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Re: What's your favourite *under_publicized* editing feature ofEmacs?

From: Tim X
Subject: Re: What's your favourite *under_publicized* editing feature ofEmacs?
Date: Thu, 24 Feb 2011 09:57:07 +1100
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/24.0.50 (gnu/linux)

Cthun <address@hidden> writes:

> On 23/02/2011 2:07 AM, Tim X wrote:
>> Cthun<address@hidden>  writes:
>>> On 22/02/2011 9:33 PM, Rafe Kettler wrote:
>>>> On Feb 22, 9:06 pm, Cthun<address@hidden>   wrote:
>>>>> On 22/02/2011 2:47 PM, Alan Mackenzie wrote:
>>>>>> There seems to be a contradiction between those last two paragraphs.
>>>>>> Saving buffers and finding files are relatively rare operations which
>>>>>> thus shouldn't be given very easy to press key sequences like C-s and
>>>>>> C-o.
>>>>> Where do you live where software never crashes and the electricity never
>>>>> goes out? Most of us learn to save very frequently to limit how much
>>>>> we'll have to do over again if the power goes out or whatever.
>>>> Emacs is really, really stable. My computer hasn't crashed in the past
>>>> 6 months, either. The power hasn't gone out in 3 months or so here
>>>> (eastern US).
>>>> Save and open are relatively infrequent command relative to others
>>>> (actual typing, cursor movement, etc.).
>>> Yeah, but for "actual typing" you only need the normal alphanumeric/symbol 
>>> keys
>>> (no ctrl- or alt- combos) and for cursor movement, the arrow/home/end/etc. 
>>> key
>>> group to the right of the main keyboard area. You've got loads and loads of
>>> ctrl-letter and ctrl-number combinations still after exhausting all of these
>>> more-frequent actions.
>> Unless you are a power keyboard user, in which case, lifting your hands
>> from the keyboard to the arrow keys et. al. or to use the mouse to
>> access menus, is annoying and slows you down.
> I will interpret the above as if you had said "unless you are weird, in which
> case ..."

I raise the point that there are not as many keys 'free' as you claim
because some people who I referred to as power users, prefer to use
short-cut keys over the mouse, cursor keys etc and your response is to
try and totally discount such users by claiming they are weird just
because they are different from what you know. Let me guess, in your
little world of identical clones, your never wrong are you?

> No-one I know finds having clearly labeled navigation keys annoying, or 
> prefers
> goofy, difficult-to-remember crap like
>> C-n/C-p/C-a/C-e/C-o/C-j etc

Your arguements are weak because they lack any real facts and it is
obvious you are just arguing for the sake of it. Anyone in doubt can
just look at your resonses to the numerous posts regarding auto-save and
the weak counter arguements you presented which don't even fit with the

>>> And then not everyone lives somewhere where the power is that reliable.
>> Then a UPS would be the right solution
> You're joking.
> You would recommend that everybody blow $2-300 on an extra chunk of expensive
> electronics in preference to *having to type ctrl-S every couple of minutes to
> protect themselves from data loss*? Are you fucking nuts? Or maybe just
> stinking rich or something. Well then I've got news for you, buddy -- not all
> of us, or even anywhere close to very *many* of us, can just go rooting under
> the sofa cushions and come up with $300 worth of spare change anytime the
> whimsy strikes them to go splurge at the local Best Buy.

If you have unreliable power supplies and don't have a UPS then your an
idiot. Unreliable power will not just cause loss of data, it will cause
hardware damage. Furthermore, you run the risk of your saved file being
currupted as a result of the power outage anyway, making your frequent
saves pontless. 

You also over-estimate the cost of a UPS. You can pick up small UPS
systems for just over $150, which is little compared to the cost of
replacing a system damaged from power problems. If your data is not
worth that much investment, it obviously isn't that valuable in any

> "But the people have no control-S bread!"
> "Then let them eat UPS cake!"
> Last person to so grossly overestimate the buying power of the general public
> in quite this manner got beheaded if I recall my history correctly. :)
>>> And then not everyone is daft enough not to fork their file before doing
>>> something truly drastic to it, especially large elisions.
>> Well, if their not using a version control system, especially when they
>> are so readily available and cost so little, they probably get what they
>> deserve.
> Who said we were necessarily talking about computer programmers here? Heck,
> with a decent language (i.e. a Lisp) with strong abstraction facilities (i.e.
> higher-order functions, macros) the amount of code you have to write is
> basically logarithmic in the complexity of the application, rather than 
> linear.
> Good programmers don't actually need to do all that much typing, so much as
> thinking and designing and planning and of course testing and debugging. Bad
> programmers can go hang. Novelists, data entry clerks, and the like aren't
> using CVS/git/Subversion.

Version control systems don't need to be cvs/svn/git/whatever. Corporate
record management systems are just glorified version control systems.
Web content management systems are also version control systems - even
database backups are a form of version control. Any business that has
not addressed issues of data protection is doomed. Likewise, anyone who
relies on remembering to save regularly in order to protect their data
is doomed. 

>> Of course, if they are using a good editor, it will automatically create
>> a backup file for them.
> Good luck finding it, or in all likelihood even realizing that it even created
> one if there's no overt indication of the existence of the feature. (And if
> it's turned off by default, so much the worse.)

Its very obvious you know nothing about emacs and are attempting to talk
with authority when you have little understanding of the facts. If you
have used emacs and had the unfortunate situation of a power outage,
crash etc, you would be more familiar with how its auto-save feature
works and would not have written the above garbage. 

> You'll wind up spending more time searching the filesystem for plausible names
> for this backup file than you'd have spent hitting control-S, unless it's 
> right
> there next to the original with an only slightly altered name.

which it is by default.

>> We should not restrict or constrain things to cater for a few who use
>> bad workflows at the cost of benefits for the majority who do the right
>> thing.
> Ah, I'd recognize that overweening arrogance anywhere. You must be a 
> comp.emacs
> regular rather than from comp.lang.lisp. You emacs fanatics really are all
> alike, arencha?

I'll try to be less arrogant if you try to be a bit smarter. 

>>> And then, of course, there's the tendency of operating systems to 
>>> blue-screen,
>>> laptops to overheat and hang, etc. no matter how stable the editor 
>>> application
>>> is.
>> I guess that depends on your OS. I rarely see such problems - the last
>> time was due to a hard disk failure and these days with RAID, even this
>> is rare.
> And what about the rest of us -- you know, the great plebian masses that can't
> afford to splurge a couple thousand bucks on a high end RAID system and have 
> to
> make do with plain old ordinary hard drives? 
> YOU may be both able and willing
> to spend more on your disks than on your actual computer proper but that's
> hardly something on which you can base sound advice for the rest of the world.

You must be living in the dark ages. My last two computers, commodity
hardware purchased from the local computer shop came with RAID built-in.
All I had to spend was an additional $200 for an extra hard drive. This
isn't high end stuff anymore - it is a standard feature of modern

> As for choice of operating system, here in the real world you either use
> Windows or you make yourself incompatible with a lot of applications and other
> stuff you can't get along in the world without.
> Oh, yeah, that's right, you're rich enough to splurge on UPSes and RAIDs -- I
> guess you don't need to actually work for a living, handle office documents,
> run work-related software that is proprietary and not ported to anything but
> Windows, etc. Lucky you. Wish we were so fortunate.

Ah, yes, the poor old victim mentality. 

As with much of your other responses, your arguements are outdated or
just completely wrong. I use windows every day at work. I've not had a
crash or a blue screen in years. Believe it or not, Windows has improved
a lot from where it use to be. You have no idea about the modern work
environment and the level of awareness regarding data protection,
corporate records management, etc. You have little grasp regarding
modern storage systems or even the level of protection built into basic
commodity hardware or even the vast range of low cost solutions out
there and you totally underestimate the sophistication and awareness of
most average users. Your insistance on the need for end users to have
save file on a single depth key bindings because it is a frequent
operation is over stated and outdated. 

>> If you are forced to use such unreliable setups, then you need
>> better solutions than just hitting save every few minutes.
> Better solutions like what, a second antitrust suit that actually has some 
> real
> penalties in it for Microsoft if they lose? A magic wand that will convince
> workplaces the world over to give up on Microsoft software (and another that
> will convince game companies to universally support unix)? Autosave features
> that either overwrite your files at bad times, or make their autosaves in 
> dusty
> corners of the file system where you can't easily find them and may not even
> know they exist?
>> There is little justification for wasting valuable single depth key
>> bindings for saving and opening files.
> If you're rich and can therefore afford UPSes, RAIDs, and to use a maverick OS
> that shuts you out of interoperating with any nine-to-five work stuff, 
> perhaps.

No, there are lots of solutions, you just have to decide to not be a
victim and look for better answers.

>> I also suspect that those who use unreliable systems with unreliable
>> power supplies and adopt poor practices are also likely the type of
>> person who doesn't bother learning key stroke short-cuts and uses the
>> menu to save/open files. Using scarce single depth bindings would be
>> wasted on them.
> What about people that are stuck with unreliable systems, unreliable power
> supplies, and unreliable operating systems and don't adopt poor practices?

Ignoring the fact that anyone in that situation is not going to find
frequent saving much help anyway and ignoring the fact we have not taken
away their ability to save - in fact, have only argued the existing
configuration is fine and ignoring the fact emacs' auto-save works well
and without all the ficticious counter-arguements you presented, we are
left with a basic contradiction in your statement. If they don't adopt
poor practices, they will have a far better solution than using manually
controlled regular saving of their data. In reality, if they have an
unreliable system, unreliable power supply and unreliable operating
systems and they adopt good practices, they would be addressing the
cause of the problem and not focusing on the symptom. 

>> It should also be noted that the selection of key bindings in emacs
> Confirmed: emacs fanatic.
>> is not as arbitrary as it may seem. There is a pattern
> Yes, maximum annoyance, confusion, and incompatibility with everything else in
> the known universe. Everyone who tries emacs quickly spots the pattern. Except
> maybe for a few assorted nuts and fruits.

If you don't like it, then why are you here? Nobody is forcing you to
use it and in fact, many would likely ask you not to. 

>> and the single depth bindings have been worked out over many years
>> based on user experience.
> By the Marquis de Sade.
>> While many people may find them alien because of what they have used
>> before, their efficiency is very good.
> Alien and efficient at driving men mad. I think that confirms what we've 
> always
> suspected: emacs is not actually a text editor at all, but rather a diabolical
> incantation slightly more complex than "Ia! Ia! Cthulhu fhtagn!" and arising
> from exactly the same source.

and again, if you don't like it, why post to an emacs newsgroup?

>> Yes, we here reports of people who have developed RSI using emacs
> That's not "RSI", that's "Help my arms are turning into tentacles and my brain
> to mush -- gbl;aetisl;{}re22][d[ ... Ia! Ia!"
>> but I know many (including myself) who have used it for many years who
>> have never suffered any ill effects (I've used it pretty much daily
>> for over 18 years).
> Some of us do consider wild, staring eyes, growth of chin-tentacles, and the
> shriveling of the genitalia to be "ill effects", you know.
>> I often wonder if those who are affected would have found any system
>> which used as many key bindings, regardless of what style, would have
>> suffered the ill effects anyway
> More awkward ctrl-alt-etc. chording = less RSI? On what planet? Oh yes, of
> course, *that* one, from whence came he who lies dreaming.

and yet, for each person you can point to who has suffered RSI after
using emacs, I can point to one who has used it longer that has not. 

It is obvious you have an issue with the emacs' keybinding defaults and
it would seem the software as a whole and it now seems clear you are
just being a troll and arguing for the sake o it. I will not be
responding further. 


tcross (at) rapttech dot com dot au

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