Lesser known Dired stuff

It is not a secret that I am a big fan of Dired. Recently I learned about a thing introduced relatively recently into Emacs, that is, the wdired-create-parent-directories variable. If you set it to a non-nil value, renaming a file or directory in Wdired to something containing one or more slashes will Do The Right Thing. How cool is that?

Also, I have set wdired-allow-to-change-permissions to t, and now I can change file permissions in Wdired with keyboard macros, for instance. (It’s probably not much more powerful than good ol’ chmod, but it’s Emacs!) Consult the manual for the details.

Marcin Borkowski: 2018-12-10 Lesser known Dired stuff

Dired continues to amaze me. It’s constantly one of those things I say I will make more use of.

Also on:

Search and Replacement Techniques

Search and Replacement Techniques:

From time to time it’s a good idea to turn back to the basics. Even after years of Emacs usage you will potentially find things you overlooked before – or new ways established without you noticing.
This week I searched for workflows to find and replace matches with Emacs. In this post I will summarize the different techniques I found and hopefully provide you with some new methods you might want to try or incorporate into your own workflow. I will contrast “the old way” with the “modern way” in each section, but notice that by modern I don’t necessarily mean better.
“Old” just means that the method has been built-in for a long time and “modern” means, external packages or newer additions to stock Emacs are used to achieve the task. As Emacs is big and the community even bigger the described methods are not near complete. Feel free to add you own suggestions in the comments.

(Via with-emacs)

Also on:

(Emacs+Org-Mode) Choosing The Best Writing And Publishing Software – Wisdom and Wonder

(Emacs+Org-Mode) Choosing The Best Writing And Publishing Software – Wisdom and Wonder:u

Here is my take on it, and it is as brief as I can make it. It took years and years of effort and pain and help from others and more effort and pain to get to the point where my feedback can be this brief—and it is still too long. Please know that the volume includes the abundance of clarity that I’d already gained. Sorry for it being longer because I didn’t make enough time for it to be shorter.

(Via Wisdom and Wonder)

I have a Latex setup for my Emacs and org-mode but never have a need to use it.

If you have a need for this setup, give this a read. If you’ve tried and failed, check out the last section of the post.

Also on:

Updated Orgmode Compatible iOS Shortcuts Meeting Capture Workflow with Beorg

After swapping some messages with the author of Beorg, I made a new version of my Shortcut to make use of the x-callback-URL feature which removes some steps in the process. No iOS share sheet is shown now. The setup steps I listed before still hold true.

there are a few odd calendar entries that do not fully populate in Beorg. I am troubleshooting and will open a trouble ticket if needed. YMMV.

Update: for those wanting to use the iOS Share Sheet version, it is still available here.

Also on:

MIA Emacs Writers

I have a bunch of TODO entries in my orgmode files for improving all kinds of bits of my Emacs config. I was looking through them for a minor issue (which I solved) when I realized three of the sites I value for Emacs content are mostly or completely silent.

Sacha Chua is busy with family and life. I appreciate that she still puts out a weekly Emacs News post.

The other two, unless you follow them on Reddit and GitHub, you’d be worried that they were trapped under something heavy.

Oleh Krehel, a.k.a. abo-abo, has a site at (or emacs. His last post was in March 2018.

Artur Malabarba, a.k.a. Malabarba, has a site at Endless Parenthesis. His last post was in October 2017!

The stuff all of these folks posted are still valuable and enrich the Emacs and Org-Mode community. I think it would be better if they were still writing on a regular basis. But, you know, life and work and family and stuff happen.

I, for one, look forward to their return.

Also on:

Magit 2.90 released

Magit 2.90 released:

I am excited to announce the release of Magit version 2.90, consisting of 395 commits since the last feature release five months ago.

(Via Emacsair)

Woohoo! I use about 10% of this magnificent tool and want to use it more.

Also on:

My Orgmode compatible iOS Shortcuts Meeting Capture Workflow with Beorg

I use Beorg for capturing and managing tasks on iOS. I’m using Shortcuts to bring calendar entries in as meetings where I can capture notes. Here’s how:

A Quick Note About My Orgmode Setup

Each of the apps that write to my org files usually don’t get allowed to write to my main org files me.org (personal) and work.org (professional). Each app gets its own file named refile-AppName.org – even Org-capture itself. Thus I have refile-beorg.org, refile-drafts.org, refile.org (for org-capture), etc.

I do this because different sync mechanisms behave better than others and sometimes I work off-line. Once captured, I will then refile them when I am in Emacs on my Mac.

If Beorg gets out of sync, then the files are appended with a number to keep data from being overwritten. I think with the way iOS works there is no way around this.

Setup Calendar

You need some calendar entries for this to be useful. The Shortcut needs to use the native iOS calendar service. Maybe this Shortcut can be modified to work with other calendars.

Setup Beorg

First, install Beorg. While you can use Dropbox or WebDAV for your sync service I am using iCloud.

Make sure your org-states are defined in the app settings including MEETING as a Done state. Do not enable any calendars in the settings.

Setup Shortcuts

Install Shortcuts if you don’t already have it. If it is a new install, go ahead and launch it to see the introductory stuff.

My shortcut is here. Click on the link while browsing this page from your iOS device. Select install.

You now have the bare minimum for this to work, so run a test. The Shortcut allows you to select multiple calendar entries. Pick just one, select beorg in the share sheet, and make sure you change the state to MEETING. Beorg should open and your meeting should be in the calendar.

Setup macOS

Make sure iCloud is set up. Once it is, create a symlink in your home directory (after making sure there is nothing already using ~/org).

Create a symlink to your beorg document store:

ln -s ${HOME}/Library/Mobile Documents/iCloud~com~appsonthemove~beorg/Documents/org ${HOME}/org

After that, copy all of your Orgmode files from the old locale into ${HOME}/org. This needs to be your master Orgmode location.

P.s. – if you want a command line shortcut to iCloud Documents, do this:

ln -s ${HOME}/Library/Mobile Documents/com~apple~CloudDocs ${HOME}/iCloud

Setup Emacs and Orgmode

One main thing is to make sure all of your Orgmode file entries point to the ${HOME}/org directory we created as a symlink above. Another thing is to define MEETING as a done state. This way it will show up in your agenda as a meeting and not in your task list.

How I Use It

First thing in the morning I run this to capture all of today’s meetings. When the share sheet opens, select beorg. As above, make sure each entry is set for the MEETING state.

When it is ten minutes to meeting time, I get an alert on my watch from beorg. In the meeting I have all the relevant information (or what’s available in the calendar entry) ready for me to take notes on any of my Apple devices (except the watch).

Important note – if capturing meeting notes in Beorg, make sure you open the entry from Files (along the bottom menu bar) and not from the Agenda

At some point before or after the meeting I refile the entries to the appropriate Orgmode target. Unless I’m using a non-Apple device, I don’t care where the entry is when I’m in the meeting.

Every week I archive the meetings after refiling any remaining open tasks in the Next Actions. Sadly, Beorg cannot see archive files.

Wish List

Some of what I would do differently is out of my hands:

  • Beorg doesn’t yet support tags, for example. This is fixed as of 14 Nov 18.
  • The PROPERTIES don’t fold.
  • If taking meeting notes in Beorg, you have to save regularly and reopen the entry to prevent data loss.
  • It’d be cool on iOS if I could pass the entry to Drafts for the text editing and then pass it back to beorg for writing.
  • I’d also love to be able to attach files from the calendar invite to the entry.
  • Beorg needs to save any open entries before the app sleeps in the background.

I don’t know if the x-callback-url scheme can handle entries as long as some of the calendar events I capture, so I think the share sheet approach is best for now.

UPDATE: The x-callback-URL scheme only supports 2048 total characters, so many meeting invitations will not fit.

Ultimately, it would be great if Beorg did something like this Shortcut for calendar entries when you tap them (when the calendar access is enabled in Beorg’s settings). Unfortunately it takes you to the calendar entry in iOS Calendar.

I would love something for searching Orgmode archive files. Maybe Devonthink-To-Go?


I used to use Dropbox for this. They’ve made some poor decisions about their API and failed to upgrade the free storage amount. Also, many corporate environments block Dropbox. However, a modified version of the above pointing to a folder in Dropbox will work.


This is working for me, though it is far from frictionless. Got ideas on how to improve on my workflow? Send them to me via the indie web.

Update: there is another version without the iOS Share Sheet available here.

Also on:

Emacs Security | Irreal

Emacs Security | Irreal:

If you follow the Emacs-Devel list, even in a desultory way, you probably noticed the long thread going back to June concerning Emacs’ insecure usage of TLS and what it means for Emacs users. LWN.net has a nice article that summarizes the discussion.

At first, the problem seemed straightforward and the solution relatively simple but as usual with complicated software—especially software performing a security function—things turned out to be more difficult than they originally appeared.

You should read the article to get the whole story but the TL;DR is that if you use Emacs to browse the Web and you live in a country where, as RMS put it, there are thugs with torture chambers spying on you, you should be very concerned. For most of us, there doesn’t appear to be as much danger, although there is still some threat. In any event, a consensus, more or less, was reached and changes will probably appear in Emacs 27.

I don’t want to re-open this particular issue but I would like the maintainers to err on the side of privacy. No one these days needs to play the dictator card. We’re all being monitored, so some measures need to be the default.

While parts of Emacs 27 I dread, I look forward to seeing how this develops.

Also on:

Magit 2.13 released

Magit 2.13 released:

I am excited to announce the release of Magit version 2.13, consisting of 166 commits since the last feature release two months ago.

(Via Emacsair)

Get it!

Agenda for iOS & macOS seems very Orgmode like in approach

Agenda for iOS Review

Agenda … is one of the most interesting note-taking apps I’ve used. The app is simultaneously structured around projects, like a task manager, and dates, like a calendar app.

What makes Agenda a little bewildering at first is its use of dates and projects, which sometimes makes it feel like a calendar app and other times like a task manager, even though it’s neither. The app doesn’t try to force you into a predefined system. Instead, Agenda gives you multiple ways to organize and view your notes through tagging, filtering, sorting, and searching. The upside is flexibility that should accommodate almost anyone’s workflow. The downside is that it can take time and experimentation to discover how it can work for you.

(Via Mac Stories)

The parallels with Orgmode are, at least to me, obvious and surprising in a good way. I played with Agenda on iOS. The metaphor was a visual analog to how I use (or, more correctly, strive to use) Orgmode for Getting Shit Done.

Hmmm … I wonder how long until there’s a way to integrate the two …