September 9, 2005

Notes from meeting with Stephen Perelgut, Neil Ernst and Alvin Chin

September 9, 2005 - Categories: -Uncategorized

We met at Bahen to talk about the upcoming IBM CASCON workshop on
“cool technologies.” Stephen gave us an idea of the kind of demand:
we’ve got the biggest room, the best machines, and we’re doing the
workshop _twice._ I’m _really_ looking forward to evangelizing these
insanely useful tools!

We talked about the structure of the CASCON workshop and how the
topics would flow into each other:

Introduction of topics, how to post comments on blogs Stephen
Blogging Alvin
Aggregators Alvin
Wikis Neil and social bookmarking Sacha

A good lead-in for the workshop would be to have participants add the
following to an introduction thread for the workshop:

- Who are you?
- Why are you here?
- What do you want to get out of the course?
- Link to webpage, etc.

This not only gives them a taste of how easy it is to respond to a
blog, but also gives us plenty of feedback to work into the 3-hour

We want to show them that blogging isn’t just about personal journals.
Getting them hooked on topic-related blogs and convincing them to use
project-related blogs or boss-blogs to communicate with others would
be a big, immediate win. Blogs are great as a personal lab notebook,
and wikiblogs would be even more fantastic.

We talked a bit about the use of blogging in universities. The
humanities people really caught on to the idea of blogs. In fact, most
of the activity I’m seeing in the edublogging frontier comes from
English teachers. Isn’t that so cool?

For wikis, we want to emphasize the use of wikis for intranet
documentation, because that’s another immediately useful big win for

I’ll get to evangelize social bookmarking. Yay! Yay! I’m a really big
fan of using to discover new, useful sites.

Next steps: prepare content for the workshop, move the CASCON blog to
the new server, and write content for the blog.

New planner tweak: sort tasks by time

September 9, 2005 - Categories: emacs

I’ve taken to tagging my tasks with times, and here’s some code to
automatically sort tasks by time, status, and priority. I use it on
day pages. My plan pages are sorted differently. =)

I could go on and on about how powerful customizable task sorting
functions are. Kudos to Jody Klymak and John Sullivan for suggesting
this last December! It’s one of the things I love about planner. =)

(defun sacha/planner-sort-tasks-basic ()
  "Sort tasks by time (@1030, etc), status (_P>XC) and priority (ABC)."
  (let* ((info (planner-current-task-info))
         (status (aref (planner-task-status info) 0)))
     ;; time
     (or (and (string-match "@[0-9][0-9][0-9][0-9]" (planner-task-description info))
              (match-string 0 (planner-task-description info)))
     ;; status
      ((eq status ?o) "1")
      ((eq status ?P) "2")
      ((eq status ?>) "3")
      ((eq status ?X) "4")
      ((eq status ?C) "5")
      (t "9"))
     (planner-task-priority info))))

See my planner-config.el for my
complete task sorting code and lots of other config stuff. =)

Personal productivity reading list

September 9, 2005 - Categories: productivity

Dean Michael C. Berris commented on my blog:

Great online PIM links! I’ve fallen in love with Ta-da and backpackit! :D

There’s plenty more where that came from. Let me tell you how I get my
productivity news so that you can catch the same wave.

- I learn about cool new sites through, a social bookmarking service.
Check out my inbox to see my
subscriptions. I don’t visit all the new sites every day. I usually
page through a few screens, opening interesting or popular sites in
background tabs until I feel I’ve caught up well enough. I don’t
worry about missing good stuff because I’ll catch them when other
people bookmark the sites again.

- I read many productivity blogs in my feed aggregator. I like

Bloglines because it allows me to
categorize my subscriptions. I can read all the productivity-related
entries in one go. You can check out my subscriptions.

- I get comments on my blog. Thanks for all the tips!

If you’re just starting out in personal productivity, particularly
geek productivity, here’s what you should read:

- Danny O’Brien. One of the guys who started the whole thing. Check

out Cory Doctorow’s notes on his talks about lifehacks. looked at alpha geek habits. .

- , a linkblog fueled by an active community. summarizes and links to good posts from many
blogs, but you might also want to add some blogs to your aggregator to
make them easier to visit. Here’s what I’d recommend:

- – Merlin Mann’s posts ripple through the productivity blogosphere
- – Clear writing
- – Longer, more reflective articles

Have fun, and happy lifehacking!

Planner for Eclipse?

September 9, 2005 - Categories: emacs

One of the things I really love about Planner is that
my blogging and task tracking tool is built into my working
environment. A task or note is never more than a keystroke away.

When Stephen asked me if there was a blogging plugin for Eclipse, I
thought: hey, there should be one. Why hasn’t something like Planner
been written for Eclipse yet? It’s insanely useful. A search for
“blog” on the Eclipse plugin page turns up nothing promising.

Right after Stephen asked me about blogging plugins, Alvin remarked
that it was too much trouble to switch to a separate application for
blogging. _Exactly_ why I like Planner so much.

And exactly why a pluggable and hackable wikiblog like Planner would
be perfect for Eclipse.

I wonder if we’re on to something here. Building blogging and wiki
tools into a development environment allows the blog/wiki engine to
take advantage of rich metadata. We can make it easy for people to
keep project blogs and personal knowledgebases. This would be Good

And—more challenging—we can go beyond the line-number hyperlinking
done by Planner. We can take advantage of Eclipse’s semantic parsing
to attach entries to pieces of code that might be refactored. How
would that work? I don’t know how to do that yet.

What do we get? A developer’s notebook. This is good stuff. Time to
find out if it’s masters-level good stuff…