Bit side of life

Technical notes of digital heart


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A side note. This is a rough translation of my original article sent a few years ago to “Magic of the black screen” competition. Enjoy!

If you are jaunty masochist fascinated by use ‘n cry email readers, or you were just searching for something about white-tailed gnus and you found this article - sorry to dissapoint you - that’s definitely wrong place.

On the other hand, if you value your time, simplicity and usability, and the only thing that comes to your mind when talking about GNU is GNU’s Not Unix, you’re welcomed to read further. You will find out how set up awesome email/news reader (Gnus) on great operating system with faulty editor (Emacs).

Get Notified

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org-mode is definitely one of the most versatile notes & planning tools I have ever seen. It’s also number one in my daily GTD practices.

Recently, I discovered one tiny feature which makes my work with org-mode even sweeter - notifications. Suppose you have just planned a super-duper important meeting with your girlfriend. As natural born programmer, you have already created entry in you org-mode planner.

Unfortunately, org-mode by default will not warn you about upcoming event. It’s very easy to overlook it, especially when you are deep in your matrix trying to decrypt one more perl script…

But don’t despair. Notifications come to the rescue - few minutes before meeting you will get a growl/growl-like message (possibly with shocking biiing-booong sound) reminding you about your crucial appointment.

World of Bookmarks

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Vanilla Emacs bookmarks are for lhamas. Real octopodes use bookmark+ which enhances well known bookmarking in the way you didn’t even imagine. As the wiki page states:

Richer bookmarks. They record more. They are more accurate.

Interactive Search Rediscovered

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Nice tip I found while searching interactively (C-s).

If you want to see all the occurences of what you’re just searching for, press M-s o and you will see new buffer listing all the desired occurences.

Moreover, you may extend searching convieniently by selecting next words with C-w. This flow C-s C-w C-w M-s o selects 2 words starting at current cursor position and lists all their occurences in current buffer.

Obviously, the greatest way to simplify all above is hidden under the ‘anything’ hood. Try anything-occur and hear your jaw dropping :)

The Kill Ring

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Sounds scary, but it’s not about killing (this time). Kill ring is a term used in Emacs to describe a list of cut (killed) blocks of text. Yes, that’s right. It’s about mutliple blocks of text that you can cut and paste. Emacs as an extraoridinary editor gives you ability to keep the history of what you have just killed. Be sure to close it before you start doing nasty things :)