Writing Software Beyond Emacs

The ideal writing application is emacs, at least for me. In the absence of emacs (as on a tablet,) I've been thinking about what features I actually need in a writing application. While I've grown to admire the power of a full Lisp machine in my text editor, I accept that it's not, strictly speaking required. Here's a first stab at the list of requirements. Feel free to comment or submit a patch to this page.…

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Android Tablets and the Workstations of the Future

I've only had the tablet for a few weeks, but I'm pretty sure the tablet incarnation of Android is probably 80% of what most users need in a workstation. I'm not most users, but I figure: hook up a big screen and a real keyboard. Create some key bindings to replace most of the gestures, and write a few pieces of software to handle document production, presentations, and spreadsheets in a slightly more robust manner, and you're basically there.…

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Publishing System Requirements

Like issue tracking systems, documentation publication systems are never quite perfect. There are dozens of options, and most of them are horrible and difficult to use for one reason or another. Rather than outline why these systems are less than ideal, I want to provide a list of basic requirements that I think every documentation publishing system [1] should have. Requirements Tag System. You have to be able to identify and link different pieces of content together in unique and potentially dynamic ways across a number of dimensions.…

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Org Mode and Mobile Writing

This post is adapted from a post I made to the org-mode email list a few weeks ago. I proposed an application to compliment MobileOrg for writing. Where MobileOrg collects the core bits of org-mode's task planning functionality in a form that makes sense for smart phone users, the parts of org-mode functionality that people use to for writing and organizing the content of larger form projects isn't particularly accessible.…

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Tablet Interfaces and Intuition

I've been using FBReaderJ to read .epub files on my tablet recently, and I discovered a nitfty feature: you can adjust the screen's brightness by dragging your finger up or down the left side of the screen. Immediately this felt like discovering a new keybinding or a new function in emacs that I'd been wishing for a while time. Why, I thought, aren't there more tricks like this? The iPhone (and the iPad by extension) as well as Android make two major advances over previous iterations of mobile technology.…

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Issue Tracking and the Health of Open Source Software

I read something recently that suggested that the health of an open source project and its community could be largely assessed by reviewing the status of the bug tracker. I'm still trying to track down the citation for this remark. This basically says that vital active projects have regularly updated bugs that are clearly described and that bugs be easy to search and easy to submit. I'm not sure that free software communities and projects can be so easily assessed or that conventional project management practices are the only meaningful way to judge a project's health.…

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Is Android the Future of Linux?

By now, several weeks ago, in correspondence Matt Lundin that he thought Android was probably future of Linux," mostly as a throw away line. This feels like a really bold statement, [1] and I've enjoyed thinking about Android and "the future of Linux." [2] On the face of it, Android is the future of Linux. Android is the Linux that most people will interact with before all others in a concrete manner.…

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