Keyboard only / using the mouse?! #ui

🕤︎ - 2023-03-21

My first computer didn't have a mouse, it had joysticks - a Commodore 64. But my computers after that had the mouse as a very integrated part of how you used them - Commodore Amigas.

I have a feeling that I am still influenced by growing up, as it were, with those, when I hear keyboard-only enthusiasts speak of not leaving "home row", not using arrow keys, and definitely reaching out for their mouse as little as possible.

Similarly I am sometimes surprised when sitting next to someone using a computer at how often I am thinking "why don't you just use the mouse", both to avoid retyping a lot of text and for avoiding mistyping something.

On the Amiga selecting arbitrary text was, like many things - to be fair - a hack. There was a small program you'd run in the background, which allowed you to draw a rectangle of "travelling ants" around any text, and the program would examine the pixels(!), recognize the characters and copy them. One of the peripherals I spent serious money on was a 3-button optical mouse. So very modern. Had to use a mouse pad with the right dots on them for it to work.

When I sold my final Amiga - just in time I felt, as I avoided losing a lot of money on owning it - and after some time put together a machine running Linux with X, I very quickly appreciated how easy it is so select some text with one mouse button and insert it somewhere else with another mouse button. No need to fiddle around with the keyboard to do copy/paste!

Maybe it's just simple and efficient in my mind, but I like it.

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