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This is the home-page of Karl Voit.

On this page you can see the latest blog updates. For further articles, please use the search bar or navigate through the blue tags. My recommendations are pim, privacy, or security.

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Most recent articles or updates:

2017-01-15: Don't Use Google Search Estimates to Compare Terms

You are at a conference and the speaker compares two terms using the number of estimated hits returned by Google Search. A very common thing to do. Almost nobody seems to care that those numbers do not resemble the number of actual results.

When you search for something at Google Search and Google tells you that there are 11,346,000 results, this number is completely made up. There is an algorithm which determines those numbers without looking at the complete set of data. And this algorithm is based on some (secret) ingredients. Google has enormous capabilities but determining the number of actual hits of their search data can not be done in real-time.

Let's take a closer look.

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2017-01-15: Recurring Events with Org-mode

Org-mode has time-stamps which can be written manually or added via commands like C-c . (org-time-stamp()). Note that I am using inactive time-stamps (brackets instead of angle brackets) in this blog entry to prevent my agenda from showing all those example time-stamps:

 [2017-01-15 Sun] day
 [2017-01-15 Sun 12:19] time
 [2017-01-15 Sun 12:19-15:00] time period
 [2017-01-15 Sun]-[2017-01-17 Tue] date period
 [2017-01-15 Sun]--[2017-01-17 Tue] date period (alternative style)	  

When a task or an event is repeated again and again, Org is able to express it for most cases as well:

 [2017-01-15 Sun +1w] every sunday
 [2017-01-15 Sun +3d] every three days starting with this sunday
 [2017-01-15 Sun .+1w] every week after the day this task was finished
 [2017-01-15 Sun ++1w] like .+1 but it stays on the next Sunday after finishing	  

Complex recurring items can be defined using special sexp diary entries:

 * 22:00-23:00 The nerd meeting on every 2nd Thursday of the month
 [%%(diary-float t 4 2)]	  

However, for many standard recurring events (like +1w) and for everything advanced where I'd need sexp expressions, I do prefer a different approach: M-x org-clone-subtree-with-time-shift

And this is why.

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2017-01-15: Skandal Murkraftwerk

Ich habe die triste Situation rund um den Baubeginn des Murkraftwerks in einem Blogbeitrag vor kurzem zusammengefasst. Nun kommen weitere, für den Verlauf der Sache typische Facetten hinzu.

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2017-01-03: How to Use This Blog Efficiently

This page does explain a few things of this blog on how to use this blog in an efficient way.

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2017-01-03: Smart Pens

Update 2017-01-03: Interesting comments pro and contra smart pens on my reddit thread

Kevzettler asked me in a Disqus-comment of my article about todo-management on paper:

Have you considered a Smart Pen as a medium? I think they have some hand writing-to-text apps. I've been thinking about hooking up a Livescribe 3 to org-mode output. Check out

Good question. Here are my thoughts.

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2017-01-02: Das Murkraftwerk wird gebaut: die Katastrophe kommt

Nun haben wir den Salat. Der Bau vom Murkraftwerk hat begonnen.

Ich habe schon vor Jahren vor diesem idiotischen Projekt an dieser Stelle gewarnt. Nicht nur die lokalen Organisationen warnten vor dieser Katastrophe, auch die Presse fasste unlängst wieder die Geschehnisse zusammen.

Hier eine aktuelle Zusammenfassung der Situation so kurz vor den Wahlen in Graz.

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2017-01-01: Fast Opening of Memacs Indexed Files

Memacs is a nice Python software that collects misc data and generates Org-mode files for me. This way, my agenda contains all of my emails, text messages, Git commits, photographs I took, and so forth.

With the Memacs-module filenametimestamps, all of my files whose file name begins with an ISO time-stamp are indexed and stored in an Org-mode file.

Using a custom link, I am able to define and access links to those files without the need of knowing their location in my file system hierarchy:

(setq org-link-abbrev-alist
        ;; tsfile = time-stamp file
	("tsfile" . "~/path/to/memacs/files.org_archive::/\*.*%s/")

Therefore, this works with the standard Org-mode featureset: you create a link which looks like this:



 [[tsfile:2017-01-01_Manual_for_my_amplifier.pdf][My amp manual]	  

When you want to open the PDF file, you put the cursor on the link and press C-c C-o (for org-open-at-point()). Emacs opens the files.org_archive in a buffer and jumps right to the heading of this file. The heading consists of an absolute link to the file in your file system. Therefore, when you press C-c C-o once again, your PDF file opens before your eyes.

This method is totally independent of the folder that holds the PDF file. I can move around those files in my file system hierarchy without getting broken links.

Neat, isn't it?

In my case, I got so many files containing ISO datestamps, that my files.org_archive holds almost half a million entries. Opening this Org-mode file with my Emacs settings and jumping to the corresponding heading takes very long. So long that it is not feasible to be used any more.

Behold, grep to the rescue!

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2016-12-24: Überwachung sinnlos, Terroraufklärung versagt

Update 2016-12-24: fefes Blogbeiträge zu dem Thema

Im Nachhinein ist man immer klüger. Doch das darf keine Rechtfertigung für so ein Versagen sein, nach dem es derzeit aussieht. Wir haben (schon wieder mal) einen potentiellen Terroristen, der bereits mehrfach straffällig wurde, sich nicht nur in einem Überwachungsstaat befindet sondern auch noch gesondert beobachtet wird.

Was die Überwachung der Allgemeinheit als auch die Terroristenbeobachtung im Speziellen gebracht hat, sieht man leider schon wieder beim aktuellen Anschlag in Berlin: Nichts.

Aber das Beste kommt noch: Da ist unser Terrorist so nett und lässt ein Dokument mit seinen Daten im Anschlagsfahrzeug liegen. Voll lieb, finde ich. Doch erst zwei Tage nach dem Anschlag kommt jemand auf die Idee, dass die Person auf dem Dokument (die offensichtlich nicht der getötete LKW-Fahrer ist) zur Fahnung ausgeschrieben werden sollte.


Am 22.12. spricht der Polizeigewerkschafter Wendt in der ZIB 2 und verteidigt seine Kollegen. An dem Schlamassel ist ausschließlich die Politik und die Justiz schuld. Der schwarze Peter wird offenbar in der Runde herumgereicht.

Fefe hat hierzu gleich eine ganze Serie an Blogbeiträgen veröffentlicht, die weitere ungeheuerliche Aspekte aufzeigen:

Was für ein Schlamassel. Keine so geführte Firma könnte so am Markt überleben. Totalversagen des Systems Politik, Polizei und Justiz.

Und die Medien treten das Ereignis wieder breit und bewirken damit auch ein Unterstützen der Ziele des Terrors.

Trotzdem schöne Feiertage: im Grunde genommen geht es uns Einzelne so gut wie noch nie zuvor in der Geschichte der Menschheit. Terror sollte den Stellenwert bekommen, der der Realität entspricht: weit weniger besorgniserregend als Autofahren, auf eine Leiter steigen oder Bienen begegnen. Bitte nicht vergessen und mit euren Liebsten ein tolles Weihnachtsfest feiern!

2016-12-23: Easy Entering Values for Org-mode Properties

If you are using Org-mode you might find yourself in a position, where you want to set or update a property value for an existing property.

In my case, I frequently do this for my contacts. Whenever a phone number changes, I add a note to the heading of the corresponding contact. Additionally, I maintain phone numbers in properties as well. To do this in a sane way, I only mark the new phone number (region) and press a keyboard shortcut which calls an Elisp function. This function asks me for the name of a property (with tab completion). Then, the value of this property is set to the string of the region.

Very handy.

Here is the Elisp code of my-org-region-to-property() which was made possible with the help of Antoine R. Dumont:

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2016-12-23: Getting Emails into Org-Mode

This article is for Org-mode users who are looking for a possibility to get emails into org-mode which is independent of their email client (MUA). You're going to need access to your mail server for this method.

From time to time, I get tasks by email where the email body contains helpful information on that task. Therefore, it is nice to have a method that gets the email header and body into my Org-mode system.

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2016-12-20: What App am I Using for What and How?

Here is a list of tasks I do on my computers and the software I am using for accomplishing these tasks. The first column also links corresponding workflow descriptions with further information on how I am doing things. At the very bottom, there are links to more workflow descriptions.

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2016-12-18: Inferno, the Movie Based on a Book by Dan Brown

The movie Inferno, based on the book by Dan Brown. One of many pretty silly script adaptions in comparison to the book is a rather cowardly ending. This is remarkable, since previous film adaptations of books by Dan Brown had much better endings than the book. For example, the ending of Angels & Demons was particularly weird which was done better in the movie.

However, with Inferno, Hollywood proved that they are not ready for the interesting discussions related to the end of the book. What a missed opportunity. It is almost like James Cameron decided to let Leonardo DiCaprio becoming a hero by saving the Titanic from hitting the iceberg. Totally missed the point of the book.

2016-12-18: Advanced Usage of Dependencies Between Tasks Using Org-mode

This blog article is for advanced users of Emacs org-mode and people who are curious how non-trivial todo management can be accomplished using those tools.

Defining dependencies between todo tasks is done via the contribution package org-depend.el. It offers a nice set of features. However, I do only use a sub-set for my workflows. Therefore, this article is not an exhaustive description of org-depend.el but it gives ideas on how to use and improve it.

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2016-12-13: Tools and Tips for Privacy Aware People:

If you are a privacy-aware person and want to keep your digital dignitiy, you have to check out which is an awesome collection.

You get perfect tips for choosing the right software and hardware products. Further more, you get tips for privacy-aware configurations such as better Firefox settings and great Firefox privacy add-ons.

There are tons of helpful things on this page. Go and check it out yourself!

2016-12-08: Personalized Services Killing the Values of Our Society

Alexander sent me his comments on my blog article on the dangers of machine learning and AI via email. Please read it upfront since I assume you know the context.

I'm glad to reply to his thoughts:

Why do you care, that some companies are basing their business decisions on random data? I cannot care less, if some banks (unless it's my bank) or insurances suffer losses because of their reliance on (Big Bad) data purchased from Facebook & Co. This is the way companies compete -- they try different strategies to the best of their abilities. I agree, that any conclusion derived from my likes on facebook cannot be anything but rubbish, but why object it? I see no troubles with that. This (mal-)practice will be corrected by the market in the long run. I don't consider the situation when a customer has no other choice but to register on facebook and build a "likes history" there before applying to a loan. That would be weird indeed. But healthy competition will hopefully prevent that from happening.
All companies cannot be "early" adopters. Just like many "early adopters" in outsourcing made their (negative) experience while moving to far countries.. some made a profit out of it.
Well, as long as they are not "too big to fail", I don't care.
Just my thoughts.

Quite a legitimate opinion and I do think that it is shared by many people as well.

I can perfectly follow your idea although I don't share it. And here is why.

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