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Re: example paper written in org completely

From: Tim Cross
Subject: Re: example paper written in org completely
Date: Sat, 19 Jun 2021 09:26:02 +1000
User-agent: mu4e 1.5.13; emacs 27.2.50

Uwe Brauer <oub@mat.ucm.es> writes:

> Footnotes:
> [1]  I am forced to modify each year our course guides. These guides are
>      written (no joke) in MS Office format pre-97. It has complex but badly
>      formatted tables that makes it impossible to edit with anything
>      than MS Office (or the markup is distorted).

We had exactly the same problem. This is a good example of the important
v urgent problem we are often faced with and is a critical part of how I
manage my todo lists.

A major pitfall with todo lists and priorities is that we fail to make
the distinction between important and urgent tasks. What ends up
happening is that all our time gets consumed by urgent tasks and we
never get time to address important tasks. Unfortunately, it is the
important tasks which, once completed, will reduce the number or time
taken to deal with urgent tasks - we end up being more reactive and

In our case, we all hated having to update/edit the course guides in MS
Office because it was painful and time consuming, but urgent. However,
nobody belt they had the time to fix matters, despite us all agreeing it
was important.

One year, we decided to just let some urgent tasks slip, accept the flak
this caused and instead spend the time fixing the formatting of the
course guides.

We actually ended up developing a new format, inspired by org and some
markdown formats and which used pandoc to generate the final output. We
were forgiven for failing to meet some urgent deadlines because in the
end, we had far better quality course guides which were easier to
maintain and available in more formats with greater consistency.

Unfortunately, the resources freed by not having to spend so long
updating the course guides each year was soon absorbed by other urgent
tasks, so ultimately, no real change in workload. However, students were
happier as course guides were better and we were then able to move on to
other important v urgent battles.

What would have been really great is if we had more Emacs users. We
could then just have used org mode for the base format and even less
work would have been required to convert from MS Office, but that will
never happen. On the up side, I do see more and more ideas originally
germinated in an Emacs environment finding there way into other tool
chains, so perhaps the environments of the future won't suck quite as
much as they might if MS Office had been the only source for
inspiration! As the Beta v VHS war demonstrated, great technology is not
enough, you also need to factor in marketing and advertising budgets of
the competition!

Tim Cross

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