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Re: [O] MobileOrg

From: John Hendy
Subject: Re: [O] MobileOrg
Date: Sat, 21 Nov 2015 17:39:41 -0600

On Sat, Nov 21, 2015 at 5:24 PM, Peter Davis <address@hidden> wrote:
> John Hendy <address@hidden> writes:
>> On Sat, Nov 21, 2015 at 9:42 AM, Peter Davis <address@hidden> wrote:
>>> On Fri, Nov 20, 2015, at 03:58 PM, dean wrote:
>>>> On 11/21/15 00:14, Peter Davis wrote:
>>>> Hi pd,
>>>> > I'm just starting out with MobileOrg, using Dropbox, but I'm confused by 
>>>> > the setup instructions. I've gotten the app linked to my
>>>> > Dropbox account, but the next step in the setup instructions 
>>>> > <http://mobileorg.ncogni.to/doc/getting-started/using-dropbox/> involve
>>>> > setting up some emacs stuff on my "local system." My question is: 
>>>> > *Which* local system? I have several sync'ed to Dropbox. Is the
>>>> > mobile app going to require a single point of contact?
>> Well, to my knowledge, mobile-org isn't meant to function as a way to
>> sync a bunch of emacs/org setups, ...
> Yes, that is the function of Dropbox. In my setup, I have org files in
> several directories within the ~/Dropbox/... tree. What I failed to
> understand earlier is that MobileOrg syncs with one and only one
> directory, so when I'm on a desk/laptop machine, I have to either edit
> directly in ~/Dropbox/Apps/MobileOrg/, or use org-mobile-push to copy
> all my files, in their current state, to that directory. That was the
> piece I missed.
>> ... so yes. You'd have one primary
>> system with your files to sync, you'd push to Dropbox from that
>> system, and the changes would get picked up from the phone.
> All of my .org files are already in the ~/Dropbox tree, but in various
> directories.

Understood. You need to tell Emacs about these so it can create a
separate directory with, essentially, clones of all of these files for
MobileOrg to read. It doesn't read them directly from your org dir,
but rather copies them into whatever you set with

>> Changes/additions from the phone are not automatic, to my knowledge.
>> These get put in the file pointed to by =org-mobile-inbox-for-pull=,
>> which you can then re-file or whatever into your main org files. You
>> could certainly sync various files with Dropbox on several systems,
>> re-create the same local mobileorg setup on said systems, edit them
>> from the Dropbox folder and invoke org-mobile-push from that system.
>> This will use Dropbox to sync the local file since it's under Dropbox
>> control, and also update it for your phone.
>>>> >
>>>> Im fairly new to emacs and mobileorg, so im no expert here but...
>>>> I believe Mobile org will be using your dropbox folder as its single
>>>> point of contact.
>>>> For example your workflow would be:
>>>> - Create/edit notes/todo's on your phone
>>>> - sync the app (which should save to dropbox)
>>>> - Open emacs on your pc, issue org-mobile-pull
>>>> - This should add your edits to your org files on your pc
>>>> For the other direction:
>>>> - Edit org files on your pc, issue org-mobile-push
>>>> - sync on the app should import your edits into the app
>>>> Im assuming you have a dropbox daemon taking care of the syncing in this
>>>> process.
>>>> This should be the same no matter how many pc's/emacs you use.
>>>> Does this help answer your question?
>>> Thanks, Dean.  Actually, I can't even sync mobileorg. When I try
>>> (Pressing the sync button in the upper right corner), I get:
>> Well, like my comments on your subtree export thread, no one can
>> diagnose what they can't reproduce. You've literally supplied no
>> information about what you've done.
> The errors I encountered were all in MobileOrg, so there was no
> information to supply other than the message that MobileOrg displayed,
> which I did include.

Understood with respect to that part, but as I think you get now,
MobileOrg can't function independent of setting up some things in
.emacs locally. Since the manual contains information on these
settings, and both the IOS and android app sites list .emacs settings
(well, the android version points one right to the manual in the
"Initial Setup" section) it didn't dawn on me that someone would point
MobileOrg to Dropbox without any local actions. In this case, I guess
it was a case where you actually didn't do anything locally but I
thought you omitted it. Sorry about that.

>> Did you set any of the variables
>> described in the manual? What are they set to?
> As I understood it, the exchange between MobileOrg and Dropbox is
> independent of any one particular machine and it's emacs setup, so the
> variables seemed irrelevant.

I see, though it's still hard for me to wrap my head around. The IOS
site lists the bullet:

- You should edit your Org-mode configuration to contain:
[lists the relevant variable settings]
- After restarting emacs/reparsing your configuration, run
org-mobile-push. This will copy your Org files to
~/Dropbox/Apps/MobileOrg, which is where MobileOrg will read from.
- Go back to MobileOrg and click on the Outlines tab at the bottom,
then click the Sync button in the upper right.

It seems pretty well laid out.

>> Did you run =M-x
>> org-moble-push=?
> No, I overlooked that step.
>>Do you have the Dropbox daemon on so that the changes
>> were pushed to the cloud?
> Yes.
>> You're doing yourself a serious disservice
>> by not posting full details and reproducible examples. 1) you're going
>> to get *vastly* less responses because people don't even know what to
>> make of the post and won't try, and 2) people will get frustrated
>> making a suggestion to one email (say, about directing you on how to
>> use mobileorg) and meeting a response that's completely different (I
>> can't get it to sync due to checksums.dat missing).
> How is this response different? This *is* the problem I encountered in
> trying to use MobileOrg.

I think this is in line with the above comment. Since issues are
almost certainly going to stem from .emacs issues, this is the
critical information. It just so happens you didn't realize local
actions were necessary.

>> Basically, these
>> detail lacking posts waste the time of others.
> I do try to supply as much detail as I can, and I appreciate your and
> others' efforts to help me unravel these problems. Thank you.

In going through the instructions myself, I noticed that the command
org-mobile-push doesn't even show up in the Org manual, which
surprised me. I'm refreshing myself on how to submit a patch. In all
the discussion about what variables to set up and how it works, it
never gets around to telling the user to actually make the magic
happen! I definitely see this as confusing. That said, the IOS
instructions feature the instruction, so hopefully that catches most


>> I've been wanting to try mobileorg for some time so I took the time to
>> go through the instructions from scratch. See attached pdf and .org
>> file. I can't verify that mobileorg picks it up on my phone because
>> Dropbox is down, but the created file structure in ~/Dropbox/MobileOrg
>> looks sane. I'll try dropbox later to see if that part succeeds.
>> John
>>> *Error downloading checksums*
>>> An error was encountered while downloading checksums.dat from the
>>> server. The file isn't required, but the error received was unusual. The
>>> error was:
>>> Unexpected error
>>> I don't know what that's about, but I can't get past it.
> Thanks!
> -pd

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