2020-01-04 Plain Text Tools

I have found the best article in a long time: The Plain Person’s Guide to Plain Text Social Science. It’s about writing and tools and computers. The introduction is fabulous. Some quotes:

So this discussion is not geared toward convincing you there is One True Way to organize things. I do think, however, that if you’re in the early phase of your career as a graduate student in, say, Sociology, or Economics, or Political Science, you should give some thought to how you’re going to organize and manage your work.

Yes. I remember slowly realizing as a student many years ago that I was going to work with data using text files and scripts in order to keep it all repeatable. If you do all your stuff in Excel, and then you find and error and need to do it again, how will you know all the steps you did? How will trust that you haven’t made a mistake if you don’t do it multiple times? A “a reproducible workflow” is not optional!

… the transition to graduate school is a good time to make changes. Early on, there’s less inertia and cost associated with switching things around than there will be later.”

It’s true. I learned to use Emacs at university and I still use it today. It’s hard to switch tools once you’ve gotten used to them. And Apple and Microsoft knows this, too. That’s why students are getting good deals. The companies are hoping that they won’t switch to the competition, later. And our education system is falling for it because we don’t invest in the necessary teachers to do otherwise.

The Zen of Organization is not to be found in Fancy Software. Nor shall the true path of Getting Things Done be revealed to you through the purchase of a nice Moleskine Notebook. Instead, it lies within—unfortunately.

Oh, the number of nice notebooks I have bought, the methods I have tried. Journaling, bullet journals, lab journals. The tools I have read about: todo applications, bibliography database systems, methods to keep email inboxes under control. So much talking, and so little actually getting things done.

I know, I know.

I think there is an underappreciated tension here. Two ongoing computing revolutions are tending to pull in opposite directions. On one side, the mobile, cloud-centered, touch-screen, phone-or-tablet model has brought powerful computing to more people than ever before. This revolution is the one everyone is talking about, because it is happening on a huge scale and is where all the money is.

OK, I’ll stop. I think you’ll just have to read it yourself. It’s good!

The repository is available on GitHub.



Yea, that is a cool article, and I think were among the first few I read that pushed me towards Emacs and Org mode.

I am curious to know how you manage your content with Oddmuse via Emacs? Do you prefer the web interface for your posts? What do you think is the best route to use Org mode based source files that feed my oddmuse wiki?

Currently, I just paste the markdown export of Org mode entries into the webpage.

For what it is worth, I’ve re-setup at http://testwiki.ragavan.co.

shrysr 2020-01-16 19:40 UTC

Personally, I use my own Oddmuse Mode which uses curl to communicate with Oddmuse as a sort of “proof of concept” that it is possible.

As for Org Mode, I don’t know. Perhaps somebody would have to write some Markup Rules to turn Org Mode Markup to HTML using Perl? Such code exists but since Oddmuse can be configured for a variety of markup rules, this is always a moving target unless you control the modules installed.

– Alex Schroeder 2020-01-16 22:31 UTC

Hi Alex,

I understand what you mean by a moving target.

I’ve just got set up oddmuse-curl and the oddmuse exporter. The org exporter will work well for me. Perhaps it may have been achieved via ox-pandoc, I do recall trying the zimwiki and docuwiki export formats.

My next question is regarding setting up multiple wikis using oddmuse-curl. I’ve gone through the .el file and used :

(setq oddmuse-wikis
      '(("EmacsWiki" "https://www.emacswiki.org/emacs" utf-8 "uihnscuskc" nil)
	("sr" "http://testwiki.ragavan.co" utf-8 "abcd" nil)))

I have sr listed as above in oddmuse-reload. However no files are available to be opened and thus downloaded via curl.

Things work as expected with editing the Emacswiki though. I would appreciate advice on this. I tried using only a single wiki, but that did not seem to work for my wiki either.

shreyas 2020-01-18 17:30 UTC

How strange. So you’re seeing the wiki listed when you use oddmuse-edit but then you don’t get any pages to complete against? Do you see the curl command used in *Messages*? Can you call it on the command line and verify that it works? Perhaps your website is set up such that curl is being blocked?

– Alex Schroeder 2020-01-18 20:53 UTC

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