Portable Emacs-onna-Stick – USB Geekiness

I had quite a phase of using Emacs a while ago. One problem I hit was that I’d find a great trick for using it for PHP and JavaScript stuff at work, then forget to copy the stuff to home. Then, I found a nice code-folding trick at home, and forgot to copy that to work. Once I realised, I had to fiddle about working out what bits I needed to copy between the two installations to make everything work the same.

I’m back with Emacs now, and trying to use PlannerMode for basic ‘GTD stuff’. If I can’t take my lists to work with me, though, it’s a bit less convenient. It’s much easier to have access to the lists there than to have to email stuff to work that I need to do there, or to home that I need to do there.

GTD with Emacs PlannerMode

Latest Update: Removed PlannerLove – the site is sadly departed, and the domain has been bought by some domain squatters.

Sacha is currently writing the book on Emacs. When it comes out, it would seem rude for me to not buy a copy and read it. And she’s a small powerhouse of infectious enthusiasm, which will drag me back to Emacs. So, I’m giving up early and going back now. I know when I’m beaten. I’d just got myself nicely settled as a Vim user, too…


Recently, I’ve been trying out a new way of doing GTD, and it seems pretty good to me. In the end, it was Emacs I couldn’t cope with using, but if you get on with Emacs, this could be for you. Let’s start with a disclaimer this time, though…

  • This is one for the geeks.

It’s all based around using the Emacs text editor, which isn’t the easiest thing around to use, even just to edit a text file. It balances a couple of elisp programs on top of that, too, which let you do all sorts of clever things, using nothing but plain text. If you’re geek enough, though, and the idea of keeping everything in plain text appeals to you, this is one fast GTD system…

Filesystem GTD

I’ve done GTD in an assortment of different ways over the years, and one idea I’ve kept coming back to, but never quite used for long is running the whole system in the computer’s filesystem. The idea is that GTD is just a matter of lists, and the list of files and subfolders in a folder is a list, so the one could represent the other. Most of the stuff I actually work with is in some sort of computer file, so it would seem like a sensible way to do it.

I’ve tried it out, and it does work. I’ve got a PDA again now, though, which makes a pretty convincing argument for keeping everything in Outlook tasks, so I didn’t stick with it for long. In the time I’d been trying it out, though, BigNosedUglyGuy had been asking about it, so I put some notes together to let him know what I’d been doing. That also means I’m halfway through writing it up – might as well finish the job and post it…