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Wednesday, June 8th, 2005

Time Event
10:57p
This was intended to be a response to this journal entry, but it was so long and self-centered I thought it should go here so as to not clutter up his space.

Re the article, I remember being pretty resistant to the mouse. For the first two or three years I was in college the mouse stayed tied up and unconnected in a desk drawer. It was only when Dad put Win 3.1 on my brand-new 286 that I started using it, and I think it was quite a while before I used it for anything but Minesweeper; I was perfectly happy with Norton Commander. I didn't like the idea of the mouse (and really the GUI, I suppose, but I didn't know the concept then) because you seemed to be stuck with whatever preset command someone else had decided to associate with that icon, rather than being able to type in whatever command with whatever arguments you wanted. Granted, I didn't do much of this myself, but it was the principle of the thing.

I printed out the keyboard shortcuts section of the MS Word help file a few weeks ago. It's 22 pages. I haven't gone through it yet. All I really want is a key combo for paste as unformatted text... :( Well, maybe a few other things, but that's the one that annoys me the most, involving two menus rather that a nice ctrl-v.

I'm using a new keyboard at work now, a variant of the MS natural keyboard. It doesn't have an Insert key in that little set of six keys, just an extra-long Delete key. I follow the logic: hitting insert accidentally and changing the mode to overwrite has caused a lot of annoyance. But then I had a problem when using ssh and pasting into pico: past is shift-insert (or ctrl-insert, I forget) and the only insert key is on the numpad -- and I prefer to have numlock on, so now I have to remember to turn it off and move my hand nearly as far as I would to the mouse...or use the mouse. That last took me a really long time to think of; I don't look for icons when I'm using pico! (Later, pico was replaced with nano, which is mostly identical to pico but reserves the ctrl-insert for something else, so I'm forced employ the mouse to paste. Argh.)

Re your nutty password: the variant on the calling-home story I recall is sitting in your closet holding the phone and typing one character at a time while you were at a party in Seattle. Isn't that a nice pathetic picture? Not only are you a geek with a girlfriend, you're a geek who goes to parties in other states and leaves your girlfriend to crawl into the closet and deal with your computer. ;)

Re home-row typing, that is how I learned to type, on an honest-to-God typewriter. (In high school, despite being the top programming student of my year, I was typing my homework on my great-grandmother's manual typewriter. I finally unbent enough to start using the Pascal editor, but didn't use a word processor until I was writing college application essays.) I didn't get very far with the typing instructions then, though. I was still looking at the keyboard to type up until about my last year of college, when I started working in an office and had to type up handwritten docs. I gradually memorized the keyboard then, and the introduction of IM into my life a year or two later vastly sped it up, although with the amusing side effect of introducing weird phonetic typos. Somehow the use of IM seems to have directly connected the speaking parts of my brain to my fingers; it's like taking dictation from myself and just grabbing the first word that has the right sound without checking for sense. Not just common ones like no/know or the wrong there/their/they're, but typing dozen instead of doesn't. I think that was the one that really clued me in on what was going on there, that some part of my mental dictionary had gotten cut out of the loop.

But what I meant to mention was that typing is pretty comfortable for me now, despite my use of the home-row methodology. But it may help that I didn't have a typing class and started typing in much greater quantity in a conversational setting, where I was generally relaxed rather than under the eye of a teacher or stressed out from work or something. I'll occasionally have some pain, but very rarely, and usually related more to my arm height than to the typing itself. Proof of this is in the length of this entry, during which I felt just fine typing on my laptop.

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