Daily Notes for 2023-05-06

ยท 1439 words ยท 7 minute read

Turn org files into decks with org-reveal ๐Ÿ”—

It’s Saturday afternoon and I am happy to be sitting here working on a presentation. Al’s out of town, so she doesn’t have to put up with me asking her how things sound, I can sit here in my bathrobe and monologue at myself, and only the cats are here to bear witness to me pacing around when I get too agitated to keep typing.

I was not happy to make a bunch of org notes then try to figure out how to get them into presentation software, and didn’t like anything available via the usual export options , but I remembered that Doom has a presentation package for org-mode, so I enabled it (+present in the org-section of init.el) .

That package provides you with a properly configured org-re-reveal, which takes an org-mode document and turns it into a reveal.js presentation. reveal, in turn, provides you with a deck you can open in your browser with transition effects, a speaker window, and keyboard shortcuts.

I’m seldom fond of the stuff that has to happen to get a bunch of HTML loaded into a simpler plaintext format, but the demands of org-re-reveal are pretty light.

I put this at the top of the document:

#+title: My Presentation
#+REVEAL_THEME: league
#+OPTIONS: toc:nil num:nil
#+OPTIONS: timestamp:nil
  • toc: controls whether it has a table of contents slide
  • num: controls whether it numbers the slide headings
  • timestamp: controls whether it puts the creation date on the title slide

Then for each list on a give slide, I add the first line below just over it:

#+ATTR_REVEAL: :frag (fade-in)
- apples
- pears
- bananas

… which causes each list item to appear in sequence as I advance through the slide.

If you want speaker notes to show up in the speaker window they go in a little block as Markdown:

Some speaker note

That’s about it. In Doom, you just SPC m e v b and it opens the presentation in your default browser, ready to go. Tap s and it brings up the speaker window, with a timer, current slide, and next slide. esc gives you thumbnails of the presentation so you can go back to a slide by sight, or g to go to a given slide number.

The presentation itself is very simple and clean. You can choose from several themes, including low-contrast favorites Dracula and Solarized for the “oh! My terminal looks like that!” crowd, or some other generically named ones that just look … normal.

There are some presentation modes for org-mode that let you put your org-mode buffer itself into a specially styled mode. I did a trial run with one, but the theme choices were a little offputting, navigation was strange, and there’s a little bit of “I am doing this in an Emacs buffer” nerd glee involved. Fine for Emacs influencer YouTubers, but a little distracting for my intended audience, whom I want to expose to my particular combination of charm, reason, and attentional issues via the content, not the presentation. And I really liked that there was zero config file noodling to get it to work. It’s one of Doom’s finer “batteries included” moments.

I’ve always, by the way, liked Keynote’s outliner mode when I’ve been working on a presentation. It encourages a focus on structure, allows for iterative work as ideas come and go or shift around, and keeps you out of trying to do a bunch of custom work on each slide. Had I not learned about org-re-reveal I would have just popped open Keynote and retyped my outline. And at some point, when I’m back in the world of “we’re all supposed to use this template you can download from Confluence” I expect I will have to figure out how to use the pptx export options. For now, though, org-re-reveal provides an extremely simple, easy, direct path from “outline” to “presentation.”

Making catppuccin work for helm in Doom ๐Ÿ”—

I’m a fan of the catppuccin palette family and they’re simple to add to Doom: just stick the theme file in ~/.config/doom/themes and then use them in config.el:

(setq doom-theme 'catppuccin)
(setq catppuccin-flavor 'frappe)

They don’t set any values for the selection highlight color, though, which means you can’t really tell which completion line you’re on as you move the cursor around. It’s also an exercise in a very unique sort of frustration to try the usual “what is this face called” trick of desc-face (SPC h F in Doom ) in a buffer you can’t run a command on.

My own search queries about it were just poorly formed enough that I stood on the precipice of saying “sure, I’ll just eat these 50 lines of lisp off the sidewalk to number the selection if that’s what it takes,” but I reframed one last time and finally found the answer.

The face to customize is helm-selection. Just give it a background and it’s fine.

Longboarding season is here ๐Ÿ”—

Andy Carolan reminded me that longboarding season is here.

A few years ago Al and I decided we wanted to learn how to lonboard. I don’t remember why. I think we just wanted to get out and do something together. So we bought some very cheap Amazon completes that looked cool – 42" top-mount pintails – and spent weeks over at the nearby elementary school playground learning how to roll around on them like very upright mannequins on wheeled platforms.

Then we started watching videos and reading blogs and figuring out better choices. I finally settled on a Pantheon Trip – a little 33" double-drop. Alison got a Loaded Icarus, a really nice composite deck with a bunch of spring to it. I also had a Bustin’ Maestro, a 37" dropthrough. I had several more boards for that matter, trying to get comfortable, and ended up writing a guide for fellow olds.

We took the boards everywhere for a while: State parks sometimes have good accessible paths you can ride on, or just good asphalt around the campground for cruising. Also Saturday coffee runs and cruises down the Springwater. For a period, when I was riding the train to work, I used mine as a “last-mile” conveyance to the Lents Town Center station. A few times I did 10-mile solo rides down the Springwater.

Closeup of longboard trucks with light blue 90mm wheels attached and the Subsonic logotype on the deck

The Subsonic GT40. Best coffee cruiser ever

Cruising was fun, and the Pantheon Trip is a great deck for that because it has huge wheels and rides super low to the ground. It’s low effort to push, and the giant wheels just roll over grit and rocks.

We stopped riding together when Al took her spill: She hit a seam that joined the Springwater to one of the overpasses and went over backwards. She threw her arm out and it dislocated the part of her elbow that didn’t just shatter. We spent 40 minutes out on the Springwater while emergency responders from three jurisdictions argued over who should come get her. She’s got titanium in that joint now, and exceeded the doctor’s predictions, regaining full mobility. The only reminder is the bad-ass scar and some aches when the weather is cold and wet.

I kept riding, and absent the sort of mellow vibe we’d established as a couple got interested in downhill, so I took a class from a local longboarding champion. We met every Wednesday night at Mt. Tabor. It was one of the most fun things I’ve done in a while. Completely padded up, helmeted, and doing the hills we were doing, it was no big deal to wipe out, and it felt great to get knocked around a little. I’d leave class feeling the same way I felt at the end of a day in the sawdust pits or the swing-landing trainer at jump school.

Anyhow, last season I traded in my hard pads for some nicer G-Form elbow and knee pads that go under my shirt and pants a little more easily, and I traded my Pantheon Trip in for a Pantheon Pranayama, which is pretty much the Trip except with traditional kingpin trucks, so it’s a little more nimble. I went with the 7-ply deck, so it’s also less stiff than my 8-ply trip. I thought that might have been a mistake, but I’m down about 25 pounds from last season and I think it’s going to be okay.

Anyhow, it’s 10 a.m. and time to get back to that deck for a little while. Presenting Tuesday!