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Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Got Miro?

I'm not sure whether it's very popular or not but there is the free as in GPL free video player called Miro.

Miro is a project of the Participatory Culture Foundation, a non-profit organization.

This is a very good video software which integrates well with YouTube and Googlevideo. All you need is a very good internet connection for downloading videos.

The reason I post about this is that there are some emacs videos which are worth downloading to understand how certain features are used. Of course you could do the same on the websites of the above mentioned video sites but the player gets them all in one place for later viewing.

Neat piece of software worth having and I have to confess that I use it a lot more than just Emacs videos. :-)

As for the feature set of Miro, you're better off checking the website here rather than me listing the features.

It is is a 1.x release and there are a few bugs in its UI but none of it is a show stopper that prevents you from seeing videos.

Be aware that the binary download is large.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

How does he do it?

I've been using Org mode for sometime now and I should say that it's one of the best productivity enhancing tools for me. It's helped to get things organised so fast that I find myself tasking thinking of org mode when planning something.

If there is anything that needs to be done in the next few days, I usually plug it into the org file and then forget about it(err, not that way) and let emacs remind me of all the things on my plate as the deadline approaches.

And Carsten Dominik has been brutal in his releases; I mean, bug fixes, new features, re-writes, the works, it's really amazing seeing the point releases come out. It's so fast that I had to switch to a monthly update of org releases i.e. download the org release only once a month.

It's frenetic. and absolutely beautiful to watch everything happen working on a simple text file.

I just don't know how he does the kind of output on implementing things on org mode.

Whatever he's doing, it's an enormously useful for the rest of the user community.

you can get the latest package here

Friday, December 7, 2007

Emacswiki, a must use resource

The emacswiki website is perhaps one of the best collection of Emacs
information in one place. ummm... that is apart from the Emacs
Manual. :-)

The canonical website is Since
this is a wiki, how does one keep track of all the new and modified
posts made by someone?

Simple, use the Recent Changes link to check for new entries

Plug that into your RSS reader and you can check the latest postings
on the wiki.

A Test Post using Emacs Gblogger

A test post.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Showing tabs

Without going into the debates of whether tabs are evil and what not, here's a simple way to visually see tabs in as you traverse text in a buffer.

(setq x-stretch-cursor t)
*Non-nil means draw block cursor as wide as the glyph under it.
For example, if a block cursor is over a tab, it will be drawn as
wide as that tab on the display.

Plug that into your .emacs and you should see a block cursor when emacs encounters a tab. I like this setting, as it's unobtrusive and shows up only when required.

Sure, there's M-x untabify and BlankMode but I prefer this as I scroll through the code quite slowly.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Other Editors....

Sometimes it's hard to explain why I use Emacs and not switch to other editors.
It's not that I have not tried other editors but I just don't see the point after looking at the feature list and the UI.

Every time a new editor comes out and someone talks up a new feature, it's either there in Emacs or someone quickly comes out with something similar.

Come to think of it, the complete integration of your work style either out of the box or through customisation is what keeps me with emacs. There is simply very little that you need to do or need a reason to step out of emacs.

Things that I find incredibly useful are


and a whole bunch of default settings in emacs. For a bad typist like me, the dabbrev and hippie expansion are a godsend. I mean, that alone saves hours of typing the same stuff over and over again.

Quite simply, I've come to the point where if an editor does not provide for easy integration with MY work style, I'd be quite reluctant to switch.

Am I saying I won't switch?

Quite the opposite, you better have something much, much better than what I have!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Pretty printing text using Emacs

Most editors will give you syntax colouring for languages which they support, typically Java, C++, and C and a gaggle of scripting languages. And a whole bunch of user supplied syntax files in each editor specific language file.

Emacs too provides such a feature but with a different twist where the things can be coloured on the fly. More importantly, any random buffer can be made to highlight any keyword based on regular expressions.

While working on Autosys scripts which had close to 100 odd steps it looked like the first screenshot.

To make it more readable, here's what I did

1. Colour the comment green
2. Colour the command shell script blue
3. Colour the Box name blue
4. Colour the condition as red

a. Start off by invoking M-x hi-lock-mode
b. hit C-x w l /\* RET hi-green-b and you get the second screenshot

c. hit C-x w l command: RET hi-blue-b
d. hit C-x w l box_name: RET hi-blue-b
e. hit C-x w l condition: RET hi-red-b

After doing the above, you should get something akin to the final screenshot. Now, that is something which is easier on the eyes (OK, bad colour choices) than the plain vanilla text file. In fact, nothing happens to the actual text file, only the emacs buffer containing the file is fontified.
In the Info manual, please see Emacs->Highlight Interactively to see other keybindings and colouring or font locking options.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Dired Power

One thing which strikes you when using Emacs is how it is designed by programmers for programmers. And then some.

Small things which might require a whole series of actions in other editors or complete context switching to another application are too easy in Emacs.

Take for example, getting the file name putting it in the clipboard or another application.

In Dired, just hit 'w' and you will get the file name in the kill ring. Paste that into any other application. Just think of the effort required on a Windows machine!

Want the full path? No problem, hit '0 w' to get the absolute path.

Right, you want a bunch of file names to be copied? mark all the files with 'm' and then hit w or '0 w'. You will get a space separated list of names in the kill ring which you can paste into another buffer.

Go on, try it out. Invoke dired by M-x dired or C-x d.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

A good habit

is to check the site, every day. Bunch of people use Emacs any which way and it's always nice to see someone use it in ways that make you go ahhhh!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Repeating Numbers in Emacs

With the universal prefix, ' C-u', it's possible to repeat text, either the default 4 times or with numeric arguments 'n', n times.

C-u 1 0 #

will give you 10 #s.

What if you want 10 1s?

C-u 1 0 1

only specifies a 101 repeat sequence.

A quick peek at the manual reveals the answer.

`C-u 6 4 a' inserts 64 copies of the character `a'. But this does not work for inserting digits; `C-u 6 4 1' specifies an argument of 641. You can separate the argument from the digit to insert with another `C-u'; for example, `C-u 6 4 C-u 1' does insert 64 copies of the character `1'.

So the answer is 'C-u 1 0 C-u 1'.

Emacs has all the answers, you need to ask the right questions. :-)

Well, it's about Time....

to create my own blog, I guess after everyone else has been there, done that. I'm going to try to stick to Emacs as much as possible without trying to engage in flames, baiting and insults. But my patience is legendary by its absence, so it's not going to be a promise.

That's it. This is done through the Web posting method on blogger. I'll soon figure out Emacsen way of posting to Blogger.