Emacs? Damn Good.

3 01 2009

Okay, computers are no damn good, and leave bugs, undocumented features, and Things That Just Don’t WorkTM all over the place.  But I have resolved something: Emacs Is The AnswerTM to all my computer usability problems.  I know Emacs ain’t for everyone, but I fell back into it ten years ago after having used it in college; it was like falling out of bed; just so natural and productive.  So I am going to stop resisting and commit.  That means I’m going to:

  1. finally learn elisp well enough to be more than a fairly competent hooker-and-extender.  I don’t love Lisp (too syntactically uniform—give me Python please), but again, time to stop resisting.  I’m going through the info pages one by one.
  2. also go through the general Emacs info pages to discover the productivity gains I’ve missed.  I just discovered there’s a mode for interacting with LDAP servers, and Gnus has a special mail searching tool that even works on IMAP.
  3. stop hoping that Thunderbird or some other mail client will finally solve my biggest email usability challenge.  With all its quirks and impenetrability, Gnus is still the best tool out there for me, and its integration with other parts of emacs (planner, org, remember, etc.) can’t be beat.  Whether or not I can learn enough make it perfect remains to be seen, but no more complaining.
  4. finish organizing my .emacs with lots of autoloads so I can start it up in under a second.  I start emacs about ten times a day and that will make a big difference.
  5. get my GTD system set up using planner and/or org mode.  I’ve taken a shot at that in the past but have never got comfortable enough with any of it to remember the keybindings and feel like it was useful.  But I know it can be.  There are even hooks for Google Calendar (more on this later).
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