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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:

2021-09-16: 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.

2021-09-11: 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.

Read the whole article ...

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.

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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:

Read the whole article ...

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:

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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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2021-06-29: 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.

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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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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.

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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. ;-)

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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.

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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 ...