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569 comments

Thinly veiled "I love emacs" article (2, Funny)

winkydink (650484) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761185)

Let the editor wars begin!

Re:Thinly veiled "I love emacs" article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12761268)

Re:Thinly veiled "I love emacs" article (0, Redundant)

ZephyrXero (750822) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761274)

All hail gedit! :P

Re:Thinly veiled "I love emacs" article (0, Flamebait)

atomm1024 (570507) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761288)

Yay. All right, I'll begin:

nano [nano-editor.org] rocks! The smaller your editor, the bigger your penis! Text editors want to be minimalist!

Re:Thinly veiled "I love emacs" article (1)

vandon (233276) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761367)

That's why I use ed.
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 2144156 Apr 4 16:11 /usr/bin/vim
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 152984 Jun 3 15:15 /bin/nano
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 74348 Mar 21 14:34 /bin/ed

Re:Thinly veiled "I love emacs" article (5, Funny)

BlogPope (886961) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761392)

The smaller your editor, the bigger your penis! Text editors want to be minimalist!

Thats why I write all my term papers in binary as Postscript files. My keyboard is a simple rocker switch, left for 1, right for 0. You crazy kids and your ASCII!

Re:Thinly veiled "I love emacs" article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12761327)

" Let the editor wars begin!"

Edlin is better than vi, period!

Jail Would Be Better: +100, Patriotic (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12761338)


For the current felons-in-residence [yahoo.com] .

Help apprehend the world's most dangerous and inarticulate leader [whitehouse.org] : report
government corruption.

Patriotically as always,
K. Trout, CEO

Nice read and all, but... (5, Insightful)

inkdesign (7389) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761187)

...when did opinions become news??

Re:Nice read and all, but... (5, Funny)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761233)

when did opinions become news?

Right before the word "editorial" was invented, I believe.

Re:Nice read and all, but... (1)

garcia (6573) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761234)

Well since the rest of us can't read the article I'll just comment on the blurb:

The keyboard does seem to make much more of a mind-meld than the imprecise mouse. Paul Tyma hits it on the head.."

Those poor imprecise mice! Getting whacked on the head for no reason other than preference of input device!

Re:Nice read and all, but... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12761302)

And don't forget about FooFoo. Poor little mice.

Little Bunny Foo Foo
hopping through the forest
scooping up the field mice
and bop 'em on the head.

1980 (5, Funny)

FreeUser (11483) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761237)

I believe Fox News was founded in 1980.

Re:1980 (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12761303)

OMG LOLOL you made a "Faux News" joke!!!111one

1984 (1)

downward dog (634625) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761343)

That may be, but it took a few years to reach its stride.

Re:1980 (1)

stone2020 (123807) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761359)

The same year as CNN. What a coincidence!

Re:Nice read and all, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12761239)

It may not be news, but it qualifies as "stuff that matters"

Re:Nice read and all, but... (5, Insightful)

ZephyrXero (750822) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761240)

Yeah, I mean pure text/command line/keyboard only is great if you're a programmer. But I need a mouse for doing art/graphics and it's much easier than having to tab 30 times till the correct hyperlink is selected in my browser...guess it just depends on what it is you're doing ;)

Re:Nice read and all, but... (4, Insightful)

Frymaster (171343) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761345)

Yeah, I mean pure text/command line/keyboard only is great if you're a programmer. But I need a mouse for doing art/graphics and it's much easier than having to tab 30 times till the correct hyperlink is selected in my browser.

exactly. before everyone blows their top about vim or emacs or even bbedit, let's all take a deep breath and say:

"the right tool for the right job"

Re:Nice read and all, but... (2, Insightful)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761346)

Nitpick, but IMO mouses are dumb when it comes to graphical work too - I find a tablet much nicer.

Re:Nice read and all, but... (0, Troll)

goldspider (445116) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761256)

You haven't watched cable "news" channels lately, have you...

Re:Nice read and all, but... (1)

PopeAlien (164869) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761269)

...when did opinions become news??

You didn't get the memo?

This went into effect as soon as deepthroat was outed and apple switched to Intel processors.

..of course thats just my opinion.

Re:Nice read and all, but... (1)

stone2020 (123807) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761295)

You obviously missed the last couple elections then.

Re:Nice read and all, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12761404)

Since mice became mouses...

Re:Nice read and all, but... (1)

east coast (590680) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761414)

Watch yourself there, pal. I said the same thing about the string of Dvorak articles that get posted as "news" and got modded as a troll. WTF?

Really? (1)

Le Marteau (206396) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761188)

All this time I thought that it was more efficient to use the mouse to do everything.

Should have been "from the duhhhhh department"

Next thing you know, Timmy's going to break the news that the 'goto' is bad. And that having a big monitor is better than a small monitor.

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12761205)

Take back what you said about goto.

Re:Timmy's going to break the news that the 'goto' (1)

alanw (1822) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761271)

On the
10th anniversary of PHP, there i

and his website.... (0, Offtopic)

Iphtashu Fitz (263795) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761197)

Turns into a smoldering crater thanks to /.

Article Text (5, Informative)

alue (253363) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761232)

Articles : Mom, I think I'm a Cyborg
Posted by paul on 2005/5/20 9:24:00 (1328 reads)

Keyboards are good. Mouses are dumb.

If I was an alien looking to slowdown the technological advancement of the human race, I would have implanted into their society the things we call the keyboard and the mouse. In fact, the only personal proof I have that this was not the case is if aliens were involved they would have updated the pain by now. Like making the "shift" key a foot pedal or something.

Assuming mailicious aliens weren't involved, this isn't good news. It means we were silly enough to have invented these things ourselves. And then we were silly enough to let them "catch on". And we're silly enough to not personally diverge to a more efficient invention just in case we might later still need to know how to use this one. We humans follow a frighteningly simple herd mentality, God forbid someone jumps off a cliff and yells "free USB fobs!" - we'd be goners.

Truth is however, that with the keyboard at least - we have adapted. Our brains and fingers have optimized this abomination enough to actually get decent output. Obviously, the optimal tool would be one that can output words (actually, getting rid of words and going right to thoughts would be way better, but that is as of yet - out of scope) as fast as we can think them.

Now you might actually have been thinking the opposite. That the mouse is the more precise tool of the two. Well not for me it isn't. For artists and graphic manipulators the mouse is all that and a bag of chips - but for text people like myself, you can keep your seedy mice.

The problem with mice (which the nefarious aliens know all too well) is that its use removes your hand from the keyboard. To open a file in your favorite editor, chances are you grab the mouse, find the pointer with your eyes, move it to "file", click, move it down to "open" (hopefully not having to deal with any of those sub-menus that always seem to unpop off my screen as I'm moving down trying to get a lower entry) and once again click.

The alternative way to do this using just the keyboard (which I'm callously assuming is where your fingers already are) is to hold ALT, press F, let go of both, then hit O (thats as in "oh", not zero).

I have never written down all those operations before now and just looking at the two makes me feel stupid to have every used a mouse to open a file. The ALT-F method is no secret - why the heck don't we use it? ALT-F then O is even two different hands - it really is quite fast. My only explanation is that such keystrokes are cryptic and will require a bout or two of memorization whereas the peachy mouse-menu route hand-holds us right along the way. The mouse cursor gives us a constant bookmark of where our thought process is "I just clicked the file menu - now I'm moving to click open".

There is a nice book by Andy Clark called Natural Born Cyborgs. He makes an interesting observation that we all are already cyborgs (loosely defined as a fusion of humans and technology). His example is that if I am at your house, I may ask you "Do you know what the word poikilotherm means?". If you don't you would say "No, but we can look it up!". Upon consulting your house dictionary or your ubiquitous wifi connection, you can easily do that.

Now similarly, I might ask "Do you know what time it is?". And, at the very instant of me asking, you may not. However, the common response is to raise your wrist to your face and say "Yeah, its 4:30".

You liar. YOU did not know. Your watch knew but took credit for its perpetual temporal omniscience. I always know what time it is cuz dadburnit - I have a watch! In effect, we have extended our concept of self to include our watches - thus in Dr. Clark's claim we are cyborg. (Note that grammatically speaking, that sentence should end in "cyborgs", not "cyborg" - but if you ever watched Star Trek you'd know that cyborgs don't use contractions and often speak of themselves in a hive mentality - thus if we are them, no worries about speaking like them)

I may be creating a tenuous connection, but to me, the mouse seems like the dictionary and keyboard like the watch. That is, the keyboard is way more a part of me than the mouse is. I say this because I have painted myself into a very interesting computer-using corner.

My primary editor is a program called Emacs. It is as old as me. It was invented to provide editing capabilities on machines long before there were graphical windowing systems or meeces (some claim it was invented to scare small children, these however are bad people and ought to be ignored). Thus, everything (I mean everything) can be done with a precarious set of keystrokes. Without argument, these keystrokes are hard to learn - but once you do, your productivity goes up. Or more precisely, you are no longer slowed-down by the burden of learning the keystrokes while your real intent is to actually get work done. You go from an unproductive keystroke learning stage, hurdle the entire semi-productive mouse usage stage, and arrive in a land of control-key laden goodness.

To further my argument that keyboard=watch, here is my predicament. I sometimes get asked "What's the keystrokes to do XYZ in emacs?". After a moment of thought, I often find myself stunned that I do not know. I mean - I DO KNOW - I do XYZ all the time! I just can't tell you.

In effect, I have used these keystrokes so long and talked about them so little that the exact sequences have left my conscious mind. In other words, there are many keystrokes that my fingers know that I do not. At times, I have literally had to observe my own fingers to answer a question about how to do something.

To this end (again, I work 99% of the time in text, I fully understand my observations are irrelevant for more graphical professions) I have structured my desktop to be purely manipulatable by keyboard. I didn't do this consciously - it happened in stages and one day I noticed my mouse had dust on it. Using the mouse feels like using a pen in my left hand. I can do it, my output will inevitably be the same (albeit harder to read maybe) but I'm faster with the pen in my right hand.

I fully understand that if the aliens I mentioned in the first paragraph do exist, then I am a dangerous revolutionary in their eyes. I am thwarting their ingenious mouse device intended to often remove my hands from my productive keyboard. It is distressingly likely that some large death ray is pointed at the top of my head as we speak (and thanks to my body's recent affinity for dihydrotestosterone, this is much easier to target from space).

You never know though, it is possible they may be more subtle and simply try to slow me in other ways. I shall in the coming weeks keep a close eye for incoming packages that lack return addresses but contain USB footpedals that have the word "shift" on them. If such a thing arrives, I may heed the warning and go back to using my mouse. Until then, ALT-f x.

Re:and his website.... (1)

Ender_Stonebender (60900) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761272)

Google cache [64.233.179.104]

One activity where this ISN'T true... (5, Funny)

rel4x (783238) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761198)

...Counterstrike.



I've tried it. Absolutely impossible.

Re:One activity where this ISN'T true... (1)

efuseekay (138418) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761380)

I did complete Quake1 using keyboard only, since I moved directly from Doom2 (which I also complete using only the keyboard). I kick-ass too.

I nearly puked when I switched to mouse for Quake2...but eventually it became second nature.

Re:One activity where this ISN'T true... (1)

mpontes (878663) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761413)

Exactly. Try to play a game (Besides old DOS games - the mouse sucks in Doom 2), make a drawing, browse the web, etc. It's just an input device. It's useful in some areas, not so useful in others (ever tried inserting text using only a mouse?). Plus, the most widespread application among companies all over the world won't work without a mouse: Solitaire!

I mean, if you claim that you never use your mouse, you need to get out of your parent's basement. Great, I can already sense a whole new movement among geeks: "keyboard zealotry". Expect to see people ditching their mouses and start doing everything with their keyboards, followed by posting on Slashdot making fun of mouse users soon! :p

Maybe in some tasks. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12761199)

Imagine trying to use a CAD program, or even browse a web-forum without a mouse. The mouse still wins in some applications.

(Didn't RTFA).

Re:Maybe in some tasks. (1)

Sebastian Jansson (823395) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761349)

Though, if you would have read the article you'd know that he explicitly mentions that he "99%" of the time is writing, and he aknowledges that what he says of course doesn't apply to other situations.

But mentioning that in the summary wouldn't have been as interesting now would it?

Slow news day (5, Funny)

jfengel (409917) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761402)

So rather than being a general case study with broad applicability, Slashdot has just put on its front page an article that says, "I like keyboards!"

Somehow, "News for one particular nerd" just doesn't have the right ring.

Slow news day, here we come.

Slashdotted with 0 comments? WOW! (1)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761200)

This page cannot be displayed due to an internal error.

If you are the administrator of this site, please visit the Xoops Troubleshooting Page for assistance.

Error [Xoops]: Unable to connect to database in file class/database/databasefactory.php line 34

Ok quick, draw me a corporate logo (5, Insightful)

theurge14 (820596) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761201)

Use Illustrator and only your keyboard. Go!

Re:Ok quick, draw me a corporate logo (1)

DaveCar (189300) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761287)

Huh, thats what they said to the X Windowing System logo designer and look what they got.

imprecision (4, Insightful)

unk1911 (250141) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761202)

I agree completely. The mouse is imprecise and takes too long, requires very good hand/eye coordination. When I have to work on a repetitive task I can either write a macro or have the exact sequence of key-strokes down and do the job much faster.

The mouse is better when the datasets that you are working on are not localized / scattered around the screen (it's like a cassette tape vs. cd-rom which can quickly access random parts of data without rewinding)

--
ahref=http://unk1911.blogspot.com/ [slashdot.org] http://unk1911.b logspot.com/>

Not quite. (5, Insightful)

Daniel Baumgarten (645894) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761203)

Can you imagine how many times I would have had to hit 'tab' just to get to this textarea if I only had a keyboard and was using w3m or something? I shudder at the prospect.

Re:Not quite. (1)

exp(pi*sqrt(163)) (613870) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761316)

There's a good chance your browser has some shortcuts that will let you get there quicker. For example in Mozilla I can reach this text area by typing R-e-p-tab-tab-tab-tab. The first 3 keys take me straight to the "Reply to This" link.

Of course you're also missing the point. It's easier to use the mouse in many applications because they have been designed with a mouse in mind. But an application designed with the keyboard in mind might be faster to use than one designed mainly for mouse.

Re:Not quite. (1)

Daniel Baumgarten (645894) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761366)

Which is why I specifically cited w3m, but you're right, there's probably some "next input field" keyboard shortcut that I'm too lazy to find out about.

Re:Not quite. (1)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761353)

Can you imagine how many times I would have had to hit 'tab' just to get to this textarea if I only had a keyboard and was using w3m or something? I shudder at the prospect.

Not so insightful. Any well designed software that's designed to be used primarily with a keyboard, and with a mouse as an afterthought, it more efficient to use with a keyboard than with a mouse.

Granted, web browser are naturally good candidates to be used with a mouse, but I guarantee you I know scores of people who can browse faster than you in most not-too-graphical pages with Lynx.

Re:Not quite. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12761356)

Have you heard of eye tracking devices?

Your eyes are controlling the pointer (if track button on the keyboard is pressed). Idea is far better than mouse, but implementations are still awkward.

emacs.. vi.. FIGHT! (1)

otis wildflower (4889) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761206)

Seriously, you can get a lot of coding done with that middle mouse button...

Re:emacs.. vi.. FIGHT! (3, Funny)

Daniel Baumgarten (645894) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761267)

And you just confused the smurf out of every Mac zealot going to this story to denounce the heresy of the superiority of the keyboard.

EDLIN! (1)

ArielMT (757715) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761409)

http://www.laughnet.net/archive/compute/winedlin.h tm [laughnet.net]

And since FreeDOS has an edlin-compatible edlin, it's possible to port it to *nix, use it in an xterm window, and middle-click paste into it. Of course, why one would want to go through something as painfully esoteric as that when vi and vim are so much better is beyond me, but still quite possible. :D

hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12761212)

mice?

Re:hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12761374)

mice?

Meeces. Especially in the pejorative, as here. I hate meeces...

I think that eventually... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12761216)

most mice will be done away with in favor of touch screens and other sensory input, like the eyes. I favor Opera as my browser of chooice specifically because of it's superior keyboard usage features.

Re:I think that eventually... (2, Insightful)

JohnGrahamCumming (684871) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761318)

This is pretty unlikely. There are a number of reasons why touch screens and eye input are inaccurate:

1. Your finger has very low resolution. You cannot position something very precisely with a finger on the screen no matter how sensitive the touch screen is.

2. Sticking your finger on the screen obscures your view of the very thing you are trying to point to thus making it harder.

3. Tracking your eyes suffers from a similar accuracy problem. Just try staring at a pixel on the screen and then move your eyes just enough to move exactly one pixel to the right.

The mouse is a good tool for precise positioning on screen because your hand can make very precise movements.

Next time you are undergoing surgery try asking the surgeon to direct the scalpel with his eyes.

John.

Re:I think that eventually... (1)

seanvaandering (604658) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761382)

Next time you are undergoing surgery try asking the surgeon to direct the scalpel with his eyes.

Oh boy, and lets hope there's either 1. No females in the room and hes hetro, or 2. Females in the room and hes gay or else your gonna end up as ground beef. ;)

Re:I think that eventually... (1)

Daniel Baumgarten (645894) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761335)

Well, with the current pace of neuroscience's advancement, you'll probably be able to quite precisely move the cursor with your mind in a few years. When this happens, it will be heralded as a huge advancement in the field of Darth Vader simulators...

Re:I think that eventually... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12761342)

Unfortunately, most touch screens are right-handed. This will be a problem for lefties...

Output (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12761217)

Keyboard is much more straigt forward. Mouse is used for different things.

Sure the keyboard works more efficient, this means you probably wheren't switching programs too much ;).

You also have to grab to your mouse... maybe mouse driven apps (like AutoCAD or qCAD) do work better with the mouse ONLY instead of the keyboard with it.

Thus: it just depends on your use

Hits it on the head.. (5, Funny)

PopeAlien (164869) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761218)

Hits it on the head..

This page cannot be displayed due to an internal error.

..and apparently knocks it out.

Well, depends on how the input system is geared. (2, Informative)

noselasd (594905) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761220)

They could read http://www.cs.bell-labs.com/wiki/plan9/Mouse_vs._k eyboard/index.html [bell-labs.com]
for counter arguments. Ofcourse, as the tty/line based input interfaces on *nix, the mouse might do that much for applications such as vim/emacs as they are today.

Mouses are Dumb .. but .. (1)

guyfromindia (812078) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761222)

"making outputs" are dumber ... but... putting a link to tyma.com on Slashdot is dumberer!

Ouch! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12761226)

hits it on the head
You are killing mice just because they aren't fast enough?

So that's why... (4, Funny)

null etc. (524767) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761227)

...all Hollywood movies and TV shows never allow the characters to use a mouse.

I'm impressed how those guys can use the keyboard to rotate around and zoom 3D graphics in realtime, and then apply some amazing pixel-sharpening processing algorithm, all by using keyboard commands.

I've often wondered how they could do this so quickly. Especially when they literally have to type everything they want into a text field on the screen. For example, "search for drivers license of all bad guys within last two days".

I mean, it's a search engine - you don't have to type "search" into the text field!!!

Re:So that's why... (1)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761415)

How do you know its specifically a search engine? To quote the esteemed Lt. Jim Dangle: "Google? This is the Sheriff's department, we don't use f***g Google!"

Don't make such claims. (0, Troll)

mcwop (31034) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761230)

You might destroy the world that the Apple-only-has-one-button-mice people live in.

Re:Don't make such claims. (0, Troll)

rd4tech (711615) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761312)

Lets break it to them gently...

Let the games begin... (1, Funny)

rd4tech (711615) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761243)

I vote for vi and fully expect to get troll, flamebait, or redundant on this post :)

Ob Family Guy (1)

American AC in Paris (230456) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761245)

Mouses?

This is a man who thinks the plural of goose is sheep!

Re:Ob Family Guy (1)

Bullfish (858648) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761336)

When talkiing about computers, the plural is mouses.

I didn't invent the language.

inprecision (0, Redundant)

unk1911 (250141) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761252)

I agree completely. The mouse is imprecise and takes too long, requires very good hand/eye coordination. When I have to work on a repetitive task I can either write a macro or have the exact sequence of key-strokes down and do the job much faster.

The mouse is better when the datasets that you are working on are not localized / scattered around the screen (it's like a cassette tape vs. cd-rom which can quickly access random parts of data without rewinding)

--
http://unk1911.blogspot.com/ [blogspot.com]

the article... (1, Informative)

m85476585 (884822) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761253)

Keyboards are good. Mouses are dumb.

If I was an alien looking to slowdown the technological advancement of the human race, I would have implanted into their society the things we call the keyboard and the mouse. In fact, the only personal proof I have that this was not the case is if aliens were involved they would have updated the pain by now. Like making the "shift" key a foot pedal or something.

Assuming mailicious aliens weren't involved, this isn't good news. It means we were silly enough to have invented these things ourselves. And then we were silly enough to let them "catch on". And we're silly enough to not personally diverge to a more efficient invention just in case we might later still need to know how to use this one. We humans follow a frighteningly simple herd mentality, God forbid someone jumps off a cliff and yells "free USB fobs!" - we'd be goners.

Truth is however, that with the keyboard at least - we have adapted. Our brains and fingers have optimized this abomination enough to actually get decent output. Obviously, the optimal tool would be one that can output words (actually, getting rid of words and going right to thoughts would be way better, but that is as of yet - out of scope) as fast as we can think them.

Now you might actually have been thinking the opposite. That the mouse is the more precise tool of the two. Well not for me it isn't. For artists and graphic manipulators the mouse is all that and a bag of chips - but for text people like myself, you can keep your seedy mice.

The problem with mice (which the nefarious aliens know all too well) is that its use removes your hand from the keyboard. To open a file in your favorite editor, chances are you grab the mouse, find the pointer with your eyes, move it to "file", click, move it down to "open" (hopefully not having to deal with any of those sub-menus that always seem to unpop off my screen as I'm moving down trying to get a lower entry) and once again click.

The alternative way to do this using just the keyboard (which I'm callously assuming is where your fingers already are) is to hold ALT, press F, let go of both, then hit O (thats as in "oh", not zero).

I have never written down all those operations before now and just looking at the two makes me feel stupid to have every used a mouse to open a file. The ALT-F method is no secret - why the heck don't we use it? ALT-F then O is even two different hands - it really is quite fast. My only explanation is that such keystrokes are cryptic and will require a bout or two of memorization whereas the peachy mouse-menu route hand-holds us right along the way. The mouse cursor gives us a constant bookmark of where our thought process is "I just clicked the file menu - now I'm moving to click open".

There is a nice book by Andy Clark called Natural Born Cyborgs. He makes an interesting observation that we all are already cyborgs (loosely defined as a fusion of humans and technology). His example is that if I am at your house, I may ask you "Do you know what the word poikilotherm means?". If you don't you would say "No, but we can look it up!". Upon consulting your house dictionary or your ubiquitous wifi connection, you can easily do that.

Now similarly, I might ask "Do you know what time it is?". And, at the very instant of me asking, you may not. However, the common response is to raise your wrist to your face and say "Yeah, its 4:30".

You liar. YOU did not know. Your watch knew but took credit for its perpetual temporal omniscience. I always know what time it is cuz dadburnit - I have a watch! In effect, we have extended our concept of self to include our watches - thus in Dr. Clark's claim we are cyborg. (Note that grammatically speaking, that sentence should end in "cyborgs", not "cyborg" - but if you ever watched Star Trek you'd know that cyborgs don't use contractions and often speak of themselves in a hive mentality - thus if we are them, no worries about speaking like them)

I may be creating a tenuous connection, but to me, the mouse seems like the dictionary and keyboard like the watch. That is, the keyboard is way more a part of me than the mouse is. I say this because I have painted myself into a very interesting computer-using corner.

My primary editor is a program called Emacs. It is as old as me. It was invented to provide editing capabilities on machines long before there were graphical windowing systems or meeces (some claim it was invented to scare small children, these however are bad people and ought to be ignored). Thus, everything (I mean everything) can be done with a precarious set of keystrokes. Without argument, these keystrokes are hard to learn - but once you do, your productivity goes up. Or more precisely, you are no longer slowed-down by the burden of learning the keystrokes while your real intent is to actually get work done. You go from an unproductive keystroke learning stage, hurdle the entire semi-productive mouse usage stage, and arrive in a land of control-key laden goodness.

To further my argument that keyboard=watch, here is my predicament. I sometimes get asked "What's the keystrokes to do XYZ in emacs?". After a moment of thought, I often find myself stunned that I do not know. I mean - I DO KNOW - I do XYZ all the time! I just can't tell you.

In effect, I have used these keystrokes so long and talked about them so little that the exact sequences have left my conscious mind. In other words, there are many keystrokes that my fingers know that I do not. At times, I have literally had to observe my own fingers to answer a question about how to do something.

To this end (again, I work 99% of the time in text, I fully understand my observations are irrelevant for more graphical professions) I have structured my desktop to be purely manipulatable by keyboard. I didn't do this consciously - it happened in stages and one day I noticed my mouse had dust on it. Using the mouse feels like using a pen in my left hand. I can do it, my output will inevitably be the same (albeit harder to read maybe) but I'm faster with the pen in my right hand.

I fully understand that if the aliens I mentioned in the first paragraph do exist, then I am a dangerous revolutionary in their eyes. I am thwarting their ingenious mouse device intended to often remove my hands from my productive keyboard. It is distressingly likely that some large death ray is pointed at the top of my head as we speak (and thanks to my body's recent affinity for dihydrotestosterone, this is much easier to target from space).

You never know though, it is possible they may be more subtle and simply try to slow me in other ways. I shall in the coming weeks keep a close eye for incoming packages that lack return addresses but contain USB footpedals that have the word "shift" on them. If such a thing arrives, I may heed the warning and go back to using my mouse. Until then, ALT-f x.

has to be said (-1, Offtopic)

joey_knisch (804995) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761265)

hs with a kb is a bitch. now stfu n00b.

Mouses are dumb? (3, Funny)

ArielMT (757715) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761275)

I got a computer to let my mouse surf the 'Net. What am I supposed to tell my mouse when he reads this article, you insensitive clod?

:wq

Yeah? (4, Insightful)

Valar (167606) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761276)

Try using photoshop without a mouse.

Or maybe, the correct answer here, like in every field, is USE THE PROPER TOOL FOR THE JOB.

Most people feel that way (2, Interesting)

Nf1nk (443791) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761280)

Most people feel that way, and I certainly do as well, but many usability studies have been done and for menu based commands the mouse is faster than arrow keys and drop menus.
If what we are talking about is hot keys, then there is some speed gain, but I have found that for most select cut and paste operations (even in text editors) the mouse/hot key combination seems to be fastest.

Oh and the article is already down.

Of course... (4, Insightful)

rasafras (637995) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761283)

He is sinply assuming that all anybody ever does is navigate file menus and some word processing. Choosing icons from a desktop, clicking buttons, things like that are not just eye candy... they matter. And for the things I do, multimedia editing and stuff, the mouse is more than essential. I agree fully with the poster that pointed out this is a thinly veiled 3 emacs news item, and rather terrible news. HEY, GEE GUYS, KEYBOARDS ARE BETTER THAN MICE FOR WORD PROCESSING.

one word (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12761284)

trackpoint.

Modern Editing (1)

Lally Singh (3427) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761286)

While I spent much time in Emacs and VI in my younger years, I really can't imagine going back to them. BBEdit and my Logitech MX1000 are just too wonderful together to ever go back.

A mouse is very useful in a text editor that was originally designed to use it. And, of course, the mx1000 kicks all kinds of ridiculous ass.

Dvorak (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12761289)

QWERTY keyboards are dumb... your hands statistically have to do more than double the work on a QWERTY keyboard than a Dvorak.

Keyboard vs. Mouse (2, Funny)

suitepotato (863945) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761290)

While both have cords, mice lend themselves to seconday use as garottes due to the small size of the mouse, espcially mini USB models for laptops. Keyboards meanwhile have a definite edge as a blunt instrument, able to focus the full power along one edge or to spread the impact across the face of the bottom, or even cause the embedding of key shrapnel.

Other than these thoughts, WTF? is definitely going through my mind as in "WTF is this article for anyhow? Should be kiss Gnome and KDE goodbye and go back to text where we can commune with our keyboards? Should we do everything by mouse in a gui to strike back? Does this article have any point to it?

Now... back to the real uses of keyboards and mice...

please don't write "emacs/vi" (3, Funny)

trybywrench (584843) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761294)

I do not wish vi to be seen so close to emacs lest someone think they are together. vi wouldn't be caught dead with the likes of emacs... the after prom party doesn't count there had been much drinking

The FA forgets one thing (1)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761308)

Keyboards are good, yes. Mice are good too, that's true. They both are good... for what they're good at :-)

Example: use a word processor, and you can be sure it's worthwhile taking some time learning keyboard shortcuts, since you're already typing text as the main activity in that context. Use a web browser though, and the situation is reversed: you spend a lot more time clicking around in a browser than typing. In this case, switching to the keyboard often is a hindrance more than anything.

The only software I know (well, use) that requires you to use heavily both the mouse and the keyboard is AutoCAD: I spend a lot less time typing acad commands in the keyboard and select object with the mouse than doing everything with the mouse.

That's why IBM thinkdot keyboards rule. (1)

Leviathant (558659) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761321)

I bought a Thinkpad back in 1997, and after I got used to the little red dot in between G & H, I really couldn't go back. Luckily for me, I found a really nice standalone IBM keyboard with that same dot at a computer show for $5 -- they regularly sell for $45 and up on eBay. I bought a second one a few years later, in case I spill something on my current keyboard.

Not having to move my hand off the keyboard to do simple mouse tasks is immensely helpful and saves a whole lot of time when I'm coding or otherwise working in text. The sensitivity of the controller is also great for detail work in Photoshop.

No kidding. (5, Funny)

Matilda the Hun (861460) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761324)

They're stupid. As a matter of fact, GUIs are stupid too. So are command lines. If you're a REAL geek, you'll do your computer work with a punch card. If it can't be done with that, well, it must not be worth doing.

keyboard (1)

griasr (822487) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761331)

when i started into the web back then i had to make a choice: either use the mouse or use the modem due to single COM port on that computer. so i had to surf via keyboard strenghtening my keyboardskillz. im pretty thankful over that nowadays :)

Input/output (1)

yrogerg (858571) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761332)

There are billions of web pages on the net. I have one of those. Therefore, my input to output ratio should be something like 10000000000:1

mouses (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12761333)

... mouses?

The mouse was implemented for dummies (-1, Troll)

Beebos (564067) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761337)

The mouse was added to the computer for people who were computer illiterate so that they could search around menus and find the commands for what they wanted to do.

In other news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12761354)

I prefer boxers to briefs.

I would give you a long treatise on how human male evolution has selected for boxers and how aliens want us to wear briefs but I don't have a blog.

I remember when GUIs were really taking off... (0, Redundant)

smug_lisp_weenie (824771) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761360)

...the Mac Zealots were the first to adopt the idea- Suddenly, around the time Windows 3.0 came out, GUIs were all over TV and had gripped the imagination of the general non-geek population and it became unthinkable to release a computer without a GUI.

When this happened, my mac friends ribbed me by saying "Look we were right! GUIs are better!"

But I still consider the GUI a step back in computer usability, for many of the reasons outlined in Paul's essay, plus many more!

A keyboard is just a perfect way to enter commands into a computer-

Sorry folks- you're just gonna have to learn how to type in commands without clicking on perty pictures if you want to learn how to use a reasonably complicated application efficiently :) Unfortunately, many programs can no longer run on just a keyboard, due to the GUI devolution.

So much stupidity, so little karma (1)

Prototerm (762512) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761364)

This whole topic is so lame, I don't know where to begin. Must be a slow news day.

I'm one of *those*... (1)

HerculesMO (693085) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761369)

That uses the keyboard almost religously. Tab-Tab-Tab-Space to submit for Slashdot articles too :)

An interesting point for those of you who participate in online bulletin boards that use Invision Power or vBulletin... alt-s "submits" for you on almost any page :) I had actually written to Google to have them update Gmail to have some damn keyboard shortcuts, but I'm still waiting on that... :(

Re:I'm one of *those*... (1)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761398)

That uses the keyboard almost religously. Tab-Tab-Tab-Space to submit for Slashdot articles too :)

May I suggest you use Tab-Tab-Tab-Tab-Space more often when you submit your Slashdot articles? :-)

Flogging a dead horse (2, Insightful)

Princeofcups (150855) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761371)


I thought this argument died in the 80's.

jfs

mouses? (1)

generalleoff (760847) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761377)

"Keyboards are Good; Mouses are Dumb" No comment :)

Of Course Mouses are dumb... (4, Insightful)

billnapier (33763) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761378)

Because mice would have been the smart way.

finally!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12761388)

I've felt this way for a long time.

I see so many users type something, then look down, grab the mouse, look up, aim and click then let go of the mouse and re-orient themselves on the keyboard to continue typing.

To me, the mouse is nothing more than a "visual macro." What was Borland's keyboard macro program called again? That thing roocked!!!

Ahem... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12761389)

Ok smartypants, let's see you organize my p0rn collection in emacs ... that's right, keyboard takes two hands doesn't it ;)

FYI (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12761396)

FYI, it is spelled "Meese".

GOMS (1)

fsterman (519061) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761403)

Goms demonstrates this.
It takes a reletive .2 seconds to tap a key. It takes a reletive 1.85 seconds to think about moving to the mouse, locating where to point the mouse, and moving it there.
There is an interface that works all this out to be as fast as the command line, easier to use then any current GUI or command line, and is matched up to what humans can do cognativly. It's text editor is Archy, and as a whole it's called The Humane Interface. It is Jef Raskin's design. The man behind the original Macintosh inteface, and pioneered a lot of earlier interface testing.
KDE, Gnome, MS Windows, and OS X take note: Please stop ripping each other off, and start designing from what a user can do. Also, start doing more both theoretical GOMS testing and real world user testing.
Archy link [raskincenter.org]
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