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Tiny Habits

In a world where Atomic Habits, did not exist, I’d call Tiny Habits the best book on behavioural change and habit building.
Or maybe, I am biased because I read James Clear’s book first.
Just like Cal Newport took Anders Ericsson’s work and ran with it; so did James build on BJ Fogg’s.

Tiny Habits is lovely, has pretty tables and is a lovely engaging read.
If you want to change your behaviour, you simply cannot go wrong by learning from the man, who has taught many of our modern day influencers like Ramit Sethi or Instagram founder, Mike Kreiger.

Emacs, Day 02

Had an extremely busy day with studies today, so could not spend time learning much Emacs.
Decided to do a little bit of plucking the low hanging fruit and customising Emacs a bit to my liking.

I created an init.el file in the emacs.d folder in my home directory, to add all my custom stuff into.

Adding Package Managers

Yesterday, I had learnt, that I could install additional functionality by downloading extra Emacs packages from the GNU repo at ELPA.
But since the FSF requires the authors to fork over their copyrights to them, (and most authors being justifiably, unwilling), most packages are found at third party package sites, like MELPA and the now discontinued Marmalade.

So I added this little snippet to my init.el to add the repos to my Emacs.

(setq package-archives
      '(("gnu" . "")
    ("melpa" . "")))

and then restarted my Emacs, for it to see the new repos.1

And that led me to,

Markdown Mode

I realised that, the best way for me to learn Emacs, would be to write in Emacs.
And I write, most of what I write, in Markdown.
I had also learnt that Emacs has modes, which basically adapt Emacs and related shortcuts to the task at hand.
I went looking to see if there was something that would help me write Markdown more easily and found Jason Blevins’ excellent Markdown Mode for Emacs. 2

Since I had MELPA configured, it took only a few seconds to get Markdown mode installed.
All I had to do was M-x package-install RET markdown-mode RET
(that is, mash the ALT-x keys, then type package-install, hit the return/enter key, then type markdown-mode followed by another return.)
More details on installation and usage at the Markdown Mode site.

A couple of minutes with it and I’m blown away.
I’ve heard of people switching to Emacs to use the excellent Org Mode, for taking notes and task organisation.
I am a convert to Emacs for Jason’s Markdown Mode.

And then to round up the day, I also installed the Ayu theme, because I love it and use it everywhere I possibly can :) 3

More tomorrow!

  1. I know there is a way to evaluate and run changes immediately, but I still haven’t gotten around to learning that bit yet. 

  2. Excellent choice of name, Jason! High Five! 

  3. Been a fan, ever since I saw it in a Corey Schafer video. 

Emacs, Day 01

Slowly making my way through the Mastering Emacs book.

Things I did / learnt today …

  1. Learnt that if I want to run Emacs all over the place (like I do), then the best thing to do is to have Emacs, running as a daemon in the background. So I did that via the handy systemd instructions, on this page.
  2. And that Emacs has a kitchen sink’s worth of commands.
  3. And that Emacs commands are like playing chords on the guitar or piano. You just hit a few of them in a sequence to get the desired sound (or action in this case)
  4. C-g, the Control and the G keys get me out of a jam, if I am stuck.
  5. Found Jess Hamrick’s really useful post, on moving about and buffers and frames and stuff.
  6. Got myself a basic emacs Anki deck.
  7. And I learnt how to move about.

All in all, a pretty good day.

Follow my Emacs journey here

Premature end to a Hundred Days of Code. Welcome to A Month of Emacs

Life is really kicking my butt right now.
And the 12th studies are not making it any easier.
So am temporarily giving up on A Hundred Days of Code, again.

Hopefully, I will have the time to give Python, in a month.
In the meanwhile, with the limited time I do have, I’d like to learn me some Emacs.
Will write about it everyday.

We Need To Talk About the British Empire

It’s an Audible Original.
And it’s “free”, if you are an Audible member.

A look into what Empire means today.
It’s a series of engaging podcast episodes on what being a part of the British Empire meant/means for its subjects and its descendants, with stories from across the globe.

My only quibble being they did not go deep enough.
The people being interviewed are mostly, subject descendants of British origin (and not as I would expect, an actual survivor from the partition or someone here in India, or Somali coast or Sierra Leone.)

No one knows much of the aftermath of Partion and there’s a lovely little story, tightly told that illustrates the horrors of the period.
Somalia was used, abused, robbed of all they had and then left to find for itself.
Bunce Island, in Sierra Leone was home to a slaver’s bay, where the island hosted a prison for the captured natives who were branded and sold as slaves and a golf course for the gora sahibs.

What struck me (from the interviews and some of the reviews) is that the British have no clue of the generational ramifications of their actions.
They think that enough time has passed by, it’s all water under the bridge and we ought to have picked ourselves by our bootstraps by now.
I realise why Tharoor demanded reparations.

At about three hours, it’s well worth a listen.


Lost a friend to the virus last night.
And a shit-ton of personal issues have cropped up at the same time.

Need to go handle and process all of this.
Will be back, when I am back.

A Tale of Two Cities

Just the two popular ones here …
Dickens writes such fluid prose here, I would quote the whole book.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way--in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.