May 2005

Where to find entries

May 2, 2005 - Categories: family

My mom noticed I hadn’t been updating this blog. If you’re looking for
some news on my life, they’re over at . Many of the entries are
friends-only, but so far I am fairly liberal with the definition of
“friend” and will probably add you if you want. =) Set up an LJ
account at and add me to your Friends list;
I routinely check to see if anyone new has added me.

That way, I don’t have to clutter up
the tech-related aggregators like Pinoy Tech Scene
with my sentimental mush. ;)

私は先月新しいコンピュータを買いました。 I bought a new computer last month.

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May 3, 2005 - Categories: Uncategorized

39 words

The mayor raised his hands triumphantly. “According to a survey by the
Asian Development Bank, the Philippines is less corrupt than

Someone in the crowd shouted back, “How much did we pay them to make
us number two?”

従業員に対する新コンピューター・システム研修があなたの仕事になります。 Your task will be to train the employees on the new computer system.

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Wheee… =)

May 3, 2005 - Categories: goodkarma
 did you catch my message on livejournal? :D
 Hmmm, gotta check... Which entry?
 i was asking if i could add you to my friends page, as
              (shh don't tell sacha) secretly i admire your
              organization and thought-keeping skills.
 the one right before your most recent one.
  Go ahead and add me. I'll add you too so that you can
see my disorganized unkept thoughts. =)
 to tell you the truth, after reading your lj and recent
              wiki entries, it got me writing again
 That's good to hear! =D
 oh, and also, i wanted to congratulate you on your
              relationship (i know it's late) - it caught me off
              guard, especially as i only found out through your
              latest post
 i'm still on sacha i-will-never-have-a-boyfriend mode @[email protected]
 anyway, back to topic - i really admire how you have
              these huge lists on your wiki - and at the end of the
              day you've crossed them all out.
 in spite of everything you do, in spite of all your
              interests and such.
 Heh. Not today--only a few non-essential things crossed out...
 that's really admirable. even though i haven't had the
              pleasure of picking apart brains with you for long, i
              really respect that.
 The lists are actually just lists of things I do, and part of
         my interests.
 (I keep them written down because I'll otherwise forget them.
         Besides, it's nice to see crossed-out stuff.)
 but still, you're able to accomplish most of them! the
              past few years haven't been kind to me (long story) and
              i've hit a lot of slumps
 i find it hard to complete even stuff i'm interested in
 so those times i wander off to your wiki to be inspired.
 The trick is to make the tasks so small that it's easier to
         finish them than to procrastinate... ;)
 but shh, don't tell anyone :P
 that's what i do these days.
 I keep a couple of important stuff around so that I can do
         the other tasks while procrastinating the bigger tasks...
 ... and when I do get those spurts of productivity, I just
         work through my list, trying to make the most of it. =)
 (I'm really not that organized or productive; I just _look_
         it because it's written down somewhere. =) )
 semantics. it's inspired me all the same. and i'm sure
              the same is true for a lot of people. ^_^
 I'm glad to hear that. =)
 I'm really glad to hear that I sometimes help you get out of
         your slumps. =D

… after some more conversation …

 i guess i wish i could replay that time and appreciate
              the study more. and the teaching. you have a lot of
              passion for it, and it shows brilliantly.
 i'm sorry it took me so long to say that, but there it is. ^^;;
  Thank you. That means a lot to me.


このコンピュータはよく調子が悪くなる。 This computer often goes out of order.

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Keeping in touch

May 5, 2005 - Categories: emacs, organizer, productivity

How can I keep in touch with other people?

One way is to call people up or write them a friendly note every so
often. I find this difficult to do because I’m still not used to small
talk. I’m also not used to being interrupted for a purely social call
unless it’s someone I know well. I’m much more comfortable dealing
with information. I want to be useful.

First, I need to keep track of people’s interests. When I run across
something that might be useful for them, I can send them the
information. If I also keep track of other little facts I know about
people, then I can make them feel a little more special.

Second, I should regularly refresh my contacts. I should make sure I
keep in touch with people. Maybe I should set goals for how often I
should get in touch with different kinds of people. There are people I
don’t expect further contact with, there are people I should write at
least once a year, and there are people I’d like to correspond with
more frequently.

The next step would be to proactively search for useful information.
If I periodically read about other people’s interests, I will not only
learn many new things and gain more common ground with them, but might
also find resources they haven’t run across before.


I already keep notes on people in my BBDB (Big Brother Database,
Emacs). BBDB makes it easy for me to associate notes with e-mail.
Whenever I read a message from someone in my address book, the BBDB
record pops up and I can review or add notes easily.

However, I don’t regularly review these contacts or make a conscious
effort to stay in touch with a wide range of people. I tend to react
instead of act, and I’d like to change that.


I would like to be able to see my contacts grouped by relative
frequency. This would allow me to flip through, say, all the people I
have yet to contact this year, and randomly pick people to get in
touch with. I need to also keep track of our last few communications,
in terms of both when I got in touch with that person and when I got a

I would like to be able to see my contacts grouped by interest. I can
achieve the same effect by searching through the records for a
particular keyword. This would allow me to easily look up all the
people I should get in touch with regarding a particular topic.

I would like to be able to create tasks based on each contact or group
of contacts. I should be able to list all the tasks associated with a
particular person as well as see the tasks on my day page, perhaps
under the “social” context.


First, I should add two fields to my BBDB records to keep track of the
last time I spoke/wrote to the person and the last time I received a
reply. I can probably configure Gnus to update this automatically for
mail, although I can also do that myself. I can also add an entry for
maximum days without contact, or something like that.

I can add another field called “Next action”, which keeps track of the
next thing I can do for that person.

I can write Emacs Lisp code to extract all the relevant information
from BBDB and prioritize the list.

Hmmm. Sounds useful.

最近コンピュータ用の新しい机を買いました。 I just bought a new desk for my computer.

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BBDB tags

May 6, 2005 - Categories: emacs, organizer, productivity

Right, that tags thing looks like a good idea. It should be easy to
hack into BBDB. I’ll need to actually tag people, and then write an
Emacs Lisp script that scans through all of the records, gathers them
into categories, and then creates the list.

HEY. This might actually work. Here’s a quick test of tags:

ateneo Charles Yeung,Sean Uy,Ryan Kristoffer Tan,Stephanie Sy,Bit Santos,Jerome Punzalan
pisay Jerome Punzalan,clair ching,mario carreon
linux Eric Pareja,Jared Odulio,Chris G. Haravata,levi guerrero,Zak B. Elep,clair ching,Dean Michael Berris,Jan Alonzo
blog Charles Yeung,Sean Uy,Ryan Kristoffer Tan,Stephanie Sy,Aaditya Sood,Bit Santos,Raven,Jerome Punzalan,Richard Plana,Phillip Pearson,Eric Pareja,Jared Odulio,Celsus Kintanar,Jan Michael Ibanez,Mark A. Hershberger,Chris G. Haravata,levi guerrero,Cha Gascon,Sim Gamboa, III,Marcelle Fabie,Zak B. Elep,David Edmondson,edelgado,Dominique Cimafranca,clair ching,Sean Champ,Dean Michael Berris,Jason Banico,John S. J. Anderson,Jan Alonzo
debian Federico Sevilla III,Paul Lussier,Angus Lees,Frederik Fouvry,Zak B. Elep,Joe Corneli,clair ching,Sean Champ,Miles Bader,Jan Alonzo,Jesse Alama
emacs Manoj Srivastava,Paul Lussier,Lukhas,Angus Lees,Mario Lang,Jan Michael Ibanez,Mark A. Hershberger,Frederik Fouvry,clair ching,Miles Bader,Ethan Aubin,John S. J. Anderson,Jesse Alama
planner Paul Lussier,Mark A. Hershberger,Frederik Fouvry,Zak B. Elep,Joe Corneli,clair ching,Ethan Aubin,John S. J. Anderson,Jesse Alama

Use C-o to add a “tags” field to your BBDB records. This should be a space-delimited list of tags (case-sensitive for now).
Call M-x sacha/planner-bbdb-insert-tags-alist to produce a list like the one above.

(defun sacha/bbdb-get-tags (record)
  "Return the tags for RECORD as a list."
  (let ((tags (bbdb-record-getprop record 'tags)))
    (when tags (split-string tags))))

(defun sacha/bbdb-test-tags (query tags)
  "Return non-nil if QUERY is a subset of TAGS."
  (let ((result t))
    (while (and result query)
      (unless (member (car query) tags)
        (setq result nil))
      (setq query (cdr query)))

(defun sacha/bbdb-search-tags-internal (records tags)
  "Return a list of RECORDS matching TAGS."
  (when (stringp tags) (setq tags (split-string tags)))
  (let (result)
    (while records
      (when (sacha/bbdb-test-tags tags
                                  (sacha/bbdb-get-tags (car records)))
        (setq result (cons (car records) result)))
      (setq records (cdr records)))

(defun sacha/bbdb-search-tags (tags)
  "Display all the records that match TAGS."
  (interactive "MTags: ")
  (bbdb-display-records (sacha/bbdb-search-tags-internal (bbdb-records) tags)))

(defun sacha/planner-bbdb-link (record)
  "Return a link to RECORD."
  (or (bbdb-record-getprop record 'plan)
      ;; From a BBDB entry with a plan page; use that. Yay!
      (concat "[[bbdb://"
               " " "."
               (bbdb-record-name record))
              "][" (bbdb-record-name record)

(defun sacha/bbdb-get-tags-index ()
  "Return a list of tags and records."
  (let ((tags-alist '())
        (records (bbdb-records))
    (while records
      (setq tags (sacha/bbdb-get-tags (car records)))
      (while tags
        (setq entry (assoc (car tags) tags-alist))
        (setq list (cdr entry))
        (add-to-list 'list (car records))
        (if entry
            (setcdr entry list)
          (add-to-list 'tags-alist (cons (car tags) list)))
        (setq tags (cdr tags)))
      (setq records (cdr records)))

(defun sacha/planner-bbdb-insert-tags-alist (&optional tag-alist)
  "Insert TAG-ALIST into the current buffer."
  (unless tag-alist (setq tag-alist (sacha/bbdb-get-tags-index)))
  (insert (mapconcat
           (lambda (item)
             (concat (car item) " | "
                      (cdr item)

To think that only took me an hour of leisurely coding (including tagging my contact information)…

昨年度のコンピューターからの利益は、今年度分よりも10%近く多かった。 Profit on computers for the previous year was nearly ten percent higher than the current year.

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Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals

May 6, 2005 - Categories: passion, plans

“Big, Hairy Audacious Goals” is a catchy and inspiring way to think
about things. If you don’t have this book yet, you might want to look
for it next time you’re in a well-stocked bookstore:

Built to Last – Successful Habits of Visionary Companies
Jerry Porras and James C. Collins, 1994.

Here are some links for more information:
Book review / executive summary

Big Hairy and Audacious Goals for Business! (interview)

“We found that visionary companies often set these incredibly challenging goals.”

Goal Setting with Big Hairy Audacious Goals (BHAGs)
A workshop outline—great idea for training

My BHAGs are:

  • Revolutionize computer science education by making it highly
    individualized and experiential.
  • Become a world-famous expert on creating systems for planning one’s
    life. Instead of pushing a particular methodology, I’d like to work
    with people’s current ways of planning, suggesting improvements and
    software/hardware to support their life.

What are yours?

昨日は、私のコンピューターが故障していたのです。 My computer was down yesterday.

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Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals

May 7, 2005 - Categories: blogging, passion, plans

My Big, Hairy Audacious Goals (BHAGs) are:

  • Revolutionize computer science education by making it highly individualized and experiential.
  • Become a world-famous expert on creating systems for planning one’s life. Instead of pushing a particular methodology, I’d like to work with people’s current ways of planning, suggesting improvements and software/hardware to support their life.

I’m at the 1st Philippine Blogging Summit right now with my BHAGs firmly in mind. It’s _amazing._

The first person I talked to was J. Angelo Racoma, an old friend from my BBSing days. After chatting about blogging, talk turned to what we’re both up to. He told me about his work at . I told him about my BHAGs.

It turned out that his wife is into tutoring, and one of the things they’re planning to do in the future is set up a tutoring portal to help students, parents and tutors find each other. Neato. That looks like a great fit for what I want to do. =)

As I explained my BHAG for teaching and training to him, I realized that one of the things I really, really, really care about is quality assurance for teachers and tutors. I firmly believe that it’s not just about technical knowledge, but it’s also about teaching and communication skills. I don’t think we’re paying enough attention to that, and I think that’s a compelling sales point.

I also got to meet Gabriel Narciso. He started by asking me if I was still into open source. Of course! He then asked me if there was a native version of for Mac OS X. I remember used to support the Mac, so I should be able to find one. =) Good deed! I told _him_ about my BHAGs too. It turned out that he used to work at Franklin-Covey (as in, _the_ Franklin Covey franchise in the Philippines!), and is now into executive coaching.


Let’s say that again. Wow!

_That’s_ why you should practice talking about your BHAGs until you can squeeze it into a small-talk conversation. Joey Gurango told us how wannabe entrepreneurs would give him two-inch-thick business proposals and expect him to have the time or interest in reading them. He said that’s entirely the wrong way to do that. You start with your 90-second elevator pitch. You get people interested. Then you go for your executive summary—the shorter, the better. You get people hooked. When you get them hooked, _then_ you hit them with the business proposal.

BHAGs work the same way. Refine them until you get a sound bite. Say it with confidence and passion. Get them hooked. Explain the rest over lunch another day!

May 8, 2012
It’s interesting to see how much has changed and how much has stayed the same. I’m no longer focusing on computer science education, although I’m delighted to see that self-teaching resources are becoming more popular. I’m still interested in productivity tools and systems. I care a lot about teaching and tutoring, and the need is even more concrete for me now because we’re seeing what J- and her friends struggle with. I have new goals around writing, drawing, and tracking. I still have to practise explaining them, though!

Structuring content

May 7, 2005 - Categories: blogging, emacs, writing

What do I write about that other people might find useful/interesting?

  • Emacs-related stuff
  • Personal information management and productivity
  • ShortStories and FlashFiction
  • Teaching reflections (haven’t been posting anything on this lately)

How do I currently organize things?

However, my wiki is not as organized and easy-to-read as it can be. It’s difficult for people to find Emacs-related code and posts, for example. There are a lot of posts all over the place. I need to make it easy for people to browse titles so that they can get an idea of the things I blog about as well as spot something possibly useful. Articles should also be linked to previous articles in the same topic.

The “Recent topics” thing in my sidebar is a good start. That way, people who visit my page instead of using an aggregator will be able to see a list of posts even if I skip days.

Hmmm… I wonder how I can improve the way things are organized, not only for people who read this on my site but also for people who aggregate things…

May 8, 2012

I think a lot about how I can organize the information in my blog so that I can find things again and so that other people can make sense of my brain. My latest attempt is to manually maintain a topical index of my blog posts. WordPress plugins also help people discover old blog posts.

The links here are no longer useful because I’ve stopped using Planner to organize my notes. I’ve moved my Planner notes into WordPress, though, so you can browse through the categories and subscribe to them at

How I use my Hipster PDA

May 8, 2005 - Categories: emacs, organizer, planning, productivity

After all my experiments with wearable computing
using a one-handed chording keyboard and a speech synthesizer,
I’ve found that the most portable device for me is still a 3×5 pack of index cards bound with a fold-back clip.
Jokingly dubbed the “Hipster PDA” elsewhere on the Net, this low-tech device is surprisingly flexible and easy to use.
I use mine to keep track of tasks and random notes for later entry into my online planner.

My Hipster PDA is composed of:

  • a colored index card with my contact information
  • my inbox: cards with notes on them that haven’t been entered into the computer
  • two pages of month templates from a 3×5 day planner
  • a year calendar for 2005 and 2006
  • my archive: index cards that have already been entered but might still be useful
  • a colored index card with yellow sticky notes
  • a stack of blank index cards
  • a fold-back clip holding all of these things together
  • a black signpen or a mechanical pencil tucked into the fold-back clip

One of the things I’ve found much easier to do with my 3×5 pack of
cards than with a PDA or a Franklin-Covey planner is to keep track of
get-togethers. When my friends and I schedule our next get-together, I
lay the month templates out so that I can see the next 30 days at a
glance. This is difficult to do with a PDA because PDA screens are
small. A Franklin-Covey planner would probably be more organized, but
I like being able to lay things out side-by-side instead of flipping
through pages.

When I need to jot something down, I flip the deck and write on the
last card. After I finish one side of the card, I turn it over, clip
it, and write on the other side. When the whole card is full, I move
it into my inbox.

Index cards are handy because it’s easy to give information away to
other people. Paper gets crumpled and business cards can disappear
into the chaos of a purse or a bag. An index card is big and bright.
I’m thinking of replacing half of my white cards with brightly-colored
cards so that people can easily find information I give them.

I’m planning to do other things with my pack of 3×5 index cards. For
example, I can write my projects on the cards. Reviewing these cards
will reinforce these goals in my mind and remind me to keep making

Index cards totally rock.

新しいコンピューターは旧型よりも10倍速い。 The new computer is ten times as fast as the old one.

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Profiling Your Customer

May 9, 2005 - Categories: business

People are often thrilled by the fact that I try to keep track of
their interests and inclinations. I avidly file away tidbits I learn
while listening to them talk, but I’m not yet used to asking people
for more details or engaging in small talk. I’m starting to think that
there’s more to small talk than just passing time, though. I guess
asking about all of these things makes good business sense.

Patrick G. of replied to my post on keeping in touch with people
with this excellent tip:

re: your post on keeping track of people and their interests – did you ever hear of the “Mackay 66” ? A guy here in the US wrote a book about selling, and he requires his saleman to keep a “66” on each customer – 66 things you should know about them. See – at least 1 thru 57 is useful for friends too.

I wonder what other lists are out there…

彼はコンピュータに詳しい。 He is familiar with computer.

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Odd things

May 9, 2005 - Categories: japanese

On our way back from Infoweapons (and on the prowl for non-fried
places to eat), Paolo and I spotted a brightly-lit cafe with Japanese
characters sprayed on its windows. We stood there for a moment,
deciphering the inscription: 喫茶と軽食. Tea house and snacks. Coffee
and snacks. Something like that.

Then we saw the bookshelves overflowing with manga.


We went in and stared at the manga collection for a moment. I amused
myself by trying to translate the sign posted above the bookshelf. The
English caption mentioned Japanese people who want to converse with
Cebuanos. Being neither Japanese nor Cebuano, I wondered if they’d let
me come and practice Japanese anyway. A look at the clientele—old
Japanese businessmen, pretty Filipinas—and at the high prices posted,
and Paolo and I looked at each other and laughed. It might be like one
of those snack bars I saw in Shinjuku…

Hmm. Maybe we can have a cup of hot chocolate / coffee and read as
much as we want. Maybe Wednesday. Hehehe…

私は妹に新しいコンピューターを使わせてやった。 I let my sister use my new computer.

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May 9, 2005 - Categories: Uncategorized

Babe’s airing on HBO right now. It reminds me of this Windows 3.11
game about herding sheep. The strange thing is that I can’t quite
remember playing the game. I mean, I remember playing it, but I’m not
sure if I really remember playing it.

There goes my sanity, I guess… Does anyone else remember this game?

I miss Maxwell’s Demon, too. And Jezzball. Whee.

1987年10月のある朝、ステイブン・ホーキングは自分のコンピュータの前に座っていた。 One October morning in 1987, Stephen Hawking sat before his computer.

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Colored index cards

May 10, 2005 - Categories: emacs, organizer, planning, productivity

I love posting my productivity ideas because every time I do so, I get
comments suggesting even better ways to do things. Today’s tip comes
from Christopher Allan Webber, whose
colored index cards are leaps and bounds ahead of my deck of
plain white index cards. He has some cool ideas here!

He uses colored notecards to separate his notes into categories.

Yellow schedule & project cards
Red todo cards (or just stuff I should copy to planner-mode)
Blue idea cards
Green expenses (writing down stuff to copy to my ledger file later)

He also uses cards that are lined on just one side. On the lined side of schedule & project cards, he
writes down:


Mon 5/9 Lab
Wed 5/11 Critique of Assignment II & I (pics don’t have to be dry – must by Wednesday)
Mon 5/16 Field trip
. . Assignment #2 dry-mounted

On the back, he keeps a TODO list. When a task needs to be done
multiple times—for example, preparing a print of a picture—he adds
extra checkboxes before the task.

I think he writes down non-project-related TODOs and random notes on
red cards, which are easy to pick out in the pack. Right now, I jumble
them all together on white index cards. I’ll try keeping the front
half of the deck for tasks and the back half for notes.

Green cards help him keep track of his expenses. I keep receipts in
front of my index cards using the handy fold-back clip, although an
organized table view would be pretty cool.

I don’t know where he managed to find lined-on-one-side 3×5 colored
index cards. I guess bookstores in other countries are better stocked.
On the other hand, I found 3×5 organizer refills, so I’m not
absolutely deprived.

He was bemused by my mention of “two pages of month templates from a
3×5 day planner”. If you crack open a pack of 3×5 organizer refills,
you’ll get year, month, and day views. Normally a single month would
span two pages, but if you’re using a planner where month views
haven’t been labeled “January”, “February”—in short, blank ones—then
you can use one page to represent one month. If you don’t have
organizer refills handy, simply print the numbers 1 to 15 down one
side of an index card and 16 to 31 on the other. Leave space at the
top for the month name, and space beside the numbers for appointments.

He also had this interesting anecdote to relate about a friend’s way
of planning.

“Oh, I gave up keeping track of to do lists,” she sighed. “These days
I just write everything on my mirror with a dry-erase marker, so when
I groggily stumble into my bathroom in the morning I go, ‘OH SHIT! I

I should do that with a random Japanese quote of the day. I’ll write
it down the day before, then groggily try to read it in the morning.
Or I can scribble my Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals (superb teaching and
quality assurance for computer science education, and strategy
coaching for life planning (must find better way to summarize these
things!)) on my ceiling at home. Ooooh. My ceiling is low enough for
me to do that…

Check out Christopher Allan Webber’s website at . =)

I love swapping ideas with people, so feel free to send in more suggestions!

コンピューターは単なる計算機だと考えられている。 Computers are thought of as mere calculating machines.

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The Mapa Family Book of Virtues

May 11, 2005 - Categories: blogging

Commissioner Dondi Mapa shared a beautiful idea with us at the first
blogging summit last Saturday, 2005.05.07. The Mapa Family Book of
Virtues is a collection of anecdotes about the members of their
extended family, organized according to the people involved as well as
by the virtues the stories illustrated. Currently a private blog
updated by Dondi Mapa every so often, it has drawn comments and
contributions from close friends of the Mapas. Eventually it might
even be privately published as a book for the Mapa family and their

I’ve never seen it, but I think it’d be a wonderful idea. My family
has plenty of stories and it would be nice for other people to read
about things like my dad’s love affair with the Banaue Rice Terraces
and my mom’s forays into writing and pottery. I know _I_ would like to
read those stories.

Blogs don’t have to be temporal entries about, say, eating suman. They
can be timeless, insightful, meaningful entries, like letters we can
read through in the twilight of our lives to remember who and what we
were and appreciate even more what we’ve become.

コンピュータを物色して歩いたあげく、デイヴィドより200ドル安い値段で手に入れた。 I shopped around for my computer and ended up paying $200 less than David.

(Must make sure that these things survive until said twilight, then. ;) Am nowhere near it right now.)

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New productivity blog: To-Done

May 12, 2005 - Categories: productivity

I stumbled upon a cool new productivity blog: Keith started on May 4. Based on the
articles that are already up, I’d say To-Done is a blog well worth
watching. I mean, someone who’s into the Hipster PDA and GTD and other
things can’t be all that bad, eh? ;)

You might also want to subscribe to
43folders if you aren’t reading that
yet. Really nifty.

And if you’re having a hard time keeping on top of all of these blogs,
I highly recommend Bloglines! It’s an
RSS aggregator that makes it easy for you to subscribe to many sites
and view all of the new entries on one page.

I love reading people’s reflections on how they plan their day and how
they organize their information. Have any other blogs to recommend?

彼女はコンピューター・プログラマーではないのですか。 Isn’t she a computer programmer?

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Hipster PDA: GTD Tiddly Wiki

May 12, 2005 - Categories: emacs, organizer, productivity

Miguel Javier said:

GTD Tiddly Wiki is a GettingThingsDone adaptation of JeremyRuston’s
Open Source TiddlyWiki. The purpose of GTD Tiddly Wiki is to give
users a single repository for their GTD lists and support materials so
they can create/edit lists, and then print directly to 3×5 cards for
use with the HipsterPDA.

No kidding. I wonder what we should do to get Planner to support 3×5
index cards sanely…

E-Mail from Miguel Javier

彼女は娘にパソコンを買ってやった。 She got her daughter a personal computer.

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People with a passion…

May 14, 2005 - Categories: emacs, passion, planner

According to Kathy Sierra at Creating Passionate Users (another must-read blog), this is what passion looks like:


I want to make Planner users more than just “satisfied and happy.” I
want them to get an “I totally rock!” experience every time they start up
their Emacs, and I want them to do that every day. How can I help Planner users become even more passionate about planning and life?

Connect Our mailing list at [email protected] ( is our greatest resource. =) If you prefer to use Gmane (a mailing list->NNTP/blog gateway), check out . I plug it shamelessly in the tutorial so that newbies discover what a wonderful resource it is. I should cross-post interesting Planner-related entries to the mailing list for further discussion. I should also review the archives and help people find other people who plan the way they do.
Evangelize I love it when people find Planner so cool, they can’t wait to tell other people about it. =) Emacs is difficult to sell because it seems intimidatingly complex, but if I make the tutorials easier, Planner users will have an easier time getting their friends to understand why they really like Planner.
Spend $$ Although people don’t pay anything for Planner itself, they spend _time_ trying it out and learning how to do new things. I feel responsible to people for the time they put into it, and I want them to get as much value as possible.
Spend Time Thinking too much about planning leaves you with less time for doing things. With the Planner community regularly contributing fantastic ideas you can just copy into your planner config, you can constantly improve your planning without spending too much time tweaking the code.
Show off We get that kind of enriching discussion because we have a culture of showing off our improvements, even small ones. I love hearing stories about how people use Planner and how they fit it to their way of working.
Improve You can use Planner as a basic personal information manager, but because there’s so many features you can draw on and because you can tweak it as much as you want, Planner grows with you as you improve the way you plan.
Learn … and modifying Planner not only teaches you more about Lisp programming but also helps you reflect on how you plan!

Try out Planner today!

そのコンピューターは最新式だ。 The computer is up to date.

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Task management with Emacs: Text files

May 18, 2005 - Categories: emacs

With the wealth of code available for Emacs and the ease of
customization it provides, you’re certain to find a task management
tool that fits the way you think. Over the next few days, I’ll provide
a quick run-through of the methods I’ve tried out.

The simplest way to get started with Emacs for task management is to
keep your TODOs in a plain text file, like ~/TODO. You can keep this
text file in any format you want. To make it easier for you to see
what you need to do, you can keep active TODOs near the top and
completed tasks near the bottom.

If you load your TODO file every time you start up Emacs, then you’ll
be sure to check it every day. Put the following line in your ~/.emacs
to have it automatically loaded when you start:

(find-file "~/TODO")

You’ll also want to make it easy to open during an Emacs session. If
your TODO file is just a keyboard shortcut away, you’ll find it easier
to keep all of your reminders in the file. Here’s a snippet that shows
the TODO file in the current window.

(defun my/todo ()
 "Bring up the TODO file."
 (find-file "~/TODO")
 (goto-char (point-min)))

;; Now bind it to a convenient shortcut key
(global-set-key (kbd " ") 'my/todo)

Now you can hit F5 F5 to show your TODO. If you want your TODO file to
show up in another window, remove that and use this snippet instead:

(defun my/todo ()
 "Bring up the TODO file."
 (find-file-other-window "~/TODO")
 (goto-char (point-min)))

;; Now bind it to a convenient shortcut key
(global-set-key (kbd " ") 'my/todo)

If you want to be able to add stuff to your TODO without getting
distracted from your work, add this to your ~/.emacs:

(defun my/add-todo (task)
 "Add a line to the TODO file."
 (interactive "MTask: ")
 (with-current-buffer (find-file-noselect "~/TODO")
   (goto-char (point-min))
   (insert task "\n")
(global-set-key (kbd " t") 'my/add-todo)

See? Emacs is fun and easy to configure. You can store your tasks in a
plain text file and then add keyboard shortcuts to make your tasks
easier to manage.

There are many sophisticated task management packages for Emacs. I’ll
write about one of them tomorrow. In the meantime, if you want to find
out what task manager I _really_ like using, you can check out
PlannerMode! =)

何社製のコンピューターをお使いですか。 What make of computer do you use?

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May 19, 2005 - Categories: plans, productivity

(Yes, yes, I promised another article about an Emacs-based PIM, but I
wanted to write about this instead. I’ll write about PIMs eventually.)

What does it mean to be more productive? I love reading about
productivity tools and tips. I could spend hours just going through
the discussions at . However, all of this has
to translate into concrete benefits. How can I improve my productivity?
Improvements include:

  • Keeping better track of tasks
  • Keeping my goals firmly in mind
  • Making it easier for me to work on something than to procrastinate
  • Finding ways to see the big picture

Why do I want to be more productive? Well, I’ve got my Big, Hairy,
Audacious Goals:

  • Get people hooked on computing by offering highly individualized,
    experiential learning characterized not only by strong technical
    content but also excellent delivery.
  • Help people totally rock through personal information management. I
    want to listen to people describe how they plan and how they want to
    plan, and I want to help them figure out how to support those
    methods through software or whatever.

With my BHAGs firmly in mind and a critical approach to trying out new
tools, I’ve found that I can successfully resist the urge to migrate
everything to the whizzy new PIM app of the day. This is important;
otherwise I’d spend forever playing around with this stuff. I still
love finding out how other people are doing things, though! =)

今日この番組でハッカーの問題をクローズアップするんだって。 This
program is going to focus on computer hacking issues today.

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Not a gamer

May 26, 2005 - Categories: Uncategorized

We impulsively bought The Sims 2 at Data Blitz earlier. Now, I liked
the first Sims. I had so much fun killing off the poor hapless people.
<evil grin> The Sims 2 is a 3D extravaganza I would no doubt
much appreciate if I could actually get it to run at a decent rate
instead of the five-seconds-per-frame I’m currently getting.

I’m going to go back to playing Nethack now.

しかし、ほとんどの研究はエメットの理論がコンピュータ・グラヒィックに与えた影響については焦点を当てていない。 Most studies, however, have not focused on the influence Emmet’s theory had on the computer graphics.

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Flash fiction: DISTANCE (55 words)

May 28, 2005 - Categories: Uncategorized

Sacha Chua

The cellphone rang, a welcome interruption cutting through my dreams.
Woke up smiling and reached for the phone by my bed.

It lay still. No missed calls.

The night suffocated me with silence. Curled my fingers around the
phone—around his hand, 3000 miles away—and tried to sleep for the
third time that night.

コンピュータがこの会社に導入されつつあります。 Computers are being introduced into this company.

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Gah, need to organize

May 30, 2005 - Categories: Uncategorized

I really need to sort my things. I vaguely remember seeing my USB key
somewhere—must’ve been my room. I’ll start that later. First, I’ll
pack all the things I can donate or throw away…

パソコンのマニュアルを書ける人を探しています。 I am seeking a person who can write a personal computer manual.

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Office supplies shopaholic

May 30, 2005 - Categories: organizer, productivity

My name is Sacha Chua and I’m an office supplies shopaholic. I find it
nearly impossible to pass a bookstore without checking out the index
cards and notebooks in stock.

Today I bought two small plastic cases.

[Plastic cases]

A good size for scrapbook material: photos, receipts, tickets… No
more digging around in my bag for things to scrapbook!

(Hmm. Thinking about it now, I could have also survived with a
Ziplock(tm) packet.)

Okay. Maybe I can store art materials in it. Or cards. Yeah, it’s a
good size for stationery. That’s it.

(You know you have it bad when you think of reasons _after_ you buy
the thing…)

On my way out of the school supplies stand, I found my fingers
inexplicably rifling through the notebooks on display. I picked up a
Stradmore notebook composed of eight thin notebooks held together with
pins. Here’s the side view:

Side view of notebook

A light bulb went off in my head. This is perfect for journal-writing!
I can keep a journal along with my work notes (eliminating the need
for a separate album) and then simply re-file them. If I use a
mini-notebook for letters to Dominique, I can mail the whole
mini-notebook to him when I’m done.

I had a hard time deciding between a small notebook that could fit in
my purse and a medium-size notebook that gave me more room to write,
but I eventually decided on the medium-size notebook.


Because it had “girl” written all over it.



Of course, _after_ I bought it, I reasoned that larger mini-notebooks
would be more efficient to store and mail. (Right.)

家にはパソコンが5台あるが、内2台は役立っていない。 It is not useful though there are five personal computers in the house.

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