Calendar interface in Nextcloud

The problem with purism

At heart, I’m a Linux guy.  For many tasks, I use Emacs (a popular editor among some developers due to its extensibility), with Orgmode as my primary means of managing tasks, recording time, jotting down notes and, at times, trying to manage my calendar.

But there were several problems with this. Firstly, the only mobile client to sync Orgmode files with reasonable reliability, was MobileOrg.  Sadly, this project has been discontinued for a while, and to my knowledge it hasn’t yet seen a superior successor.  In addition, Orgmode is a great calendar within Emacs, but it’s not so strong outside. And while MobileOrg was “ok”, it didn’t present information in a convenient, easily-interpreted way.

In short, having a text-only, Linux/Android-only solution, was awkward.

The compromising advantage

Part of the appeal of Orgmode and MobileOrg was being able to keep all data within one’s own infrastructure.  As one of MobileOrg’s features is to “sync files from an SSH server”, and Emacs has TRAMP for accessing network locations, this made it possible to get each end talking with the other, and the synchronisation was generally reliable.

But in some ways, using Emacs, Orgmode and MobileOrg – to achieve data security and ultimate privacy – is arguably a case of the tail wagging the dog.  Was this the only private-data solution? Probably not. Was it the most convenient?  Was Orgmode the right tool for many of life’s repeatable, short-lived events? Definitely not.

image of org-mode
org-mode in action: showing a list of links

Despite trying to use only free, libre & open source software to address this requirement, around 2016 it started becoming clear that simpler solutions existed – albeit involving proprietary software of some kind.  Certain diehards might scoff that, if some software only exists in proprietary form, it’s inherently evil and you must build a free/libre version. But such ideals are rarely achievable when your needs as a new parent and business owner outweigh most others.

As I pondered my motives, it became clear to me that controlling my data was more important to me than controlling the tools.

The next move

For years on Android, I used CalDav and CardDav syncing tools, which were proprietary plugins that presented calendar and contact “providers” to the OS.  These worked great, but finding equivalent staples on Linux was somewhat harder.  The time had arrived when I needed desktop access to calendar, task and contact management, that wasn’t based in an Office365 tenancy.

The right move here was to set up Nextcloud. On my small personal hosting box at DigitalOcean [discount referral link], I set up a virtual server to run Nextcloud.  Nextcloud provides calendar, tasks and contact databases that are conveniently accessible through CardDav & CalDav.

As I had to work on a Mac in order to test websites in Safari (which accounted for at least 9% of traffic, and often more), it was useful to have syncing of this data there too.  And this, unlike some of my earlier grumpiness with all things Mac, was actually a pleasant surprise: macOS actually had great support for CalDav and CardDav.


Account set-up in iOS
Setting up access to other services is a cinch in iOS.

Do I get the solution I need? Yes. Does it sync well? Yes. Am I happier? Yes.

Not only that, but the downside of Orgmode syncing was that it worked best if restricted to two-way communications. If you added a third or fourth client and tried syncing between all of them, it would quickly become a clusterfunk.

Is Apple the enemy?  Well, probably. But better the devil you know, sometimes. Due to the ease of synchronisation with tasks, contacts and calendar in macOS, I slowly warmed up to the idea of replacing my ageing Samsung Galaxy Note 4 with an iPhone. So I did.  And arguably, for this requirement, it was a good choice.

Does this mean I’m no longer a Linux guy? Oh no, not at all. I still have my ThinkPad T420S, which was a side-grade replacement for my chunky T420. I use it every day in my work as a Senior Systems Administrator, for one of the UK’s top universities. I still use Emacs and Orgmode as a daily driver for tasks and coding.

But at home, my wife and I share a calendar and contact list across Android and iOS, thanks to the support of industry standard protocols.

Controlling where the data is has served us pretty well.

Daniel ( 2020-09-09 21:03:59:

How M$ will take posses over the Linux realm…

How M$ will take posses over the Linux realm…

Recently there has been a lot of excitment around WSL2, with Canonical in front line to make Ubuntu a first class citizen on WSL2.

As usual there is a very well orchestred communication around this topic, and the refrain says that everything that get people closer to linux is welcome, but the only two entities that I see getting closer and closer between each other are just M$ and Canonical.

It seems that Canonical eventually have found a way to push M$ to make purchase offer. If Canonical will be able to make the switching between W10 and Ubuntu transparent at this point there isn’t any reason for M$ for not acquire Canonical. We already knew that at certain this will happen but the one who want the most this a becoming reality is the BDOL of Ubuntu hisself.

Probably are years that Shuttleworth is dreaming to make the best deal of his life, and with Ubuntu as just as second skin of Windows, acquiring Canonical for M$ would be a terrific win-win situation, for instance, with a single shot it may:

* taking over half of the internet server
* taking over AWS which is pratically build on top of Ubuntu
* draining all the Ubuntu based cloud service toward Azure
* Get rid off all the derivates of Ubuntu with a singl blow
* taking over the LinuxDesktop once and forever
* Intercepting all the prospect Linux users before they get closer to GNU/Linux

And Ubuntu will be the rise and the fall of the Linux Desktop.

The servants of the masters have already activated their propaganda’s machine, now it is only a question of time.


Originally posted on


Reddit threadsters are suggesting that certain 5400rpm 8TB Western Digital drives are actually rotating faster, at 7200rpm, and using startup sound profiles to back up their claims. There are a group of reddit threads, like this one by u/sbjf, saying WD 8TB EMAZ and EZAZ drives, used in WD’s Elements and My Book external storage…

via What madness is this? WD 5400 rpm 8TB drives sound like faster 7200 rpm spinners — Blocks and Files