Braindump from interview with Lio Novelli and Jurij Podgorsek: Emacs, focused time

| emacs

Lio Novelli and Jurij Podgorsek of interviewed me for their monthly radio show about free software and culture. The episode will be posted at after it goes live on the radio in Slovenia next Tuesday (26th of December at 21.00 CET).

After the interview, I used Whisper to process the recording of my side, corrected a few misrecognized words, and sent them captions. I figured it might be nice to turn that into a slightly more coherent blog post too (edited a little for clarity and flow) so that people can find out more if they want. There might be some interesting things here about focused time that we can explore further. So here's the braindump!

Interviewing setup

We met using Jitsi, a free web-conferencing system. I suggested using crdt.el to work together on notes in Emacs. Lio started up a CRDT session and I connected to it, copying over the outline I'd braindumped the night before in response to the questions they had sent. My live speech recognition setup adds words to the end of whichever buffer is specified by my-live-speech-buffer. I set it up to point to our CRDT session so that we could have live transcripts if anyone felt like referring to them.

I shared my screen with the mindmap from my Supernote on one side and the Emacs window with Org Mode notes and live captions on the other.

Figure 1: Mindmap and live speech

Lio was curious about my setup, so he asked about it. I said:

Well, so I figured I tend to jump around a lot when I'm thinking out loud. So we have a kind of a mind map. … There, I can write quick notes. And theoretically that should show up eventually, if this is shared. At least it gives us kind of an overview. The live speech thing is something I've just hacked in yesterday, and it will maybe give you some time to look back and say, oh yeah, you know, this is what we're talking about, if you want to go back to something or if you want to use that for your show notes later on or whatever else. … So yeah, speech recognition with streaming input and maybe this drawing thing, who knows, in case that's useful for diagrams or taking notes.

Also from a bit later:

This thing that I'm experimenting with that dumps my speech recognition output into the text file might be interesting, too, especially if I can figure out the pulseaudio wiring to get the combined audio into it, then you can have live transcripts, who knows?


I don't have a neat introduction. I said,

We usually figure that out in the context of conversation. I think most people would be interested in the Emacs News part and the EmacsConf organizing and then all the other stuff. It's just stuff that I'm interested in, right?

So if you need a bit of context, I am 40 years old. I have been writing about and thinking about Emacs for more than 20 years. I maintain a newsletter (it goes out weekly) just collecting lots of different Emacs news. I help organize EmacsConf, which is… two days of people talking about a text editor. It's surprising what crazy things people have come up with. It's amazing.

Most of my time is spent parenting. I'm a full-time caregiver for my seven-year-old daughter. She's great. I think she might end up picking Vim. It's just one of those things that kids do, right? We'll see.

I also like drawing sketch notes because this is a quick way for me to take notes on bigger things or untangle my thoughts.

If there's anything else we need to add to the intro, I guess we'll add that at the end once we figure out what it is we want to talk about.

How I got started

Well, I've always loved tinkering with programs, even when I was a kid. When I was in high school, I ended up joining lots of programming competitions, and it was only natural that I go into computer science for university. It was a lot of fun. But I was looking for something more challenging than the kinds of projects that we were doing in class. I came across a book in our university library called Unix Power Tools, and it had a chapter on Emacs. And I was intrigued by the idea that this text editor… You know, fine, there's a chapter telling you how to use it–and it also tells you how to play Tetris in it! That's really interesting.

So I started playing around with Emacs. I really loved how it let you tweak your tools and then build something that fits the way that you work. So with Emacs, I got into using Planner Mode to organize my notes. I was a student, so I had to take a lot of notes in class, and I also wanted to take notes on how I was learning Emacs.

People were just starting to talk about web logs or blogs at the time. I heard about the Really Simple Syndication (RSS) format, and I said, okay, what if we add that to Planner Mode? So I added RSS support to it and started my blog in about 2001. That's how it all came together. It's computer science and Emacs and blogging kind of all mixed into one thing.


They were curious about gender disparity when I went to university.

Well, it was kind of strange because I've always been a geek. I went to an all-girls school in grade school, so I was just used to doing my thing. And then in high school, I'd already been interested in computers. And when I went to the programming competitions, there weren't as many girls there. Sometimes it was great, because that meant if we were traveling for a competition, I'd get the hotel room all to myself while all the guys were piled up in the other room. In university, I don't even remember the gender ratio because I guess I was just in the computer lab all the time. I just kept having fun with it. Nobody really told me, oh, that's a guy thing, whatever. Because by then, I was having so much fun coding that nobody tried to do the– we sometimes run into those situations with competitive geekiness, but I was already doing the competitions, so…


Blogging is actually also really tied into that. I was using my blog as a way to take notes on the things that I was learning, both in school and about Emacs. This is how I started to get to meet other people in the community.

I liked Planner Mode so much. I was modifying it to add these little things like RSS support. I emailed John Wiegley who had written it, and I said, hey, can I help out with any feature requests or tracking down bugs, reproducing them or whatever, because I was looking for some way to help out. He said, would you like to maintain it? So I ended up maintaining this piece of software. I was still in university. I was talking to all these people around the world who were using Emacs to build their own workflows for managing information. It was great. They were very forgiving whenever I messed up. That was much appreciated.

It showed me how people can really customize things and what that was like. I wanted to study this for my master's research, so University of Toronto gave me a scholarship. I came to Canada. I ended up actually doing my research somewhere else because the researcher I had wanted to work with moved to a different university. But I've always been fascinated by the kinds of tools that people build for themselves.

Recommending Emacs

Going to your question about whether I would recommend Emacs to people, I think that is one of the amazing things about Emacs. I would love it if more people explored that, because you can use it to build something that works the way that your mind works. In a lot of other programs… Actually hardly anything else gives you that same customizability. And that, I think, is one of the key features of it.

Emacs News

I started that one in 2015 following an idea from John Wiegley. He was maintaining Emacs at the time. He said hey, would you be interested in putting together a list of Emacs-related links? I love reading about the different ways that people configure Emacs. I also speed-read, which is a habit I picked up from reading through lots of books in bookstores as a kid. We didn't have public libraries in the Philippines. So I can speed-read a whole lot of stuff. I can take advantage of the fact that people have written blog posts or posted links on Reddit or shared their videos, and just do all the reading, put them into rough categories and take out the duplicates. Okay, this person is talking about the same thing as that person. Just put that all together, and put that out as a newsletter. I've since then written a lot of code to support this: things like "take a look at the posts that I've upvoted on Reddit" so that I can just grab that list. Get a list of the new packages. There's a lot of code to support that. What it comes down to is that this now actually just takes me maybe 1 to 2 hours a week to do, which means I can keep doing it, even when I'm busy with life. 5 minutes here, 10 minutes there, upvoting lots of posts when I have a spare moment. It's something that lets me always appreciate how amazing and varied the uses of Emacs in the community are.

Parenting and free/open source

Parenting doesn't give me a lot of focused time, so I don't do a lot of code or maintenance. I just write little bits of code for my configuration whenever I need to hack something. I don't make these beautiful polished packages like other people in the community do. It's fantastic. I just take advantage of their work. I like tinkering around with crazy ideas.

Connecting people with Emacs News and EmacsConf

I also like boosting the signal, helping interesting people and projects connect with each other. Emacs News is part of that, and EmacsConf is also part of that. So in 2013, Aleksandar Simic said, hey, would people like to get together for an Emacs conference in London? That sounded fantastic, so I came and helped out. And then there were a bunch of other in-person conferences that I didn't get to travel to. But in 2019, Amin Bandali said, we haven't had an Emacs conference in a while. Can we do one again? We did it as a virtual conference. And since then, I've just kept helping with that. Because like Emacs News, it brings together interesting things in one place.

Oh, I should check the closing remarks for EmacsConf 2023, since we talked a bit about history and I think I might've conflated my business trip to London with the other time I went to London to go to EmacsConf 2013. Fuzzy brain! As mentioned, Aleksandar Simic deserves the credit for getting EmacsConf 2013 together, and Amin Bandali for getting the ball rolling with EmacsConf 2019. =) I definitely tend to avoid taking responsibility for leading things. I like playing a supporting role more.


They shared how they've been running a tiny Emacs meetup in Slovenia.

I think if you're getting 5 people together already, even on a semi-regular basis, that's already fantastic because there are a lot of places where people feel very isolated as Emacs users. So it's great to… You've met other people in person! I find that a lot of people have really appreciated going to virtual meetups as well. So that's been great. I particularly like it when people share their notes from the meetings. Austin Texas, there's a person who goes to the meetings there and writes lovely notes. Ihor's been posting notes from OrgMeetup. The notes let other people who are outside the meeting come across it and learn from it. Maybe they want to attend someday. Or you can even go to the extent of posting videos from from the meetups like the way Emacs New York used to do. These are just great ways to keep building on what you're sharing so that other people can bump into it later on.


Last year [2022] was our first experiment with two tracks, and it happened because we got so many talks that we couldn't fit in one track anymore without really, really squeezing the Q&A. So we said, okay, 2 tracks. And we–sorry, so 2022, right? So the other organizers were on board. We did all the work to get it onto two tracks. They hosted it, and it was fantastic. This year, we basically filled the two tracks to the brim. I think we might have to go to three tracks next year if I want to squeeze in even more talks. We'll just have to see if more people can volunteer for hosting or captions or other ways to help make it happen. Because it's just… The community keeps growing and growing. There are all sorts of interesting things that people are sharing. So that's my thing. Let's figure out how to do it. Oh, the other thing that I want to do for next year is I want to see if we can encourage more people for other events, like the way that you got together. The people in Switzerland told us about their event, so we got to put a link to it. You could tell us about yours too, and then we can tell people, hey, if you want to see other people and watch and make it a more social experience, you can do that. It would be great someday to also find ways to have it in other time zones. Because now that we've figured out how to mostly not be limited by when I'm awake, then we can have more places.

I think we look at about maybe 200 people, which is amazing to see. Imagine a 200-person party where people are talking about Emacs. It's a small conference, is the way things go, but it's a wonderful community.

It's actually not that much work these days because we've done a lot of the automation and the documentation. So this year we figured out how to make it so that I can do most of the heavy lifting leading up to the conference and afterwards. People can just show up on the day of the conference and help out with the hosting. Or they can, whenever they have a spare moment in the weeks before the conference, pick their favorite talk (because they have backstage access to all the talks), they can pick their favorite talk and just do a little bit of editing on the captions to make them easier to understand. Definitely if people want to help out with captions or hosting… Hosting is really just: you're there, you're keeping the speaker company, you're reading the questions from the Etherpad so that maybe they're sharing the screen, they can't see the Etherpad at the same time, they're talking to you, right? It's pretty easy to do. So yes, send us an email at emacsconf-discuss, or actually -org, it's, and we'll find something that fits what you want to do and what you want to learn.

Community growth

I think everyone's doing a great job working on the little pieces that interest them. Podcasts like yours are a great way to not only share the stories within the community, but to reach out to other communities as well and learn from them or share what we're learning with them. I think part of that reaching out to other communities… If you've got a cool idea, you can demonstrate it and you're demonstrating it not just to Emacs fans, but also people who are interested in that particular programming language or this setup, or things that are not programming whatsoever. I love referring to those examples of people using Emacs in law or Emacs in teaching or Emacs for knitting or Emacs for running a bakery, things like that, right? Just bringing it into all these different aspects of our lives.

(Oh, it might not actually be a sourdough bakery as originally mentioned, but that's cool too.)


I track a lot of things because when I'm living day by day, it's hard to see patterns. I've tracked my finances ever since I came to Canada because I wanted to make sure that I could make decisions, I could afford things. It's actually been very helpful in telling me that yes I can spend money on this because it won't put… Because there's space for it. I started tracking my time actually a little bit earlier than 2012, but 2012 is when I built my own system for tracking time, partly because of this idea of experimenting with semi-retirement.

Planning ahead for parenting

We thought parenting might be interesting. We wanted to learn a lot from it. Everybody knows parents don't have a lot of time. I wanted to see, before we got on this whole parenting journey, what I would do if I had no time constraints. What would I end up spending my time on? What could I make? What could I share?

I built this tracking system so that I could see where my time was actually going. And fortunately, I built it early enough that I could actually capture some time also from my work at IBM, so I could see what my balance was in terms of business or sleep or whatever. Then as I shifted into semi-retirement and started looking for what I wanted to spend my time on, then I could say, okay, I'm actually spending my time on this, or how much sleep I was getting, and so forth.

Part of the reason for that semi-retirement was to prepare for parenting. I wanted to get a sense of all the things that I wanted to do, and partly also to figure out a flexible way to keep learning and maybe keep earning as well, because I could see around me that people who are trying to balance work and life often really struggle with that. Things were pretty stressful.

If I could find something that would fit better with parenting or whatever else we would ultimately get into, then that would make it easier for me later on.

One of those things turned out to be coding. I found a consulting client. Tracking my time was important because I billed them for the time that I spent on their projects.

Part of that also turned out to be drawing, because I can fit little drawings here and there, and use those notes to go back to ideas or to untangle my thoughts.


That time helped me see that, yes, there is enough time for important things, even when in 2016 my daughter was born. Of course my sleep went way down, and my discretionary time and my focused time things all went way down, and child care became my biggest category. But there was still time to do things like Emacs News, which I had been doing for a year at that point, and there was still time to tinker around with stuff, and there was still a little bit of time here and there to do some consulting. The time tracking helps me say, oh yeah, I did actually use the day or the week or the month or the year for things that mattered to me.

In addition to that, I also have a journal, so I get the things that are not quantitative. I can go back and say, this was the day that we did this, or remember that memory? These are the things that helped me get a sense of what happened. What did I do?

Learn, share, scale

I like learning. It's fun. It tickles my brain. If I learn but I just keep it to myself, then I'm forgetful enough that I have to keep relearning things, which is annoying.

If I share those notes– if I take notes as I go along in a literate programming style, and if I share those notes, then first, I can find those notes again when I want to relearn things or solve the same problem or a similar problem; and second, if I share them with other people, then other people can learn from those notes even when I'm sleeping.

This is a part of scaling up: making something pay off more from the little bit of work that you put into it. There are ways to keep looking for ways just tweak that a little bit more so that it's easier for other people to find and learn from those notes. I wanted to see if I could just make it easier for me to have fun learning things, capture those notes, and share them with other people in a way that just lets us keep building and building on top of it.

Diversity and focused time

Okay, so other people have thought a lot about diversity in software development or FLOSS communities or whatever. Over the last while, I haven't had the time to dig into it. All I can offer is my data point, what my experiences have been. It's really strange because for the last 7 years, I've been focused on parenting. I've actually been spending most of my time in these majority-female spaces, like early years centers, libraries, homeschooling groups, and whatever. It feels certainly very different from the tech conferences I used to go to where I'd be maybe one of two or three women, or the only woman in the room. And so it's… I'm not even in that space anymore. Even when I worked in IT, I tend to work in corporate environments where there were lots of women on the team. So I don't have as much to say in terms of STEM or FLOSS (free and libre open source software) communities.

But I do want to think about this challenge of free time– of focused time, right? Because it's not just free time as in, oh, I can crash on the couch and watch things, but it's time that I can spend thinking about software or solving a problem or learning something complicated. One of the challenges that I've had to face over the last seven years is that my time has gotten so fragmented by interruptions, by someone going, "Mom, Mom, Mom." In fact, this is one of the few… I'm slowly starting to be able to schedule things again, like this one, and only because I've told you in advance, when the kiddo wakes up, we're just going to have to pick up from there.

Focused time is a challenge for more people

Yes, there are a lot of reasons why this disproportionately affects women and there are so many systemic problems that it's so easy to get discouraged by things that you ultimately have very little effect on.

But what I really want to focus on is this challenge of focused time, because I think it actually applies to a lot more people. I mean, yes, sure, I'm taking care of the kiddo and that's something that still tends to be, you know, majority-female sort of work. I totally signed up for it. I knew what I was getting into, and as you can tell from my semi-retirement experiment, I planned ahead to see what I would do with the time so I know that even as I'm raising a kiddo, it's not a lack of time that's stopping me from writing a book, because even when I had all the time in the world, I didn't write the book anyway.

So it's not about a lack of time for me now. It's more about making use of the really small fragments of time that I do have. I think that's something that a lot of people can think of and learn from and start to build systems for, because we might all face those challenges. You know, anybody can get sick. Anybody can, you know, anybody can can get hit by RSI or some other sickness–sorry, repetitive stress injury, which is an occupational hazard in our line of work. But also anybody can… If we're lucky, everybody gets old. Some people don't get old, right? But that's because they die. So if we're lucky, we get old, and then we have to deal with less energy, or we have to deal with more things that we have to take care of. It really makes sense to start thinking about how you can make the most of those fragments of time.

My challenges: interruptions and forgetting; small steps

Every person's workflow is different, right? For me, it's interruptions and forgetting, but I can deal with that by working in very small steps. For example, if I have 15 minutes, then maybe I can write a very small Emacs Lisp function to make 1 little piece of my workflow easier, so that the next time I come, I can build on top of that. And if you're working on these tiny steps, then you can make progress without getting very annoyed when you get interrupted by life.

  • Priorities: If you have your priorities sort of clear, if you can think which things can I put a little bit of effort into that will save me time later on, then that gives you something else for building up to be able to make most of that time.
  • Hitting the ground running: If you organize your work so that your notes are there, you can remember what you did last time, then when you have those moments, you can hit the ground running. Then you're not trying to remember: Where did I put things? What was I doing? You can just get going and then make that other next tiny step.
  • Tools: If you can figure out how to use your tools, then they can save you again time and thinking. Like, for example, I was always having problems with putting accidental typos in my source code. So now I have a validator that checks things before I paste them into a production environment. There are things that the technology can solve, so investing in learning your tools helps a lot.
  • Reinvesting, compounding growth: That's just an example of how you can take those little fragments of time and you can reinvest them into being able to make better use of those fragments of time, so that the growth compounds. You get better and better at using those little fragments.

Early parenting is a pretty good stress-test for systems

The kiddo is growing. Eventually she'll be more independent. So I'm only now starting to recover enough time to do bigger and bigger things, or maybe the investments in my system are starting to pay off. It's been a really good stress test. I'm sure that these ideas and these techniques that I've been developing experience with will be really handy later on. So if I can't use my hands or I don't want to use them for long periods of time or I need to be doing other things, then I have these processes that I can go back to. I think this is something that would be useful for everybody because even if you're not taking care of a kiddo, there's stuff happening. As I mentioned, you might get sick, you might get into an accident, you might have to deal with other responsibilities, and it would be great to still be able to keep learning and to keep growing.


If you share, then you're not only making those notes easier for you to get to, but you're also making it easier for other people to make the most of their little bits of time. And maybe they will share their stuff and you know, and then you can build on their stuff too.


It's also… It's a good way to turn a tedious task into something fun. I do a lot of automation partly because it is fun. And especially in Emacs, you get so tempted to do everything. Like, okay, now I can use Spookfox to talk to my Firefox browser from Emacs, so I can write my automations with that. And if I can't do it with Spookfox, I can do it with like xdotool and do mouse clicks and whatever. So it just keeps building up.

Different kinds of participation

I did actually… I thought of something that kind of builds on the previous point, because you did have a question here on how my participation in free software has changed since I became a mother. And I think it's basically how did my participation change once I started having very little time? A lot of people think in order to contribute to free software, you've got to be able to sit down and do code, which is very intimidating and also very difficult for me to do in 5 minute segments before the kiddo has… when I'm waiting for the kiddo to be done with the bathroom or get ready to do something.

If you can find something that plays to your strengths, then it works out so much better. I mentioned how with Emacs News, it works with the fact that I like to speed read and just go through everything very quickly and organize it. So that's a way for me to contribute that plays to my strength and fits into the time constraints that I have.

Other people can do something similar, whether it's, you know, look for something that it makes sense to explain… You can't get a sense of some workflows if you're just looking at the code, so if you share a quick tip on how you use something, that's very useful to other people. They'll say, oh, so that's how it's meant to be used. And it could be… It doesn't have to be a blog post. It could be a toot or a tweet. It could be a short video or whatever else. There are all these little things that people can do that build up and that help you as well.

Learning and user experience

I think that's one of the reasons why I'm so lucky that I got into Emacs back when I had a lot of free time to sink into learning it, because now it's easy for me to find things that are similar to what I want to tweak. And I don't have to necessarily have everything polished, because I can just rummage in the source code and get the things that I want. But if I were starting from scratch, even just having the time to think about it and learn the keyboard shortcuts or learn how to read the code for it, might be a little hard to squeeze into 5 minutes here, 15 minutes there. In that case, it would have had to wait until I had something that really, really needed solving with that particular thing to give me the reason to spend that time on it. I guess as we show people the benefits of learning something and we make that learning easier for them, then we might see more and more people using their fragments of time for learning and growing.

Podcasts and speed

I haven't listened to podcasts in so long because usually I get very impatient. So I try to just listen to everything at 2x speed because I still feel like I'm trying to squeeze everything into the aforementioned fragments of time. Now, however, we've started being able to trade off walks. So after dinner, I can go for a walk. And then when I get back, my husband can go for a walk or something like that. That's a time to not only listen to things, but also maybe even do some brain dumping. As you can tell, I speak really quickly. So if I can record all those notes, I can turn them into text later. It's great that speech recognition gives us these tools for doing so, and even a way to translate from other languages so I can learn from podcasts that I couldn't otherwise just listen to and understand. I'm slowly starting to appreciate that. I still have no patience for videos. The only reason I can learn things from EmacsConf videos and other things these days is because I can get transcripts of them and then just read through all of that quickly.

Also a bit later:

I guess it's a habit that I picked up from, well… I've always talked very quickly, but I like listening to things very quickly too. I started with Emacspeak because I was… So in university, my laptop screen died, but I still wanted to keep using it. So I used Emacsspeak to just listen to everything. I had that on at 300 words per minute or something like that. It was actually very usable and quite an interesting experience. I ended up turning that into my senior project, just making an extra interface on top of that. But yeah, it's amazing what you get used to when you're just listening to everything at twice the speed because you're trying to fit it in.

Speech recognition, braindumping

#+begin_notes I used Whisper to transcribe some of your previous podcasts. It actually does the Slovenian-English translation too, which is very cool. #+end_quote


I mentioned that I'm starting to be able to have more walking time or when I'm on my bicycle, then sometimes nobody's talking to me. I can have a recorder. I got a lapel mic so that I can keep my phone away in my pocket and not drop it, which would be nice. I mean, not nice if I drop my phone. But anyway, I have a lapel mic, and I can record.

Then I can use either the very rough transcripts that Google Recorder produces, or I can send it through Whisper or some other thing to get a better transcript.

I can use keywords like "begin section" whatever whatever "stop section", and then it I have some code that pulls out those keywords and creates Org headings automatically. It links to the captions. I can jump to the audio for that specific part of the recording.

I've been using this to get more things out of my head and into text. I've only just started experimenting with it in the last week or two.

It's just interesting to see what kind of workflows you can come up with, because all the pieces are there in Emacs, right? So there's a way to have a caption file with text and timestamps, and that's associated with a media file, whether audio or video. That part's built.

Then there are speech recognition APIs that I can call because I don't have enough processing power on my actual computer to do this. I don't have the brain space to upgrade and it feels kind of wrong to upgrade to a powerful computer that will sit on the kitchen counter 99% of the time, because I still only have bits of time, so I'm gonna just call a Software as a Service thing for it and figure out how to make that better in the future. That's another piece.

You can stick those pieces together and get them to talk to Org Mode, which is a third piece.

And then you can have this thing where you might be able to send it to llm.el or one of the ChatGPT interfaces and say, okay, give me an outline of this thing that I just braindumped.

There are all these different pieces that Emacs lets you put together.

I have a TODO to document this setup. It seems pretty promising.

Words per minute

This thing is telling me I'm speaking at 200 words a minute. I'm so, so, so sorry. I'll work on slowing down.

Also a bit later:

Then it can also, as mentioned, tell me things like, Yes, Sacha, you are talking too quickly. This one is saying 216 words per minute. I'm so sorry, again. You can make me slower in post-processing, right? Ha ha ha. Maybe we'll include a transcript. I can send this through my transcribing process and fill in any extra words for your listeners who might catch like one word in ten because then at least they have something that they can read at their leisure. And it'll be slower too. I mean, it'll be searchable. I'm so sorry.

And again:

If you need me to rerecord something but slower, you could always tell me, and then I can try to just rerecord it but like at 160 words per minute. It's really hard for me to do 160 words per minute! I tried doing that before for EmacsConf and I'm like, okay, let's just slow down, and then I still ended up with 192. So just tell me and I can…

Wrapping up, thoughts on the process

So that's the braindump from the interview! We talked for about an hour while the kiddo was asleep. This is promising. I might be able to start scheduling things again as long as people are okay with uncertainty, since the kiddo doesn't usually wake up until 9:30 or so.

Lio e-mailed me questions the day before the interview, so I had a chance to do an audio braindump while walking around and a mindmap while I waited for the kiddo to be ready to go to bed. I often referred to the outlines that I added to their Org Mode headings. I didn't use the mindmap as much, but I think it was still handy to show how things were related to each other.

When I was answering questions, I didn't check on the live speech output. If I modify the code to iterate over all the windows that display the live speech buffer instead of assuming it's only in one window, then I can have one window keep auto-scrolling to the bottom of the live speech input while I have another window looking at the outline for the message. (Oooh, it might be nice to be able to use Avy to select a set of lines to plop into the current location in another window.) I didn't feel like I needed to set up headings in the output since we already had Org headings from previous lines. I also didn't draw additional notes on the mindmap. Going at 200wpm probably maxes out my mental bandwidth and it's hard to do other things that involve words.

Even though I had the words-per-minute counter, I still found myself talking really quickly. I think it'll be a while before I can settle down enough not to, if at all. Maybe captions and blog posts will have to be the way I can make things easier for people who prefer not to have really fast audio. That's fine. Total count is about 6637 words on my side. Once I trimmed most of the big silences between questions, it was about 175 wpm overall, just bursty. (Hmm, maybe it might be interesting to see when my WPM spikes…)

Editing the captions with Whisper was straightforward and I can turn it into a rough blog post pretty easily.

Pretty fun. I could start looking through my mailbox to see if I want to revisit any other podcast invitations, or maybe use some of these ideas in solo braindumps to see if I can get more stuff into posts or videos.

You can comment with Disqus or you can e-mail me at