The Chronicle

of a ColdFusion Expatriate

Escaping the Tar Pit

April 07, 2016

If you don’t know by now, I’m sort of a personal efficiency maven. I don’t like to waste keystrokes, I’m always experimenting with different key bindings and shortcuts, and I feel almost personally offended when I see someone reach for their mouse to click a button that I know has a keyboard equivalent.

But this isn’t about my pet peeves; this is about tuning yourself in to the improvements you can make on a daily basis that will increase your lifetime efficiency dramatically.

I had the opportunity to give a “lightning talk” at the Boston PHP meetup, so I spoke on this topic. It went OK, so I gave it again at Wayfair and I let them record it. The recording quality is not the best, but I think the point comes across just fine.

The talk is called “Escaping the Tar Pit: Principles of Continuous Improvement.” Video and full slides after the break.

Playing Tag in Org Mode

March 05, 2016

Once you have achieved Org Mode Nirvana (hopefully with the help of my previous post, Dig into Org Mode) and you have over 2,500 lines of Org notes and TODO lists as I do (I’m serious; see the screenshot below), you’ll want to seriously up your agenda game so that you can find stuff quickly.

One way to collate related information across Org files is by using tags. I’m not a tagging expert, but I’ll tell you what I know.

Advanced Window Management With Slate

January 31, 2016

I am mildly obsessed with window management. When I ran Linux full-time, I tried nearly every window management system I could find and ultimately fell in love with “tiling” window managers. I used Xmonad for more than a year and then switched to i3.

I have used a Mac at home for a long time and previously tried Slate and Spectacle for moving windows around quickly. When I was finally able to get a Mac at work I refocused my efforts into finding just the right solution.

I was quite happy with Spectacle until a colleague showed me that Slate now supports Javascript configuration, which makes it possible to do very sophisticated things. I used that facility to re-implement my favorite feature of Spectacle: the ability to cycle a window through three different sizes along one screen edge.

Here I’ll show you how it’s done. If you don’t desperately want to code up your own Slate system after reading this, I’ve done something terribly wrong.

Dig Into Org Mode

January 30, 2016

Org mode was one of the main reasons I tried Emacs (and left behind 15 years of Vim), and now it is a central part of how I organize my work. Org mode can help you take notes, track tasks, build agendas, process tabular data, and more. It’s so flexible that everyone uses it differently.

I use Org mode primarily to capture tasks and keep track of their progress. I sometimes take notes in Org mode, but I haven’t completely fleshed out my note-taking and searching workflow, so I’ll talk mostly about task management here.

Introducing Octopress.el

January 23, 2016

If you’ve ever scrolled all the way to the bottom of this blog, you’ll know that I use Octopress (a Jekyll-powered blogging system written in Ruby) to build it. What I like about Octopress is a subject for a different post, but I like it a lot.

Of course, as an Emacs user, it pains me to drop to a command line to do something that should be part of a fluid text editing workflow, and blogging is a great example of such a scenario.

To solve that problem, I wrote Octopress.el, an Emacs package for blogging with Octopress. Using Octopress.el, you can view your drafts and posts, publish, unpublish, build, preview, and even deploy your Octopress blog right from within Emacs!

Octopress.el can be installed right now from MELPA (package name: octopress), or downloaded from my Github (repository: octopress.el). Go get it, give it a try, send me issues or pull requests, and get blogging!

If you want to go on more of a detailed tour, continue reading!