Remote unix text editing (Was: Why is there no or or and ?)
james at aatch.net
Sun Feb 19 06:58:54 PST 2012
I think the difference between chording and non-chording styles of
input depends on the person. I have dyspraxia, which affects my fine
motor control, so remembering and performing complex key sequences
(such as emacs' keyboard shortcuts) is difficult for me, hell I have
difficulty correctly typing ":qa:" properly to quit vim, I often type
":Qa" because I can't take my hand off the keyboard fast enough. I
mistype so often, especially when I have little mnemonic data to go
Shift-Ctrl-End, Ctrl-X is two chords and 5 keystrokes, with <End>
being off my normal typing position, even if I used that combination
for years, I'll likely still get it wrong 1-2 times out of ten. I've
been vim-ing for about 2 years now, I still get the movement keys
wrong. I still type commands that I could bind to shortcut keys, or
already have bindings (":redo") for example. I create ways to remember
most keys, "i" for insert, "r" for replace, "s" for substitute, "d"
for delete, "p" for paste, "g" for go (sometimes), "a" for append, "c"
for cut. But I can't remember modifier keys normally, especially Ctrl
and Alt, I've set most of the keyboard shortcuts on my window manager,
I don't remember a lot of them, because they use <Mod4> (Windows
My point is, there's more to modal vs modeless than just how friendly
it is, once I got over the initial hurdle, and forcibly trained myself
to use h, j, k and l for motion (by disabling the arrow keys) I became
far more productive in Vim than I did in any other editor, simply
because I could use single key strokes for actions, I still press
<Esc> just before doing any non-insert on text, even if I'm already in
normal mode, and I still get things wrong, but I find it far easier to
type "dwdwdwdw" to delete 4 words that to type
<Ctrl>-<Shift>-<Right>,<Right>,<Right>,<Right>,<Del>, because its hard
for me to hit keys if I have to move far. Pressing "dd" to delete a
line is easier for me than doing <Home>,<Shift>-<End>,<Del>,<Del>
because its a single key, if I got it once, then I can get it again.
I don't care what editor you use, but I didn't pick mine simply
because I wanted more hacker cred, I picked mine because it allows me
to work around my disabilities.
For the record, while I didn't track it, I estimate that I made about
an average of 1 mistake per word typing this message, I mis-typed
"track" 4 times in this sentence.
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