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Tech

Lightweight .emacs

The last couple of years have seen a change in my Emacs setup. Work dictates that I have to use a number of different machines; in the past I’ve tried to give a consistent experience no matter which machine I was working on. Bookmarks, abbreviations, org-agendas were all stored on Dropbox, and an increasingly complicated set of code took into account paths for different operating systems and network setups. 

It came to a point where I seemed to be spending more time on my .emacs files than I was on actually doing anything.  I began to ask myself, was consistency that important?

The answer was no.

So I changed my approach.

I’ve streamlined my init file as much as possible. I now spend my time trying to find a way to use existing features as far as possible, If possible, I write lightweight code to solve a problem,  only installing packages as a last resort.  (take a look at my really simple scrivener mode for an example of this)

I still use packages, of course. I’m not going to stop using org mode or evil or magit, but I don’t need them on every computer. 

As far as my Emacs setup goes, I now only use Dropbox to enable the use of Orgzly and Beorg on my portable devices (I still use it to sync all my other files, of course)

Lastly, I’ve had a love hate relationship with Evernote over the years but I’ve been really impressed by the direction that it’s been going over the past 18 months.  All my records are now stored there, my agenda and editing is all done on Emacs (I sometimes forget that editing was its initial purpose).

Categories
Tech

Goodbye Simplenote, Hello Again Evernote

We’ve all got a list of our favourite CEOs.

Okay, we haven’t. But if we did, mine would be Ian Small of Evernote.  You can see him here, clearly uncomfortable at being in front of the camera. I rather like him for that. Being good on camera doesn’t mean you can do the job. I’m increasingly wondering if the opposite might be true.

Anyway, read this message Ian Small wrote back in January, stating Evernote’s priorities for the year ahead. I particularly liked this passage:

And honesty requires us to state—straight out—that we can do better with the product you have today than we are currently doing. In fact, we can do better than we have been doing for some years.

He goes on to promise to concentrate on getting the foundations of the product right before adding new features.

Since then he seems to be making good on his promise.  

You might remember this article I wrote in 2016 saying I was leaving Evernote for Simplenote. Well, I’ve now gone back to Evernote. I like the direction things are going. I’m still disappointed with the lack of Linux support but I’ll trade that in for something that’s solid, or at least is attempting to get things right.

And I must admit, I rather like Ian Small’s (rather awkward) style.  Many people seek advancement by promising to make big changes.  They go for the grand gesture and then move on, leaving others to sort out the mess they’ve made. It’s rather refreshing to see someone quietly getting on with the challenge of trying to make something that’s already quite good work just that little bit better.