Headlines for Tuesday:


Priorities - A: high, B: medium, C: low; Status - _: unfinished, X: finished, C: cancelled, P: pending, o: in progress, >: delegated. Covey quadrants - Q1 & Q3: urgent, Q1 & Q2: important
AX@1500-1700 Q1 Attend lecture in BA1230 from 2005.10.25 (mie1407f)
AX@2100 Lend GTD book to Sam
AXStudy for midterms
AXE-mail Mike Tsang
AXReply to Jessie
AXReply to Michael of Google re: technology evangelism
AXReply to Irine about personal development and grad school
AXWrite MyEvangelismResume
BC@1800-2000 Q2 Attend Toast IT at Metro Hall, 55 John St., 3rd floor - Toronto from 2005.10.25


1. Aha! moment -- 43 Emacsen -- feel free to steal this idea! =)

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Feel free to Make This Happen, or get in touch with me if you want to hack on this with a Ruby/Rails newbie. =)

You know how geeks do _really_ crazy things with their favorite applications? Like the way I practically live in Emacs? And the way some people practically live in Microsoft Excel? We use applications for _far_ more than they were originally imagined to do.

So let's help people think out of the box. Let's show them what geeks push their applications to do.

What would be ultracool?

Think of the way 43things lets you say you've either done something or you plan to do something. Add a software context and support screenshots. For example, you could add "Do mail" to your list of things, set "Emacs" as your software, and post a screenshot (optional) of Gnus (or even Rmail). Tick a little checkbox if you don't mind if people to ask you for help, and add a short note about your experience if you want... Oooh, and throw tagging in there somewhere.

Why is this ubercool?

- You see what other people do with a certain application. (And you

will begin to appreciate the insane flexibility of the Emacs text editor!)

- You see how other people do something, and maybe even how popular

something is.

- You see what friends and similar people use. =)

I want this. I think it would totally rock. I'm crazier about it than the Eclipse snippets project my research supervisor wants me to consider. I think we might get all sorts of useful data about geek program usage, if we can get people to do this. For example, I'd _love_ to find out what other crazy geek things people who have similar usage patterns for Emacs might be doing, or what other applications they're crazy about... For example, I'm crazy about Mozilla Firefox--but I know people out there are doing even cooler things with it!

Steal this idea. Run with it. Make it happen. If I can use it for free and I can copy my data easily, I'll be one of your first users and evangelists! =)

Tracing the thoughtpath for fun: how did I get to thinking about that?

  1. Well, I was thinking about Google and how I want to be an evangelist more than I want to be an engineer.
  2. Then I thought about evangelism and what I usually get excited about.
  3. Which naturally made me think about Emacs.
  4. So I thought about all the crazy stuff you can do with Emacs.
  5. And then I thought about Danny O' Brien's lifehacks talk and how power users do crazy things with applications.
  6. Which made me wonder what other people are doing with Emacs.
  7. Which made me want to start a blog (or revive emacstidbits).
  8. ... but then I wanted to see _other_ people's stories...
  9. ... and although some stories are on http://www.emacswiki.org , they're still buried in technical information...
  10. ... so wouldn't it be cool if we could bring those stories out and make them

    easy to capture and browse?

  11. Which made me think of other services that did that, like 43things.
  12. Which gave me that aha! moment!

N degrees of Sacha Chua's mind. Emacs is my Kevin Bacon. ;)

2. Rosa Parks and software freedom

Categories: None -- Permalink
Apartheid. Making people second-class citizens by law. Terrible practice. I'm glad that Rosa Parks stood up (or sat down) for herself when she did, and I join the world in celebrating her life today.

What a fine and wonderful world we live in now, particularly in the egalitarian wonder of the Internet, where age, race, gender and creed are invisible...

... and where countless people are also invisible, also unheard.

The digital divide grows ever wider. As companies raise prices, crack down on copyright violations, and festoon their code with legal protections, people are left further and further behind.

That's why I care so much about software freedom.

Most people see two parties involved in software piracy. There's them, and there's the company. The company doesn't generally lose much from piracy, and may have even factored that into their marketing strategy. The people who pirate software focus on what _they_ gain: powerful software available _now._

But I see a whole web of relationships. I see potential alternatives languishing because people don't bother to try out something else. I see startups and small businesses struggling with high software costs. I see schools torn between the reluctance to raise tuition and the need to prepare their students for the real world.

And I see people being locked out of this world. They are second-class citizens by law and custom. They don't have dollars for software or the inclination or ability to modify it.

They do not sit at the back of the bus. They are outside the glass windows, looking in.