Some Org Agenda keybindings:

This post is just a friendly reminder that it may be a good idea to look in the manual from time to time, just in case there are some gems hidden there you don’t remember (even if you read it once).

It turns out that you can do a lot of things from the Org Agenda buffer. Usually, I just wander around that buffer using the normal movement commands and exit it using q. Of course, I also often mark things done using t and jump to them using RET. But until recently, that was about it.

It turns out Agenda can do a lot more. One nice thing is C-c C-o, which just opens the link from the selected entry (and displays a list of links found there first if there is more than one). f and b move forward and backward in time, and . gets back to today. A number of commands starting with v changes the appearance of the agenda, showing or hiding various kinds of information.

If you have a habit of not closing your agenda (e.g., with q), you might find M-<up> and M-<down> useful – they allow to rearrange the order of agenda entries, but only temporarily (until the agenda is (re)generated again).

If you want to reschedule your tasks, S-<right>, S-<left> and > may be for you.

You can also manage clocks (i.e., start and stop clocking etc.) from the agenda view.

One of the cooler things you can do in the agenda is bulk actions. You can mark more than one entry (manually or with a regex) and then perform some action on all marked entries. The available actions include manipulating todo state, tagging, archiving, scheduling/deadlining and refiling. You may also, as the manual puts is, “[r]eschedule randomly into the coming N days”, which I never used, but that looks cool. If that weren’t enough, defining custom actions is (of course) also possible, either on the fly or permanently.

Do yourself a favor and check out the manual, there are even more possibilities!

CategoryEnglish, CategoryBlog, CategoryEmacs, CategoryOrgMode

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(Via Marcin Borkowski: Homepage)

Bozhidar Batsov’s Year End Emacs Review by jcs:

In my continued atonement for failing to produce a year end Emacs review, here’s an offering from Bozhidar Batsov. Batsov has done a lot of interesting work–including Prelude, CIDER, and Projectile–so his take on things is worth noting.
Oddly, he finds most of the changes introduced by Emacs 26.1 don’t affect him at all. He’s excited by the advances in concurrency but, of course, it’s still early days. He expects that it will become more important as package writers start taking advantage of the capability.
He makes two further points that I agree with. First, he says that MELPA has become the only repository that matters. Sure, there’s a couple of packages in GNU elpa that we all need and, of course, there’s the Org repository but, really, MELPA is the place to go.
The other point involves GNU elpa. He says that he’d like to see more of the packages that are built in to Emacs core–Org, for example–moved to GNU elpa and the core be dedicated to providing the best possible editing experience. That would have the advantage that the packages could be updated more regularly and, of course, make Emacs more configurable.
Batsov’s post is interesting and worth a read.

My takeaway is that I lost emacsredux.com from my Emacs RSS feeds somehow. I need to tend to that garden.

Hi, Slack!

Thanks for how you try.

I need you to try harder.

First, I need you to stop stealing my attention and focus. People want to express themselves with animated GIFs and emoji (see #4 below) and stuff. Let them express. But let me control. If I’m reading a post needing my attention and some [wonderful coworker] wants an animated penguin dancing just on screen above or below, focus becomes a challenge (as is my good will toward said [wonderful coworker], but that’s another issue).

Second, I need you to be more efficient. Your desktop “apps” are battery vampires because they are not apps. They are your website wrapped up in Google’s Chrome browser in something called Electron. While there are some advantages to the arrangement, I value efficiency in message delivery and the battery life to act upon such messages.

Third, searching is weird. There is some syntax around it but is specific to your service. I would not mind so much if it were more or at least as mature as PCRE or Google’s search. As it is I find it hit and miss.

Fourth, emoji has its place. In Slack, it’s decoration and message medium and “flair” and … More often than not I can’t tell what message is being sent. “Huh?” is becoming my #1 response. Let me render them all as text (see #1 above) or block them.

One area where I like what you’re doing is identifying bots. In most circumstances bots are useless and I prefer to avoid them. I like that they are labeled so I can ignore them. I would like to be able to block specific bots for me while keeping them available for others.

We Should Replace Facebook With Personal Websites by Jason Koebler:

As a freshman in high school, in the year of our lord 2002, I made a website called “Jason’s Site.” While a website named after myself and devoted to updates about my own life was unspeakably vain for the time, it was also quite forward looking: The site has a news feed, an “about me” page, and an email mailing list for people to receive updates. I intended for it to be funded by reader donations. It had a section for Flash videos and photos, a guestbook, and a “friends” page that was literally a list of my friends. It had an ill-advised but nonetheless prescient “hot or not” section that featured photos of my friends and acquaintances and predated both Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg’s original idea for the social network, called “FaceMash.”
I updated the site regularly and obsessively for about three months, and then never returned to it. The site was embarrassing then and is embarrassing now, but abandoning it was a terrible mistake.
… Looking back, it’s not clear to me why we were all so excited to get a Facebook. We were already all on the same social networks. But someone–a popular kid, probably–decided that we were going to use Facebook, and so we all used Facebook.
… Facebook isn’t really all that much better or more convenient than having your own website, or sending emails or chats. But for some reason, Facebook (and Instagram) are where we post now.
… When I think about my own Facebook use, I think often about that first website I made, and how that site served the exact same purpose then that Facebook does now. My original sin wasn’t making a Facebook account, it was abandoning my own website that I controlled (the original site was hosted on Tripod, but if I had to do it all over again, I’d pay for web hosting.) All these years later, maybe it’s time to update Jason’s Site.

I’m moving more and more away from the ‘book. I think most of my Japanese friends are on Line and/or Apple’s Messages. Instagram is still big.

Anyway, I’m still using and improving my use of IndieWeb concepts for my on-line properties. And I kept my site, wisely as it turns out.

Apple Maps Japan adds Indoor Mall Maps:

Apple continues their slow rollout of Indoor Maps for Japan. Tokyo Narita and Nagoya Chubu Airport indoor maps were added in September (Haneda and Kansai are still missing). Indoor Mall Maps have been added for a few Tokyo locations. So far I have identified Kitte, the old post office site next to Tokyo station, Ginza Six and Roppongi Hills. There are probably more in other metropolitan areas but we won’t know until Apple updates the iOS Feature Availability page which can take forever. Unfortunately underground station malls maps for important places like Tokyo, Shinjuku and Ikebukuro are missing. Good luck navigating those monster mazes on your own.

(via ATAdistance.net)

Every trickle of map improvement is a bonus. It’s funny to me that Kitte gets the treatment this early, but maybe the fact that it is easy to navigate without help makes it easy to add to Maps?

How to Extract a Number or Text from Excel with this Function:

With the strategies above, you should be able to extract numbers or text out of most mixed-format cells that are giving you trouble. Even if they don’t, you can probably combine them with some of the powerful text functions included in Microsoft Excel to get the characters you’re looking for. However, there are some much more complicated situations that call for more complicated solutions.

For example, I found a forum post where someone wanted to extract the numbers from a string like “45t*&65/”, so that he would end up with “4565.” Another poster gave the following formula as one way to do it:

=SUMPRODUCT(MID(0&A1,LARGE(INDEX(ISNUMBER(--MID(A1,ROW($1:$25),1))*
 ROW($1:$25),0),ROW($1:$25))+1,1)*10^ROW($1:$25)/10)

To be completely honest, I have no idea how it works. But according to the forum post, it will take the numbers out of a complicated string of numbers and other characters. The point is that, with enough time, patience, and effort, you can extract numbers and text from just about anything! You just have to find the right resources.

This formula is huge for me time-wise. I am working on better financial management here in Japan and my bank likes to add text, commas, and ¥ to the yen amounts. This strips them for me.

I’m sure my buddy Wolf would be able to do this in his sleep.

The iPad actually has quite a few options for text selection that I don’t always see mentioned here, including a few that I don’t think even 3D Touch iPhones have. There’s the obvious one:

• Swipe with two fingers to move cursor.

But there’s also

• Tap and hold with two fingers to begin selecting, then move fingers to expand selection, OR

• Tap once with two fingers to select single word.

• Double tap with two fingers to select sentence.

• Triple tap with two fingers to select paragraph.

While text is selected:

• Swipe left/up with two fingers to move left selection handle.

• Swipe right/down with two fingers to move right selection handle.

* Tap once with two fingers to exit selection and return to cursor mode.

The cursor position will return to either:

* The beginning of the previous selection, if you adjusted the handles to make your selection, OR

* The spot of the previous cursor, before you entered selection mode, if you selected text using the single/double/triple tap to select option and did not adjust the size of the selection.

I hope these are useful for some of you!

PSA: The iPad’s keyboard gestures are more robust than you might think : apple

Seems to work, but takes some patience to practice.

Culture You Can Heft:

Digital Culture and Culture You Can Heft Working Together

While I’ve increased my consumption of heft-able culture, I haven’t completely abandoned the digital variety. I’m just more deliberate about when I use one or the other, and about intentionally keeping a healthy dose of the former in my life.

I’ll stream music to my Sonos speaker in my garage gym. But if it’s a lazy Sunday afternoon, I’ll have Gus pick out an album for us to listen to together on my turntable while we play chess.

I still use a Kindle when I’m reading books for article research because it allows me to copy and paste my highlights into a single doc for when I’m ready to write. But if the book ends up meaning a lot to me, I’ll buy a hardcopy version for my physical library. With books I read for the podcast (where I make highlights and notes but don’t need them transcribed), or that I read for pleasure, I always prefer to read a hardbound copy.

The Art of Manliness is largely a digital site, naturally, and we even utilize infinite scroll. But we also offer hardbound versions of some of our content, and we’d like to create more in the future for those who itch to take more of their reading completely offline.

It doesn’t have to be one or the other. Find a mixture that works for you, remembering that culture is not merely to be consumed, but experientially touched, handled, hefted.

(Via The Art of Manliness)

I’ve commented on this idea for a while now. I like how Brett defines the concept of “heft”. The article is a long read but well worth your time.

Is YouTube Fundamental or Trivial?:

A Better Way Forward

Perhaps the best way to emphasize the positives of online video while diminishing its negatives is to deploy a hybrid indie web approach.

Imagine an online world in which people hosted their innovative video on large, big-infrastructure platforms like YouTube or Vimeo, but then embedded the players on their own independent web sites. This would allow users to find interesting new video content by leveraging the same style of decentralized trust hierarchies that structure the blogosphere, instead of relying on artificial statistical algorithms tuned to optimize attention extraction.

Because YouTube came along at exactly the moment when broadband penetration made online video practical, we never had a period of indie experimentation before the market consolidated into platform monopolies. I think it’s worth exploring what we missed.

(Via Blog – Cal Newport)

Medium Just Became an Even Worse Option for Blogging:

This reinforces my recommendation regarding writing online:

  1. Keep everything on your own site as much as possible.
  2. Use very few third-party services, and ideally none. This means anything that involves third-party domains that you don’t control fully.
  3. Your domain is everything. It’s your center of truth going forward for decades. Protect that source of truth.

So whether it’s Facebook, Medium, Tumblr—whatever—stop that, and get on your own domain.

Really.

Your domain is your home, and anything you do away from there will end up hurting you when it either 1) goes away, or 2) changes management and starts doing things you don’t like and cannot accept.

Do. As much as possible. On your own domain.

(Via Daniel Miessler)

I totally agree … except I would advise using something IndieWeb-based to syndicate your posts to the social networks to draw more readers back to your own site.