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Re: How to type when using Emacs?

From: Joel J. Adamson
Subject: Re: How to type when using Emacs?
Date: Thu, 10 Jul 2008 15:40:59 -0400
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/23.0.60 (gnu/linux)

SomeDeveloper <address@hidden> writes:

> Hello,

Okay, before I read everyone else's responses, as I am academically
curious after seeing the bad typing habits of some fellow heavy keyboard

> Just getting started with Emacs. Would like to get advice on how to
> train finger movement when learning/using Emacs.
> Should I try to continue to follow standard, English typing rules...
> where you park your fingers on the home-row, and then press a key only
> with the finger reserved for it? 

Absolutely --- do not hunt and peck, do not use two fingers on the same
hand at the same time, except in emergencies.  Hold your wrists up from
the table when you type and take frequent breaks.

> Or, should I feel free to jump arbitrarily or do whatever is
> necessary/convenient to become effective longer-term?

Hmmm???  How are you going to develop your own typing strategy from
scratch?  Just curious on this one.

> Saw an article or two on the Net (
> ) where the authors
>are recommending swapping CAPS and CTRL keys. Not sure if this by
>itself would be enough, or if I would need to also break standard
>typing rules?

Well, no, because in "standard typing" --- on a typewriter --- there is
no control key, only the shift key.  Caps lock was located the left of
"A" on some typewriter keyboards (some had a big shift key); however you
may find caps lock unnecessary after a while.  I have stopped using it.
I wrote a function that capitalizes the previous word, and I use Emacs'
Abbrev-mode for certain capitalization.

I learned to type on an IBM Selectric, and have always used the home
keys method.  I have never NEVER had a repetitive strain injury or any
difficulty reaching keys.  Emacs came quite naturally to me.  I actually
found keyboard use in other programs quite difficult since I was used to
the more fluid finger movement that Emacs encourages with its modifier keys.

> For example: If I had to type
>    C-x t C-u 8 0
> using the standard typing rules, I would use
>    <finger>  ( <for-key> )
>   Right pinky (C)
>   Left ring finger (x)
>   Left pinky (C)
>   Right index finger (u)
>   Right middle finger (8)
>   Right pinky (0)
> How would you type the above? Similarly, an example recommendation of
> a complicated, Meta key combination would also help.

I would type it exactly as above.  I've seen people do "C-x C-f" with
one hand and it looks like it would kill their wrists after a while.  I
certainly do it faster than any of them.


;; backward-upcase
| (defun backward-upcase (&optional arg)
|   "Capitalize the previous word; with optional arg, capitalize
| the previous arg words"
|   (interactive "P")
|   (let ((words (if arg arg 1)))
|     (upcase-word (- 0 words))))

Joel J. Adamson
(303) 880-3109
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