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One Week: No Mouse, Just Keyboard

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the trackball-also-off-the-table dept.

Input Devices 364

jfruhlinger writes "Anyone in tech has heard from grousing old-timers who believe the GUI was the beginning of the end of civilization and that EMacs keyboard shortcuts are all the interface anyone should need. But can someone use a modern consumer OS without laying hands on a mouse? Kevin Purdy gave it a week-long try."

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Windows? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36590644)

Really? He used Windows for this?

Re:Windows? (1)

edumacator (910819) | more than 3 years ago | (#36590664)

You should have bolded Windows, but with no mouse I guess you couldn't find the really dark B...

Re:Windows? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36590736)

Don't you know formatting is what caused the decline of the Web? All that newfangled images and formatting and stuff.

Plain text or bust!

Re:Windows? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36590772)

What B [daskeyboard.com] ?

Also: Yakuake + qdbus + bash script (+ mapping on a key, using qdbus) = everything's doable via keyboard anyway.

Re:Windows? (1)

realityimpaired (1668397) | more than 3 years ago | (#36590824)

You actually use a wysiwyg editor for posting comments, and not <b>bold</b> tags? I don't use a Mac, so clearly my keyboard shortcuts are faster.

Re:Windows? (4, Interesting)

White Flame (1074973) | more than 3 years ago | (#36590750)

Windows is FAR better than Linux in the run-the-GUI-with-keyboard-only department. Sure, Linux has a better console environment, but these keyboard jockeys utterly failed at keyboard jockeying their graphical programs.

I liked the Amiga's solution: Holding down one of the Amiga keyboard buttons turned the cursor keys into a virtual mouse, with Enter or Space or something representing the mouse buttons. A very simple solution when some program didn't have a keyboard shortcut and it wasn't worth grabbing the rodent.

Re:Windows? (1)

jnpcl (1929302) | more than 3 years ago | (#36590816)

I believe this has been moved into the Accessibility features for most modern OS'.

Re:Windows? (1)

starofale (1976650) | more than 3 years ago | (#36590846)

There isn't just one Linux GUI. Sure, some are designed to mainly use the mouse, but then there are others designed to only need a keyboard.
For example http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xmonad [wikipedia.org]

Re:Windows? (3, Insightful)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 3 years ago | (#36590970)

A WM isn't the whole story. You could end up still fighting the GUI toolkit all the way down if the application isn't built with foresight. Even something as simple as bad tab order between fields.

Re:Windows? (4, Informative)

Volanin (935080) | more than 3 years ago | (#36590956)

I liked the Amiga's solution: Holding down one of the Amiga keyboard buttons turned the cursor keys into a virtual mouse.

In Linux you can press SHIFT + NUMLOCK.
This toggles numpad-keys-as-virtual-mouse behaviour.

Re:Windows? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36591388)

Yeah but using the numpad keys is idiotic. Who still wants a keyboard with a numpad? Mine doesn't have one, it takes up a fraction of the amount of desk space, and I like it that way.

It doesn't work on my system anyway (Ubuntu 11.04, default 2D GNOME). Pressing shift-numlock does nothing. So what setup are you referring to when you say "Linux"?

Re:Windows? (1)

UltraZelda64 (2309504) | more than 3 years ago | (#36591570)

Who still wants a keyboard with a numpad?

Me. I don't know about you, but when typing numbers (especially several in a row), NOTHING beats the number pad. The only devices I find it acceptable to go without a numpad is when using devices that omit it for space reasons. Which would be... netbooks. I wouldn't want to use a calculator program without it... which effectively makes netbooks lousy as portable calculators.

Re:Windows? (1)

cynyr (703126) | more than 3 years ago | (#36591098)

HMM? almost every linux program has extensive keybindings, and there are a few "use keys to move the mouse pointer" programs around.

Re:Windows? (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#36591234)

I liked the Amiga's solution: Holding down one of the Amiga keyboard buttons turned the cursor keys into a virtual mouse

You can do the same in X, with shift-numlock. Recent versions will require an xorg.conf option [archlinux.org] to enable it however.

BTW, what's with X.org shipping broken by default these days? You have to add options to enable basic functionality like mousekeys or ctrl-alt-backspace. Lame.

Re:Windows? (1, Informative)

ThePhilips (752041) | more than 3 years ago | (#36590762)

Windows is actually mostly OK w/o mouse. Most MSFT applications are quite keyboard friendly. Ditto Mac OS X. The OSs give impression that they were at least somehow tested for the occasional mouse failure. (Safari with keyboard only is very functional.)

Can't say the same for the modern Linuxes, Ubuntu 11.04 in particular (IIRC previous versions, based on GNOME 2.x are not better). Recently my trackball dyed and I had to get around with only keyboard. It was abysmal. Essentially, it went like Alt-F2, xterm, sync, etc, shutdown -h how. From GUI, trying to eject the USB drive properly without the mouse to me proved to be impossible.

Re:Windows? (1)

dAzED1 (33635) | more than 3 years ago | (#36590862)

that's an Ubuntu problem, not a "Linux" problem. There are Linux distros that are accessibility-friendly. Pure, raw, actual Linux doesn't really have a gui anyway.

Re:Windows? (1)

adolf (21054) | more than 3 years ago | (#36591208)

that's an Ubuntu problem, not a "Linux" problem. There are Linux distros that are accessibility-friendly. Pure, raw, actual Linux doesn't really have a gui anyway.

But I thought Ubuntu was supposed to be the most accessible of the Linux distributions!

(Note for the humor-impaired: Yes, it's a pun.)

(Note for the those that have a well-developed sense of humor: No, it's not a very good pun.)

(And a note from me, the pedant: Pure, raw, actual Linux doesn't have any sort of user interface at all!, except for perhaps the Magic SysRq key.)

Re:Windows? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36591462)

Pure raw linux doesn't have any shell at all.

It's fantastic, even the keyboard is useless.

Re:Windows? (1)

vux984 (928602) | more than 3 years ago | (#36590996)

OSX ?

How does one access the menu items without a mouse in OSX? Genuinely asking... on windows you press alt, and then you can navigate the menu system with the arrows. I'm pretty sure that doesn't work on the mac.

And I know I've hit thousands of OSX dialog boxes that won't let you tab between the buttons or controls. (especially radio buttons and checkboxes...) My mac's not in arms reach or I'd fool around and find some examples...

Re:Windows? (1)

yincrash (854885) | more than 3 years ago | (#36591206)

Yeah, individual apps might be keyboard friendly, but OSX itself is far from it. I would say it's worse than linux in that regard.

Re:Windows? (1)

GarrettK18 (1200827) | more than 3 years ago | (#36591242)

control-f2, at least when running VoiceOver. Not sure how to do it if you have working eyeballs and no need for a screen reader.

Re:Windows? (1)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 3 years ago | (#36591364)

System Preferences .... > Keyboard > Keyboard shortcuts.

You can choose to move focus to the menu bar, dock, cycle through window focus, focus on the tool bar, next window in the application, status menu (the right part of the menu bar). Also lets you change tab settings at the bottom. If it's a menu option in an app, you can assign a key to it.
Should look like this [imageshack.us]

Also in dialog boxes: A "Command-$$" will select the dialog entry starting with $$ letter.
Say the save dialog box shows up:
"Save" "Don't Save" "Cancel". Save is highlighted. So hitting enter will save it.
Command-D will "Don't Save" it"
Command-C will "Cancel"
Command-S will "Save"

Re:Windows? (2)

mattack2 (1165421) | more than 3 years ago | (#36591370)

You must not have full keyboard navigation turned on.

Control-F7, or turn it on in the System Preferences pane.

Then you can keyboard navigate virtually everything.

Someone else mentioned the default key for keyboard navigating the menubar, but I have mine customized (also in the Keyboard pref)... since I have the control key where it belongs ("Apple Keyboard" with an ADBUSB converter), it makes things easier to type. ^1 goes to the menubar, ^2 goes to the Dock, ^4 goes to the window toolbar.. I have a few more set up, but mostly the menubar & dock are the ones I use frequently.

Re:Windows? (1)

mattack2 (1165421) | more than 3 years ago | (#36591400)

Specifically, for either the Menubar or the Dock, you hit the hotkey, then use arrows or type-selection to navigate to specific items, and space to 'hit' the currently selected item.

Re:Windows? (1)

cynyr (703126) | more than 3 years ago | (#36591106)

try pmount for umounting next time

Re:Windows? (1)

GarrettK18 (1200827) | more than 3 years ago | (#36591262)

If you're in classic view (i.e. no unity), press control-alt-d to get to the desktop. Navigate to the drive icon, then press the "Applications Key" (usually to the right of the right alt key), then down arrow to "eject drive" or "safely eject drive."

Re:Windows? (1)

ThePhilips (752041) | more than 3 years ago | (#36591430)

It appears that Ctrl-Alt-D was the shortcut I was missing. In Windows 7 I too do not know how to get to the desktop with keyboard shortcuts (in Win XP IIRC it was Win, Esc, Tab; hm something similar works in W7 too), but raw window of Explorer is sufficient (where from you can navigate e.g. to computer management).

Otherwise, Linux, or X Window System, is probably the most keyboard unfriendly environment I have ever encountered. KDE 3.x in my past experience was OK (they mimic Windows a lot, also in keyboard shortcut aspects; no experience with KDE4), but GNOME based systems not once have failed me in keyboard department in past (my departure from GNOME (1.4) was largely due to removal of keyboard shortcuts altogether in GNOME 2.0; IceWM FTW!).

Re:Windows? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36590834)

Yeah, seriously.

There are whole window managers for X designed around hands-on-the-keyboard exclusively (ratpoison) or as an important option (dwm, wmii, sawmill) -- AFAIK none of these are available for managing native Win32 windows (although you could always run cygwin, an X server, and X apps with one of them just to say it's on Windows); porting them to Windows is theoretically possible, but would be such a massive headache and bugfest that one would have to be incredibly high to think it worth trying.

all the time (1)

Bizzeh (851225) | more than 3 years ago | (#36590670)

i learned my way around the keyboard shortcuts because of dead batteries in a wireless mouse, and nowhere sells AA's at 3am.

after that, i put it into practice a lot, makes it easier to quickly configure a new computer at work.

after a few goes, it gets really easy, to a point where a task most people use a mouse for, is so much easier with keyboard shortcuts

Re:all the time (1)

UltraZelda64 (2309504) | more than 3 years ago | (#36590820)

Don't you have a Wal-Mart SuperCenter nearby? Even though the chain sucks ass and is questionable when it comes to business practices, every one of them nearby is open all night, every night. You're only screwed if you want to buy beer, due to Ohio's state alcohol laws (boo, anti-drug laws). Or what about Walgreens? Both of those are open practically 24/7 (with Christmas being one of, if not their only times closed AFAIK). Not sure if all Walgreens are open all the time, but it seems like at least all the local Wal-Marts are...

Re:all the time (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 3 years ago | (#36591040)

Some Wal-Marts, such as the inside-the-Perimeter ones in Atlanta, do close at night.

Re:all the time (1)

snowraver1 (1052510) | more than 3 years ago | (#36591060)

...or a 7-11?

Re:all the time (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 3 years ago | (#36590832)

I taught myself to not use the mouse after my laptop came without a mouse. It was hard for about 10 minutes, but there's this space under the spacebar that seems to work pretty well.

LOL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36590676)

Sounds like hell. Just because you can, doesn't mean you should.

I've sort of tried this before... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36590692)

Yeah, sort of..."

Around 13 years ago, I've tried using the keyboard to move the mouse pointer. I was still a student then so I couldn't afford buying a replacement for my broken mouse. You'll get by with keyboard shortcuts. The only time I found it necessary to move the mouse pointer was when I played Command & Conquer.

iOS (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36590702)

Yes. I have never used a mouse on iOS and it works just fine.

Re:iOS (1)

sco08y (615665) | more than 3 years ago | (#36590888)

Using the magic trackpad with OS X is awesome for most work, especially any browsing since scrolling is so much better than with a wheel. The only thing I dislike is that the web hasn't caught up to gestures yet.

Funny thing, though, the only mouse I have is a gaming mouse because regular mice don't feel at all comfortable.

Re:iOS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36590954)

Using a trackpad counts when you are trying to be keyboard only.

Re:iOS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36591110)

For that matter, you've never used a keyboard either.

Naturally (1)

Arker (91948) | more than 3 years ago | (#36591128)

I dont think I have even seen a router with a mouse plugged in.

Keyboard only support should be mandatory (3, Insightful)

Killer Orca (1373645) | more than 3 years ago | (#36590710)

I had an adviser who was blind, the only was he could access his computer was a combination screen reader + keyboard. I cannot imagine the number of things he is cut-off from due to a lack of support for keyboards.

Re:Keyboard only support should be mandatory (1)

kakyoin01 (2040114) | more than 3 years ago | (#36590796)

Completely agreed. Software developers should consider ethical issues that their software may revolve around.

Re:Keyboard only support should be mandatory (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36591122)

Completely agreed. Software developers should consider ethical issues that their software may revolve around.

I had a lot more to say about this, but I don't think I can explain it properly.
But, I disagree as many others surely will. If you want software made for every handicap known to man, write it yourself.
There are no "ethical issues".

Re:Keyboard only support should be mandatory (1)

guybrush3pwood (1579937) | more than 3 years ago | (#36591268)

If you want software made for every handicap known to man, write it yourself. There are no "ethical issues".

Such an opinion such not be posted as AC. We can't trash you properly.

Re:Keyboard only support should be mandatory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36591004)

What about those with no hands who are blind and deaf?

my usual practice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36590712)

Except for web pages, I normally don't use a mouse. Much quicker to use the keyboard on Windows (XP and 7).

Re:my usual practice (1)

Lennie (16154) | more than 3 years ago | (#36590776)

Exactly my thought and most webpages can use some work on that.

Maybe even browsers.

Re:my usual practice (3, Informative)

Wintervenom (1468867) | more than 3 years ago | (#36590946)

If you are using Firefox, try the Pentadactyl nightly [sourceforge.net] or Vimperator [vimperator.org] .

Slow week (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36590720)

at itworld.com it would appear.

Kevin Purdy gave it a week-long try... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36590724)

Why?

Sure, it's just harder (2)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 3 years ago | (#36590728)

One of our students is blind and he doesn't use a mouse on his computer as it really wouldn't be so useful. He's got a keyboard, a braille output device, and screen reading software. He moves about the system (Windows XP) using only the keyboard. It works, it is just slower than using a mouse.

I've operated Windows systems without mice occasionally because there was some problem, and again, works just fine. Even though I do it rarely, I can still do it just fine.

Re:Sure, it's just harder (1)

MikeBabcock (65886) | more than 3 years ago | (#36591566)

Its one of the few areas I found WinXP more usable than Linux -- I can operate a WinXP box from startup to shutdown without a mouse, where I find Gnome's UI requires a mouse to navigate some options.

The conkeror web browser (3, Informative)

tamyrlin (51) | more than 3 years ago | (#36590740)

If you aren't on friendly terms with your mouse I would recommend the conkeror web browser. This has saved me quite some hazzle in situations where I either don't have a mouse (my TV computer) or when the mouse is awkward to use (my laptop with a substandard trackpad).

For those who don't know, conkeror is a web browser based on xulrunner which is designed to be used in an effective manner without a mouse. If you happen to like emacs, you'll probably feel right at home since the keybindings (by default) are inspired by emacs. If you are not familiar with emacs you will probably need some more time to get used to conkeror. However, since conkeror allows you to use a mouse as well if you want to you can adapt to the browser without feeling too handicapped.

If this seems interesting you can find more information about conkeror at http://conkeror.org/ [conkeror.org] .

Re:The conkeror web browser (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36591496)

I'll raise your conkeror plug with a vimperator plug.

http://vimperator.org/vimperator

Logoff/Shutdown/Restart (2)

sconeu (64226) | more than 3 years ago | (#36590754)

On Win7, how the F*** do you log off, shutdown, or restart without a mouse?

On XP, it was {CTRL+ESC|WinKey}, U, {L|R|S}

Re:Logoff/Shutdown/Restart (1)

JazzXP (770338) | more than 3 years ago | (#36590786)

Windows Key (Ctrl+Esc), Right Arrow, Right Arrow, Enter

Re:Logoff/Shutdown/Restart (2)

bhcompy (1877290) | more than 3 years ago | (#36590794)

Ctrl-esc, right arrow, enter

Re:Logoff/Shutdown/Restart (2)

cpicon92 (1157705) | more than 3 years ago | (#36590802)

There are several ways. The easiest would be command+D to get to the desktop, and then alt+f4.

Re:Logoff/Shutdown/Restart (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36590804)

Press and release the Windows key, then cursor-right to the Shutdown option (press return to activate), or press cursor-right again for the restart/sleep/etc. options.

Re:Logoff/Shutdown/Restart (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36590826)

Winkey-R, logoff
Winkey-R, shutdown /s /t 0
Winkey-R, shutdown /r /t 0

Re:Logoff/Shutdown/Restart (2)

Ascylon (1849890) | more than 3 years ago | (#36590844)

win+r (run prompt), shutdown /s /f /t 1 or shutdown /r /f /t 1 or logoff (shutdown/restart/logoff). Incidentally, the same works for WinXP (instead of slashes use hyphens, -s instead of /s etc).

And more importantly... (1)

Radical Moderate (563286) | more than 3 years ago | (#36590854)

why the hell did they change it? Here you have keyboard commands that millions of people have memorized, and they throw them out just for the hell of it. It's almost as if Microsoft doesn't give a damn about their customers. Crazy, I know.

Re:And more importantly... (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 3 years ago | (#36590920)

why the hell did they change it? Here you have keyboard commands that millions of people have memorized, and they throw them out just for the hell of it. It's almost as if Microsoft doesn't give a damn about their customers. Crazy, I know.

I've stopped asking why MS changes stuff for no apparent reason; it's just what MS does. It seems it's just one arbitrary interface/command being changed into a different arbitrary interface/commend. There may be some PHB calculation somewhere deep in MS that "shows" it increases revenue by 1.3% or the like. (I've tried Open-Office, but it has it own annoyances.)

Re:And more importantly... (3, Insightful)

vux984 (928602) | more than 3 years ago | (#36590938)

Here you have keyboard commands that millions of people have memorized

certainly not millions.
thousands for sure.
maybe 10s of thousands.

why the hell did they change it?

Because opening the start menu puts you in the search bar. Pressing "U" in the search bar puts a U in the search bar. It can't really be used for a hotkey unless nobody is allowed to search for things that start with 'u'.

And for what its worth, putting search in the start bar was a GOOD thing. I rarely ever have to go digging through the start menu hierarchy any more.

Search is better than the run dialog as well because it works for documents, as well.

So why they hell did they change it? Because they made it better, and millions of users (this time actual millions) benefitted.

It's almost as if Microsoft doesn't give a damn about their customers

Or maybe its you that doesn't? Because having everyone else have to push an extra key to get the search box just so people like you could still press U instead of right-arrow would be asinine.

Re:And more importantly... (1)

pz (113803) | more than 3 years ago | (#36591282)

And for what its worth, putting search in the start bar was a GOOD thing. I rarely ever have to go digging through the start menu hierarchy any more.

Disclaimer: I have not used Win 7. All of my Windows boxes run XP (or, in some cases, 98 ... no need to update a working data-collection setup).

That sure sounds more and more like a command line. At the Unix prompt we (all should) know and love, you type the first few characters, hit TAB, and boom! you get a list of options that the system knows about as executable programs. Think of it as a highly indexed and cached search.

And I bet there are even shells that I've not used that would allow general searching -- like, type macTAB and get emacs.

Re:And more importantly... (1)

amliebsch (724858) | more than 3 years ago | (#36591398)

Kind of, but it is a true search - that is, it will show results that don't necessarily start with what was typed, e.g. "Word" will find "Microsoft Office Word 2007", as well as other things that are not executables, like documents, web bookmarks, and control panels.

Re:And more importantly... (1)

amliebsch (724858) | more than 3 years ago | (#36591292)

Indeed, in fact for this exact purpose - that is, using the keyboard to the exclusion of the mouse - putting the cursor in the search bar upon pressing the Windows key is a massive improvement. Microsoft makes a lot of stupid design choices but they always seemed to have placed keyboard usability at a relatively high priority.

Re:And more importantly... (1)

lordofwhee (1187719) | more than 3 years ago | (#36591548)

And for what its worth, putting search in the start bar was a GOOD thing. I rarely ever have to go digging through the start menu hierarchy any more.

The idea there's a search bar there hasn't once gone through my head except after spending several seconds wondering where the hell the "Run..." item went. Admittedly I only use Windows for gaming purposes, but I've had it installed for quite some time (think years). The fact I cannot get used to it means either my brain is off or MS made a bad decision. This being /., you can probably figure out which I think it is.

Re:Logoff/Shutdown/Restart (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36590942)

For XP I just hit Win key, U, U. That little bit quicker ;)
Restart? Win key, U, R.

Re:Logoff/Shutdown/Restart (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36591056)

[winkey] [right arrow] selects the shutdown button

Re:Logoff/Shutdown/Restart (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36591174)

How about you press that nice big shiny button on the box itself?

Startling, I know, that there's a dedicated button for that...

Re:Logoff/Shutdown/Restart (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36591214)

On Win7, how the F*** do you log off, shutdown, or restart without a mouse?

Simple: up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, b, a, yank electrical cord from the wall

Re:Logoff/Shutdown/Restart (1)

dwarfsoft (461760) | more than 3 years ago | (#36591392)

Shutdown: {CTRL+ESC|WinKey}, {Right}, {Enter}
Restart, Logoff or Lock: {CTRL+ESC|WinKey}, {Right}, {Right}, {R|L|O}

Re:Logoff/Shutdown/Restart (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36591510)

Windows key+ f4

RE GUI vs Keyboard (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36590770)

Mostly, on a Mac you can use either a keyboard or a mouse.
When Microsoft started Windows, that was also true. There were rules for how to
do GUI stuff and if you implemented that "GUI stuff" you also had to implement
the keyboard version of the navigations. Over time, Microsoft lost their interest
in efficiency of the individual and traded it for the the easiest way for a beginner
to use their product. Experienced and expert users were ignored. They are now
paying the price for that decision.

Re:RE GUI vs Keyboard (1)

kevinmenzel (1403457) | more than 3 years ago | (#36591096)

Are you kidding me? Things like, oh for example the Ribbon interface in Office 2010 make using just a keyboard even EASIER. EVERYTHING is accessible by keyboard, with key combinations that could be memorized, as opposed to having to navigate menus with the keyboard for anything where there wasn't an assigned keyboard shortcut.

Did that, to dozens of students (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36590774)

When I was teaching Linux system administration (a 3 month full-time course for unemployed - I accepted the job on the condition that I could select among the candidates based on motivation and reasoning skill), I setted up the computer of each student with nothing but a full screen text mode. I told them that there would be occasions when they had such a screen, because at that point they can start to troubleshoot. They used that for a whole week to learn using the shell and understanding the basic principles of the O., The last day of the first week would be on vim - my co-teachers thought I was nuts, but the students learned a lot during that weel. The first day of the second week they would do their first installation of Linux, including a windowing environment of their choice (so everybody was using something different, by the end of the secdond month we would also diversify among distros and even throw in BSD, Solaris and HP/UX in lab exercises), only to find out that their GUI would mainly be used as a way to start up a text terminal. We ran the course 3 times a year for several years and managed to train some damn fine sysadmins out of people who often never got any chances to excel before.

Re:Did that, to dozens of students (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36590898)

Sorry, I wrote some terrible English and stupid typos. Past tense of "set" is "set". "I told them that there would be occasions when they would be very happy to have such a screen [...] understanding basic principles of the OS."
 
  "people who often never got any chances to excel before": I mean that a great deal of them never got any chances before, many of them told us that they had for the first time in their life the experience of being taken seriously.. For the other typos it is obvious what is intended. ((Too tired. good night /.))

What web browser was he using? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36590778)

but by Tuesday, I’m really committed, and very familiar with the Tab key. It’s the universal navigation tool across apps and web sites, but all you can do is hope that it lands you on the right button in a minimum of taps.

I don't grep any obvious mention in there about his web-browser, but I should mention that, Opera has, among other tools*, a way to roughly navigate the 2D page via arrow keys while holding down shift. Much easier than hitting tab N times.

* For example, you can use text-searches to simply type the link you want and then hit enter (I often use this in forums) or Control-J to show all links in a page.

Rather silly (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36590780)

While interesting, the whole premise is rather silly. Trying to use an object while rejecting the intended control scheme and asking "will it work as well?" is the silly part. What's next, examining the effect of trying to drive a car with no steering wheel, just the column to grab onto? It's built to use the wheel, and is a daft comparison to make. For the best user experience, a modern OS is built to use the mouse (or a touchscreen for a mobile).

touchscreens are worse (2)

KiloByte (825081) | more than 3 years ago | (#36590798)

A worse case: on n900, a device with a keyboard, Nokia in their infinite wisdom decided that to set an alarm you need to swipe a number of times to scroll to the hour and minute you want.

Re:touchscreens are worse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36591102)

Yes, this has also bugged me to no end. Especially when you consider that it's initial time setup user interface is a clock face where you drag the hands... much, much better. So it has a cool way to set the clock, and a crappy way, but someone thought to provide the crappy one for everyday use.

What happened? (1)

PhunkySchtuff (208108) | more than 3 years ago | (#36590818)

I would have loved to click the link in the article, but I couldn't as I too have given up my mouse...

Blind people do every day don't they? (2)

synthesizerpatel (1210598) | more than 3 years ago | (#36590876)

For many folks it's a more than an entertaining jaunt into the wild west of accessibility, it's a way of life.

Sure you can... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36590926)

... I'm doing it all day long. Using a tiling window manager like dwn, wmii, awesome, ratpoison, (etc.) you can arrange your windows with the keyboard. Most applications I use on a daily basis are console-based anyway: vim, mutt, irssi, ... Even firefox is keyboard-friendly if you install the vimperator plugin.

Most of the time, I feel like I'm much faster using just the keyboard, especially when programming. However, there are of course certain applications where a mouse is needed (like image manipulation (GIMP), CAD, ..).

xmonad (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36590966)

Designed for just keyboard use.
http://xmonad.org/

vimperator? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36590968)

vimperator?

Windows is the best for it. (3)

drolli (522659) | more than 3 years ago | (#36591008)

I did this from time to time (lets just say in the lab i find it enough if every oscilloscope or auxiliary control computer has a keyboard flying around without a mandatory mouse.

The gnome desktop was hard to navigate, Windows for sure possible and more consistent across applications.

Re:Windows is the best for it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36591260)

Flying keyboards? is that a new screensaver?

Re:Windows is the best for it. (1)

theripper (123078) | more than 3 years ago | (#36591308)

)

Stupid content filter won't just let me close the damned parenthesis.

Too extreme (2)

gweihir (88907) | more than 3 years ago | (#36591034)

The mouse is useful to select windows, do edge-scroll between virtual desktops and select text regions. (fvwm2, obviously)

Other than that, I use it for gaming and that is it.

Pfft! Im doing (1)

Roachie (2180772) | more than 3 years ago | (#36591134)

... one week NO MONITOR juta sdf agah!!!

He should have used... (1)

dazst (654906) | more than 3 years ago | (#36591148)

the Finger-Nose [variationsonnormal.com]

As a blind Windows/Linux user... (5, Interesting)

GarrettK18 (1200827) | more than 3 years ago | (#36591200)

Yes, it is completely possible to do so. There are even built-in shortcuts to do just about everything (desktop, start menu, application navigation mechanisms, ETC)... and that's not even getting into all the stuff a screen reader gives you, like the ability to inspect the screen with a "flat review cursor." Then there are all sorts of fun things like "spell word", ETC.

It's also possible to use a computer soully with a refreshable braille display device, though it gets aggrivating, and there's no way in hell I'd do it for a week.

On the Linux side of things, the accessibility is far worse than in Windows, but Gnome provides a lot of the same types of keyboard navigation mechanisms as Windows (Orca [gnome.org] doesn't work on KDE, sadly).

Try it in Linux (1)

Compaqt (1758360) | more than 3 years ago | (#36591380)

... fail.

Supposedly, the operating system that "we" made was supposed to have full keyboard support, so we won't have to leave our beloved home row [vim.org] , right?

Wrong. I had a mouse go bad one time, and found out just how wrong.

For starters, just to log off or turn the computer off, you have to click a button in the top panel (in Ubuntu/Gnome), but, although there's a shortcut for the top menu (Alt+F1), you can't get to the panel buttons from there.

Plenty of other annoyances as well, including being not able (or hardly able) to switch among different sections of a program (such as file browser or web browser) with the keyboard.

Protip: I think Gnome's supposed to have support for MouseKeys [wikipedia.org] . I used to use it all the time in Windows, but haven't in Ubunutu. In Windows, there's a handy keyboard combo for turning it on and off. Without that, you've disabled your numpad.

Re:Try it in Linux (1)

nzac (1822298) | more than 3 years ago | (#36591490)

Set-up a short cut to open a terminal emulator of your choice and you have more than you need. Alt-F2 also works.

Linux destops are designed so you can use your mouse. Window managers are for keyboard.
Alt-F2
gnome-terminal
Enter
su
poweroff

There might be a user executable shut down command but i have yet to find it, chmod does work though.

Re:Try it in Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36591568)

ctrl-alt-f2... log in and your good to go

VoiceOver on MacOS X (1)

gkearney (162433) | more than 3 years ago | (#36591512)

The blind and some print disabled use computers all the time without a mouse. On MacOS X and the iOS there is a built in screen reader called VoiceOver (started with a command-F5 on a standard keyboard function-command-F5 on portables. With VoiceOver running you can work the OS with no mouse, or for that matter even a screen attached. It also support a wide range of braille displays.

There is similar products for Windows but they are not built into the OS and some, JAWS and WindowEyes for example, can cost more than the computer they run on.

On on the whole this is a rather silly question which if the authors had asked the question "How do the blind use a computer?" would have been answered.

Gregory Kearney
Manager - Accessible Media
Association for the Blind of Western Australia
61 Kitchener Avenue, PO Box 101
Victoria Park 6979, WA Australia

Telephone: +61 (08) 9311 8246
Telephone: +1 (307) 224 4022 (North America)
Fax: +61 (08) 9361 8696
Toll free: 1800 658 388 (Australia only)
Email: gkearney@gmail.com
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