Posted on September 26, 2017 by rodney
Tags: nerd, emacs, android

Those who know me would probably not say I am a well organised person. I would like to claim that I at least try to be organised, but that would not be particularly true.

However, I do have access to some fine software for personal organisation, and would like to share these with you.

1. Emacs Org Mode

This software started off as an Emacs mode for manipulating bullet lists. From there, TODO lists and scheduling were added, as well as a multitude of other features. The project is a huge success and it is now bundled with Emacs, so you don’t even need to install it separately.

The main advantage of Org Mode is that it simply works with plain text. This offers limitless possibilities for personalising the system to your needs. You are special, don’t forget that.

2. Orgzly

Emacs, being a keyboard-oriented text editor, doesn’t work very well on mobile phones. However you would often want to access your org files while not on your computer.

Orgzly is an app for Android which lets you view and edit Org files on your phone. There is a menu option to sync between the app’s internal database and your Org file(s).

That this works at all without completely corrupting the org files is a testament to the virtuosity of the developer. It is also free software as in GPL free.

3. SyncThing

Finally, how do you transfer org files between your computer and phone?

You could use Dropbox or Google Drive. However, these don’t work without an Internet connection. You should also assume that because you don’t pay for the storage service, these companies are data mining your personal files for advertising purposes.

SyncThing provides a usable alternative to commercial storage services. It is a little more difficult to set up because it is less centralised and affords more combinations of configurations.


With these three components you have a free and powerful system for organising yourself. It is completely yours and you are not dependent on any company to manage such essential things.