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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:

2021-12-02: Orgdown - the Interesting Feedback Phase so Far

At EmacsConf21, I announced a new standard for a lightweight markup language: Orgdown. I wrote about it in this article. You should have read it or watched the video in order to be able to understand this here.

Since the go-live, there has been some "interesting" development and I had some learning effects on community dynamics. In this article, I want to summarize my findings and provide some insight that reflects my personal situation now.

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2021-11-28: 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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2021-11-27: Orgdown - a New Lightweight Markup Standard for Text Documents

At EmacsConf21, I announced a new standard for a lightweight markup language: Orgdown.

As with every new standard, you need to think carefully before you launch something like this.

Original alt-text
xkcd comic "Standards" (Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 License; https://xkcd.com/927)

Therefore, I'm going to explain my motivation on this new standard here.

You can find a short version of this article in form of a twelve minute video I presented at the EmacsConf21.

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2021-11-22: People Describing Their Hardware/Software Setup

This is a constantly updated list of links where people are describing their personal hardware/software setup which I found interesting.

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2021-11-22: 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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2021-11-21: 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.

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2021-11-21: UOMF: Easy Dependency Creation With org-linker-edna

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.

After switching from the simple and built-in Org mode dependency method org-depend to the more powerful org-edna, I had to accept the more complex dependency definition syntax of org-edna.

One of the most basic tasks here are:

  1. Resolving the current heading should trigger a todo keyword for a remote heading.
  2. Resolving the current heading should trigger a scheduled date for a remote heading.
  3. Any heading that gets triggered by a remote heading should have a link to this dependency.

This is where org-linker-edna is going to help you. It comes with a dependency on org-linker as well as the helm framework.

You can see in my Emacs configuration how I set up the packages. It also contains the definitions of all custom functions mentioned.

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2021-11-21: 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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2021-11-19: 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.

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2021-11-11: 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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2021-10-30: What to Not Post or Share on Social Media

Peter Sagal wrote a tweet that summarizes some rules I've probably read somewhere else before. However, I took his reminder as a waking call for myself to change my behavior on social media such as Mastodon or Twitter.

Peter posted his rules as an image, which is a pity because this is preventing people from searching for its content. Don't do that. I could not find a web page which had the rules in text, so I do a full-quote myself.

His tweet starts with:

In response to narrowly spread demand, here are my Rules of Twitter. Note that each was learned by violating it repeatedly over the years, so don't bother going back in my feed to find contradictions... trust me, I know.

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2021-10-28: Per MediathekView Beiträge von der ORF TVthek herunterladen

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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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.

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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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2021-09-27: 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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2021-09-19: 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.

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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:

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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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