Even more Emacs tweaking

I’ve spent a bit more time tweaking Emacs this week. I finally got around to a few little projects I’ve put off literally for years — for instance, writing a little function that chooses the email delivery method based on my “From” address. For a while I had planned to do this in my MTA configuration, but I finally officially gave up on this.

I read a few old threads about threading in Emacs, hoping to find out what, if anything, is going on here. Answer: not much, though I did learn about the nice (setq gnus-asynchronous t), which prefetches articles. This is handy if you use gmane or something and have a reasonbly fast net connection.

I’ve been hoping for some Gnus tweak that would let gnus-group-get-new-news (aka “g”) run in the background, perhaps disabling interaction with the *Group* buffer (but nothing else) while working. No such luck… the most common response to this request is “run 2 copies of Emacs”. Bleah. Actually I did used to do this, back in the olden days. It sucks, since it eliminates one of the nicest features of Emacs, namely that if you live in it, all the data you normally use can be moved around with ease.

I’ve been using ERC “for real” for a few days now. It is ok but I’m still struggling a little. ERC could use an irc-specific buffer-menu-like mode. Maybe the ibuffer integration provides that, I still haven’t tried it. And don’t even try to use ERC without “page me” support — that’s how I’m doing it now and I regularly miss private messages from Elyn :-(

I was hoping to replace sticky notes with some nice Emacs mode, but I haven’t found anything suitable yet (I haven’t tried super hard). One thing I like about sticky notes is that when I click the icon, it remembers my frame positions and color choices. That’s something I’d like this hypothetical mode to reproduce. Maybe some combination of a wiki-in-emacs mode and some standard frame-state-saving code can be made to work.

Finally, I had used mail-hist a number of years ago, but something changed and it stopped working. While digging around a bit I ran across it and re-enabled it.


  • Yes, emacs isn’t multithreaded, so there’s no way to have gnus checking mail at the same time you’re typing into IRC.

    Since gnus is very fast at checking mail or news when it’s held locally, though, you might consider fetching your mail using another process and reading it once it’s there inside gnus.

    Finally, you might not have seen the feature that sets gnus up to check mail automatically iff you’ve been idle for n minutes. It’s at the bottom of my .gnus:


  • Thanks. I’m running fetchmail so downloading my mail is no problem.

    The problem is that I use 3 news servers (internal one, gmane, and eclipse), and they may randomly be down or slow. I marked all my email groups as level 1, so I can “1 g” when I want to just refresh my email. But typing “g” can involve a small hang, at least from a UI perpective. Then I have to stop using Emacs briefly, which of course is terrible :-)

    I think Gnus could do this with some process filter and *Group* buffer key binding trickery. But it would probably be a fair amount of work.

    I think this problem will probably just get worse once I’m running Emacs 22 and start moving RSS reading into Gnus…

  • > I think this problem will probably just get worse once I’m running Emacs 22 and start moving RSS reading into Gnus…

    Gnus people usually use nntprss (http://www.methodize.org/nntprss/) for that. In the old days of nnrss, I remember seeing someone’s script to download the RSS feeds out of band via cron and have nnrss read them locally, so that’s an option too.

    FWIW, I’m using the “multi-tty” branch of emacs 23, which lets me start emacs on tty mode in a screen(1) — so it’s persistent across X restarting — and then attach to it with X frames when using my workstation at work, or on the tty (emacsclient -t) when ssh’d in from home, getting access to all of my buffers in the screened emacs. This (along with the lack of multithreading) was my biggest complaint about GNU emacs before finding the multi-tty branch..

  • Thanks for the nntprss pointer. That looks perfect. I wonder if it works with gcj :)

    I’ve been meaning to try multi-tty. That’s a feature I want as well. I’m still not running any cvs emacs (though I checked it out and built it here), but I’m eagerly anticipating 22…

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