SachaChua

Sacha Chua
sacha@sachachua.com
http://sachachua.com

How I use Emacs

Planning

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.

Communication

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(outdated - I no longer send text messages from my computer.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.

Taking notes

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.

Internet relay chat

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.

Blog

2020-10-20

  • 04:04 UTC 2020-10-19 Emacs newsEmacs User Survey 2020 is open! (Reddit) Emacs configuration: TIL how to load file- or dir-locals before a minor mode like lsp-mode Diego Zamboni: My Doom Emacs configuration, with commentary LIVE: Emacs From Scratch #7 – Configure Everything with Org Babel (10/16, 9:15am PDT) (Reddit) Emacs Lisp: Awesome Elisp, a list of resources about Emacs […]

2020-10-13

  • 03:21 UTC 2020-10-12 Emacs newsEmacs configuration: What modern configs are a good as a base for your own setup? Very impressed by emacs-ludicrous-speed (GNU/Linux) Chemacs 2, now with early-init.el suport dot-emacs – My Emacs configurations written in Org mode {emacs-devel} Include leaf in Emacs distribution (Reddit) borg-nix-shell: Build your Borg packages with Nix-Shell wmacs : Rewrite of my Emacs […]

2020-10-06

  • 03:05 UTC 2020-10-05 Emacs newsEmacsConf 2020 Call for Proposals open until Oct 7, 2020. (Last call!) Please encourage someone you’d like to hear from! =) Beginner: Emacs Resources · Renaissance (Reddit) Switching to Doom Emacs | Ethan Anderson (Feb 2020) Emacs configuration: use-package Best Practices James Cash: Customizing the Emacs Modeline: Video Edition Emacs Lisp: propcheck – Quickcheck/Hypothesis-like property […]

2020-09-29

  • 03:03 UTC 2020-09-28 Emacs newsEmacsConf 2020 Call for Proposals open until Oct 7, 2020. (Extended!) Please encourage someone you’d like to hear from! =) Emacs configuration: EmacsVanillaChocolateSwirl: Minimal config for Emacs to flatten the learning curve for transitioning users emacs-config-manjaro: Emacs dot files and other goodies on manjaro Keybindings in Emacs – YouTube (11:21) Tory Anderson: Rebinding Keys, or, […]

2020-09-22

  • 03:52 UTC 2020-09-21 Emacs newsEmacsConf 2020 Call for Proposals open until Oct 7, 2020. (Extended!) Please encourage someone you’d like to hear from! =) LibrePlanet 2021 call for proposals open until Oct 28 Beginners: Emacs: Help section & Elisp – YouTube Emacs configuration: Emacs From Scratch #1 – Getting Started with a Basic Usable Configuration – YouTube (58:29) Emacs […]

2020-09-15

  • 05:05 UTC 2020-09-14 Emacs newsEmacsConf 2020 Call for Proposals open until Oct 7, 2020. (Extended!) Please encourage someone you’d like to hear from! =) For beginners: Emacs: Help section & Elisp – YouTube COS 217 Fall 2020 Lecture 2 – emacs and bash – YouTube (51:27) Emacs configuration: Live Stream: Building a Custom Emacs Configuration from Scratch (9/11, 9:15 […]

2020-09-09

  • 05:33 UTC Making A-‘s reading visible through a book treeA- loved Rosemary Wells’ books about Yoko. When we came across the idea of a book tree in Yoko Learns to Read, I made one for her. I painted a tree trunk on a large sheet of paper and told her that she would get one book leaf for every book that she could read […]

2020-09-07

  • 04:39 UTC 2020-09-07 Emacs newsAlmost forgot to say: EmacsConf 2020 Call for Proposals is open until Sept 30, 2020. Please encourage someone you’d like to hear from! =) Emacs beginners: A Complete Idiot’s Guide to Doom Emacs Emacs configuration: Solo Jazz Theme {link in comments} (Reddit) Emacs Lisp: Watch “Intermediate Emacs: Extending & Creating Helm Sources” on YouTube New […]

2020-09-03

  • 05:33 UTC Monthly review: August 2020We played with lots of LEGO: building sets and our own creations, and making up stories and games. A- had fun inventing new rules and events in Heroica. A- practised playing independently with LEGO or Khan Academy Kids while I did some consulting. I shared some of my earnings with her, so she kept encouraging […]
  • 05:32 UTC Weekly review: Week ending August 28, 2020We worked on rehabilitating the main planter box. It felt good to break up the packed sandy soil and work in some bagged soil that we had lying around. We moved the chives to one end of the planter box and the oregano to the other end. W- suggested planting more peas. He stapled chicken […]

2020-09-01

  • 04:55 UTC 2020-08-31 Emacs newsEmacsConf 2020 Call for Proposals until Sept 30, 2020. Please encourage someone you’d like to hear from! =) Beginners: New Creator – My Video teaching Emacs fundamentals to everyone(non-programmers, somewhat technical people). Exploring Emacs: Simple IDE-lite like Set Up for Emacs for Windows – YouTube Clojure Journey III – Emacs for Beginners Course – O. […]

2020-08-26

  • 04:10 UTC Weekly review: Week ending August 21, 2020Journal: So many improvements! I added the ability to browse by tag and by forward/backlinks, and to bulk-tag or bulk-thread several entries together. I got it to show me scans from A-‘s portfolio directory. I used texthero to explore my journal data, looking at terms based on tf-idf. I stayed up late to sew a […]
  • 03:59 UTC Weekly review: Week ending August 14, 2020I finished my annual review. I tinkered around with my Quantified Awesome Docker image. One step back, I think, since I’d actually managed to get it working on my local system before but I deleted my Dockerfile by accident. I started learning how to analyze my time data with pandas and visualize it with matplotlib. […]

2020-08-25

  • 04:39 UTC 2020-08-24 Emacs newsEmacsConf 2020 Call for Proposals – until Sept 30, 2020 For beginners: Emacs Doom for Newbies Emacs configuration: Mousemacs – a mouse driven emacs (HN) An Emacs Configuration Overview – James Cash, emacs.d leaf-convert.el: Convert Elisp config sexp to leaf form (Reddit) tycho garen: Tycho Emacs Config Kit – including multiple daemons (Reddit) Emacs Lisp: […]

2020-08-18

  • 03:06 UTC 2020-08-17 Emacs newsEmacs configuration: emacspeak: Start Emacs In A Defun Emacs development: Alvaro Ramirez: Trying out gccemacs on macOS Writing an Emacs module in Rust Speed up Emacs with libjansson and native elisp compilation (Reddit) Emacs 27.1: Emacs 27.1 Released (Reddit, HN) Emacs Redux: Emacs 27.1 Emacs 27.1 waves bye to ImageMagick, adds native JSON parsing support […]