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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:

2021-10-17: Zettelkasten/Org-roam/Org-brain Is Crap

Update:

First, I'd like to apologize for the rude title. I used this rhetoric trick to get the right kind of people into reading these lines: People who care about the Zettelkasten-method and who are able to express the usefulness of it for themselves.

Now that I have your attention, I'd like to write down my personal concerns about the Zettelkasten method which may not reflect your reality. I then would love to read about your arguments why my prejudice might not be valid in general.

My pile of Org mode data is huge. There are certain costs attached to migrating my data to a Zettelkasten method, even if this would only affect my notes.org file which contains my general knowledge base.

At this moment in time, I doubt that I will move to a Zettelkasten approach. Nevertheless, I'd love to read your comments that try to falsify (or confirm?) my worries on that topic.

Read the whole article ...

2021-10-04: UOMF: Linking Headings With org-super-links (Poor-Man's Zettelkasten)

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.

Reading this article you will learn why the Zettelkasten method is not for everybody. Furthermore, I show you a nice Org mode extension to link headings with back-links.

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2021-10-03: Digitizing All Your Paper Stuff

Over the previous three years, I digitized almost all of my paper documents, converted them to PDF files, ran OCR so that I can find text via full text search, and threw away the paper. New paper artifacts like official letters are being digitized since then as well. This way, I can limit new paper to an absolute minimum.

With recycling most of the digitized paper, I got rid of a huge pile of paper I had to store, move, take care of.

However, my biggest motivation was that I had many paper artifacts which were not that important to store on the one hand but on the other hand also too valuable to dump. Further more, digital information can be linked, searched for (even coincidental), backup-ed, and so forth. Whereas a physical document only resides at one single place, not worth much if you don't grab it and look for its containing information.

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2021-09-29: 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).

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2021-09-27: Young Users No Longer Know How to File and Navigate

A friend sent me a very interesting article: Kids who grew up with search engines could change STEM education forever - The Verge

Please do read the article before continuing here because I won't repeat its ideas or content. I would like to comment on this article from my point of view.

Read the whole article ...

2021-09-26: Höhenrausch in Linz

This week, I was in Linz, the capital of upper Austria and the third largest city in Austria after Vienna and Graz.

Linz has a very nice historic center, lots of shops and awesome restaurants. In recent time, their advertisement video caused some discussions within Austria. Many cultural events take place in Linz. The most famous is Ars Electronica. In 2009, Linz was European Capital of Culture just like Graz was in 2003.

One of the things they did in 2009 was Höhenrausch which might translates with "high-altitude euphoria". I visited Höhenrausch this week because it will be discontinued afterwards.

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2021-09-21: The Best Restaurants In and Around Graz

Updates:

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:

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2021-09-21: Restaurantkritik: Le Burger

Am Wochenende hatten wir die Gelegenheit, das neu eröffnete Burgerlokal "Le Burger" am Eisernen Tor auszuprobieren.

Eingangsbereich.

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2021-09-20: A Draft Workflow for Advanced Project Management Using Org Mode and Org Edna

I'm currently dreaming of a workflow that allows complex project management within Org mode. Please do read my article how I define projects within Org mode. I won't repeat those things in this article here.

So far, I was using task dependencies via org-depend, writing manual :TRIGGER: and :BLOCKER: properties. This works perfectly fine. However, when you want to use more advanced features, you need to look for something different. For example, I sometimes want to schedule a task on the day I finalize a related one. Or I want to schedule a follow-up task three working-days after marking a specific task as done. Org-depend only allows to set todo keywords and has no functionality to control scheduled dates or other advanced stuff.

With having defined task dependencies explicitly, a full-blown project management workflow is more than just a nice to have. For example, I generate all tasks related to organizing and conducting a lecture via a very long, complex and static yankpad template. This way, I only have to maintain the snippet template and get all tasks for a semester with all of their dependencies using a short keyboard command.

When you can not apply a static template to your project, you have to define the dependencies of the tasks manually. Using an advanced (and more complex) syntax, this is a tedious and error-prone task to do. Therefore, I want to automate and semi-automate as much as possible so that project management does not have to deal with manually write cumbersome property syntax.

Read the whole article ...

2021-09-19: Schauspielhaus: "Die Laborantin"

Update 2021-09-19: Kritiken und Zwischensequenzen

Wir waren gestern im Schauspielhaus Graz, besser gesagt im Haus 2 dahinter. Dies hat einen eher spröden Charme vom Gebäude her aber einen für mich sehr sympathischen Touch bezüglich der Atmosphäre. Es wirkt direkter an den Schauspielern und tatsächlich ist auch zwischen der Bühne und dem Publikum kaum mehr als ein Meter Platz. Die kleine Kantine hat sogar Studentenpreise, die Schließfächer spucken den Euro wieder aus, man teilt sich gefühlt sogar die Toiletten mit den Angestellten.

Es war die Premiere von dem Stück "Die Laborantin", das im Original von Ella Road "The Phlebotomist" heißt.

Die Handlung spielt in einer nicht allzu weit entfernten Zukunft, wo die Analyse der Erbanlagen auf Krankheiten zum guten Ton gehört. Die Ergebnisse werden auf einen einzigen Wert zwischen Null (quasi im Sterben) und zehn (gesundheitlicher Gott auf Erden) reduziert, der nun die gesamte Gesellschaft definiert. Für gewisse Jobs, Kredite und so weiter braucht man eine Mindestwert. Und auch im privaten Umfeld bestimmt dieser Wert unser Handeln und Denken.

Es gibt nur vier Rollen im Stück. Wenn man so möchte, brillierten in den Hauptrollen Daria von Loewenich und Frieder Langenberger. Nicht minder toll fanden wir Iman Tekle und Franz Solar in den Nebenrollen. Allerdings ist es hier schwer zwischen Haupt- und Nebenrollen zu unterscheiden, muss ich sagen.

Erwähnenswert sind auch die toll gemachten Zwischensequenzen im Stück. Wer die genialen Zwischensequenzen von Paul Verhoeven in Robocop (1987) mag, wird das hier auch toll finden.

Es gibt aktuell noch sechs geplante Aufführungen bis inklusive 21. Oktober 2021. Ich kann nur empfehlen, sich Karten zu besorgen und das Stück zu genießen!

2021-09-16: How the Nature and the Culture of Easter Island Was Destoyed

I watched the documentation Easter Island - Where Giants Walked which is Episode 6 by Fall of Civilizations:

To my surprise, it provides convincing arguments that the common theory on how the people of Easter Island (or Rapa nui) has destroyed the paradise they originally discovered centuries ago is wrong on so many levels. The reasoning those arguments imply shows a totally different picture and you will be not happy about it, I'm afraid.

Without spoiling too much here, I would like you to watch this video yourself, as its one hour and fourty three minutes are time well spent in my opinion.

2021-08-30: UOMF: The Right Way to Use 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.

Many people wonder how Emacs Org mode is used in "the right way".

Here is my short answer to that: There isn't one right way for using Org mode features.

If this is obvious to you, you can skip the rest of this article. If not, you really should read this until the end. It may answer many questions you probably do have in your head. Especially when you're rather new with the Org mode universe.

Of course, the same rationale is true for all kind of advanced software solutions that offer a certain level of flexibility to its users. However, my examples here are based on Emacs Org mode.

Read the whole article ...

2021-08-28: Join my PIM Lecture at TU Graz

Starting with October 2021, I'm going to do my lecture on Personal Information Management (PIM) at the Graz University of Technology as well. So far, I did it at the University of Applied Science St. Pölten for a couple of years. I am proud to report that I always had excellent student feedback there.

For this new lecture, I do have the pleasure of being able to extend the content as it covers two hours a week (2 SMS or 2 ECTS).

The short summary is:

Through self-enabled, tool-independent requirement engineering and objective market exploration, attendees of this lecture should be able to decide on well-suited solutions in terms of workflows/processes and tools for Personal Information Management.

Watch my promo video:

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2021-08-09: How to Choose a Tool

Many times, I watch people making sub-optimal choices for their software tools. Maslow once said:

I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail.

For me, the proper way of choosing a tool is following this pattern:

  1. Requirements analysis.
  2. Choosing a method.
  3. Analyze the tools.
  4. Choose a tool.
  5. Optimization.

In that order.

Let's take a look at each step.

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2021-08-05: Textbausteine/Snippets als praktisches Helferlein im Alltag

Diesen Tipp kann wirklich jeder Computerbenutzer (selbstverständlich immer auch die weiblichen Computerbenutzer einschließend!) in der täglichen Computerarbeit brauchen: das automatische Einfügen von Textbausteinen (Englisch: snippet).

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2021-08-03: Don't Contribute Anything Relevant in Web Forums Like Reddit

If you're, for example, contributing to a reddit thread about something which is irrelevant or anything with only a short-term relevance, this article does not apply to you right now.

However, as soon as you're helping somebody solving an interesting issue, summarize your experiences with something or write anything that might be cool to be around in a couple of years as well, you do provide potential high-value content. My message to all those authors is: don't use web-based forums.

TL;DR: all of the content of closed, centralized services will be lost in the long run. Choose the platform you contribute to wisely now instead of learning through more large data loss events later-on.

The longer version is worth your time:

Read the whole article ...

2021-07-31: Email Debt Forgiveness Day

Celebrate Email Debt Forgiveness Day!

If there’s an email response you’ve wanted to send but been too anxious to send, you can send it on July 31st.

I do think this is a great idea for getting rid of emails that are waiting to be answered for (too) long. Go through your emails and make sure to link to the web site above in order to spread the word about it.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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2021-07-02: My Hardware Setup

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

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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.

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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.

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