Replied to End of year review 2019 by Calum Ryan (Calum Ryan)

Approaching the end of 2019 I look back on a year filled with some happy distractions away from the unending misery in UK politics and the climate crisis.

Happy New Year Calum!  That’s a good review.  Focusing on friends, family and health is a good antidote to the B-word for now.

Excited to hear there’s a IWC London in the works!

Replied to Goodbye 2019 (Oh Hello Ana – Blog)

Ana’s personal blog

Sorry it’s been a tough year for you Ana 🙁

Though I think you’re being hard on yourself (we are always our toughest critics) – it sounds like you did a lot! And I enjoyed hanging out with you at HWC.

Here’s to 2020 being a good one 🙂

Replied to a post by Ton Zijlstra

The new Depot of the Boymans van Beuningen Museum in Rotterdam is becoming an amazing building.
I visited the ThingsCon conference recently in the Nieuwe Instituut across the road from the building site of the depot. Walking towards it I saw the entire Rotterdam skyline with high rises reflected in …

I saw this building while on the way back to the UK from IWC Utrecht! Very interesting – I didn’t know it was to house items from a museum, that’s even cooler. I really liked what I saw of Rotterdam.
Replied to Office Art, or the Obligation to Re-Use

I feel we have an obligation to re-use. The best way to keep things from humanity’s pool of cultural artefacts and knowledge available is by re-using and remixing them.

It isn’t about choosing the perfect images for my walls, it’s about choosing a few good-enough ones that speak to me at this moment in time.

I think this is really true – the perfect is the enemy of the good, as they say.  I think knowing something can be ephemeral, or improved upon, removes the friction of acting.  I’m finding this with writing in my blog/wiki.

I feel we also have an obligation to re-use. The best way to keep things from humanity’s pool of cultural artefacts and knowledge available is by re-using and remixing them. What gets used keeps meaning and value, will not be forgotten.

I’m also enjoying this as a way of stimulating thoughts and writing too – by quoting and reusing parts of other people’s posts as a jumping off point.

Replied to a post by Ton Zylstra

I’ve come to think of it as a balance, because having connections to the outside is key too. With local just being local you are cut off of the rich tapestry of ideas, people, tools etc from elsewhere that can be of such value strengthening community when expressed and applied locally.

Really true – it’s important not to become closed off.  There is a wealth of ideas and values to be gathered from around the world, and that’s the beauty of the Internet, allowing us to connect to those.  The mix is important.  Politically speaking at present in the UK, with a national government that doesn’t represent me at all, taking us out of a federation of countries that I love, the local feels like the most hopeful site of action for now – but local actions infused with ideas from around the world.
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.

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”.  😀

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: