Related link: http://ask.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=05/11/23/2128219
There’s a new Ask Slashdot today with a subject dear to my heart: ‘Balancing Use Between Keyboard and Mouse?‘ in which the poster talks about a preference for hands staying on the keyboard. Of course, there are certain tasks when a mouse or other input device is easier, but for a lot of geeks, myself included, the keyboard is usually the way to go.
As a rabid Quicksilver user, I felt the need to post about it in that Ask Slashdot. You’ll find I mention it, oh, probably every other entry here or on my own site. ;) That may be because I seem to be using it every other minute, all the time. It’s that useful.
What’s most profound to me is its dual nature, combining the best of GUI and CLI, not to mention connecting the two worlds. Though arguably not alone among operating systems in this regard, Mac OS X sure does seem to have real power in both, and Quicksilver (among other utilities) help you to exploit that.
Another poster in that Slashdot story wrote that, while switching from Windows to Mac, they missed the ability for the keyboard to access pretty much every menu or widget. This is an area that I’ve found Linux apps often follow along in the Windows model. However, here’s what I wrote in reply:
Not *quite* the same thing, but if you go to the Keyboard & Mouse System Preference, then to the Keyboard Shortcuts tab, you’ll find at the bottom ‘Full Keyboard Access’ — change that to All Controls and you’ll be able to tab to most controls. In that same Preference tab you’ll find a metric crapload of navigation shortcuts for moving keyboard focus among windows, Dock, menus, etc.
Also, there are a ton of sometimes poorly documented Mac UI keyboard shortcuts that even long-time users don’t know about, but which will speed your usage tremendously. There are various places to learn about them — the Help menu in the Finder is a start, but also see http://www.macosxhints.com/ for the occasional gem.
Naturally, fine technical books are available by certain publishers that are great references as well. ;D
The point is that with the latest technologies built in to OS X, combined with various third-party utilities, as well as the Brave New World (for Macs at least) of the CLI, the GUI vs. CLI debate can be limited to — as the original inspiration for the Ask Slashdot was — a question of usability for a given application, rather than an OS debate.
What’s your take on this?