t have a serial port any more, and my phone is not Linux-friendly. Can’t pull off this neat hack these days.
I keep my notes in plain text files. I find that typing on my laptop encourages me to keep more complete notes because I can type faster than I handwrite (and it’s much less tiring!). OrgMode makes it easy to keep my notes in outline mode.
ERC! EmacsIRCClient forever. Well, not really forever, but I’ve tried quite a few Internet relay chat clients and I must say that ERC is really cool. erc-track lets me keep track of channels that have changed even though I’ve got my notes maximized, and since it’s part of my editor I can easily cut/paste/navigate/tweak/do-funky-stuff. I hang out on Freenode #emacs, and it’s tons of fun.
Between jet lag and family, I haven’t had much time to draw or write these days. Things will settle down eventually. =) Blog posts Weekly review: Week ending November 29, 2013 Quick show update: Learning Together #01, Helpers Help Out #02 Setting up virtual machines with Vagrant Rock those meeting minutes Think about your delta: […]
Read the original or check out the comments on: Weekly review: Week ending December 6, 2013 (Sacha Chua's blog)
I minimize the number of decisions I care about. What I’m going to do with my life? Big decision worth spending time on. Is something worth it? I can spend hours analyzing the trade-offs. What do I want to eat? I don’t particularly care. I’m trying to avoid decision fatigue. Decisions take up time and […]
Read the original or check out the comments on: Making decisions that don’t matter that much to me (Sacha Chua's blog)
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I’ve been drawing my thoughts for years, on and off. I found some sketchbooks with old mindmaps and explorations. Still, writing was the main way I thought through things, and I made good progress in learning how to outline so that I could think about progressively larger topics. In September, I re-started the habit of […]
Read the original or check out the comments on: Update: Developing thoughts further (Sacha Chua's blog)
What kind of difference do you want to make? How can you make an even bigger difference? I can’t remember where I picked up this idea—a book? a podcast?—but lately I’ve been thinking about my delta (D or d). In math and science, delta represents change. What kind of difference do I want to make […]
Read the original or check out the comments on: Think about your delta: increasing the difference you want to make (Sacha Chua's blog)
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It boggles me when people don’t take minutes during a meeting. How do people make sure that all the important decisions and actions are captured? When people run from meeting to meeting or get buried in e-mail and calendar entries, it’s so easy to let things fall through the cracks. In my consulting engagement, I’m […]
Read the original or check out the comments on: Rock those meeting minutes (Sacha Chua's blog)
I spent a week focusing on system administration, and I feel more comfortable with my setup already. My web server hosts a number of blogs (like this one!) as well as my QuantifiedAwesome.com tracking dashboard. I want to make sure that things are backed up and that I can verify that my backups are running […]
Read the original or check out the comments on: Setting up virtual machines with Vagrant (Sacha Chua's blog)
Why wait until 2014 to start working on things that I think are a good idea? =) Since I’ve been listening to a lot of podcasts while commuting or walking around, I figured I should start making some as well so that people can learn more conveniently. Besides, it will be a great way to […]
Read the original or check out the comments on: Quick show update: Learning Together #01, Helpers Help Out #02 (Sacha Chua's blog)
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More automation! More! More! Also, podcasting is fun, so I’m going to work on delegating more to free up time and attention (and to do things even better.) Blog posts Weekly review: Week ending November 22, 2013 Emacs Chat: Magnar Sveen (Emacs Rocks) How I review my notes Google Helpouts update: Helping people learn, thinking […]
Read the original or check out the comments on: Weekly review: Week ending November 29, 2013 (Sacha Chua's blog)
Take better notes, and the world will beat a path to your door. Or something like that. =) As it turns out, sketchnotes are an excellent way to capture ideas from presentations and meetups. Eric asked me if I was interested in sketchnoting more of the Awesome Foundation Toronto pitch nights. (They give the awesomest project […]
Read the original or check out the comments on: Simplifying my event commitments; tips for people looking for event sketchnotes (Sacha Chua's blog)
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At November’s Visual Thinkers Toronto meetup, we talked about mapping. =) Want to hear about upcoming meetups? Sign up! Read the original or check out the comments on: Sketchnote: Visual Thinkers Toronto – Mapping (Sacha Chua's blog)
Read the original or check out the comments on: Sketchnote: Visual Thinkers Toronto – Mapping (Sacha Chua's blog)
After a few weeks of occasional 15-minute Google Helpout sessions with people interested in improving their learning and note-taking skills, I’ve learned a little more about what I like and what I want to focus on. It’s mind-boggling, but it turns out that I can actually help people with stuff. Yay! I started with free […]
Read the original or check out the comments on: Google Helpouts update: Helping people learn, thinking about business strategies (Sacha Chua's blog)
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I’ve been trying to figure out how to improve my processes for reviewing my notes. Writing things down and drawing things (more often now!) are great ways to remember, but imagine if I could get even better at keeping track of current information and digging up things from my archive. My weekly, monthly, and yearly […]
Read the original or check out the comments on: How I review my notes (Sacha Chua's blog)
UPDATE: Want just the audio? MP3 / OGG Here are the notes from my chat with Magnar Sveen, the creator of the Emacs Rocks screencast series and a number of other great Emacs resources. Enjoy! 0m48s Magnar has been using Emacs for two years 2m30s Moving from TextMate 3m45s World of Warcraft 4m10s Friend’s influence 5m10s […]
Read the original or check out the comments on: Emacs Chat: Magnar Sveen (Emacs Rocks) (Sacha Chua's blog)
Lots of drawing, and lots of getting ready. =) Also, kicked off first session of Helpers Help Out! Blog posts Weekly review: Week ending November 15, 2013 My new Google Hangouts On Air checklist, plus upcoming Nov 29 Q&A on learning Finding the right balance between thinking, learning, doing, and reviewing Google Helpouts update: Building […]
Read the original or check out the comments on: Weekly review: Week ending November 22, 2013 (Sacha Chua's blog)
We’ve been working on decluttering the house and crossing off the projects that have languished on our to-do list. Weekends are good for cleaning blitzes and household sprints. Now I try to get through as many tasks as I can in our Asana-managed project before I focus on writing or other computer-y things. I haven’t […]
Read the original or check out the comments on: Decluttering and reimagining the house (Sacha Chua's blog)