Ten Tools for Academics

Over at Academia Obscura they have a list of 10 essential tools for
academics and PhD students
. It’s a useful list but my immediate
reaction upon reading it was that you can do all that with Emacs.
Well, you can’t backup your data with Emacs but other than that you
can forget about all those tools and just use Emacs.

Here’s a list of those tools and how Emacs (and Org mode) can do the
same things and often, in my opinion, better:

Citation Manager
Use John Kitchen’s org-ref. Here’s a video that
shows it in action as well as demonstrating using Org mode to
write a paper.
Org mode can export to almost any format and is
infinitely configurable to work your way;
Org mode can store and index content seamlessly. You can
attach data to an Org entry including PDFs or links to
HTML. You can even download your Evernote content to Org;
This is what Org mode was made for. TODO lists and agendas
that can accumulate tasks from multiple lists. John
Goerzen explains why he gave up other tools for this in
favor of Org mode
. If you can’t give up Trello—because of
collaboration, say—org-trello lets you interface it and
Org mode. And, it’s all local. If you’re offline, it’s
still available;
Elfeed delivers all your feeds and mailing lists to a
single list that can be perused at your leisure. If you
really need to get some of your feeds via email,
open a second, free, account to receive them. Then let
mu4e, or notmuch, or something similar download those
emails whenever you like.
You shouldn’t be wasting your time on Twitter but if you
must, Emacs has several Twitter clients that bring
everything into the Emacs environment;
You don’t need any special tools for this; just
redirect those sites to localhost. If you need finer
grained control, Matt Mite has some suggestions;
You can ask Org to remind you everyday or you can use
any of the several pomodoro applications available for Emacs;
A clipboard manager
Emacs can handle this on its own but you can
make it even better with counsel-yank-pop;
An external drive/backup plan
Emacs can’t do this, of course, but
it is important so get a backup plan that operates in the
background and doesn’t require any action on your part.

If you’re like me, your initial reaction is probably that Emacs is the
obvious choice for STEM folks but that maybe Emacs is too much for
those in the Liberal Arts. Really, though, that’s just snobbery. Many
people in the “soft sciences” and liberal arts have shown themselves
able to learn and use Emacs just as effectively as their brethren in
the sciences and engineering. Just like for the rest of us, Emacs has
a steep learning curve and takes a concerted effort to master but I
doubt it’s harder than learning those other 9 tools.

This entry was posted in General and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.