...but it lacks a good text editor
July 25, 2010 11:40 AM   Subscribe

Org-Mode! Need help Getting Things Done(tm) but bogged down by intuitive keystrokes and GUI interfaces? Emacs to the rescue! Here's a Basic Tutorial, an Advanced Tutorial, a Compact User Guide, and a Quick Reference Card to help you get started.
On the Go? No problem! MobileOrg app works with iPhone and iPod Touch, and syncs with dropbox. (an android equivalent is in the works). Org-mode also plays great with remember-mode, which lets you quickly add notes without interrupting your workflow.

...but how do I install it? Sadly, if you have to ask, then it probably isn't for you, but here you go.
posted by leotrotsky (27 comments total) 38 users marked this as a favorite

 
Oh, and here's a great introduction by the creator of Org-mode, via a Google Talk
posted by leotrotsky at 11:42 AM on July 25, 2010


I want to use these tools, I really do. I've tried Orgmode, Evernote, Things, Google Calendar, Remember The Milk, and I'm sure a half-dozen other similar projects. At least Orgmode is part of Emacs, which I truly love and hold dear.

Things that annoy me (in a classic Orgmode list):
* the loss of shift+arrows. No, I don't want to change the status of my items, I want to highlight some text!
* scanty export. I want instant pretty, but I also want the template to be easily modified. I don't want to go digging through some hairy Lisp file to figure out how to do this.
* remember-mode? Why? Why must every aspect of my life become Emacsinated?

That said, if you like the idea of a lightweight note manager that synchronizes to your iPhone, Evernote has a free edition that's really nice and takes pictures!

Disclaimer: I don't use any of these in a realistic manner aside from the one week "ooh shiny" interaction when I first discover them.
posted by onalark at 12:05 PM on July 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Org mode is about as close I have ever come to actually keeping track of stuff I have to do.

It also comes in handy as a general purpose note-taking system for meetings or lectures: I used it in the last two conferences I attended, with pretty good results.

On preview, I didn't even remember you can use shift+arrow for region selection in emacs, try using ctrl+space and movement commands.
posted by Dr Dracator at 12:10 PM on July 25, 2010


I finally bit the bullet and learned org-mode a year or two ago, and it has saved my life at work. I don't lose track of tasks or email to respond to anymore, and I can find year-old information and my notes about it in a flash. You have to be willing to devote a few hours to learning to use it well, but if you're an Emacs user already you are probably capable of that.
posted by dfan at 12:13 PM on July 25, 2010


Yeah shift+arrow is very easy to do without (I disable it on my emacs in case I do it by mistake, and have firemacs installed so I can use emacs key bindings in my browser). Org mode is a great way to keep track of things, and very easy to work with, I had it open in a window next to my web browser even before I saw this post.
posted by idiopath at 2:03 PM on July 25, 2010


That "advanced tutorial" is actually a detailed description of how some guy uses org-mode, and isn't really a tutorial at all.
posted by kenko at 3:25 PM on July 25, 2010


Things that annoy me (in a classic Orgmode list):
* the loss of shift+arrows. No, I don't want to change the status of my items, I want to highlight some text!


You might be interested in org-replace-disputed-keys, which if non-nil lets you easily replace disputed bindings such as shifted arrows with other bindings.

* scanty export. I want instant pretty, but I also want the template to be easily modified. I don't want to go digging through some hairy Lisp file to figure out how to do this.

Looking at the built-in export options (C-c C-e), I see export as HTML, export as HTML and open in browser, export as LaTeX, and export as LaTeX and process to PDF and open PDF immediately, among others.

* remember-mode? Why? Why must every aspect of my life become Emacsinated?

That's a feature!
posted by harmfulray at 6:02 PM on July 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


My 11.000 line profile.ml never recovered from the transition away from mlisp. It's been decades, but I still dream in emacs.
posted by StickyCarpet at 6:16 PM on July 25, 2010


leotrotsky, so have you tried to give it a go? You never replied to my ramble in the other thread. What has been your experience so far?
posted by wobh at 8:29 PM on July 25, 2010


I've had a couple of false starts. The underlying complexity is pretty daunting to me. I'm in school right now, and I don't really have sufficient stuff going on in my life to justify the time to learn it. I'll probably give it a go when I career transition, to prevent stuff from falling through the cracks. The discovery of Mobile-Org is actually a super-big bonus, because the absence of a portable instance was a real negative.

Now if there were only some way to integrate it with mail that didn't require me to learn gnus...
posted by leotrotsky at 8:58 PM on July 25, 2010


My 11.000 line profile.ml never recovered from the transition away from mlisp. It's been decades, but I still dream in emacs.

u r old

(I used Gosmacs from the earliest released versions, before it became Unipress Emacs.)
posted by Crabby Appleton at 9:05 PM on July 25, 2010


Last night an org-mode saved my life.

Seriously, if I manage to keep my job through these economic hardtimes, it's because I learned how to org-mode. It's not for everyone, but I've been put through every study skills program known to man and nothing has made me more organized than this. The only other thing that's worked is slavish devotion to a PDA. Now I can combine the two! (I don't know of an emacs for Palm, but I do take notes on my phone, then convert them to org-mode. No, it's not a neat all-in-one, but I find transcribing things helps me reorganize them. It's part of the process for me.)
posted by Eideteker at 9:43 PM on July 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'd sure like to try this but . . . fucking emacs, how do they work?
posted by chaff at 10:24 PM on July 25, 2010


Looking at the built-in export options (C-c C-e), I see export as HTML, export as HTML and open in browser, export as LaTeX, and export as LaTeX and process to PDF and open PDF immediately, among others.


So I have actually tried all of the different export modes, and I always need to massage the output LaTex or HTML. It's important that I control the template, and I guess I just don't have the emacs-fu.

Thanks for pointing out disputed-keys.
posted by onalark at 12:18 AM on July 26, 2010


Why am I hearing about org-mode on every one of my internets in the last 30 days? Was there a big breakthrough in org mode technology or something?
posted by DU at 4:45 AM on July 26, 2010


It runs vi, so it does have a real text editor.
posted by clvrmnky at 8:23 AM on July 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


So I have actually tried all of the different export modes, and I always need to massage the output LaTex or HTML. It's important that I control the template, and I guess I just don't have the emacs-fu.

You've probably looked at the relevant section of the manual, but there is support for adding literal LaTeX snippets and at least some degree of template customization. If you have a use case that's currently unsupported it might be worth your while to submit a feature request (M-x org-submit-bug-report).

Why am I hearing about org-mode on every one of my internets in the last 30 days? Was there a big breakthrough in org mode technology or something?

There was a new major version released recently.
posted by harmfulray at 12:22 PM on July 26, 2010


I know it's hip-geek heresy, but I'd rather gnaw off my hands than use emacs or vi.

Org mode seems cool, but if anything it would seem to increase the vertical learning curve in adopting GTD rather than smoothing it out. (Unless you already know and like emacs.)
posted by snuffleupagus at 8:36 AM on July 27, 2010


Org mode seems cool, but if anything it would seem to increase the vertical learning curve in adopting GTD rather than smoothing it out. (Unless you already know and like emacs.)

I think Steve Martin said it best:

Anna knew She had to have a new pair of shoes today, and Carlo had helped her try on every pair in the store. Carlo spoke wearily, "Well, that's it. That’s every pair of shoes in the place."
"Oh, you must have one more pair. . . .”
"No, not one more . . . . Well, we have the cruel shoes, but no one would want to try . . .
“Yes, let me see the cruel shoes!"
"No, you don't understand, you see, the cruel shoes are . . .'
"Get them!"
Carlo disappeared into the back room for a moment, and then reappeared carrying an ordi nary shoebox. He took off the lid and re moved a hideous pair of black and white pumps. But this was not an ordinary pair of black and white pumps; both were left feet, one had a right angle turn with sepa rate compartments that pointed the toes in impossible directions. The other shoe was six inches long and was curved inward like a rocking chair with a vise and razor blades to hold the foot in place.
Carlo spoke hesitantly, ". . . Now you see . . . they' re not fit for humans . . ." "Put them on me."
"But... "Put them on me!"
Carlo knew all arguments were useless. He knelt down before her and forced the feet into the shoes.
The screams were incredible.
Anna crawled over to the mirror and held her bloody feet up where she could see.
"I like them."
She paid Carlo and crawled out of the store into the street.
Later that day, Carlo was overheard saying to a new customer, "Well, that's it. That’s every pair of shoes in the place. Unless, of course, you'd like to try the cruel shoes."

posted by mecran01 at 10:43 PM on July 27, 2010 [4 favorites]


Oh, and I couldn't get the iphone version to log into dropbox.
posted by mecran01 at 11:22 PM on July 27, 2010


Taskpaper is a simplified version of mobile org.
posted by mecran01 at 8:34 AM on July 29, 2010


I have used org-mode on a daily basis at my current job for the last two years or so. It works so much better than the wiki system I used to use. I feel like I am barely scratching the surface of what it is capable of. I wish it had a tip of the day feature (maybe it does, buried in a warren of Elisp somewhere).
posted by grouse at 10:46 AM on July 30, 2010


grouse: "tip of the day feature"

Does emacs have something like cron built in? Because many of us keep one emacs process running for months on end, and would still appreciate a tip of the day.
posted by idiopath at 4:05 PM on July 30, 2010


gnus manages to check for mail/news every N minutes somehow. I don't know what process does the cronification, though.
posted by DU at 6:17 PM on July 30, 2010


Aha, run-at-time would do it.

Making a function that echoes a little help text or shows it in a buffer is trivial:

(message "this is a help text")

(with-current-buffer (get-buffer-create "help display")
  (insert "this is a help text")
  (pop-to-buffer "help display" t))
The hard part would be writing all the tip of the day text.
posted by idiopath at 6:33 PM on July 30, 2010


The hard part would be writing all the tip of the day text.

I just realized that the contents of the org-mode reference card would make great tips of the day.
posted by grouse at 1:41 PM on August 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm taking another pass. I figured out what was going wrong with my tables and I fixed it...
posted by onalark at 9:40 AM on August 23, 2010


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