Ubuntu without a mouse

I’ve been getting potential RSI type pain in my hands. I’m taking steps to ergonomically improve my workspace, but I’m also attempting to stop using my mouse, as this seems part of the cause. My habit is to work on two screens, with the main screen arranged with an emacs window on the right, a terminal on the left (running R), and plots appearing on the other (rotated) screen, thus:

+------------+   +------------+-----------+
|            |   |            |           |
|            |   |            |           |    
|            |   |  (term)    |  (emacs)  |    
|  (plots)   |   |            |           |    
|            |   |            |           |     
|            |   |            |           |     
|            |   |------------|-----------|
|            |      

I typically type in emacs, highlight with mouse, then paste with middle click into the terminal. I’ve had this habit since at least 1997, so it is rather ingrained. It works well, because I can switch from writing R to ruby or perl and use the same muscle memory. This post is mostly about changing that habit.

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Writing R vignettes in emacs org mode using ox-ravel

I want to be able to write R vignettes in org-mode. Crazy, perhaps, but it has become my default way to write everything, notes on current projects, even beamer slides and papers. Now I need to write a vignette for the coloc R package, and switching to Sweave reminds me what a pain that is. So I had a play with knitr before, and liked it, but again it means learning a new markup syntax.

I have found ox-ravel, which means I can now write .org files, and export part or all to Sweave, knitr, brew, etc. I cannot stress just how fantastic this is, in allowing me to write everything in one syntax!

But setting it up required updating org-mode, because it requires the new ox export engine found in org-8. In the process, I didn’t want to break org2blog which I use to write these blog posts. Knowing this could get complicated, I documented each step here.

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