Jack Baty – Director of Unspecified Services

Doom Emacs vs my custom Emacs config

I’ve become catatonic over whether to use Doom Emacs or my home-rolled Emacs configuration, so I’m jotting down a few notes to help me think it through. Doom has very good defaults, looks great, and continues to fine-tune a bunch of behaviors in a way that I generally get along with. (I like it more than the other big contender, Spacemacs). On the other hand, Doom’s behavior feels out of my control and things change frequently, forcing me to pay attention to my editor in a way that I’d rather not.

Brett Terpstra's 'Doing' utility

Brett Terpstra, revisiting the “doing” CLI: I haven’t written much about doing since then, but I continue to use it daily. It’s come a long way. It not only creates rich logs of my time at my computer, it also handles time tracking and reporting and integrates with my system via LaunchBar, various automations, and GeekTool. You know how git log can be really useful after a long night of hacking, or a few days of being away?

An app can be a home-cooked meal - Robin Sloan

Robin Sloan: For a long time, I have struggled to articulate what kind of programmer I am. I’ve been writing code for most of my life, never with any real discipline, but/and I can, at this point, make the things happen on computers that I want to make happen. At the same time, I would not last a day as a professional software engineer. Leave me in charge of a critical database and you will return to a smoldering crater.

How To Take Smart Notes With Org-mode - Jethro Kuan

Jethro Kuan: This is the workflow I use. Here I explain what I think note-taking should be, and why it should be this way. I implore you (especially users of Org-roam) to read this through. Jethro describes how he takes notes in Org mode and specifically how he uses org-roam. I am still deciding between Roam and org-roam so this was helpful. And remember, it’s the backlinks!

My day so far in Roam and/or Emacs

A quick rundown the chaos in my head around Roam and Emacs and how it has affected my day so far. 6:00am Realize on the way to work that Roam just isn’t a great idea for holding my (hopefully) long-term “second brain”. $30/month forever in a proprietery blah-de-blah? Nope, and by the way org-roam is perfectly suited for this. I want long-term stability and control for this sort of thing and what could be more long-term-stable than Emacs and plain text files, right?

Early notes about Roam Research

Roam is “A note-taking tool for networked thoughts.” There’s nothing better than trying a new tool and having it feel immediately right. Roam thinks the way I do. Or at least it behaves in a way that makes sense to me. The world is short on tools with nicely-implemented bi-directional linking. I LOVE bi-directional linking. This is why I’ve continued using TheBrain for so many years. I connect two things and suddenly they both know about each other forever.

Taika Waititi on Apple Keyboards

Taika Waititi at the Oscars: Apple needs to fix those keyboards. They are impossible to write on. They’ve gotten worse. It makes me want to go back to PCs Could be the most interesting thing said at the oscars :).


Org-roam is a new Emacs package by Jethro Kuan. Here’s his blog post introducing org-roam. I’ve a feeling this is going to be something. I’ve been using Roam for a while now and it’s wonderful. Easy linking between pages/notes and automatic bi-directional linking with context is so great. All this Roam use made me start feeling less interested in keeping notes in Org mode. Gasp! Putting notes in Roam pays immediate dividends.

Moving sites around

This is just me taking notes about where stuff is and where it’s going, server-wise. Running Cloudron has been a great experience, but I don’t know that I can swing the $30/month fee for the convenience. Rumor has it that they are working on a more palatable pricing structure for personal use. I’ll look forward to that, but for now… I’ve spun up a fresh EC2 instance and installed and moved a few things from other servers.

TiddlyWiki and Roam and my Daily Notes

A few notes about differences between TiddlyWiki and Roam related to my daily note taking process. In October, 2018, I created a wiki at rudimentarylathe.org using the wonderful TiddlyWiki. Since then I’ve written just shy of 1,000 "tiddlers" there and it’s been a totally pleasant experience. The original intent of the wiki was to record notes about things or topics that interested me. I planned to keep notes on "


I’ve been using 1Password for years without too many issues. It’s a nicely designed and implemented app with a long history. I really had no reason to look elsewhere. However, there’s been a lot of noise lately about them taking $200 million in VC money. I’m not that concerned. They’ve grown and want to grow faster, so fine. It did, however, make me take a quick look at the alternatives, just in case.