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RE: Highway Musophobia Revisited [was: Speeding up Emacs load time]

From: Drew Adams
Subject: RE: Highway Musophobia Revisited [was: Speeding up Emacs load time]
Date: Fri, 19 Jul 2013 10:24:21 -0700 (PDT)

> >> I think the mouse is a killer. It is not productive, it is not
> >> ergonomic.
> >
> > Any pointer device, and a mouse is one (among other things it can
> > be), has this feature: you look at something, anywhere, you point
I should have said "anything", not "something", to be even clearer.
Anything you can see, that is.

> > to it to do something with it or to it.  End of story.
> I beg to differ. A counterexample is ace-jump-mode. You look at the
> word you wish to jump,

A word is not just "anything".  But it is certainly one kind of thing,
so OK, even if what you say does not apply generally.

> press the hotkey (Space in my case, with evil-mode),
> press the first letter of that word,

Which means you are NOT just pointing to something.  You are analyzing
what it is that you are seeing, and finding something about it that
you can use to distinguish it, and then specifying that distinguishing

This is no different in principle from describing the thing you want
as "the third blue one to the left of the orange, square one".

The fact that your interaction might be rapid is irrelevant to the
point (my point).  You are going to extra trouble to distinguish the
thing you want, beyond just locating it directly by pointing to what
you see.  You might as well be giving its GPS coordinates.

The only ambiguity in pointing is the precision of the pointer (and
your eye & hand).  If you do something other than point then you need
to narrow things down in some other way until you have characterized
the object you want uniquely.  That's a lot more complex in principle,
and often in practice too.

> which is replaced by some other letter, you press that letter and the
> cursor jumps. The whole process is faster than moving the hand from
> the keyboard to the mouse, and much faster than moving the mouse
> pointer to that position on the screen and clicking.

Whether you can do something fast is irrelevant to the point I am
making.  Some people can type a whole paragraph before some other
people can manage to get their mouse out of its holster and aim and
shoot it and hit the target.  Irrelevant.  (That doesn't mean it is
irrelevant to your personal choice of interaction.)

> > Nothing beats that eye-hand direct-manipulation thing for what it
> > offers.  Neither text completion/search nor a command/key to go
> > directly to the thing by name, number, description, whatever.  Nada.
> ace-jump consists on eye-hand manipulation using a keyboard, so maybe we
> are in agreement after all :-)

No, we are not in agreement, I'm afraid.  The point is about directly
pointing to something.  Direct is the keyword.  The time to execute the
interaction is not relevant to my point.

There are all kinds of keyboard interactions and shortcuts, including
single-key go-to actions that take you directly to a particular
object, where the distinguishing takes place in (a) the choice of
which key to hit and (b) the code behind that key, which does the
object locating.

None of that invalidates my point.  You must (consciously or not so
consciously) (a) choose the shortcut (or in your case locate and
analyze the target word and figure out its distinguishing prefix)
and (b) effect it (hit a key or type some text to be completed etc.)

That is not the same thing as locating the object visually and just
pointing to it.  Not at all.  Regardless of which you might find
faster to do in practice.  It's about direct and simple and natural.
It is not necessarily about speed.

In particular, no one is arguing that pointing is always the best
way to communicate.  That would be equivalent to wishing us to drop
language of any kind beyond the most rudimentary gestures.

A baby pointing at an object is one way to interact, but not the
only one.  And in particular, there is the question of associating
different actions and intentions with the object pointed to (want,
don't want, eat, gimme, scares me, what is it?...).

My point is simply that pointing devices can be useful, and a mouse
is a handy pointing device.  My second point is that there is more
than one useful tool in life's tool chest.  Nothing limits you to
just a mouse or just a keyboard.

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