Thinking, Learning, and Blogging

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As I mentioned in my previous post, Learning About Org Mode (Part 1 of n), I was reading (and now have finished) a great eBook by Sasha Chua called “A No-Excuse Guide to Blogging”. I’m trying to implement a couple of her ideas, namely, coming up with a question and answering it and documenting your discovery process. She also talked about having posts where she “thinks out loud”. This may be one of those slightly “stream of consciousness” posts where I’ll try to get my ideas typed out.

I’ve been playing with Org-mode quite a bit over the last week. There are literally a zillion blog posts and whole sites dedicated to Org tutorials (at this point I’m not sure if it is more correct to call it “Org-mode” or just “Org”). You could spend weeks just perusing the offical org-mode community and following links from there. I finally settled on Sasha Chua’s (who else? 🙂 ) “A Baby Steps Guide to Managing Your Tasks with Org” and started going through her tutorial in detail. I’ve just got up to the section called “Schedule your tasks and use the agenda”. It does have sections at the end ear-marked to be written later but what I’ve looked at so far got me up and running with Org-mode right away. Once I finish what she has there, I can now start looking at other tutorials for other functions.

My goal here is to start organizing myself in the various spheres of my life: my paid work, my volunteer work at my daughters school, and my hobbies (especially my role-playing game campaign I run for my nephew, his friends, and their dads). A side-effect of doing this is I’m forcing myself to get better at Emacs. This is funny because I orginally installed Emacs to be my text editor for any coding projects I might have to do. Who knew it would expand in this?

The other thing I’ve organized for myself is printing out and plastic-sleeving (is that a word?) a bunch of useful emacs reference cards including a good one for Org (Org-Mode?). You can find links to the one I printed out in the Useful Links section of this post. These reference cards allow me to look up a command without having to switch to my browser and search for the information I need.

As an advanced goal, I want to look at Charles Cave’s site “How I use Emacs and Org-mode to implement GTD” and see what I can implement from there. The web page appears to not to have been updated since 2009 but it was recommended on the offical org-mode community as well as elsewhere so I’ll look at it anyway. “GTD” means “Getting Things Done” which is a book written by David Allen. He has a whole site set up which looks like a project in and of itself to look into.

As far as org2blog is concerned, it is my default interface between Emacs and WordPress. What I’d like to learn to do next with it is as follows:

  • Improve my process of blogging with Emacs, Org-mode, and org2blog.
    • Is there a way better or best way to coordinate working with these tools together? I started out looking for a way to blog from within Emacs and this has now led me to using Org. I knew nothing of Org-mode before this so I’m likely missing out on some or all of the efficiencies that Org provides me with for blogging on WordPress. I put together a “good enough” solution and need to revisit it.
  • Figuring out the shortcut key bindings for org2blog and org-mode.
    • I know these exist. I assume I need to put something in my “init” file (.emacs file) to get these set up.

I also had quite an adventure getting org2blog to work. I would like to document what I did that worked (and what pitfalls I fell into). That’s another post I should write.

Anyway, I hope you haven’t found my rambling too disconcerting. If someone is reading this and has any advice to offer on Org-mode, org2blog, or blogging in general, I’d love to hear it. Leave me a comment, please!

Useful Links

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