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This is the home-page of Karl Voit.

On this page you can see the latest blog updates. For further articles, please use the search bar or navigate through the blue tags. My recommendations are pim, privacy, or security.

I recommend any decent RSS/Atom aggregator to get notified on blog updates.

Most recent articles or updates:

2020-01-13: Thunderbird Can Not Share a Maildir With Notmuch

I've tried to set up a Xubuntu Linux host with Thunderbird as graphical mail client and notmuch as Emacs mail client.

My plan was, that they both share the same maildir hierarchy to store emails since Thunderbird offers maildir as a beta feature since years.

So far, I failed to accomplish so.

Read the whole article ...

2020-01-03: Estimations on Complexity

I'd like to recommend you two articles: Text Rendering Hates You and Text Editing Hates You Too.

The first one is explaining some aspects on implementing text rendering for a general purpose software. The second one extends the topic to text input.

Both topics do seem to be simple and straight-forward. Reading them will remind you that the devil is in the details.

I had a similar effect with The Problem with Time & Timezones by Tom Scott where he explains implementation implications on time and time zones.

TL;DR: avoid contact with any topic mentioned. ;-)

2020-01-01: UOMF: Logging With Emacs Org Mode

This is an article from a series of blog postings. Please do read my "Using Org Mode Features" (UOMF) series page for explanations on articles of this series.

In this article, I'm going to explain why and how I moved certain notifications and error logs to Org mode.

Read the whole article ...

2020-01-01: git: post-commit hook for determining large number of deleted lines in Org-mode

Update 2020-01-01: Modified version using appendorgheading

Maybe you have faced the very same issue: when large Org mode hierarchies are folded, it might happen that you overwrite or delete large parts of your Org mode file without noticing.

This is not a big deal if you happen to have your Org mode files within a git repository. All changes to my Org mode files even get committed automatically using gitwatch. Everything that happened to your Org mode files can be revoked. However, you have to recognize the deleted lines in order to be able to restore them.

And this is where this small trick can help you: using the post-commit hook below, you get a warning on your daily agenda when you check in a commit that deleted more than a given number of lines.

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2019-12-17: Erfahrungen und Tipps zu meiner Arbeitssuche

Ich war auf Arbeitssuche und habe nun eine neue Aufgabe gefunden. Ich werde hier nicht über meinen künftigen Arbeitgeber schreiben, da dieser Blog ausschließlich meine Privatmeinung wiedergibt und ich keine Vermischung dahingehen möchte.

Nur soweit: die Firma habe ich über persönlichen Kontakt gefunden. Das war insofern auch etwas überraschend, als dass schlussendlich vier Personalvermittlungsfirmen mit mir gemeinsam nach Jobs Ausschau gehalten haben und mir durchaus einige interessante Kontakte ermöglicht haben. Es war sehr spannend, Firmen im Bereich in und um Graz genauer kennenzulernen.

Dieser Beitrag hier gibt ein paar Lessons Learned wieder, da mich der Leyrer dazu motiviert hat. Er hat auch gesucht und darüber gebloggt.

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2019-12-12: Improving Code Robustness by Deriving Component Index for RegEx Matches

Update 2019-12-12: Email Comment: Named Groups

This is about an idea I've got for a slightly more robust handling of regular expressions (regex). It is not specific to Python but I'm using Python code snippets to explain what I mean. I don't claim that I'm the first person who is doing it like this. As often, after you have seen it, it may seem obvious anyway.

TL;DR: I'm using an example string on a regular expression to determine the index of the interesting chunks within the resulting list of matches. This has some advantages in certain situations.

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2019-11-26: Tagging Files With Windows 10

This quite lengthy article explains and discusses the built-in file tagging implementation of Microsoft Windows 10. I do have a strong background with PIM and tagging and this article is written from the human perspective when manually tagging user-generated files.

To my knowledge, Microsoft is currently not actively promoting this feature. Therefore, complaining on bad design decisions does not apply here as long as Microsoft does not understand this kind of tagging as something which was designed to be used by the general user. Because from my perspective, it obviously can't be meant to be used in practice. Unfortunately. Let's take a closer look why I came to this conclusion.

TL;DR: Microsoft Windows does provide NTFS features to tag arbitrary files. Some applications do also merge format-specific tags with these NTFS tags. Although there are quite nice retrieval functions for tags, it is very complicated to use this for general file management. Applied tags are easily lost so that in practice, users will refrain from using native Windows file tagging like this.

Table of contents:

  1. What Does Tagging Mean Here?
  2. A Well-Hidden Feature
  3. How to See and Assign Tags
  4. How to Make Use of Tags
  5. Playing Around With Tags
  6. Enabled File Types for Tagging
  7. How to Enable Tags for More File Types
  8. Relations Between Applications and Meta-Data
  9. History, Implementation Details, and Similar Implementations
  10. Windows 10 Tags Considered as Fragile
  11. Summary and Remarks

Read the whole article ...

2019-11-23: Johann Puch Museum

Yesterday, I visited the Johann Puch Museum of Graz. Johann Puch founded a company in Graz that got famous for their bicycles, motorcycles and cars.

I do recommend you to visit the museum on your own since there are many cool artifacts to see.

Here are just a few impressions from my trip.

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2019-11-16: UOMF: Linking Headings

This is an article from a series of blog postings. Please do read my "Using Org Mode Features" (UOMF) series page for explanations on articles of this series.

In this article, I'm going to explain how I am using internal links to create links pointing to headings using unique :ID: properties.

Read the whole article ...

2019-11-15: Per MediathekView Beiträge von der ORF TVthek herunterladen

Update 2019-11-15: ZIB2-Dateinamensergebnisse und Hinweis auf youtube-downloader

Der ORF bietet ein gutes Programm. Gerade für Österreicher ist er wohl das Maß aller Dinge im Bereich des täglichen Bewegtbildes. An Qualität und Inhalten ist er den privaten Konkurrenten meiner Meinung nach haushoch überlegen - besonders im Nachrichtenbereich. Ich oute mich als großer Fan der ZIB2, die ich keinen Tag versäume.

Dieser Beitrag beschreibt, wie ich Sendungen vom ORF herunterlade, um sie am Handy anzusehen - oder meistens sogar nur nebenbei anzuhören.

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2019-11-15: UOMF: Easy Entering Values for Org Mode Properties

Silent update 2019-09-25: added to blog series "Using Org Mode Features"

Update 2019-11-15: Screencast demo

Please do read my "Using Org Mode Features" (UOMF) series page for explanations on articles of this series.

If you are using Org-mode you might find yourself in a position, where you want to set or update a property value for an existing property.

In my case, I frequently do this for my contacts. Whenever a phone number changes, I add a note to the heading of the corresponding contact. Additionally, I maintain phone numbers in properties as well. To do this in a sane way, I only mark the new phone number (region) and press a keyboard shortcut which calls an Elisp function. This function asks me for the name of a property (with tab completion). Then, the value of this property is set to the string of the region.

Very handy.

Here is the Elisp code of my-org-region-to-property() which was made possible with the help of Antoine R. Dumont:

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2019-11-11: The Best Restaurants In and Around Graz


From time to time, I do love to eat in more or less fancy restaurants.

If I'm in the right mood, I blog about my experience.

Here is my list of my personal restaurant recommendations for Graz mostly in no particular order:

Please note that I did not get any money or other benefit for this list.

2019-11-09: Programming With PowerPoint

I just watched a video with Tom Wildenhain demonstrating how he is using Microsoft PowerPoint as a graphical programming environment:

Besides the fact that the video has great entertainment value, Tom is demonstrating quite impressively how someone is able to reverse engineer the inner workings of something. In this case, he did a very good job in finding out how Microsoft implemented the morph transition for various objects. This way, you can use PowerPoint to render 3D animations, for example.

I was astonished about handling cyclic dependencies between embedded slides within slides and navigating between them. Building interactive fractals within PowerPoint? Why not!

With that knowledge, he built a Turing Machine in PowerPoint which is actually pretty handy for demonstrating how these machines actually work.

Even if you're not interested in programming in PowerPoint, this fifty minute video shows you hardly known features you can use in your daily PowerPoint life: special transitions, use of high-quality 3D assets, export these 3D assets for using them in other tools, and so forth.

Lastly, he presents the Design Idea feature I noticed myself just a couple of days ago. With this awesome PowerPoint feature you create very high quality slides without any effort. While Microsoft was famous for having the ugliest templates of the market for decades, this is a new killer-feature where the alternatives do not have anything as good as that.

2019-11-09: UOMF: On How to Define Projects in Org Mode

Update 2019-11-09: my-mark-as-project()

This is an article from a series of blog postings. Please do read my "Using Org Mode Features" (UOMF) series page for explanations on articles of this series.

In my world, I tend to define "projects" as a construct that contains a set of tasks in order to reach a common project goal.

Within Org mode, I need a syntax element to decorate my projects as such in order to make sure Org recognizes projects in case I need Org mode support for projects.

Read the whole article ...

2019-10-30: Das SEPA Lastschriftverfahren ist schlecht für den Konsumenten

Ich habe im Laufe der Jahre aus Bequemlichkeit der Abwicklung heraus Firmen SEPA Lastschriftaufträge erteilt. Dabei erteilt man dem Vertragspartner die Erlaubnis, beliebige Summen vom eigenen Konto zu überweisen, um einmalige oder laufende Rechnungen zu begleichen.

Meiner Erinnerung nach wurde bei der Einführung vom SEPA-System gegenüber der Konsumenten auch so argumentiert, dass deren Position gestärkt wird. Jederzeit wird man seine SEPA-Mandate einsehen oder Mandate zurückziehen können. Es erschien mir logisch, dass das auch so gemacht wird, denn wo sonst hätte der Endverbraucher Vorteile. Die menschenunwürdigen IBAN sind ja definitiv eine Plage. Ältere Menschen empfanden die Umstellung als Qual oder gar als Ausschluss vom Finanzwesen: "IBAN der Schreckliche".

Es hat mich mal interessiert, wie meine Position als Kunde nun so aussieht.

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2019-10-26: All Things Org Mode: PIM, Scientific Writing, Presentation, Programming

On September 11 2019, there was a community-driven Emacs Org mode event in San Francisco called "All Things Org Mode". Luckily, it got recorded and published. The four speakers were:

  1. John Wiegley: how he is using Org mode in his daily life
  2. Tikhon Jelvis: how to produce nice HTML presentations via org-reveal
  3. Jeff Trull: some helpful findings on babel
  4. John Kitchin: writing scientific documents

I spent many hours with this one hour and 45 minute video. I took notes, did research on things I did not know so far and learned really a lot from it.

If you are interested in Org mode, you want to watch it. Even if you're not an Emacs person, you want to see at least the writing scientific paper part of John in order to get an impression how awesome the Emacs environment could be as a universal tool for generating digital things.

Here are my notes on most important findings, in case you want to go through them. For most readers, my notes are probably not relevant at all:

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2019-10-24: The Average Price Per Month for My Smartphones so Far

A few facts on the history of my Android smartphones so far are summarized in the following table:

Smartphone From Cost Years €/Month Notes
HTC Magic [2009-12-04 Fri] 230 1.5 13.00 2nd hand price
HTC Desire [2011-05-26 Thu] 410 2.4 14.01
Nexus 5 [2013-11-01 Fri] 399 3.8 8.67
OnePlus 5 [2017-09-01 Fri] 200 2.1 7.77 company co-funded
[2019-10-24 Thu] If I'd replace it today

Out of curiosity, I played with the numbers.

Read the whole article ...

2019-10-18: Lazyblorg Allows to Override Language Auto-Tags

If you are using lazyblorg to generate your blog, you may now override the auto-detected language for each article.

So far, the software supports German and English. The resulting auto-tags are language:deutsch and language:english respectively. In case the algorithm is not sure about the language, it results in language:unsure.

In any case, you may now override the language auto-tag by assigning a normal user tag like :deutsch: or :english:. On my blog here, you may find examples of overridden language tags on this, this or this article.

Everything related to tags and auto-tags is now documented in the new Wiki page for tags.

2019-10-16: Lazyblorg Now Links Larger Images

Today, I finished working on a lazyblorg feature I was thinking of for a long time: embedding images that link to a differently sized image. This way, you are able to include a smaller image within the blog article itself and allow your readers to take a closer look at a larger version of the same image.

This comes with some changes you might want to understand before upgrading lazyblorg and using that feature.

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2019-10-15: Grazer Pub: Konkurs wegen Rauchverbots. Seriously?

Heute gab es auf ORF Steiermark einen Artikel, wonach das Irish Pub "Molly Malone" den Betrieb einstellt. Als Insolvenzgrund wird das bevorstehende gesetzliche Rauchverbot angegeben.

Das halte ich für eine Ausrede.

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2019-10-12: UOMF: Presentation Slides Via Reveal and PDF Handout

This is an article from a series of blog postings. Please do read my "Using Org Mode Features" (UOMF) series page for explanations on articles of this series.

In this article, I will explain a neat method of conducting HTML screen presentations as well as generating the presentation handouts in PDF.

Read the whole article ...

2019-10-09: Memacs: Major Update of the Filenametimestamp Module

In the recent days, I was investing quite some work in a rewrite of the filenametimestamp module of Memacs for referencing files within Org mode independent of their storage path.

If you are already using this module, you should think of upgrading now because I fixed quite some bugs. Further more, it provides new functionality which could only be found in the corresponding stand-alone PoC module.

I won't go into details here, since I also updated the module documentation. For developers, I also created a decent set of unit tests.

The most current version of Memacs is available via pip install memacs but it may need some help from experienced users of pip.

2019-10-05: Microsoft as Hardware Innovation Leader and: HW Is More Innovative Than SW

Frequent readers of my blog know that I'm not quite a fan of software products by Microsoft. However, I was a fan of hardware done by Microsoft since decades. I was using the very same Microsoft mouse for probably twenty years. Yesterday, I was able to briefly test an Microsoft Arc Touch Mouse. Impressive device with brilliant design solutions, particularly for mobile workers. I own a used Microsoft Surface Pro 3 running Windows 10 which is a great concept and a remarkable piece of technology. Only to mention a few examples.

Now, Microsoft announced Surface Duo and Surface Neo - very unusual - over a year in advance.

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2019-10-02: Ein Blick in das Jahr 2000 - Sowjetische Programme, Projekte, Prognosen

Beim Ausräumen einer alten Garage viel mir dieses nette Stück Geschichte in die Hände: Ein Blick in das Jahr 2000 - Sowjetische Programme, Projekte, Prognosen

Es handelt sich um ein kleines Heftchen aus dem Jahr 1984 vom russischen Verlag RIA Novosti, der für russische Propaganda im Westen zuständig war und nach wie vor ist.

Die Titelseite des Heftchens.

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2019-10-01: Snowden on Personal Security and Privacy

Starting with the following tweet, Edward Snowden published a thread with recommendations of device/application choices and configuration measurements for maximizing security and privacy .

In recent interviews, I've gotten questions over if or how I use a smartphone. They're so dangerous for someone like me, so it's quite difficult to give an in-depth answer. But I published a paper with @bunniestudios a few years ago discussing some risks:

— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) September 21, 2019

This blog entry is an excerpt of this thread of tweets, not only but also to my personal reference.

Read the whole article ...