December 20, 2007

Dec 19: Waking up was hard, but things got better

December 20, 2007 - Categories: sketches

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Dec 19: Awesome

December 20, 2007 - Categories: sketches

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A great workday

December 20, 2007 - Categories: career, sketches, work

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Why I use Emacs to manage my tasks

December 20, 2007 - Categories: emacs, wickedcoolemacs

I’m writing a chapter on how to use Emacs to manage your tasks. I find it hard to explain why Emacs is so compelling.

I’ve tried all sorts of other task manager before. I used Lotus Organizer, Microsoft Outlook, and Lotus Notes. I’ve tried iPaqs and Palms. I’ve tried Tada List and Remember the Milk (which has an interesting Gmail plugin). I’ve seen people use Life Balance. Heck, I’ve even done the Hipster PDA, index cards, Moleskine hacks, and bits of paper (which I always ended up losing).

I keep coming back to my Emacs.

Day after day, year after year, it’s the only system I’d trust with my plans. (Yes, I trust Emacs with my life. Meep! I’ve really gone off the deep end, haven’t I?)

Why? I spent some time talking things through last night, trying to get to the bottom of the reason why Emacs works for me and why it might work for other people. (Well, I was talking to myself and using a voice recorder, as my significant other is a fan of the Other Editor.)

Why Emacs?

Hmm. Those last two things there are interesting, because they’re _so_ difficult to demonstrate when people are looking at my computer. Or when I’m writing a book, for that matter.

It’s not just about the freedom to customize it. Many programmers’
development environments are customizable. What’s great—no,
transformational—about task management in Emacs is that each
customization encourages you to explore even more. Here’s how that works:

I think what’s really amazing is that you get _used_ to this process.
You get a crazy idea, you build it in, you’re happy about the hack,
and you’re free to think of other crazy ideas. More than that, you
give your brain permission to think of crazy ideas, because you can
actually make it happen. And you get used to thinking about how you do
things, looking for ways to do things better. And you get used to
talking about things with other people who are also looking for ways
to do things better.

How do I make this process clearer for people? How do I show people
how amazing it is to consciously work on being more effective,
together with other geeks who are doing similar things?

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Random Emacs symbol: w3m-list-buffers – Function: Return a list of buffers in which emacs-w3m sessions are open.