I’ve been daydreaming more and more about returning to normal studying, i.e. not revision, next term. One thing I have been thinking about is computing. I have learnt through revision that I write too many notes in studying, because I only refer back to some of them. Yet I need to write when reading or I won’t remember as much with which to write an essay. To make myself produce less text, therefore, I think it might be best to go back to handwritten notes. This means that I don’t need to carry a laptop around anymore, which is great.

Since I won’t be living in College this means, though, that if I want to write an essay I will need some way of getting at an Emacs session from within Balliol. I’ve asked for an SSH client to be installed on the computers in the computer room, and I’ve been thinking about how best to manage things.

The obvious choice is to SSH to the university’s GNU/Linux box, since its whole purpose is for people like me to do things like this from within the ox.ac.uk domain. It’s running Debian so everything is in the place my config expects it to be, so things like LaTeX compilation are much easier to get working. But it’s running Debian Lenny, which means that I’m stuck with Emacs 22, which is wayyyy too old. I’ve asked the sysadmins to Emacs 23, but I’m not sure if they will be willing to.

Second to this is SSHing to the SDF cluster, and keeping a screen session with Emacs running there. Because this is on the other side of the Atlantic it’s much less responsive than over Oxford’s LAN, but it’s acceptable. Since the machine is NetBSD, though, things like LaTeX will require a fair bit of fiddling.

Then there’s the issue of my files. My ~/doc/ is waaaay too big atm, so I will need to archive old stuff and start a fresh git repo (or rather series of git repos; ~/doc/ contains various repos). This wouldn’t be too hard.

Then a good deal of reconfiguration will be required (including my mind, since I can’t swap caps lock and control on the Balliol workstations). The problem is that my setup actually isn’t very portable. This is despite it now being rather stripped down and restricted to alpine and Emacs and a bunch of git config, and a few things like .zshrc. So I will need to spend some time stripping things down yet further if I am to make this work.

Just thoughts atm; this is something to do over the summer! Back to work.

Oh also looks like there is a fellow philosophy student on SDF:

~ $ ps auxxxxxx | grep emacs
tf1       13768  0.0  0.0 16796 13428 pts/88   IW+  Sat10PM  0:00.51 emacs aristotle.org

All the networked computers at Cambridge have PuTTy by default… <_<

Comment by James Robson Wed 09 May 2012 02:15:16 UTC