The Modernization of Emacs: terminology buffer and keybinding

blmblm at blmblm at
Wed Jun 27 20:59:33 CEST 2007

In article <1182905443.074236.128290 at>,
Twisted  <twisted0n3 at> wrote:

[ snip ]

> I'm wondering if getting your head around unix arcana is also
> dependent on an iffy "knack" where you "get it" and somehow know where
> to look for documentation and problem fixes, despite everything having
> its own idiosyncratic way, and "get" some sort of workflow trick
> going, or you don't. 

Well ....  For me I think the crucial thing was having Unix experts
on tap when I was learning -- someone to answer my questions
patiently, and also to show me things I might not have found on
my own.  Some combination of Usenet groups and books might have
served the same purpose.

I find Windows and its tools as frustrating as you seem to find
Unix, but I strongly suspect that being shown the ropes by someone
who understands and likes the system would help a lot.  <shrug>

> Personally, the thing I always found most
> irritating was the necessary frequent trips to the help. Even when the
> help was easy to use (itself rare) that's a load of additional task
> switching and crap. Of course, lots of the time the help was not easy
> to use. Man pages and anything else viewed on a console, for example
> -- generally you could not view it side by side with your work, but
> instead interrupt the work, view it, try to memorize the one next
> step, go back to your work, perform that next step, back to the help
> to memorize another step ... that has all the workflow of a backed-up
> sewer, yet until and unless the commands become second nature it's
> what you're typically forced to do without a proper GUI. 

[ I'm trying to imagine circumstances in which I would say "proper
GUI" and .... not succeeding.  "Proper command line", now that
I say sometimes ....  :-)? ]

About not being able to view help side by side with one's work,
though ....   You probably haven't heard the joke about how a
window manager is a mechanism for having multiple xterms (terminal
windows) on the screen at the same time, and a mouse is a device
for selecting which one should have the focus?  Well, I like it.

[ snip ]

> Maybe the thing I really, REALLY deplore is simply having 99% of my
> attention forced to deal with the mechanics of the job and the
> mechanics of the help viewer and only 1% with the actual content of
> the job, instead of the other way around.

Exactly my experience of trying to use MS Office tools to do quick
edits under time pressure.  

B. L. Massingill
ObDisclaimer:  I don't speak for my employers; they return the favor.

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