Re: Lousy Word Procs (was: WordPerfect (Ugh!))

Subject: Re: Lousy Word Procs (was: WordPerfect (Ugh!))
From: dski -at- CAMEONET -dot- CAMEO -dot- COM -dot- TW
Date: Thu, 26 Dec 1996 18:59:09 +0800

I wrote that one can believe the assertions that the WordStar cursor
movement diamond is still "the most ergonomic of any wordprocessing
program"; Ian White (ian -at- ifwtech -dot- demon -dot- co -dot- uk) responded --

> I don't think so - while diamonding away with your left hand, what are
> you doing with the other one?

It is hard to believe that a former WordStar user would ask this question.

Ian provides a way to answer. He goes on to say --

> ....I still use Word... configured to use the function keys up the left
> side of an original IBM AT-style keyboard. Drive the mouse or cursor
> keys with the right hand, and do all the most commonly-used editing
> operations with the left. Both hands move outwards for editing, and back
> to the center of the keyboard for typing.

Switch the functions of the two hands. Strike out the word "mouse"; change
"cursor keys" to "cursor diamond, scrolling square, search keys, and
search-and-replace keys"; strike out the words "the most commonly-used."
Leave in "all."

Both hands stay on the main typing block for editing. Both hands stay on
the main typing block for typing. Both hands stay on the main typing block
for menuing (if you can have "diamonding"...), marking, deleting, moving,
tabbing, undoing.... Both hands * stay * on * the * main * typing * block,
period.

> For my kind of writing, involving no long periods of either typing or
> editing, but almost always a complex mixture of both, I find that any
> other software/keyboard configuration is less efficient because it makes
> the hands move about much more than necessary.

My kind of writing is the same. But you could clamp my wrists to my desk
and it wouldn't cramp my style.

> What brings the speed when editing is that the work of both hands is
> interleaved - just as it is when typing. While one hand is doing an
> operation, the other can already be moving to anticipate the next.

Substitute "finger" for "hand" in the second sentence....

> It's also important that no common operation should require a major
> shift across the keyboard....

Strike out the words "common" and "major."

> Having used WordStar since the CP/M days on a basic tty keyboard,
> I found the biggest single step forward was a real keyboard - one that
> had a set of independent cursor keys for the right hand, and two
> vertical rows of function keys for the left....

A monumental waste of space, money, resources, and motion.

Regarding WordStar for Windows, Ian wrote --

> A contradiction in terms, which is why there isn't even a WordStar
> company any more.

Gee, you make it sound so simple.

I personally agree that the name is a contradiction in terms, since the
moment you activate the menu bar you essentially leave your application
and put yourself in the clutches of the Redmond gang, who long ago
declared war on touch typists. WordStar for Windows was adapted and sold
by the people who wrote (or, later, adapted) and sold the DOS versions,
however, and many fans of CP/M and DOS WordStar swear by it.

The documents describing the merger of WordStar, Spinnaker, and Softkey to
form Softkey International (now known as The Learning Company) name
WordStar International, Inc. as the "surviving corporate entity."

Dan Strychalski
dski -at- cameonet -dot- cameo -dot- com -dot- tw


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