Show Sidebar

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:

2021-07-24: The Emacs Lock-In Effect or the Emacs Sunk Cost Fallacy

Update 2021-07-24: Reply/comment by Deep-Fox6860

This is an extended comment from this original reddit thread where Deep-Fox6860 wrote:

Hi all, wanted to raise a discussion about a thought I had.
As a moderately experienced Emacs user (8 years), I've invested a LOT of time into learning and configuring Emacs (including email, RSS, browsing, calculator, etc). I can say that it does what I want and how I want it. I won't go into the fact that it's a never ending process because tastes and interests (+ jobs) change.
I would reckon that we all stick to Emacs, at least in some small part due to the sunk cost fallcy. Basically it means a price already paid in the past on our actions keep influencing our decisions in the future even though it shouldn't. From the link:
»People demonstrate "a greater tendency to continue an endeavor once an investment in money, effort, or time has been made."«
The question of whether the time invested in Emacs is worth the productivity gained is discussed here all the time. My view is to justify it by a combination of the following: believing in FOSS, (related to that) text centricity, and it could be viewed as a mental hobby, a creative outlet.
However I might admit that I exhibit some sunk cost fallacy thinking. It becomes clear when I realize that I WON'T recommend Emacs to new users - unless they are going to invest large amounts of time learning it, like I did.
What are your thoughts on this? would you admit that there's some irrational thinking in choosing Emacs over some other tools, e.g. the longer you use it the more you're convinced it's the best even though new tools are keep being developed.

I think I understand what you're writing here and to some extend, I do agree.

However, I would like to challenge the point of view to this good philosophical question on tool choice with this article.

Read the whole article ...

2021-07-21: Use the Reply-To Header in Emails

I should have written this article long time ago because according to my experience, most people don't know this very useful functionality of the email standard.

Most of you might know about the email headers Cc: and Bcc:. Only few know the email header Reply-To: which is as great as the other headers mentioned. And this is explaining why you should know about it and use it when appropriate.

Read the whole article ...

2021-07-04: Email Folders Are Not a Good Todo Management Tool

Most people are familiar with "keeping actionable emails in the inbox" as long as their associated tasks are not finished. I do think that this is not a good habit and here is why.

Read the whole article ...

2021-07-04: I Don't Find hjkl-Navigation Intuitive or Ergonomic

This is a nerdy rant on the design decision to use hjkl keys for arrow keys on an ancient keyboard and within software tools.

Read the whole article ...

2021-07-02: Die neue Falter Android App: Warum bloß?

Diese Woche kam ein Update der Android-App vom Magazin Falter auf mein Tablet. Ich muss dazusagen, dass ich kein gewöhnliches Tablet habe, sondern mit einem BOOX Note Air ein 10,2" e-Ink-Gerät habe. Es ist quasi wie geschaffen für aktives Lesen (annotieren, hervorheben, herumkritzeln) als auch normales Lesen (Webseiten, e-Books, Nachrichtenfeeds, ...). Daher genoss ich es, die Artikel vom Falter auf diesem tollen Gerät zu lesen. Bis vor dessen App-Update.

Das Update ist aus meiner Perspektive eine Verschlechterung auf fast allen Ebenen. Ich konnte nicht umhin, diese Zeilen hier zu schreiben, um eventuell auch Menschen in Entscheidungspositionen zu demonstrieren, was ihre Tätigkeiten für Auswirkungen haben, wenn der Benutzer nicht im Zentrum steht. Das beschränkt sich leider keinesfalls auf die Macher der Falter-App alleine.

Read the whole article ...

2021-07-02: My Hardware Setup

On this page, I summarize my IT set-up according to the last update time-stamp above.

Read the whole article ...

2021-06-29: What App am I Using for What and How?

Here is a list of tasks I do on my computers and the software I am using for accomplishing these tasks. The first column also links corresponding workflow descriptions with further information on how I am doing things which should be our focus, not the tool. At the very bottom, there are links to more workflow descriptions.

For all the Emacs people visiting this page: here, I just list a few Emacs packages. For more details on which packages I'm using for my workflows, please do visit my online Emacs config and check out the first chapters explaining my setup.

It is important to emphasize that you can not derive anything for your situation without knowing my requirements and how they lead to my choice for a tool. For some workflows, I've added a link to further information which might also contain a description of my requirements (first column).

Read the whole article ...

2021-06-24: Microsoft Windows: Up to Eleven

First, let me recap a bit of a very clear communication from Microsoft over the last years:

2015: Microsoft confirms there will be no Windows 11

October 2020 from the Microsoft Cyber_Defend_Team: There is no Windows 11 - Microsoft Community:

[...]
There is no longer anything call Service Pack and there is no plan to release any successor to Windows 10 like what is going around with name Windows 11. Windows 10 is the latest version of Windows and there are regular updates and new concept called release build.
[...]
Therefore, don’t believe on news about something called Windows 11 and only follow news from trusted and reliable sources. For example, you may follow Windows Blog for the latest information about Windows.
[...]

Finally: Windows 10 Will Be The Last Iteration Of The Operating System - Blog | Hardware Associates

Jerry Nixon, a Microsoft development executive, said recently that Windows 10 would be the "last version" of the desktop software. Instead of new stand-alone versions, Windows 10 would be improved in regular installments, the firm said.
[...]
The company said it hadn’t yet decided what to call the operating system beyond Windows 10. "There will be no Windows 11," said Steve Kleynhans, a research vice-president at analyst firm Gartner who monitors Microsoft.

Today, Microsoft announced Windows 11.

I don't think that this move is adding value to the credibility or trustworthiness of Microsoft. Not at all.

Read the whole article ...

2021-06-24: Moving from Thunderbird to Evolution for Emails and Calendar

This is my report on my migration process from Thunderbird Mail 78.8.1 (64-bit) to Evolution 3.40.1 (by Flathub.org). Except my use-case with linking to emails (via message-ID) and opening those emails, my story should reflect a general business email/calendar management point-of-view.

Read the whole article ...

2021-06-23: Kinesis Advantage2 LF Keyboard: My Custom QWERTY Layout, Touch-Typing, Dampening, Switches

This article is part of a current project of mine to re-think keyboard haptics, ergonomics and efficiency:

  1. Keyboards
    • Basics of (Mechanical) Keyboards
    • My Personal History of (Desktop) Keyboards
    • My Personal Desktop Keyboard Requirements
    • My Current Plans for Getting a New Keyboard
  2. Keyboard Switch Tester
  3. Kinesis Advantage2 LF Keyboard: Initial Review and Plans
  4. Kinesis Advantage2 LF Keyboard: My Custom QWERTY Layout, Touch-Typing, Dampening, Switches (this article)

Update 2021-06-23: (Touch-typing of the) F-keys

As you have read in the previous article (you should do so before continuing here), I was unsure how to use my Kinesis Advantage2 keyboard in my daily life.

Meanwhile, I'm using it as my solely keyboard for over a month. I can not say that I'm as fast as I was with my non-touch-typing roughly eight finger method from before on my Z-88. However, I am positive to continue using the Advantage2 for the upcoming months as I don't have any issues with switching keyboards while working in home-office only.

One thing I think is true is that with the Advantage2, I do have much less tensions of my shoulders. I assume this is related to the much more "relaxed" and wider positions of my arms while typing.

Read the whole article ...

2021-06-17: #IchbinHanna: unplanbare und familienfeindliche Uni-Karriere

Aktuell trendet auf Twitter der Hashtag #IchbinHanna. Der direkte Anlass liegt in einem Video vom deutschen BMBF zum Wissenschaftszeitvertragsgesetz.

In der Zwischenzeit wurde das Video vom Ministerium entfernt und es gibt ein Video vom BMBF-Staatssekretär Wolf-Dieter Lukas zur Situation.

Wer mehr zum Hintergrund wissen möchte, dem seien die ersten Minuten von dieser Minkorrekt-Podcast-Episode ans Herz gelegt.

Ich kenne keine genaueren Details zu der Situation in Deutschland. Jedoch haben wir in Österreich mehr oder weniger die gleichen Probleme, wenn man sich für eine Karriere in der Wissenschaft interessiert.

Read the whole article ...

2021-06-16: UOMF: Reference Management with Org Mode

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

While I was a PIM researcher at Graz University of Technology, I was using Emacs Org-mode for managing references to white papers and books.

My starting point was this description of a workflow. I added many features to the workflow and described it on GitHub.

John Kitchin from Carnegie Mellon University (blog, Twitter, GitHub) is an awesome Org-mode user and contributor. Every workflow he has implemented with Org-mode is a great source of inspiration for many similar workflows I use. If you're into teaching or doing research, you definitely have to follow his work!

So John has implemented reference management with Org-mode as well: org-ref got a major update these days. Because of his latest update, I write this blog post to explain my method, his method, and compare the approaches. This should give you a good starting point on your decision how you are going to use Org-mode for your reference management workflow.

Read the whole article ...

2021-05-24: Org Mode Is One of the Most Reasonable Markup Languages to Use for Text

Disclaimer: this is a very nerdy blog entry. It is about lightweight markup languages and why I think that Org mode is the best lightweight markup language for many use-cases. And with lightweight markup language, I do mean the syntax, the way you express headings, lists, font variations such as bold face or italic, and such things.

Please do note that this is not about Emacs at all. This is about Org mode syntax and its advantages even when used outside of Emacs. You can type Org mode in vim, notepad.exe, Atom, Notepad++, and all other text editors out there. And in my opinion it does have advantages compared to the other, common lightweight markup standards such as Markdown, AsciiDoc, Wikitext or reStructuredText.

Of course, Org mode is my favorite syntax. Despite my personal choice you will see that I've got some pretty convincing arguments that underline my statement as well. So this is not just a matter of personal taste.

If you already have a grin on your face because you don't have any clue what this is all about: keep on reading. It makes an excellent example for making fun of nerds at your next dinner party. ;-)

Read the whole article ...

2021-05-19: Moving from OnePlus5 to Pixel 4a Smartphone

I got myself a new Google Pixel 4a smartphone (running Android 11) which will replace my three year old OnePlus 5 which is still running Android 9 (OxygenOS 9.0.11) although the OTA upgrade to Android 10 should have been rolled out by now.

The OnePlus 5 is still working. Battery life has declined but more than enough for one day, camera is still great, I could easily live with the internal storage space, no scratches or reasons to replace it.

However, I chose to replace it because of the issues reported in the "Disadvantages" section of my review article on the OnePlus 5 which also explains why OnePlus is not an option for me as a brand any more.

The same article also mentions my thoughts on mobile phone requirements. You can even read more about my thoughts on an ideal smartphone.

This is a personal blog article which does not try to compete with the many review articles about this phone out there. Here are some things that came up during the decision and setup phase of the Pixel 4a I've got for a week now: device choice, cost perspective, notable features and a few issues worth mentioning that I have found so far.

Read the whole article ...

2021-04-30: Cal Newport on How to Work Efficiently

Cal Newport is an author of several books and a researcher. He is most famous for his work on Deep Work where he provides ideas on how to work in an effective and efficient way. He criticizes most corporate environments that suppress deep work.

I recently started to listen to his podcasts.

Here are some of Cal's tips in my own words:

I currently fail in all those categories. I'm unsure if I'm truly an addict on Twitter and Mastodon or if I'm "only" using to get valid input and not just distractions and (false?) affirmation.

His newest book on a world without email is on my shelve, waiting to be read some day.

2021-04-26: Feiertage Osterreich

Hier eine kleine Übersicht über die Feiertage in Österreich und wie "günstig" sie fallen hinsichtlich Wochentage für Arbeitnehmer:

Jahr Feiertage Mo-Fr Feiertage Sa/So Urlaubstage 24.12.-6.1. Folgejahr
2020 11 3 5
2021 10 4 8
2022 10 4 8
2023 12 2 8
2024 11 3 4
2025 12 2 4

2021-04-16: GLT21: Emacs Org mode Features You May Not Know

Update 2021-04-16: Video link

After the COVID19-related cancellation of our local open source community conference in 2020, the organizers of the "Grazer Linuxtage" moved to an online concept for this year's event.

I submitted a talk which was inspired by Bastien's article Org-mode features You May Not Know. My talk also covers a few general Emacs features which are also very handy when using Org mode. I consider this a fair argument so that the title is not misleading at all. ;-)

You can find the conference-page about the talk here. You can find the video of the talk here.

This article covers the content of the talk, further links and notes.

Read the whole article ...

2021-04-10: Clippings

On this page, I collect my public/media appearances of any kind.

Most recent updates:

Read the whole article ...

2021-04-02: Smart-Meter von Landis+Gyr in der Praxis

Ich habe seit kurzem ein Smart-Meter von meinem Netzbetreiber Energie Steiermark. Es wurde in der Politik so lange lobbyiert, bis nun die bewährten, problemlosen Drehstromzähler (Ferraris-Zähler) durch moderne, teure Smart-Meter-Geräte getauscht werden, die zudem etwas mehr Strom für sich selber verbrauchen und auch noch häufiger ausgewechselt und gewartet werden müssen.

Offenbar ist das mit massiven Kosten verbunden, die wir Verbraucher schlussendlich zahlen müssen, ohne, dass wir eine Chance gehabt hätten, das mitzubestimmen.

Nun gut. Dann muss es doch gute Argumente geben, warum wir in Österreich alleine 1,7 Milliarden Euro "investieren".

Read the whole article ...

2021-03-21: Kinesis Advantage2 LF Keyboard: Initial Review and Plans

This article is part of a current project of mine to re-think keyboard haptics, ergonomics and efficiency:

  1. Keyboards
    • Basics of (Mechanical) Keyboards
    • My Personal History of (Desktop) Keyboards
    • My Personal Desktop Keyboard Requirements
    • My Current Plans for Getting a New Keyboard
  2. Keyboard Switch Tester
  3. Kinesis Advantage2 LF Keyboard: Initial Review and Plans (this article)
  4. Kinesis Advantage2 LF Keyboard: My Custom QWERTY Layout, Touch-Typing, Dampening, Switches

As teasered in my article about keyboards, I found myself a (used) Kinesis Advantage2 LF keyboard. It was not as expensive as a new one. There is no option to get it with other switches as Cherry MX brown or red. Furthermore, they are not hot-swappable. And changing the switches is a major project in terms of disassembling this quite non-standard keyboard hardware.

My Advantage2 LF came MX Cherry red switches. They are somewhat okayish. What does worry more is the hollow sound it has because of the large resonating body. There are modification projects that deal with this issue and I'm thinking of following this one some day.

The keyboards has a nice community of enthusiasts Some of them even hoarded multiple keyboards just to be prepared when Kinesis decides to discontinue this product line.

Read the whole article ...

2021-03-06: UOMF: My Current Life-Cycle of an Org Mode Task

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 give a brief overview on my current habit of using Org mode todo keywords, scheduled dates and org-edna triggers to define the life-cycle of an Org mode heading that is a task at least once.

Read the whole article ...

2021-02-21: Keyboard Switch Tester

This article is part of a current project of mine to re-think keyboard haptics, ergonomics and efficiency:

  1. Keyboards
    • Basics of (Mechanical) Keyboards
    • My Personal History of (Desktop) Keyboards
    • My Personal Desktop Keyboard Requirements
    • My Current Plans for Getting a New Keyboard
  2. Keyboard Switch Tester (this article)
  3. Kinesis Advantage2 LF Keyboard: Initial Review and Plans
  4. Kinesis Advantage2 LF Keyboard: My Custom QWERTY Layout, Touch-Typing, Dampening, Switches

If you have read my article about keyboards, you have realized my interest in ergonomics and other details of keyboards. You have also learned that there are many different mechanical switches.

Since the haptic experience of pressing a switch is difficult to describe and even more difficult to imagine, I have decided to buy a switch tester.

I was lucky to find an offer of a large switch tester which is brand new and which was bought accidentally twice. I got it for about 50€.

Read the whole article ...

2021-02-21: derGrazer: Tendenziöse Berichterstattung zur Grazer U-Bahn

Diese Woche gab es einigen Aufruhr wegen der Veröffentlichung von Plänen des Grazer Bürgermeisters Mag. Siegfried Nagl (ÖVP) mit seinem Vizebürgermeister Mag. (FH) Mario Eustacchio (FPÖ).

Graz mit seinen rund 300.000 Einwohnern soll eine U-Bahn bekommen, um seine Probleme im öffentlichen Verkehr zu bekämpfen.

Das wurde unter anderem auch mit einer Umfrage von der Wochenzeitung derGrazer untermauert, wonach 42,5 Prozent der Grazer das Vorhaben positiv sehen. Laut Impressum ist derGrazer eine "Unabhängige Wochenzeitung für Graz und Umgebung".

Ich habe mir das mal angesehen. Gleich vorweg: ich gehöre keiner politischen Partei an, bin kein Experte für Verkehrsfragen, habe als Grazer jedoch großes Interesse an einem bestmöglichen, öffentlichen Verkehr.

Read the whole article ...

2021-02-04: Viral Video: Speed Boat Accident

Once in a while, I get curious about the story behind certain meme pictures or videos. Then I try to find some backgruond story.

One of the most famous boat crash GIFs is based on this video.

Here is an article on the background story for it. Luckily, all people survived the incident.

2021-01-31: Keyboards

This article is part of a current project of mine to re-think keyboard haptics, ergonomics and efficiency:

  1. Keyboards (this article)
    • Basics of (Mechanical) Keyboards
    • My Personal History of (Desktop) Keyboards
    • My Personal Desktop Keyboard Requirements
    • My Current Plans for Getting a New Keyboard
  2. Keyboard Switch Tester
  3. Kinesis Advantage2 LF Keyboard: Initial Review and Plans
  4. Kinesis Advantage2 LF Keyboard: My Custom QWERTY Layout, Touch-Typing, Dampening, Switches

Updates:

Here is an article on keyboards and my personal keyboard history including plans to buy a new mechanical keyboard soon.

Read the whole article ...