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Re: Learning emacs

From: Lee Sau Dan
Subject: Re: Learning emacs
Date: 20 Jan 2003 16:45:23 +0100
User-agent: Gnus/5.0808 (Gnus v5.8.8) Emacs/20.7

>>>>> "Paul" == Paul O'Donnell <address@hidden> writes:

    Paul> Hi All, I am completely new to emacs, and looking forward to
    Paul> learning how to use this much praised editor. 

The key to  learning Emacs: don't be greedy.  You  cannot learn all of
it at once.  (I still don't  know many packages even after 10 years of
heavy use.)   Learn the packages one  by one.  Again,  don't expect to
know each  package from inside out.   You just need to  know enough of
the package for your daily use.

    Paul> I am also new to Linux in general. I am a programmer,
    Paul> currently teaching myself Lisp and want to use a tool like
    Paul> emacs that I can use for all the languages that I write code
    Paul> in.

In that case,  have patience with the Emacs  on-line tutorial (C-h t).
When you've got comfortable using the features that you've learnt from
the  tutorial, leard  to use  'dir-ed' --  the file  browser.  Browser
around your  file system.   The Linux file  system is  organized quite
differently from Windows.  So, having  tours around the file system is
a good way to discover what's in the system.  You'll discover a lot of
helpful documents,  e.g. in /usr/doc, /usr/share/doc,  etc.  It varies
with distros.  But dir-ed does let you browse around easily.

    Paul> Coming from the Windows world emacs is not at all what I am
    Paul> used to. I am not much of a typist, maybe 45 wpm, 

45wpm is already  quite fast.  Very often, we  normally don't think as
fast.  So,  unless you're copy-typing, you seldom  really reach speeds
over 60wpm.  And I bet that no one can do 45 *meaningful* mouse clicks
(shall I  multiple this by  the 5 keys/word  ratio?) in a  minute.  By
"meaningful", I mean  the clicks really do what  one wants.  This must
thus require _hunting and shooting_ the correct GUI buttons and menus.

    Paul> as long as I don't have to use Control and Alt keys, which
    Paul> brings me to my question.

I've "solved" this problem for many years.

    Paul> I don't know which fingers to use to press these keys. 

I don't use  fingers for these.  I  use my palm (not the  PDA, but the
body part).  Rest your fingers on  the home rows.  Now, which parts of
your palm are closest to the  control and alt keys?  I use these parts
to press these keys.  Since  modern keyboards have them on both sides,
you can press control/alt any-letter with minimal hand movement.  (Too
bad that new  keyboards pollutes the space-bar row  with useless keys,
making the Alt keys more  difficult to press correctly in this manner.
So, I prefer AT-101 keyboards to those with "window" and "menu" keys.)

    Paul> It seems obvious to me that the baby finger of the opposite
    Paul> hand should be used for the Control key, 

hehe... I  don't need fingers for  Control.  The part  where my little
finger joins my  palm is where my hand gets in  touch with the control

    Paul> but what about the Alt key? The thumb of the opposite hand
    Paul> maybe? 

This is  quite natural.  I also  do this, although the  palm where the
index finger emerges is also possible.

    Paul> I don't want to download typing tutorial software. I really
    Paul> don't have time for that. I just want to know which fingers
    Paul> to use.

At 45wpm (do  you mean wpm, where w=5 keystrokes?),  I don't think you
really need  any typing  tutorial software, unless  you want  to train
yourself  to become  a real  typist  or audio-typist.   45wpm is  fast

Lee Sau Dan                     李守敦(Big5)                    address@hidden(HZ) 

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