[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: why must emacs depend on sound packages?

On Wed, May 27, 2009 at 11:49:34AM EDT, Barclay, Daniel wrote:
> Chris Jones wrote:
> > On Tue, May 26, 2009 at 12:04:44PM EDT, Barclay, Daniel wrote:
> >> Chris Jones wrote:
> > 
> > [..]
> > 
> >>> Where the above no longer works for me is when the two action keys
> >>> do not belong to the same half of the keyboard - such as Ctrl-X
> >>> Ctrl-P, because I would use my right thumb to action the Control
> >>> key, the left hand ring finger to hit X, and then would be stuck
> >>> having to maintain the right Control key depressed and hit the "P"
> >>> key with my right pinky.
> > 
> >> Ah, that might be your problem right there:  Using "proper" shifting
> >> technique (as a typing teaching would presumably teach).  Oh,
> >> wait--you aren't switching from left to right control key there.  But
> >> you are using a thumb on an improperly positioned control key.  Such
> >> an abomination! :-)
> > 
> > It certainly is not. I was under the impression that homo sapiens
> > differed from the apes due to his opposable thumb. 
> Huh?  You think other primates don't have opposable thumbs?

Gosh.. I'm mixing this all up, apes, primates, monkeys, dolphins, the
hitchhiker's thumb syndrome and the scrivener's cramp.

> In any case, the significance of opposable thumbs is in _grabbing_
> things (you know, between fingers (finger and thumb) moving in
> _opposing_ directions).  There no direct relationship to pressing
> keys.

The indirect relationship is that thumbs are both very flexible and
underused in keyboarding.

>  > With proper typing position - the wrists unbent, pretty much
>  > horizontal, reaching for the Windows keys remapped to Control is
>  > totally effortless. 

> If it works for you, then quit complaining.  

I'm always complaining.. 

Quite the contrary in this instance, I am surprised, honored, and
grateful that s/o on the list would even consider the subject worthy of
their attention and show their appreciation by spending what looks like
an inordinate amount of time debating the issue.

> I was trying to help you..

That is why I replied. 

> because you seemed to find Emacs' modifier keys inconvenient.

That I don't know.. what I _do_ know is that it took me months to
assimilate a minimal subset of vim keyboard actions to the point where
anything I want to do is done before I have a chance to start thinking,
now how do I do this.. and when I look at emacs tutorials, it looks like
I would need quite some time to unlearn my vim habits and acquire emacs
ones that might prove to be unsuitable from an ergonomic standpoint and
would therefore require that I start remapping - which is absolute hell:
you start remapping something to.. something else that works better for
you..  oh.. the "else" was itself mapped to something else.. so let's
remap that else to something else2... meanwhile back at the ranch..

> (By the way, do you mean that you curl your left thumb under your
> hand to reach the Windows key, or do you move your whole hand to
> the left (using the left control key only with keys typed by your
> right hand, per "proper" typing style)?)

Yes.. curling is a very good way to describe the movement. As I thought
I had mentioned in my earlier message, this is the way piano players
smoothly move up/down the keyboard. You're playing a C major scale with
the right hand.. You go as far as hitting the G key with your pinky..
and you're stuck. 

There appear to be keyboards where some keys are physically located in a
spot that's easily accessible with the thumbs. 

Maybe I should buy one?

> >> Try using your left pinky on the (left) control key its rightful
> >> (original) place, immediately to the left of the A key (assuming
> >> English/QWERTY layout)).  Then use your left ring finger (instead
> >> of the "proper" left pinky) on the q, a, and z keys when you
> >> need to enter C-q, C-a, or C-z, respectively; and shift fingers
> >> on the next column or two as needed.
> > 
> > Now you are kidding, right?
> Were you actually paying attention when you wrote that?


> Did my description somehow retain some ambiguity I thought I avoided?

Absolutely not. 

> How hard is it to put your left pinky on the key immediately to the
> left of the A key and then put your left ring finger on the A key?
> That leaves those fingers right next to each other.

Yes, that is quite feasible, although hitting the A key with the ring
finger is also known as blasphemy.

What I was referring to is pinky on CapsLock/Control and pressing the Z
key with the ring finger at the same time. Maybe my hands are less
flexible than average, but I just cannot do it.

> Or was your comment not implying that it was hard but just reacting
> to its difference from proper (per typing class) fingering?

Well, that's basically the issue. Since typing tutorials say nothing of
the Control and Alt keys, I felt that I had to be creative and that's
where I realized that "curling" each thumb to reach them was not only
much easier than doing it via my pinkies (even with the left Control key
remapped to CapsLock) but also provided a mechanism that was consistent
across both hands.

My curling ability only extends about two keys-widths to the left of
right of the keyboard comfortably, so I had to remap the Winkeys to

But all in all this "technique" basically meets two useful criteria:
brain-dead simplicity (it's always one thumb action and one key action
from opposite hands) and since you have the extra difficulty of
synchronizing, a modifier press action that is physically easy to
perform - think thumbs are underused, therefore never tired, and much
stronger than pinkies.

> >> The C-x C-p is easy: left pinky left control down, left middle or
> >> ring finger x down, right pinky or ring finger p down, and then
> >> all finger up in any order you want (or no order (simultaneous)).

> > My guess is that you must have a couple of RSI doctors among your
> > close relatives.

> Again, I don't think you're paying attention.  


> Trying to press the control key(s) where IBM moved it to is a lot
> harder than pressing it where it was originally.  (Obviously, your
> placement of them on the Windows keys is better than the default
> PC-keyboard positions.)

> > Not only is this very difficult to get right consistently without
> > looking at the keys ...but it completely leaves out the fact that in
> > my personal case, there is a wired-in association between a given
> > key and a given finger.

> > I am reusing the basic associations acquired while typing to which I
> > only added two+two (Control & Alt keys) synchronized thumb actions. If I
> > followed your advice, I would have to build into my personal muscle
> > memory an entire new set of finger actions that are both inconsistent
> > with my (standard) typing habits ...

> Actually, it would be only about half of one hand of finger-to-key
> associations--only left hand, and only whichever keys one re-assigns.

Well, no. It's really pretty straightforward. Alt/Control + some key
automatically "maps" - i.e. I don't have to think about it.. to left or
right thumb press + some key pressed by its dedicated habitual finger
from the opposite hand.

Kinda simple and consistent for one like myself with a rather square
head to deal with in the first place.

> Hmm.  I think I have "Emacs control-key mode" vs. "regular mode."
> I notice that I shift my left hand left a bit (to put my pinky on
> the left-of-A control key) and widen my fingers (some fingers stay
> in their normal columns (e.g., index finger for F key)).

Pretty much what I'm trying to avoid. 

> Note that I don't typically shift to control-key mode for just a
> single command (one control-key sequence).

Not sure what you mean.

> More typically, I shift my hand left for "move-around and cut/copy-
> and-paste mode" (e.g, C-a, C-e, C-p, C-n, C-w, C-y, etc.) and
> then shift back to normal touch-typing position for "typing words"
> mode.

Is this in bash..? vim..? emacs..?

I find that when I'm using the readline editor I use the "modified" or
maybe "control" mode - as opposed to data entry mode - a lot, but this
often means alterning between character-based actions that require the
Control modifier and word-based actions that require the Alt modifier.

> In particular, I frequently press the control key and don't let it
> up until I've hit a half a dozen or more other keys (regardless of
> which hand presses them).

Ctrl-h in vim that "back deletes" one character is a good example of
this.  Unless you absolutely need to have something engraved on the key
that describes its behavior, I clearly find it preferable to the
"Backspace" key, which is a lot harder to reach.

> Whether you'll ever like Emacs control-key sequences probably depends
> on how often you use them--that is, whether you usually do things
> (e.g., lots of moving around between typing text) that require many
> control keys in a row (where the press-Control-and-hold aspect helps
> more) or you usually just use a few interspersed in more "plain"
> typing.

>  > _and_ physically stressful.
> > 
> > Seriously, left pinky on the key to the right of the "A" key and left
                                            he meant LEFT..!


> > ring finger on the "Z" key at the same time...? 
> (No.  Left pinky on the key to the LEFT of the "A" key.)

See.. I'm not even sure what my name is any longer at this point.


I think it's that 'l' key in vi/vim, the famous mnemonnic, the one that
means move right (light?) that must have burnt holes in some circuit or
other on my own personal MB.

> > Tried it a couple of times and had to stop because I was cramping.
> Well, actually, C-z isn't that frequent.  

That's no excuse.. in any case, background a process..? precious.

> How do your fingers react for C-a?

It's not my rationale, but it's definetely feasible. C-z.. or even C-x
or C-c using the left pinky for Control and a finger from the same hand
shifted one column to the left of its normal typing position or not is
both painful and confusing.

Thanks for your interest.


Reply to: