‘The half minute which we daily devote to the winding-up of our watches is an exertion of labour almost insensible; yet, by the aid of a few wheels, its effect is spread over the whole twenty-four hours.’
Benjamin Slade

Linux Terminal Emulator Features and Hardware Compatibility

In a continuing series of, er, terminal-related posts, a look at some features of a subset of terminal emulators on Linux. I mainly use vterm inside of Emacs, usually via Equake, but sometimes I do want to spawn a terminal outside of Emacs, and so I’ve been curious about the properties of different terminals, including the ability to be used across a wide range of hardware. A few weeks ago, I came across Zutty, which describes itself as:

Towards a history of Quake-style drop-down terminals

Continued work on fooling Emacs into behaving like a drop-down console (i.e. Equake), set me to thinking about the development of Quake-style drop-down terminals. The frequent label “Quake-style” does seem to suggest at least part of the origin in the computer game Quake (1996), or at least that the drop-down console in Quake was the most prominent/remembered example of this sort of UI.[0] On Linux/Unix, a number of terminal emulators have been designed with Quake-style drop-down interaction, and other platforms now seem to have these as well.

Dealing with possessed TrackPoints on later model ThinkPads

On a new-to-me ThinkPad T440p, I’ve had the worst time with the TrackPoint. First, the stock configuration has a horrible touchpad - which shouldn’t matter if you don’t use the touchpad, but the horribleness of it is that the physical buttons that should be on the top of the touchpad, and are on the touchpads of models preceding and following the **40 line, are not there. But one can replace it, and so I did.

Equake: A Geas on Gnomish Smiths

A new version of Equake, the drop-down “terminal emulator” for Emacs, should be hitting Melpa shortly. This version includes a number of bug fixes, and some new features. Jeff Kowalski added code for a “close Equake frame on loss of focus feature” (similar to the Tilda feature) and a number of bug fixes and code-cleanup. Further: I’m (half-)jokingly calling this the Geas on Gnomish Smiths release as I’ve finally figured out how to make it behave properly under GNOME Shell Wayland.

Free keybinding with Tridactyl in Firefox, and in-Emacs editing

Since the effective demise of the Conkeror web browser, I’ve mainly been using Firefox (with some experimentation with Nyxt browser). I’ve missed the ability to quickly browse with the keyboard and customise keybindings. I’ve played with the Tridactyl extension for a few years, but Firefox limitations in part have kept me from using it more extensively. But I stumbled across a relatively easy way of “unreserving” reserved Firefox keys (like <C-p>, <C-f> etc.

Automatically adding information to Org-roam file properties

This expands on a feature I included in the setup for using Org-roam on Android/LineageOS in the last post, specifically automatically adding properties to newly created Org-roam files. Since Org-roam v2 creates a top properties drawer (with an :ID: tag) anyway, it is nice to stick other information there as well. Specifically, information that could be useful in some situation, but which usually we don’t want to see, like :AUTHOR: (it’s probably you, and you know who you are), :CREATION_TIME: (and why not use Unix epoch time?

Org-roam on Android

I’ve been using the note-taking Zettelkasten-ish Org-roam system for a few months and it’s been very useful to me, just as a low-friction way of making more notes and easily finding and/or (re)discovering notes that I’ve made. It’s pretty useful to be able to have access to these notes, and be able to quickly add notes, on mobile as well. I thought it might be useful to include here some notes on how to do, since (especially since v2 of Org-roam) there are some hurdles.

Dynamically set pdf-tools annotation colours

In Emacs, pdf-tools can be used to add annotations to a PDF document. It can be useful to have multiple annotation colours though, and be able to set these on the fly. Here’s an example of how to do it with four colours: ;; annotation colours (defun bms/pdf-annot-colour-blue () (interactive) (setq pdf-annot-default-markup-annotation-properties '((label . "") (color . "blue") (popup-is-open))) (message "%s" (propertize "Annotation colour set to blue." 'face '(:foreground "blue")))) (defun bms/pdf-annot-colour-yellow () (interactive) (setq pdf-annot-default-markup-annotation-properties '((label .

Twiddler config for Emacs

The Twiddler [here’s archive.org’s link, as the site seems to be down as I write this], a one-handed chording keyboard, has a longish history of being associated with Emacs. Here’s 1990s Alan Alda interviewing Thad Starner, who’s using a wearable-computing device foreshadowing Google Glass, using a Twiddler mk 1 to interact with Emacs (using the Remembrance Agent): I’ve long been intrigued by this one-hand, non-tethered input method and finally got a Twiddler 3.

Group-agnostic previous-focussed-window memory in StumpWM

I’ve started using StumpWM’s groups (like “workspaces” in other window managers) more extensively, but this broke a behaviour I like: the ability to easily switch back to the last focussed window, because StumpWM’s “last focussed” is group-specific. So I wasn’t easily about to switch quickly back and forth between two windows that were inb different groups, which turns out to be something I frequently want to do (e.g. switch back and forth between an emacsclient frame in my “emacs” group and a Firefox instance in my “web” group).