Frustratingly, I can’t locate it now but I recently saw a post on Mastodon from someone who had great difficulty creating a new file in his ‘Documents’ folder.

This struck me as very amusing but I think the point he was trying to express was that his ‘Documents’ directory is a disorganised, unstructured, cluttered mess of files so he is incredibly reluctant and can barely bring himself to compound the issue further by typing ‘vi linux-notes.txt’ while in the ‘Documents’ directory.

I have a similar issue. I use Emacs and orgmode - primarily for note taking. Well it’s sort of a bastard combination of notes and a journal - but not a proper orgmode journal. Maybe it should be. Come to think of it, every notes file contains a ‘ToDo’ section but not a proper orgmode list of ToDo items. Maybe it should. Sue me.

To clarify a little, when I’m working on a technical project, I am almost always required to produce some project documentation later on. Typically, this might be an installation guide or a handover document for a client. Obviously, this needs to be a polished, structured, coherent document that is technically accurate.

Clearly, it is very difficult to create such a document after the fact when the memory is hazy and the precise, important details are almost forgotten. As an input to that formal document, and for my own benefit, I tend to keep notes as I go along. If I encounter a problem, I write it down together with the error codes and the various avenues I explored and the final resolution. Often, my notes include links to articles or technical blogs describing the same or similar issues. Occasionally, you won’t be surprised to know the notes may even contain an outburst or a mini-rant.

Bug first noted and ack’ed in September 2017. Still fecking present in May 2020. God help us.

Currently, I create a new directory for each project I work on. For the ACME project, I will work in the ‘$HOME/work/acme’ directory. Often there will be additional sub-directories ‘apex’, ‘scripts’, ‘documents’ etc.

My notes file for each project used to be named ’’ but this was sub-optimal as I would then have multiple ’’ files in the Emacs buffer list and ‘Recent Files’ list so it was hard to distinguish them.

To address this, I then prefixed the filenames thus; ‘’. This worked a little better as typing ‘acme’ offered the correct completion almost immediately.

However, this isn’t ideal either as sometimes I am hunting for the details of an APEX issue that I encountered last year for that customer but was it ‘ACME’ or was it ‘Vodafone’ or was it ‘ABC Corp’ ?

I suspect the orgmode experts would say the solution to this is a single, larger orgmode file (‘’) containing all the projects I have worked on which is searchable and only the currently active customer is expanded and all the others are hidden.

Funnily enough, years ago, I did experiment with the ‘Single large text file’ idea and I have also used TiddlyWiki when I needed to share notes between a laptop and a desktop machine and later DokuWiki when, for some reason,I thought my notes, jottings and ill-considered rants should be available on the Internet.

Using a single orgmode file for work is attractive but that file would obviously have to reside in the ‘~/orgmode’ directory whereas when I am taking notes and want to open source code, M-x find-file works neatly as I am already in the context of the project directory. If I move my notes to the orgmode directory, I sense more context switching, more typing and more work.

Maybe I could investigate the Emacs projectile package to see if that would help resolve this minor issue. That would represent an ideal opportunity for more procrastination.