GeekNights Monday - Keyboard Shortcuts

Tonight on GeekNights, we consider the humble keyboard shortcut. We've previously talked about FPS keybindings and keyboards themselves. In the news, Growing Up Jobs, Microsoft dips into Windows as a managed service, Google employees resist unethical work for the second time in recent memory, and MAGFest announced dates GOGOGO! Also don't forget we'll be live at PAX West and on PAX Twitch!

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Meanwhile in Linux Land

In short, Vulcan games work fine or emulating a Windows box within the Linux is best meathods.

In this episode, Rym dies on all the hills.

If only we recording Scott after the show trying to argue that all software (including things like… After Effects or Unity or Maya) should be non-customizeable and cover all use cases out of the box with no configuration of any kind.


Obviously everything should be customizable but also do like when software doesn’t require any fiddling with the knobs to have it set up baaaaasically the way we all want.

Software is a tool. If you are a worker, you buy tools and use them to accomplish tasks. It is the job of the toolmaker to make the tools. Often times tool users have to become toolmakers because the tools are deficient in some way. That’s just reality, but the fact is that the tool is still deficient. A well made tool should accomplish its task beautifully and perfectly without any need for the user to become a toolmaker.

For some categories of tool there are no good tools. All the users are toolmakers, and must be. All I’m saying is that rather than accept that as the way things are, we should admit the tools are flawed and demand better. Don’t let the shitty software developers off the hook for making the user do their job for them.

Software needs to be able to be customized by the user, but it should rarely if ever have to be. All the switches and knobs to control everything should be there, but every time a user has to press them represents a design failure of the engineers who made that software.

A separate but related issue is that when all those knobs are there (as they should be) overeager users frequently press them unnecessarily. Software often provides a very efficient way to accomplish a task, but users don’t know it, or simply prefer a different way for no good reason. People hate to learn, so rather than learn the existing default way of accomplishing a task, they will do extra work to build a tool or make a complicated configuration change to accomplish it.

A very basic example that is relevant to the episode. The keyboard shortcut to go to the next tab in a web browser is ctrl+tab. The keyboard shortcut to go to the next tab in vim is to press ‘g’ then press ‘t’. Do I make some customization to vim so that ctrl+tab works? Do I install some janky vim mode extension in my web browser? No. The human brain is capable of context switching. My hands always do the correct shortcut in the correct application without any conscious effort.

The benefit of this is that I save time not having to figure out how to make these customizations. I save time not having to deal with that weird situation when the custom shortcuts conflict and cause some issue. I save time whenever I use an unfamiliar computer because all “my” shortcuts are already in place, and I can get to work at 100% efficiency immediately.

Back in the day I ran Gentoo Linux and spent all day customizing my computer with shit like fvwm and such. I ended up spending all my time customizing and no time actually getting shit done. My home computer was way different than other computers, and I felt very clumsy and uncomfortable using any machine other than my own personal one. I gave up on that nonsense long ago, and now life is great. Defaults are king.

Some software is a toolkit, says the person who uses emacs.

Shouldn’t this be GeekNights Monday?

Rym must have clicked wrong. I’ll try to fix.

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I might have mis-clicked. I was shockingly tired and ended up going to bed early.

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Old Man Scott’s nutty software opinions aside, both @Apreche and @SkeleRym are insane nutter butters for liking the heat so much. God I hate the heat. I was dragged away from glorious upstate New York winters when I was sixteen to live in Virginia and I have never ever gotten used to it.


I thrive in this heat, I can not handle cold!!

We should cancel global warming though.

I am all Cold, heat not for me.


I could do without sweat running into my eyes anytime it’s 90+F outside.

The problem with heat is that at some point I can’t cool down, no matter how many clothes I take off. With cold I can keep adding clothes until I am warm. I make my own warmth even!


I’m from Florida. I can tolerate 95 F+ with 80%+ humidity. That doesn’t mean that I like it and won’t bitch about it. The Japanese national summer passtime is complaining about the heat; especially this summer with it being extra hot causing heat strokes and deaths.

Also, what zehaeva said.

True that. I’m from the Subtropics, I deal with the heat wearing long pants and drinking hot tea. Still gonna complain about the heat, and much like Japan, it’s a national pasttime here.

I think the reason for Florida Man’s existence, besides overindulgence of drugs and/or alcohol, is that the Florida heat and humidity steamed his brains.