Replied to Eerste emacs gedachten by Frank Meeuwsen

Zoals ik eerder deze week al schreef, ik probeer me weer te verdiepen in de wondere wereld van emacs. Ik vind het een interessant idee dat er software is die al zo lang bestaat, die ogenschijnlijk alles kan, van programmeren tot taakmanagement, email en nieuws lezen, en die zeer uitbreidbaar is. Ema…

In at the deep end!  Reading your posts has made me realise (remember?) how poor the emacs onboarding experience is.  I wish I’d blogged about it when I started up with it again – I can’t remember what I thought about it at the time.  The terminology certainly doesn’t help – a lot of it comes from before other terminology became common (copy/paste, window/tab, etc), and there seems to be some resistance to change emacs to match.

I think one very helpful thing to do would be to display the GUI menu – if you press SPC T m (space then  T then m) it will toggle the menu bar on and off.  That is a fault of Spacemacs – they disable it by default as they say they are keyboard-focused.  (I don’t know if spacemacs is the best beginning experience, I just went with it for the vim bindings!).  But with the menu bar you should be able to find easily many of the things you want to do, along with their keybindings for future reference.

The main config file is the .spacemacs hidden file in your home directory.  You can get to quickly from within Spacemacs by pressing SPC f e d.  If you set the value of dotspacemacs-startup-banner to nil, it will hide the big logo on the splash screen.  (You can press SPC f e R to reload it without restarting Spacemacs).  Also if you just click on [Release Notes] it will hide that.  There’s a list of Recent files and Projects below those two things.

The config file is written in Emacs Lisp.  I found this pretty confusing for a while!  But now, I also like that too, and am teaching myself Lisp.  Perhaps I have brainwashed myself 😀

It’s good to read your posts about your experience, Frank.  There’s no denying it, Emacs is not easy to start with, and it is good to document why.  For me it has been worth persevering. But I haven’t used Sublime Text, VSCode, Atom for any long period of time, however, so I can’t compare and contrast.

I think I would like some kind of virtual experience where I have my own Memory Palace, the method of loci, the visual virtual space in your head where you walk through as you recall things. But not just for recall, for construction too. I would invite other people in and they help me build it and I help on theirs too, we build them together.

Some kind of mashup at the intersection of hypermedia systems like HyperCard, MOOs like LambdaMOO, commonplace books, blogs, microblogs, personal wikis.

I wonder if this is some terrain where Spritely is going? That would be rad.

I saw David Thomas Broughton play in Lancaster tonight, supported by Bell Lungs. They were both great.

It was the 15 year anniversary of Broughton’s album The Complete Guide to Insufficiency. I saw him play 15 years ago in Leeds when I was at university.

I wondered where those 15 years had gone.

Anyway, it was a good show.

Replied to A trip back to the future of HyperCard by Panda Mery (doubleloop)

Back to the future. 30+ years ago there was HyperCard.

Thanks Panda.  That looks great.  I am feeling an urge to play Cosmic Osmo now.

The more I learn about it, the more it seems like I would like Nelsonian-style hypertext and hypermedia.

Also: according to Wikipedia, “HyperCard was created by Bill Atkinson following an LSD trip”.  😀

What would be ideal, I think, is if all information could be represented as “cards”, and all cards could be easily threaded. Every book, every blogpost, every video, even songs, etc – all could be represented as “threaded cards”. Some cards more valuable than others.

twitter threads solve the fragmentation problem – @visakanv’s blog

I like this idea. It’s a bit like what TiddlyWiki goes for I think. Or FedWiki. Little cards joined together. I’m not getting that so much with my current wiki setup – the finest grain is a page, which I’m thinking is a bit too big. I have quotes, but they’re kind of stuck in a page – not really reference-able outside of that. My thoughts themselves are just a mash.

To some extent however I would like to push back against everything becoming bite-sized. Is every paragraph a self-contained digestible thought? Let’s not lose sight of the long-form idea, the slow-burner. An album is not just 12 singles. But, if cards are a means to forming threads, then that’s OK I think.

(h/t to Kicks for sharing that link)

Replied to a post by Frank Meeuwsen

Ik weet weer niet exact waarom, maar ik heb vanmiddag weer een paar uur stukgeslagen aan het leren van emacs. Zoveel auteurs, programmeurs, hackers en productiviteit-knutselaars zweren er bij, dus er moet wel iets goeds in zitten. Ik vrees echter dat ik moeilijk ga wennen aan de conventies voor de s…

It took me a lot of perseverance to get into emacs. I love it now though. The reason I got into it again (I’d dabbled a long time ago, before subsequently using vim instead) was I was looking for a libre alternative to Workflowy. This brought me to org-mode and then I also came across spacemacs, which combines emacs with the vi-like keybindings that I was very used to. It also has a very nice default look and feel and plenty of useful features configured out of the box. So I gave emacs another shot.

I persevered this time because I really want to use libre software wherever possible. Emacs must be one of the longest running free software projects out there, and I feel it will exist for a long time after other editors have come and gone.  It is really hackable and has a great community of people hacking on it.

I would never make the claim that Emacs is better than any other editor, there are many good ones out there, and I think it really depends on what you want and why. But I can quite definitely say that after using emacs regularly for a few years, I absolutely love it, and can’t imagine myself using anything else anytime soon.

I can’t recommend a good tutorial as I never really did one end-to-end, just dipped into different things here and there.

Bit I think series of short videos can be better than text tutorials for this, sometimes.

I haven’t watched this series, Using Emacs, but I see it linked a lot, so it might be useful:

This one is quite good for org-mode, not least because he sounds like Arnold Schwarzenegger: