How hard is it to "go mouseless" with your personal computer?

Originally published at: How hard is it to "go mouseless" with your personal computer? | Boing Boing


I’m no spring chicken age-wise but came to computing-as-lifestyle very late in life. When an older colleague showed me shift-selecting and ctrl+shift selecting of text my mind was blown. I die a little every time I spend way too long trying to select text with those tiny teardrops on my phone…


There’ve been a few attempts to “put down the rodent” in a window manager…sometimes for other reasons. SCWM, Pot and the GPL

Of course, you could just do it all in a terminal (no rat required!), but browsing is less pretty in w3m and such.


More power to you! I’d love to be able to go mouse-less in just my word processing environment.

The closest my patience/tools let me get is to simply type my drafts without worrying about formatting beyond using italics and carriage returns. At least this allows me basic fluency, where my mind is no longer on my tools.


On Windows, I use vimium and get most of my work done in Cygwin. Other than that I find that using Windows+Left/Right/Up/Down and Alt-Tab get most of my navigation done. There are still a few websites and applications where I can’t avoid mousing.


Just a gentle reminder that emacs is the ideal operating system for mouseless computing. :wink:


So you are viewing the BBS in emacs?




I knew that eww existed, I just didn’t know that there were any people that actually use it. I also don’t know anybody who uses Lynx or w3m in real life either.


Learning keyboard shortcuts are always useful, i do feel like not going for the mouse can save your flow and focus depending on what you’re doing at a given moment. When i used to draw regularly the less i had to take my main hand from the drawing stylus+tablet the better i could focus, i presume its a similar feeling when writing.

Edit: I am also highly annoyed when i run into functions i use a lot in Word or Excel that don’t have a shortcut. I’m pretty sure there’s a way to create a custom one but having to do so is an inconvenience since i’m not using those applications all the time.


If there’s one keyboard shortcut I find incredibly useful, it’s ALT+SPACE. On Windows (and Linux with a good window manager) it’ll bring up the Window Menu, allowing you to move/maximise/minimise a window without ever needing to reach for the keyboard.

I first came across this in Windows 3.x, but I think it dates back to at least Windows 2 if not 1… It came into its own when Windows 95 came out and some applications would find themselves starting below the task bar. Just hit ALT+SPACE then M, and use the cursor keys to get the application back. (Yes, you could try turning on auto-hide too, but that takes a lot more effort.)
It later became even more useful when I found myself in server rooms with just a keyboard plugged into a Windows NT server - no need for a mouse for almost all things!

I still find it useful occasionally. To the point where when it didn’t work in a recent version of Ubuntu/Gnome, I decided it was the final straw and switched to a different desktop environment…


I don’t usually recommend to other people that they try to go mouseless.

I find this is especially true for doing things with other people. People are just more able to follow along if they can see the mouse-cursor moving across the screen.


When the track point occasionally fails on my laptop, I’m amazed and appalled at how many applications no longer support basic keyboard shortcuts or navigation. Fortunately, my laptop has a touchscreen, otherwise I’d be screwed. I wouldn’t mind going mouseless, but too many software development companies make that impossible - even with Windows accessibility options turned on.


I guess that depends on what one’s major mode is when they use computers. I create a lot of text – mostly coding – and it definitely interrupts my flow to have to move my right hand away from the keyboard because I have to go manipulate the damn mouse, and then move it back to the keyboard again. It’s highly annoying.

My opinion is that keyboard shortcuts should be the primary navigation paradigm, and mousing should only be required when absolutely necessary. And this is exactly what emacs (and to my understanding, vim variants, and apparently Microsoft Word) provide in a work environment.

ETA: And let’s not even get into DAWs. If Logic Pro didn’t have literally hundreds of keyboard shortcuts – and the ability to create custom keyboard shortcuts, it would be unusable.


I used to use Lynx to read boing boing and the Register among other sites at work, cos to uninitiated pointy-head bosses it looks like complicated computer stuff they don’t like to think about (which, I suppose is pretty much what it’s for).


The issue with both vim and emacs in particular is that there is an actual learning curve to them. I find that very few people are willing to figure out things like code-completion in vim when they can just pull up eclipse and know how to do it already.


Here is the baby. I made the frame too (the monitor is a discarded 19" TV set, 1360x768)


So, a typewriter.


Cat Reaction GIF


Not that hard, by the looks of it.