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Re: why must emacs depend on sound packages?

On Fri, Jun 05, 2009 at 05:41:20PM EDT, Barclay, Daniel wrote:
> Chris Jones wrote:

> >> Yes, C-h in Emacs should perform some kind of backspace operation
> >> (back-deletion or at least movement), since C-h in ASCII is the
> >> Backspace character.
> > 
> > I believe that like C-S/C-Q and friends this belongs in the terminal
> > driver's psyche - it's at a lower level and already lived there long
> > before the applications came along.
> Yeah, I was going to mention Stallman's rant about C-s and its
> invalidity due to exactly what you menion--that C-s/C-q were used
> in modems and serial port drivers long before Emacs existed.

The wikipedia article about ASCII provides some roundabout info as to
why things are the way they are re: the "tty driver".

"Advanced Programming in the UNIX Environment" by W. Richard Stevens
remains an excellent place to acquire in-depth understanding of terminal

"Xah Lee", one rather famous internet troll, wrote some stuff about
emacs in general & its keyboard mappings. Not emacs savvy enough myself
to decide, but if you haven't read his rant about emacs you could check
his web site.

> > I use "<" and ">" to move between tabs in the Elinks browser.. both
> > mnemonic and useable. Ctr+PageUp/PageDn in seamonkey is somewhat
> > mnemonic, but does not quite deliver in terms of "useability".
> > 
> > And please don't get me started on "discoverability"..

> You mean like when Windows, for some idiotic reason, _stopped_ putting
> underlines under keyboard accelerator-key letters in menu items?

Hmm.. not sure it's idiotic.. perhaps not from the saleman's viewpoint


Fact of life.. Letters with underlines on menu items or toolbars look
less cool than letters without underlines. Perhaps I shouldn't be this
critical.. to be honest, M$ do such a much better job of making GUIs
keyboard-navigable than their *nix counterparts that it's embarrassing.

When I wrote "discoverability" I was really referring to a marketing
concept that postulates that most everything in a "modern" interface
should be made such a "cool" trip for the user that he becomes capable
of finding out for himself how he's supposed to achieve whatever they,
the designers of the "modern interface" have imagined that he or she,
our naive user should be doing. Since our naive user intially has no
clue what he should be doing in the first place, discovering how he or
she could do it, and therefore where the designer is concerned,
designing a GUI that makes such tasks discoverable for said naive user..
should be fun... As I understand it, not only is the "modern gui"
designed to do the original job well, irrelevant of what the prospective
job might be, but it does feature one additional priceless piece of true
wizardry, namely that it effectively teaches the user how to actually do
it.. without explicitly resorting to teaching the naive user.. since
"teaching" would actually not be cool.. etc.  

I looked for real-life examples.. and I.. discovered.. that notepad and
pico/nano are pretty much the only editors that come close to the ideal
of "discoverability".. 

Unfortunately.. respectable tools such as vim and emacs fall short of
our expectations.


Mind you, discoverablity is not just marketspeak.. with an interface
that's discoverable, "users" can save themselves the indignity of
reading manuals, and conversely feel "empowered" by the experience..

Satisfaction across the board.. since decent doc is expensive.. also
saves "software" manufacturers millions.

I don't know how relevant this is to the software interface, but a
barebones example of "discoverability" that clashes with the final
"useability" of the product is those pesky arrow keys that were added at
some point to the traditional typewriter keyboard.. easy to discover..
highly mnemonic in case you are forgetful.. but unless I'm blind drunk
or in such an alien context that I cannot function anyway, I don't like
them very much. 

If keyboarding skills mean anything, check out Benedetti Michelangeli's
rendition of Debussy's "La Cathedrale Engloutie".. was on youtube last
time I looked.. I doubt he learned his stuff on an enhanced piano
keyboard with discoverable keys.. but what do I know..

Never fancied myself as a champion typist, reason I thought I should
become more intimate with the keyboard was that I found it odd that I
could write with a pen effortlessly, an obsolete skill if there ever was
one.. and suffered from a crippling case of keyboarding incompetence.




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