back to article Chap tames Slack by piping it into Emacs

Emacs enthusiast Artur Malabarba has put the text editor to work taming Slack. Malabarba likes Slack and feels it's a fine tool for intra-office chat, but also feels that “it’s also a powerful source of distractions.” But he can't turn it off all day, so decided to “keep the spam in check.” Doing so proved quite simple. …

  1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Well, points for making it work I guess

    Kudos to the guy for making the tool work as he wishes. Must have required quite a bit of persistence, not to mention time tinkering and thinking of how to go about shutting up a program specifically made to blabber continuously.

    1. Ian 7

      Re: Well, points for making it work I guess

      Clearly a clever guy so kudos as you say, but you have to ask what more useful things he could have done with that time and effort...

      From the article: "he's only made aware of Slack happenings that mention him by name or suggest things he really needs to know about, such as “whenever something explodes in the server"

      Wouldn't it have been easier for him to just set his notification preferences to only alert him to mentions of his name, and to set up appropriate channels for live alerting?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: what more useful things he could have done with that time and effort

        Yes he could have been developing software to make your iPhone match emojis to your own facial expression, or something else important like that.

  2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Happy

    EMACS. Is there anything it cannot do?

    To those with good enough LISP skills I guess the answer is "no."

    1. Joe Werner

      Re: EMACS. Is there anything it cannot do?

      Wow, very nice work! Only problem for me: I don't like using emacs... Unfortunately this is probably impossible for vi ;)

      Before somebody else writes it: <joke>Emacs is a nice operating system, too bad it lacks a decent editor ;p</joke> (no icons on the mobile version of elReg...)

      Oh, and lisp? A pain! The maths behind it is really cool, but as a language? *shudder*

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: EMACS. Is there anything it cannot do?

        "Unfortunately this is probably impossible for vi"

        Why waste time? Straight to /dev/null

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: EMACS. Is there anything it cannot do?

          Concur with the bit bucket as an ultimate destination, Dr.S ... but sometimes it's about the journey, not the destination.

      2. jake Silver badge

        Re: EMACS. Is there anything it cannot do?

        Joe, ever fiddle about with Vimscript?

        :help vim-script-intro

        Seems to me some guy at IBM had a mice[0] intro ... here it is.

        Have fun!

        [0] I seem to need some of that mouse cancellation ...

    2. Nick Kew Silver badge

      @John Smith 19

      How do you solve the halting problem?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: @John Smith 19

        "How do you solve the halting problem?"

        Avoid typing '<ESC>x kill-emacs'

      2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: @John Smith 19

        How do you solve the halting problem?

        Keep clicking the start button?

        :-)

    3. Een8nope

      Re: EMACS. Is there anything it cannot do?

      I stopped using emacs when I found myself using another editor to fix the problems in the lisp configuration files of emacs.

    4. 's water music Silver badge

      Re: EMACS. Is there anything it cannot do?

      To those with good enough LISP skills I guess the answer is "no."

      But philosophically isn't this the same as people in(*) accounts for whom there is nothing that Excel(**) cannot do

      (*) when I say 'in' I mean that the original author left the company. The number of intervening years being proportional to the business criticality of the spreadsheet.

      (**) or 123 obviously. Your ERP is probably going to based on 123 just because of its age outside of startups.

      1. breakfast

        Re: EMACS. Is there anything it cannot do?

        Philosophically, no. Emacs is a simple pure text editor that allows one to extend it in various directions but is, at heart, easy enough that anybody with the ability to instantly memorise 8000 keystroke sequences could master it in only a couple of decades.

        Excel, meanwhile, is really complicated.

  3. Christian Berger Silver badge

    So... what's the big point for slack?

    I mean you depend on a single company for your communications. They can easily listen into this, and if they go down, or they simply don't like you anymore, you're cut off.

    Meanwhile on IRC you can simply run your own server.

    So what is the big advantage evening out all the disadvantages?

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: So... what's the big point for slack?

      Christian, I think DevOps Barbie put it best: "IRC is hard!"

      1. Christian Berger Silver badge

        Re: So... what's the big point for slack?

        You know that gives me an idea. Wouldn't it be interresting to have am "IT Security and/or Engineering"-doll? Kinda something that could act as a role model toy for children. Perhaps even with a Free (as in speech) design you could print out.

        1. macjules Silver badge

          Re: So... what's the big point for slack?

          Nice idea. An Indian DevOps doll perhaps? "Your S3 bucket is perfectly safe with me"

        2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: So... what's the big point for slack?

          You know that gives me an idea. Wouldn't it be interresting to have am "IT Security and/or Engineering"-doll?

          There's already an IT Barbie doll

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: So... what's the big point for slack?

            My daughter made her own IT Barbie ...

  4. TheCraigE

    This looks cool but...

    ...I can't try it out. I'm stuck in Vim and can't figure out how to quit.

    1. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Re: This looks cool but...

      ...I can't try it out. I'm stuck in Vim and can't figure out how to quit.

      ...That's a joke right........?

    2. handleoclast Silver badge

      Re: This looks cool but...

      I remember having to explain to somebody who should never have attempted to use Vim in the first place (he was a graphics guy) how to save and exit.

      No problem, right?

      Well, I was explaining over Yahoo! Messenger.

      Still no problem, right? In fact it's better than the spoken word, because he could see the actual characters. No ambiguity about whether I meant ":" or "colon" (five keystrokes).

      Well, that depends. ":wq" is one way of saving and quitting. But if you're lazy (like all good programmers) you save a keystroke by using ":x".

      This was Yahoo! Messenger.

      Which interpreted ":x" as an emoticon.

      So I gave him a kiss.

      Gah!

  5. LewisRage

    I don't see the point

    Slack can do all this natively, notifications can be configured to only alert on a specific @ mention of your name and combinations of /mute and channels would allow him to filter the dross...

    >whenever something explodes in the server

    Surely just point growl at the native logs?

    Best of luck to him if that's how he wants to spend his time of course but the return on effort for this seems pretty low.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: I don't see the point

      "the return on effort for this seems pretty low."

      I think that was the objective. He doesn't want much returned from the feed.

    2. Barry Rueger Silver badge

      Re: I don't see the point

      Slack can do all this natively, notifications can be configured...

      Hmmm. Don't use Slack, but find this claim dubious. Of course I'm basing that on my unending battle to kill off pointless notifications in Android.

      Did Mr. Emacs user run into the Slack equivalent of the LG Android "Your battery is fully charged." notification? The one that by all indications cannot be defeated?

      Or did he fall prey to the users who clog tools like Slack or WhatsApp with endless and pointless "me too" comments at every turn?

      Too many things can't be fixed in "settings."

    3. DuncanLarge Bronze badge

      Re: I don't see the point

      "Slack can do all this natively"

      Maybe but that would mean he would have to leave Emacs to use Slack. Me might even have to move his hand to use the mouse!

      When you use Emacs, you stay in Emacs.

  6. clocKwize

    He spent how long getting this working? All in the name of reducing distractions so he can get on with his job...

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