swap caps lock and control

On Jun 15, 4:31 pm, Thad Floryan wrote:
> On 6/15/2010 3:45 PM, Xah Lee wrote:
> > On Jun 15, 3:27 pm, Thad Floryan wrote:
> >> On 6/15/2010 1:42 AM, Uday S Reddy wrote:
> >>> On 6/15/2010 7:54 AM, Pascal J. Bourguignon wrote:
> >>>> Well, C-f C-n is all you need.  I mean, keep C-f pressed until the
> >>>> cursor reaches the column you want, you don't even need to count
> >>>> 76.  And keep C-n pressed until the cursor reaches the line you want.
> >>> Except that pressing control-key for that long with your pinky is a
> >>> health risk!
> >>> [...]
> >> That's why remapping the [Caps Lock] to be a [Ctrl] is very useful.
> > swapping Caps Lock with Ctrl is not good.
> > • Why You Should Not Swap Caps Lock With Control
> >  http://xahlee.org/emacs/swap_CapsLock_Ctrl.html
> > [...]
> Your opinion which neither I nor 100,000s of others share -- you stand alone.

if we actually do a poll anywhere near scientific, i think majority will find my opinion the better on, as given in my essay.

> A [Ctrl] to the left of [A] is natural and what I've been using since the
> mid-1960s with absolutely NO problems or RSI whatsoever beginning with a
> TTY ASR33 and continuing with a Datapoint 3300, DEC VT100, Datamedia DT80
> and others along the way to today.

Right, another anecdote from a old man.

The question is not whether you have RSI problem. As i detailed in my essay, you can be a programer for 40 years coding daily, and never had RSI problems, yet you can't even touch type. In fact, many programers can't touch type. Am curious what's a rough percentage. I think actually more than 50% of those who makes a living by coding cann't touch type.

> Mapping and using the [Caps Lock] as a [Ctrl] to the immediate left of [A]
> is no different than the ["] to the immediate right of [;] re: pinkies.

The question is not whether it is that bad or not that bad. As i pointed out in my essay, the keyboard itself is badly designed, and much worse is its precursor the typewriter. Yet, people lived with typerwriter for generations.

> The (dumb) PC standard of a [Ctrl] key at the lower-left of a keyboard is
> ridiculous and WILL cause pinky problems if one uses Emacs as an editor and
> bash as a shell.

The question, is whether Swapping Ctrl and Caps Lock key is better with respect to ergonomics, on a average PC keyboard for the general public. I've given detailed reasons why i believe that it is worse, in my essay. To argue fruitfully, you might counter my points.

from my years of experience on this and my observation from the arguments, i think that actually only a minority really propose that swapping Caps Lock and Control is a good thing, even that we hear them online often. It is this minority that keeps spreading baseless info. Also, i think this minority tends to be older people, say, had computing career at least as early as back in 1980s or early 1990s.

i think mostly the reason these minority have such view is because in those days, it is not unusual to find keyboards with Control key on the Caps Lock position. These people “grew up” with that. The habit stuck.

As i have said in my essay, there's a very simple test anyone can do to see which is better. Let me repeat here:

Now, type the following, but on every 3rd letter hold down Caps Lock key as if it is Control.

a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

Do this 100 times or 20 minutes. Really. Do it.

Now, take a break. When you are ready, do it again, but each 3rd letter press the Control key at the either corners of your keyboard, and follow my methods described in my esssay.

You can easily determine, which is less tiring or faster.

This simple test can be varied easily. For example, instead of typing the alphabets in order, you can just grab any sentence. Instead of holding the modifier every 3rd letter, you can easily create a test so that it's every nth letter with n being random from 3 to 5. To prepare the test, YoU caN cAp The letTER tHAt yOu neEd to pReSs thE ModiFier liKE In thIs senTenCe.


aside from the ergonomic matter, i've noticed in my study of keyboarding, that the choices of many shortcuts in many apps are adopted to the many aspects of the keyboard hardware of the time in use by the community. For example, i am quite absolutely certain, that emacs's keybindings are not simply based on the first letter of commands, but the qwerty layout's key positions have significant influence on it. This also applies to the letter choice of unix's shell commands. Much of this influences of design are unconcious.

i've studied keyboarding quite a lot. Wrote some 40 articles in the
past 10 years from my 20 years of using keyboards, 10 or so keyboard macros softwares across linux mac classic, os x, Windows;
(resedit keymap, QuicKey, QuickSilver, keybinding.dict, AutoHotKey, IntelliType, xmodmap, ...), studied key systems in oses (mac classic, x11, mac os x), mastered shortcuts in tens of apps across oses and their capabilities at user level settings, touch
type at professional speed in qwerty and dvorak layouts, studied
chinese input systems, studied shortcut notations and key
notations and key macro language notations, studied keyboard soft layouts (qwerty, dvorak, and international ones), studied keyboard hardware key layouts,... you can see them here:

• All About Keyboards, Keyboard Layouts, Shortcuts, Macros

if keyboard freaks of the world would gather, i think i'd be a high ranking officer. LOL

∑ http://xahlee.org/

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