Org-mode – the extensible emacs add-on for outlining and project management

Org-Mode: Your Life in Plain Text

emacsOrg-mode is for keeping notes, maintaining ToDo lists, doing project planning, and authoring with a fast and effective plain-text system, and it’s FREE.

Org-mode is an add-on for the popular free EMACS editor (programmers editor) and adds a full outline and todo list. All the files are stored in standard txt (ASCII) format so can be edited by any software if required. If you have a dropbox account you can store your outlines on your dropbox account and edit them using any editor or use the EMACS add-on to see the proper outlining.

The author suggests that this wonderful outline tool can be used for GTD, planning, notebooks and web/pdf authoring. There is also extensive documentation. There are some good tutorials covering introduction and power users guides with a useful screencast overview (25 minutes).

The beauty of this product is that it is very extensible and can be adapted by power users to do just about anything that requires outlining and maintaining lists. The files can be published to HTML and XHTML plus other formats such as LaTeX and Gantt Charts for project management integration. There’s a very interesting tech talk from GOOGLE that discusses Org-mode (46 minutes) and well worth listening to.

Leo Laporte’s Podcast network has recently published a podcast that discusses and talks to the author (Carsten Dominik) about org-mode – well worth a listen (as are all the FLOSS podcasts)

portableapps – run all your apps on a USB stick – Portable software for USB drives

portable-appsConvenient – Now you can carry your favorite computer programs along with all of your bookmarks, settings, email and more with you. Use them on any Windows computer. All without leaving any personal data behind.Open – provides a truly open platform that works with any hardware you like (USB flash drive, iPod, portable hard drive, etc). It’s open source built around an open format that any hardware vendor or software developer can use. – run FREE applications from a USB memory stick

Update (26/10/2008): You can now compress some of the portableApps to squeeze even more applications onto your memory stick with the PortableApps.Com AppCompactor. This is also packaged as a portable app (but note this is intended for developers or advanced users).

Now you can take FREE applications with you as you travel between work and home or abroad. The web site has a collection of applications that can be installed on a USB memory stick and run directly from that device on any PC.

portableapps The portableapps web site (FREE) also has a dashboard (menu system) that allows you to install more applications and run the applications that you already have installed

on the USB device. Some of the key applications available (from sourceforge) are:

  • Audacity (sound recording)
  • Pidgin (IM client)
  • Scribus (DTP)
  • FileZilla (FTP client)
  • Firefox (Web browser client)
  • NVU (Web design package with WYSIWYG)
  • OpenOffice Suite (Full office application suite)
  • GIMP (Graphics)
  • VirtualDub (Video editing)
  • VLC (Video player)
  • Plus many more…

I found all the applications installed without a single problem. If you use the portableapps menu application to install the software it automatically adds the new program to the menu. You do not need to install the dashboard but in doing so you get a neat backup / restore utility that backs up your memory stick applications to your local hard disk.

I use the IM client everyday (as it connects to most IM systems with one program). This is a brilliant way of carrying around some key applications in your pocket without having to rely on a PC having them pre-installed. I now use Windows Live Writer quite a lot to create blog entries, and came across a site explaining how to install Live Writer as a portable application, I have not tried this yet, but will blog my findings when I do.

On the portableapps web site you’ll also find a download that is self contained and has all the essential applications (currently about 90Mb download). It’s called the suite. There’s also a ‘lite’ version that is only 30Mb (uses AbiWord instead of the full OfficeSuite).

D*I*Y Planner

Brilliant aid for anyone interested in organising their days activities. This site contains great free planners in most sizes. It’s an invaluable resource for those who don’t want to have to recreate templates, etc.

“We are a community of people who see the value of paper as a medium for planning, productivity, creative expression, and exploring ideas. We encourage visitors to share advice and inspiration, and we love to see submissions for templates, kit images and story articles. We are also the official home of the D*I*Y Planner kits. Please enjoy your stay, and make yourself at home!”