Re: Manual suggestion and experience report from a new user (citation processors, 9.5)

2021-10-13 Thread Peter Neilson
On Wed, 13 Oct 2021 11:33:16 -0400, Leszek Wroński   


I've been using Emacs for about 20 years, but I'm only now starting to
seriously explore the Org-mode, since I read about the new citation
options. I'd like to report my initial experience since maybe this
could lead to some amendments to the manual?


Thank you for reporting. The "new user" experience can only be captured  
once, and it is all too common for the experienced user to omit "obvious"  
material from documentation. Some day I might go through all the org docs  
wearing my "new user" hat. I'm not a real new user (emacs since about  
1976, TECO before that) but my old-age forgetfulness might help.

Re: how to export to odt with 11 or 10 pt fonts? Default font setting

2021-10-07 Thread Peter Neilson

On Thu, 07 Oct 2021 08:28:03 -0400, Uwe Brauer  wrote:

"JMM" == Juan Manuel Macías  writes:

Uwe Brauer writes:

I searched about google, but it seems that the only way to have a 10 or
11 pt font size is, again, by using styles. Am I right?

Yes, you are right. Word processors handle paragraph and character
styles. Anything that is not styled is applied by direct formatting,
manually, which is often bad practice.

Fun fact: 11pt (for example) in libreoffice or M$ Word is not the same
as 11pt in LaTeX. The reason is that TeX uses by default the classic
point "pt", traditionally used in English-speaking countries. 12pt=1pc
(pica). Word processors and DTP programs like InDesign or QuarkXpress
use the postscript point, which is somewhat higher. In TeX the
postscript point is called 'big point' (bp). There is also the didot
point, which in TeX is called "dd" (12dd = 1 cicero). See:

With the calc-units package you can easily convert between these TeX
units in Elisp. For instance:

(require 'calc-units)

(calc-eval (math-convert-units (calc-eval "11texpt" 'raw) (calc-eval
"texbp" 'raw)))

Thanks, but it seems 11TeXpt-->10.95

So it is not that different.

Sometimes that kind of difference can cause minor sessions of  
tearing-out-the-hair, like when the expected pagination is off, with just  
one word hanging off into the wilderness of another separate page. Manual  
typesetting, back in the dark ages of hand-set lead type, or even  
Linotype, encountered those problems, too. What did the stymied typesetter  
do? He'd leave out words! Yes, really!! "This sentence no verb."

Re: Deleting (not archiving) TODO items when done

2021-08-04 Thread Peter Neilson

On Wed, 04 Aug 2021 13:47:11 -0400, William Denton  wrote:

When I've marked a TODO item as DONE and want to get it out of my  
projects list, I've always used C-c C-x C-a  
(org-archive-subtree-default) to get it out of the way.

Today I had to go through the archive file to find an old note about  
something, and the file was huge because it was filled with many trivial  
TODOs that didn't need to be archived.  For example, If I'm waiting to  
hear back from someone, when they reply I usually just want to mark the  
task DONE and delete it.  I don't need to record it forever.

Maybe I've been using the archiving not as intended, but I don't see any  
other command for getting rid of a TODO.  I can't find a command to  
delete the current task.  Am I missing something?  Is there a keystroke  
to delete a TODO?  Or does everyone archive everything?


William Denton
Librarian, artist and licensed private investigator.
Toronto, Canada

It's just text. Delete it. ^k^k or (for bigger items) establish a region  
and kill it (^w).

If you would like (since you're in emacs) you can write yourself a special  
button to do it.

Re: convert a org table to plain text

2020-08-25 Thread Peter Neilson

On Tue, 25 Aug 2020 15:44:30 -0400, Uwe Brauer  wrote:


What is the inverse function to

I am unable to find anything in the documentation or google.


We Brauer

I tried M-x table-release as suggested by the documentation and did not  
get anything.

Re: bi-monthly steps.

2020-03-13 Thread Peter Neilson

On Fri, 13 Mar 2020 04:01:43 -0400, Michal Politowski  wrote:

Fortnightly :)
Such a useful word.

There are 24 semi-months in a year. There are roughly 26 fortnights.

American English seem to allow the adverb semimonthly but generally avoids  

British term fortnightly.

There ought to be an unnecessary book English Made Difficult as a  
companion piece to Carl E. Linderholm's book Mathematics Made Difficult.

On Thu, 12 Mar 2020 18:55:16 -0400, Christian Hopps wrote:

could use semimonth then :)

> On Mar 12, 2020, at 2:15 PM, Nick Dokos  wrote:
> "Bi-monthly" is ambiguous: it can mean twice a month or it can mean
> once every two months and there is no convincing anybody that their
> use of it is wrong :-)
> --
> Nick
> "There are only two hard problems in computer science: cache
> invalidation, naming things, and off-by-one errors." -Martin Fowler

Re: bi-monthly steps.

2020-03-12 Thread Peter Neilson

On Thu, 12 Mar 2020 14:15:04 -0400, Nick Dokos  wrote:

"Bi-monthly" is ambiguous: it can mean twice a month or it can mean
once every two months and there is no convincing anybody that their
use of it is wrong :-)

Exactly true. "Bi-weekly" is nearly as ambiguous, but is rescued by an  
ensuing discussion: "Which two days of the week did you want (the event)  
to occur?" "Um, ah, I mean every two weeks." "Fine then, let's say that."

I think the original question from Christian Hopps presumes the meaning,  
"Every two months."

[O] Help? Orgzly check list boxes too small.

2019-05-02 Thread Peter Neilson
I've been using Orgzly and have been pleased with it, but I find the tiny  
checkboxes too small for my fumble fingers on my Pixel phone. I've not  
found any way to expandify the view. Am I overlooking some existing  

Re: [O] An Org-based productivity tool

2018-10-11 Thread Peter Neilson

On Thu, 11 Oct 2018 10:03:15 -0400, Bingo  wrote:

Le 10 octobre 2018 21:45:53 GMT+05:30, Marcin Borkowski   
a écrit :

- a warning when my efficiency is lower than a set value, and info
 how much work I need to do to bump it up to that value.

Nice, but it has an anti-feature.  For procrastinators, warnings  
frequently have negative effects. It can be understood in multiple ways :

1. "What the hell" effect : As Dr Art Marckman tells in the book "Smart  
Change" , there is a "what the hell" effect where the victim goofs off  
even more to the extent of giving up a goal if he realizes that he is  
falling behind schedule, or has goofed off more than was advisable. The  
solution is to forgive oneself, and not beat oneself up. This warning  
looks like beating oneself up.

2. Showing how much work needs to be done to catch up goes against some  
self improvement philosophies. E.g. dividing work into subtasks helps in  
not getting overwhelmed by the amount of work.  Or the recommendation to  
plan breaks in addition to planning to slog, otherwise the plan to slog  
becomes overwhelming and procrastinators give up.

Of course, if it works for you, go for it.

Sabotage of the TODO list ...

Managing the flow of my own work sometimes runs into unintended sabotage,  
perpetrated by others or by me. The offending tasks are often large,  
incapable of division, and not immediately crucial. For example, somewhere  
in the middle of my list of "Get it done some other time, but not now,"  
tasks is this one: "Repair the International 454 tractor."  It rests  
comfortably on that list unless I either (1) need to use that tractor, or  
(2) hear my wife telling me, "Why don't you ever get the 454 running? You  
never get anything done around here! I need to use its bucket, and the  
Mahindra doesn't have one." From that point onward, and my "TODO" thoughts  
about writing, about programming, or about training horses are derailed.  
In case (1) I need to figure out some other approach, like maybe using the  
Mahindra. In case (2) my wife is right--as always--and my tendency is to  
stop doing anything at all.

My org mode TODO list is absolutely no help when I encounter one of these  
show-stoppers. If anything, the list is an additional albatross adding to  
my already encroaching depression.

Maybe I need a brain-wave detector, connecting through emacs-lisp AI code  
to a huge Pomodoro-style graphic display, that will alert me when I am  
goofing off, falling asleep, or practicing mental evasion.

Re: [O] General advice beyond Org

2018-05-17 Thread Peter Neilson

On Thu, 17 May 2018 20:28:22 -0400,  wrote:


_I_ need help. I am in graduate school, and I keep having issues with my  
advisor for my strong inclination to use free software. I am obviously  
not in position to refuse, but she dislikes to have discussions about  
it. She pays a stipend to me every month, and my tuition is waved.

Is anyone here aware of a place where they do computational human  
biomechanics, mechanics, materials or finite elements where I could  
interact with free software? (having github, LaTeX, Python, etc.; avoid  
Micro$oft products, Matlab, Mathematica, etc.). Is there no place where  
one can simply use free software on a daily basis?

It seems from her comments that I am, otherwise, a good researcher. She  
is a nice person, but I fear that this may become an issue in the future  
for me (whether with her or other people).

As a student or junior faculty, how do you go about this? Do you just  
nod and wave your freedom good bye?

Thank you! (I will post this in other fora as well; don't let that to  
discourage you from answering, please).

What is your field? In some areas of research the foremost software tools  
have been developed on a MS platform and there is no escape unless you go  
and develop your own tools.

Allow me to illustrate from a non-software perspective, in two different  
directions. I happen to own a substantial number of horses, and thus find  
myself employing the services of a farrier. That's the person who trims  
the hooves and fits shoes. My previous farrier, now retired, made some of  
his own tools and avoided using the top, well-known brand, GE. (It's GE  
Forge & Tools, NOT General Electric!) "Too expensive," he said. "Not worth  
all that extra money." My current farrier works three times as fast as the  
other guy, and uses nothing but GE tools. Clearly, he can fit in perhaps  
twice the number of customers a day, and the tools pay for themselves. He  
could make his own, as can anyone who owns a forge, an anvil, and hammers,  
but why bother? He makes perhaps $300 an hour when working on horses, and  
nearly nothing when trying to build tools.

I also get questions from young folks between the ages of 8 and 16 who  
love horses, and want a career working with horses. They hope for a job  
where they will clean stalls and exercise horses, and maybe help with  
training. My suggestion to them is to find a profession such as accounting  
or medicine where they will be able to make enough money to own several  
horses. After a day cleaning stalls and brushing horses at minimum wage or  
less, who wants to saddle up Yet Another Horse and go riding? The  
accountant who can fathom the intricacies of expenses for a Thoroughbred  
race stable will be well rewarded, and may even get invited to ride.

These words are rather far afield from your actual question, but I think  
you do need to reflect carefully on where your interests actually lie.

So back to free software itself. Read, if you have not already done so,  
this article by rms: . Then  
ponder whether you want your career to follow his delightfully weird  
footsteps, or whether your field requires a totally different approach.  
I'm sure that rms would disagree with me--he has every time I've spoken  
with him--but his is not the only philosophy available.

Re: [O] does this pandoc error look familiar to anybody?

2018-03-19 Thread Peter Neilson

On Mon, 19 Mar 2018 08:30:13 -0400, Colin Baxter  wrote:

Adonay Felipe Nogueira  writes:


> Good academic and writting practice tells that headings shouldn't
> be more than four levels deep. In LaTeX (which is used for PDF
> export), and its default `article' class, you can have
> `section{}', `subsection{}', `subsubsection{}' and --- if I'm not
> mistaken --- `subsubsubsection{}'.

There's also part{}.

Indeed, if your writing is to be read by other people, not just yourself,  
you should try to stay to no more than two levels. If you feel you need  
levels deeper than two, perhaps your should refactor your writing.

When I say "two" do I mean * and **, or do I mean ** and ***? Well, I  
guess that depends upon what the value of two is.

Moreover, as we can already see in this discussion, any attempt to correct  
errors of style, grammar or spelling will itself contain additional  
errors. This phenomenon is sometimes called Muphry's Law. Yes, Muphry, not  

Re: [O] Editing in two columns

2018-02-24 Thread Peter Neilson

On Sat, 24 Feb 2018 19:01:25 -0500, Peter Davis  wrote:

Is there a way to edit with two columns displayed so I’m only editing
and exporting the right hand column?
I’m writing a parody of a poem, and I’d like to have the original in the
left column for reference, to make sure the rhyme scheme, meters, etc.
match, but then I just want to export the right column to html.

  Peter Davis

Have you tried ^X3 ? That's split-window-right . It'll go to one column  
while it queries you during export, but exports only your current window.

Re: [O] orgmode for many continuous tasks?

2017-09-27 Thread Peter Neilson
On Wed, 27 Sep 2017 13:02:26 -0400, Mycroft Jones  

On Wed, Sep 27, 2017 at 07:14:25PM +0300, Melleus wrote:

That's true. But the clipboard can't beep when you might have forgotten
about some important appointment when shearing a sheep, driving a
tractor or doing other interesting things... If you don't neeed the
reminder functionality then the clipboard is the winner I should agree.

If you had a days advance warning, the appointment should be in the  
printout on
the clipboard.  If it is an appointment that suddenly came up, you  
should write

it on the clipboard.  If you have an urgent appointment scheduled, you
shouldn't be up on the roof or driving the tractor. :)


When I am driving the tractor I cannot hear anything beep. Maybe I should  
do a Hackaday project that would notify me. Air-raid sirens or eclipsing  
the sun might get my notice.

When shearing sheep I don't want anything on me that is any more high tech  
than the shears. The electric shears have a high-tech motor. The low-tech,  
which are actually safer for the sheep, have not changed in design for  
hundreds of years or more. Burgon & Ball have made them since 1730.

I have some nice aluminum clipboards that also have a compartment.  
Portable writing desk, if you will. I'm going to try incorporating them  
into a better method for keeping track of things. No beeping, though.

Re: [O] orgmode for many continuous tasks?

2017-09-25 Thread Peter Neilson
On Mon, 25 Sep 2017 03:21:51 -0400, Mycroft Jones  

I'm wondering if org-mode can do this:

I have many tasks.  Some are one off.  But many are tasks that will take  
period of time, days, weeks, months.  I need to schedule a bit of time  
day.  Over time I can complete the tasks by plugging away.  But I have  
so many.
Half hour chunks work for some tasks, 1 or 2 or 3 hour chunks work best  
for others.

1) writing 3 different books
2) learning 2 different languages
3) 2 different types of exercise exercise
4) 3 different ongoing tasks at work
5) watching videos that friends send me
6) reading books on my night stand
7) various one-off tasks
8) scheduled items, where I have to do them at a scheduled time.

So, for each broad category of task, there are subtasks.  So far, it  
looks like
orgmode is good.  But, what I'd like is to automatically generate  
suggestions for the day.  For instance, if I've been putting too much  
time into
languages, then schedule more time for writing the books.  And if I've  
too much on one book, remind me to put time into another book.  I'd like  
scheduler to be a sort of time-accounting system that suggests work for  
the day

in a way that balances the tree.

Within each branch of the tree, I'd like the branches to be allocated  

equal time, over a period of weeks and months, on a day to day basis.

Is there a simple workflow in orgmode that can do this?  I haven't done  
for 10 years, but I'm comfortable with it.  Would this be simple to  


Hmmm. I have similar problems, but on a somewhat more difficult level. A  
lot of my tasks are farm-related and are thus self-driven rather than  
org-mode-driven. For instance, two barn roofs need repair, and seeing them  
listed as TODO in an agenda does nothing to get started on them, or on the  
sub-tasks necessary to starting the work on the roofs. But when I look at  
the roofs, and thus am reminded of "* TODO Repair barn roofs", it's always  
when I'm already at work on something immediately more pressing.

But it gets worse! If I think of a task that needs to be done, and write  
it into one of my TODO lists, then I tend to ignore it. Adding it to the  
schedule dismisses it from any immediate concern, and (as I alluded  
before) much of my work is outside, on the farm, nowhere near my computer.  
It's almost like Ko-Ko's solution in G's operetta 'The Mikado':

  Ko-Ko: When Your Majesty says "Let a thing be done", it’s as good as  
done, practically it is done, because Your Majesty’s will is law. Your  
Majesty says "Kill a gentleman", and the gentleman is to be killed,  
consequently that gentleman is as good as dead, practically he is dead,  
and if he is dead, why not say so?
  The Mikado: I see. [Dramatic Pause] Nothing could possibly be  

My problem with org mode itself thus becomes yet another action item (to  
be ignored):

* TODO Devise a way to project my agenda (in unavoidable brilliance) onto  
the side of the barn, or perhaps embroider it into the fleece of my sheep  
(who * TODO need to be shorn).

Plausible (or implausible) solutions to my problem or to Mycroft's are  
hereby solicited.

Re: [O] Org-table alignment in Arabic

2017-08-13 Thread Peter Neilson

On Fri, 11 Aug 2017 07:16:26 -0400,  wrote:

Dear Sir/Madam,

I am new to this email list about org-mode, first of all thanks to all
contributors of org-mode. I am here seeking your help considering  
org-table and
Arabic text, the issue is described in this post of mine sometime ago:

Look forward to your feedback. Best Regards.

I'm afraid that I cannot offer any real help, but since nobody else has  
answered yet, I'll throw out a few thoughts. Bear in mind that I do not  
speak or read Arabic, and that my knowledge of the language is restricted  
to being able to recognize three or four of the letters and to being able  
to say Salaam aleikum.

I'm afraid that the problems are inherent in the usual presentation of  
Arabic text, in which the form of each letter can vary depending upon  
context. It seems that some people are working on trying to invent better  
"monospaced" versions of the alphabet, but those all look clumsy, even to  
their inventors, and especially so to people who are already conditioned  
to see the beauty of handwritten Arabic. Your mention, elsewhere, of the  
related problem of Japanese text seems appropriate. In Japanese, the use  
of kanji, rather than kana, can be seen as more artistic and proper, and  
the use of non-standard kanji is regarded by some as "intellectual". (Some  
would say that the more esoteric Chinese characters you know, the smarter  
you appear to be.)

You thus have in front of you a problem as large as you might wish. Think  
of it as an opportunity. You can design additional Arabic fonts, and  
campaign to make them popular. You can develop extensions to emacs to  
handle whatever versions of Arabic text you wish, including the  
omnipresent need for dealing with "mixed" text where Arabic and other  
languages occur together. In particular, you can create your own  
extensions to org mode. I'm thinking that a better set of rules for  
positioning the elements of a table need to be defined. We'll help you (a  
little bit) with the lisp. The difficulties, although huge, are not  
insurmountable. Slightly more than half a century ago the idea of using  
computers to handle Arabic text in any way at all was regarded as  
ridiculously complicated. Now it's merely complicated.

You might think, "This answer does not even begin to touch the problem. It  
omits the distinction between the identity of the character and its  
presentation. It omits regional substitutions. It omits nearly  
everything." You're right. I've provided many words, and very little help.

Here's a pointer to some truly weird person's attempts to do boustrophodon  
editing via emacs:

Here is yet another discussion of editing Arabic text:

Re: [O] evil-mode and org

2017-03-29 Thread Peter Neilson
On Wed, 29 Mar 2017 11:12:22 -0400, John Kitchin   

Using evil-mode is not "using vim" IMHO. I think this is a question of
do you want modal editing or not (I suppose it could also be do you want
emacs-lisp or vimscript, but that is not the impression I get these days
;). With emacs you can have either traditional emacs editing (one-mode:
edit) or modal editing like vim (for the most part). And you can still
use emacs-lisp to customize the environment so you can have things like

I have seen a growing movement towards modal editing in emacs, e.g.
evil-mode, spacemacs, hydra, avy/ivy, etc... and even do some things
modally myself with those tools.

Thinking historically, I see modal editing in TECO, where everything  
between "i" and "$" (the ESC key) was insert mode, and everything else was  
a command. Woe unto the person who omitted the "i" or who inadvertently  
ended insert mode, because all other text was commands. For example,  
ihxhgh$ inserts "hxhgh" but just hxhgh$ duplicates the entire buffer.

Here is a sample TECO session:

*hkiHere is some text that I am inserting.
Here is another line.
Here is some text that I am inserting.
Here is another line.
*zjiThis is a new bottom line. Next we try forgetting an "i" command.
*here is a forgotten i command
?SYS   No such file or directory
?UFI   unable to open file e is a forgotten i command for input

Re: [O] evil-mode and org

2017-03-28 Thread Peter Neilson

On Tue, 28 Mar 2017 08:57:40 -0400, Matt Price  wrote:

I've never used Vim but I see a lot of people online raving about evil  

and how much they love it. I'm considering giving it a whirl after the
semester ends & I get some free time. I just wondered whether any heavy  

users here on the list use evil, and if so, whether you see pain points
within org-mode -- my setup is pretty heavily customized, for instance,  

I wonder whether that means it will be quite painful to use evil.

You will also find people asking why anyone would ever think of using vim.  
One of those is Aaron Bieber.

I use vim only when unavoidable, and I simply pretend it is ed (of ancient  
Unix days). Or maybe I just use ed. I would not bother trying to use ed to  
access org, and thus would not be tempted to use vi, vim or evil mode for  
org, either. One fine day, long, long ago, I had to use a Vax that did not  
have emacs, vim, vi or ed. It did have whatever DEC was using for an  
editor, but I didn't know how to use it instantly. What to do? What to do?  
I tried running TECO. Yes, it had TECO! Saved! (Sort of.)

Why use vim if emacs is already built into your fingertips?

Re: [O] Timezones revisited

2017-02-01 Thread Peter Neilson
On Wed, 01 Feb 2017 10:50:24 -0500, Eric Abrahamsen  

Russell Adams  writes:

I understand that Org's timestamp format does not include timezone
information. Making that change would be an impractical modification.

I'm frequently working with several different timezones and I only
need to store a time stamp converted to my local time.

Does the time stamp input support some form of timezone input? I
checked the manual and tried a few methods and they don't appear

If the time stamp format doesn't support timezone info, then the input
method won't either, unfortunately. I had one of my occasional attacks
of enthusiasm about this subject recently -- using org-caldav while
you're traveling really exposes the limitations of timezone-unaware

Would it be completely out of the question to support an optional
timezone marker? From (nth 1 (current-time-zone))?

<2017-02-01 Wed PST>

The plumbing for time calculations would be... an adventure. But it
seems like it could be done in a backwards-compatible way.

Presumably everyone already knows that the timezones are more complicated  
than hoi polloi believe? The offsets are not always integer values of  
hours. For example, Newfoundland time is UTC−03:30. Additional  
complications include daylight saving time and the many historical  
versions of timezones. The definition of UTC can remain pretty much  
constant, but local-timezone time varies as a function of both location  
and calendar date.

Allowing user-defined functions (as simple or as complicated as one  
desires) for translation from UTC might be best.

Re: [O] Clocking work time vs. office time

2016-04-29 Thread Peter Neilson
On Fri, 29 Apr 2016 08:08:38 -0400, Loris Bennett  

Eric S Fraga  writes:

On Friday, 29 Apr 2016 at 09:25, Marcin Borkowski wrote:

However, this does not help with my main issue: tracking /time in
office/.  Not /time in office working/, mind you.

I'd like to have a report like this (I mean information, not

* Office time: 2:00
** Task 1/Project A: 0:30
** Task 2/Project B: 0:45

* Home time:
** Task 1/Project A: 1:15
** Task 2/Project B: 0:30

So not only time spent on actual work on various tasks/projects, but
also time /spent physically in the office/.

I would suggest that the office time simply be the sum of the times of
all headlines within that sub-tree?  If you need something to mop up
times which are not allocated to a specific task within the office
hierarchy, create a sub-headline called "misc" or some such?

Or am I missing something more fundamental?

For me the problem would be just checking in and out of "misc".  If I
forget once, then my /time in the office/ would be incorrect.

Personally, I need to keep track of /time in the office/ for my
employer.  Tracking time actually spent doing tasks planned with Org
would be nice for me personally, but as I can't currently have two
clocks running, I don't do this.

Have not tested this, but what about running two separate sessions of  
emacs? It would certainly work if using two separate machines or two  
separate logins on one machine. Should be able to ssh or ctrl-alt-F1 to a  
different identity. Merge the two reports into one later with easy custom  

Re: [O] exported table has text overflowing off the pdf page

2016-04-25 Thread Peter Neilson
On Mon, 25 Apr 2016 08:18:09 -0400, Sharon Kimble  

I'm running into problems exporting tables into latex with a 2-column
3-row table with a large amount of text to go into the cells, but when
its exported the text is taking over and overflowing off the pdf page.

How can I have the text stay within the table boundaries please, with
the second column having fixed boundaries when its exported please?

Could you perhaps show us an example?

Re: [O] Stackoverflow in regexp matcher

2016-02-03 Thread Peter Neilson
On Wed, 03 Feb 2016 06:19:43 -0500, Nicolas Goaziou  

"Loris Bennett"  writes:

  re-search-forward("^[^%]*usepackage.*{biblatex}" nil t)

This is a pathological regexp. [^%] is anything but a percent sign, so
it can contain newline characters. Basically [^%]* can match an entire
buffer if it doesn't contain any %.

I think the regexp used in `reftex-using-biblatex-p' should be


Here's a link about the extreme difficulty of detecting pathological  
regular expressions:

The author analyses the exponential not-found situation for (x+x+)+y and  
then suggests that for larger expressions, "... no more than 1 programmer  
in 1000 has even a vague idea how to start looking for such problems."

Re: [O] Efficiency of Org v. LaTeX v. Word

2014-12-27 Thread Peter Neilson

On Fri, 26 Dec 2014 23:27:37 -0500, Nick Dokos wrote:

Anyway, color me deeply suspicious of the study.


The study touches only a few of the inherent difficulties in document  
production. Its major flaw is that it draws any conclusions at all  
recommending that authors produce documents one way or another. Personally  
I am always disappointed when someone requests a document in MS Word  
format, because that means I'll have to fire up Libre Office and shove my  
text through it, rather than using whatever other system I happen to have  
been using. I do not believe that I currently own a system with genuine MS  

As well as having insufficient control of variables, and a flawed  
understanding of what is involved in document preparation, the study  
also has a marginally small sample size. Any study for any purpose that  
presents statistics with sample sizes smaller than 30 is immediately  
suspect. I won't even begin to address the misinterpretation of  
correlation as causation that appears in the softer sciences, nor their  
necessity for sample sizes far larger than 100, nor the tendency in some  
fields to mistake a time series as a set of samples.

MS Word works extremely well for one-off small papers. Little investment  
of effort is required for a naive person to produce adequate results, and  
as every user of emacs knows, that's pretty much the opposite of emacs.

On the other hand, MS Word has historically been a terrible tool for  
producing large documents, or documents that are to be maintained by a  
group of people, or over several years or decades. Handling Word's Master  
Document provision without being crippled by corrupted documents is an  
art form unto itself. The standard advice among experienced users of Word  
has always been, Don't Use Master Documents! When a group of people are  
all editing versions of a document, any attempt to use standard formatting  
in Word requires substantial effort to prevent naive contributers from  
reformatting outside the established styles, or even breaking all the  
styles. Furthermore, Word documents are in general not amenable to  
incremental version control as commonly used by coding teams.

My conclusions? If your paper is trivial and you are under pressure to  
produce it quickly, then MS Word might be the best tool. Established  
journals should attempt to allow contributions in more than one format,  
and restriction to MS Word format is a bad idea, no matter how much some  
people like the apparent ease-of-use that MS Word provides. Attempting to  
extend the study to include org mode would be a waste of effort.

Re: [O] emacs24-starter-kit and Aquamacs 3.0

2014-05-15 Thread Peter Neilson
On Thu, 15 May 2014 10:28:13 -0400, Axel Kielhorn wrote:

I should have asked earlier, but everyone was suggesting Aquamacs.

Since I'm starting from scratch I don't mind switching and it will be  
easier to share my configuration with the Unix machine I sometimes  
telnet to.


Because emacs predates all the modern consumer keyboard interfaces by a  
decade or more, and because vanilla emacs is available for just about  
every platform except possibly Babbage's original Analytical Engine, it  
really makes sense to avoid grandly localised versions of emacs. In my  
view Aquamacs is the cure for which there is no disease.

To gild refined gold; to paint the lily. --Shakespeare', King John.

Re: [O] Tasks with lots of logbook entries are very slow

2014-03-26 Thread Peter Neilson
On Wed, 26 Mar 2014 04:10:02 -0400, Pere Quintana Seguí wrote:

El 25/03/14 19:27, Marcin Borkowski ha escrit:

Dnia 2014-03-25, o godz. 16:00:01
Pere Quintana Seguí napisał(a):

I log most of my work with org-mode. Some of my tasks are repetitive,
this is, I do them weekly or daily (i.e. empty mail inbox). After many
years, the logs are very long. As a consequence, marking these tasks
as done is *very* slow.

Is there a workaround that does not involver deleting the logs?


No, archiving would'nt work, as I need the task every day.

Thanks for the tip.


Perhaps this will help:

Standard method for log maintenance outside of org is to rotate logs into  
archive. The current log is only for the current day (or month, week, or  
year). Other criteria, such as log size, can be used to trigger rotation.  
Rotation cuts off the current log, archives it, possibly deletes truly  
ancient logs, and starts a new current log. Look up the Linux logrotate  
command for further info. Here's one description:

Re: [O] Chaining strings between babel blocks: why so many '\'?

2014-03-26 Thread Peter Neilson
On Wed, 26 Mar 2014 18:19:35 -0400, Nicolas Goaziou  


Alan Schmitt writes:

I've been playing with block chaining to generate some dot file then to
export then as images. I had a little trouble finding the number of '\'
I need to put in front of a quote if I want the quote to be quoted. Here
is a way to make it work:

#+name: foo
#+begin_src emacs-lisp :exports none
bar [label = \\test1\\]\nbaz [label =  


#+results: foo
: bar [label = \\test1\\]
: baz [label = \\test2\\]

#+begin_src dot :file ~/tmp/test-dot.png :var input=foo :exports results
graph {

My question is: why can't I simply use this:

#+name: foo
#+begin_src emacs-lisp :exports none
bar [label = test1]\nbaz [label = test2]

#+results: foo
: bar [label = \test1\]
: baz [label = \test2\]

(I guess the answer is in the error in replace-regexp-in-string:
(error Invalid use of `\\' in replacement text)

Indeed. This function, unless told not to, treats backslashes characters

Would it be problematic to first transform every \\ into a  in
org-babel-expand-body:dot, before the call to

I think `replace-regexp-in-string' should be called with a non-nil
LITERAL argument in this case.

Maybe someone (neilson runs and hides!) should write a tool that allows  
construction of C++11-style raw string literals that would  
auto-transmogrify into the backslash mess that elisp requires.

Re: [O] Using Org-mode for mass-scheduling appointments

2014-03-15 Thread Peter Neilson
On Sat, 15 Mar 2014 07:07:22 -0400, Marcin Borkowski wrote:

Dnia 2014-01-22, o godz. 12:55:43
Marcin Borkowski napisał(a):

Hi list,

I have the following problem: I want to schedule quite a few short (10
minutes, say) appointments with my students (mass is probably an
exaggeration, but there are going to be around 50 of them).  I'll have
several time slots, and I want the students to reserve one for each of
them.  I'd like to publish a table with free/reserved info on the
web.  I don't want any fancy web forms and automatic reservation, just
emails+manual updates of the table.  Can you imagine any way Org (with
tables, or maybe scheduling) might help, so that I don't have to write
html by hand, for instance?

Just for the record: I ended up using Org to prepare a table with the
possible time slots, which was then printed and attached to a pinboard
near my room. Then, each student could come and write down his/her name
in a selected slot (with a pen).  This way, I solved the problem of
race conditions in (probably) the simplest possible way...

This is actually a good solution. If, for example, there are two students  
who are there to sign up for exactly the same slot (a conflict) the  
resolution is obtained by their mutual discussion, right there by your  
room. You do not need to invoke Dijkstra or any sort of mutex devices.  
Deadlock is impossible. Some problems are better solved if the computer is  

If student A absolutely must have the time slot already held by student B,  
it is the responsibility of A to contact B. You, emacs, and the Org crew  
easily relinquish any responsibility.

Re: [O] org todos on paper?

2014-02-28 Thread Peter Neilson
On Fri, 28 Feb 2014 05:44:52 -0500, Thorsten Jolitz  

Its just a matter of time and the machine you use for shearing sheeps
will be a kind of smart-phone too that peeps if you need more than the
SCHEDULED time for one sheep, or the time for

| [#A] TODO Melk the Cows :farm:

has arrived ...

We do not have cows, but I know what's involved. Dairy cows are on a  
strict schedule, milked twice daily. They are automatically the top  
priority at four in the morning and at four in the afternoon. Writing it  
down on paper or in emacs is superfluous. Nothing (except the barn being  
on fire) is more important.

Why isn't Farbror Hans here at Grandfather's funeral?

-- He had to milk the cows.

Oh. Of course. I forgot. Yes, that's more important.

Re: [O] org todos on paper?

2014-02-27 Thread Peter Neilson
On Thu, 27 Feb 2014 20:23:26 -0500, Peter Salazar  

I keep meeting people who say they started getting more things done more
efficiently once they started printing out their tasks lists, so they can
have the experience of seeing the list on paper and, more importantly,  

satisfaction of crossing an item off on the page.

Does anyone have a workflow they're happy with that involves printing out
their org-mode todo lists?

Exactly. My to-do items are mostly physical activities related to taking  
care of farm animals, rather than things I'm doing on my computer. It  
makes little sense to try to follow a list on a laptop or smartphone when  
walking back and forth in mud, or when picking up items at the farm-supply  
store. I update my to-do items occasionally in emacs, but as much as I've  
loved using emacs for nearly 40 years, it's not my constant companion  
outdoors in the weather, or when handling horses or shearing sheep. A  
printed piece of paper in my pocket is much easier to use, and little harm  
is done if it falls into the stock tank or gets trampled by livestock.

Re: [O] Org Tutorials need more structure

2013-09-30 Thread Peter Neilson

On Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:01:57 -0400, Eric S Fraga wrote:

but I'm sure somebody else will think something is missing

I'll admit that I've only dabbled in org mode thus far, but here's what I  
see as lacking in the tutorial documentation:

1. Non-video presentations for beginners. Some of us are (for one reason  
or another) badly set up to use video. Perhaps our network connection is  
slow, or our system is flaky and crashes with video. Or perhaps we only  
have five or ten minutes at a time to study. Or perhaps we are mostly  
trying to learn from hard copy we've printed out. A few of us might even  
be blind.

2. Goal-oriented presentations. Instead of telling us, The XX widget  
allows you to do the YY operation, we might be hoping to see, To  
accomplish ZZ (for instance, task scheduling), do something like this:  
(neat example with pointers to syntax)

The user will hope to see examples, even annotated examples. Sometimes  
negative examples: DON'T try it this way... It seems right, and it's  
alluring, but ultimately it won't work, and you'll never figure out what's  

There ought to be discussions of why we should think of the problem THIS  
WAY and not THAT WAY.

It may be that there are portions of the existing docs that cover  
everything I see as deficient, and I've just not found them. Perhaps a  
pointer to LOOK HERE FIRST is needed for those docs.

I'll end with a quotation from a leader in a club to which I once  
belonged: Yes, I can see how you might think that's a problem. How would  
you like to CHAIR THE COMMITTEE to solve that for next year's convention?

Perhaps I'm volunteering!

Re: [O] What is the URL of orgmode license evidence

2013-08-30 Thread Peter Neilson

On Fri, 30 Aug 2013 09:35:13 -0400, James Kang wrote:

I know orgmode is under GPL but my search didn't turn up anything
clear from orgmode.Org.
I need this official information for an access. :-(


Do these help?;a=blob_plain;f=lisp/ob-plantuml.el;hb=HEAD

Re: [O] Support for a and p suffix for morning/afternoon scheduling

2012-05-25 Thread Peter Neilson

On Fri, 25 May 2012 01:45:14 -0400, Tom wrote:

I use the scheduling prompt very often and I usually
give times in 8pm/9am/etc. format, because they are conveniently
short to type.

Today it occured to me the m is unnecessary, because a and p already
gives the necessary info.

Could we also support 8a and 9p format for times like 8am and 9pm,
so that the m does not have to be typed when scheduling?
It's unambiguous, this form is not used for other things AFAIK, so we
could easily support this shorter form too.

Here is a pedantic excursion through the ambiguity of time...

12a and 12p are ambiguous, as are 12am and 12pm. Which is noon, and which  
is midnight? Standards differ. I generally favor, in English, the  
unambiguous use of noon and midnight, or 12 noon and 12 midnight.  
Unfortunately those terms do not fit into a scenario of abbreviation.  
Furthermore, midnight itself is ambiguous unless rendered as  or 2400.  
Does midnight Thursday refer to the start of Thursday, or to its end?

See this article:

One might suggest 12n for noon and 12m for midnight, but this conflicts  
madly with prior use of abbreviations borrowed from Latin, where 12m is  
meridies (noon) and 12n is noctis (midnight). 12m, noon, is the origin of  
the m in am and pm : ante meridiem, post meridiem, for before noon  
and after noon.

We probably have little choice but to adopt the obvious standard, look at  
your digital clock, in which (contrary to some published standards) 12:00  
AM is midnight and 12:00 PM is noon.