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Pesky Mouse

2019-01-11

I am not a fan of the mouse as a general tool. It has is niche uses, but the keyboard is much faster in most cases.

The Setup

I truly believe that the mouse is not the correct navigation mechanism for most people. It is much slower in general than having the right keyboard configuration. I remember the exact time I realised that, during my third job back in Spain. I was finishing a bookkeeping and record kepping package to replace the existing system for an Enginnering Professional Body. And I had the luck to actually be with the users of the software. And all I could see was them flying when using the old package, a DOS gui that used tabs for navigation, and the awkwardness of using the software that I was trying to finish, that relied exclusively on the mouse. The difference was so stark that I was wondering why they would want to use the newer version. A mouse allows you to be lazy on the design of your user interface, there is no need of tab order, no need of shortcut definitions, … Basically, if you have designed your UI based on having a mouse, you are crippling your user.

Ok, one of the niches is that is good for novel users of a system, as you don’t need to learn how to navigate a system. But as soon as you start becoming familiar with the UI, the mouse gets in the way. Good for beginners, bad for medium and power users.

The issues get compounded by the use of trackpads on laptops. On a laptop, the trackpad is occupying part of the space that your wrists will be occupying while on a resting position (and, at least for me, also when writing). So you keep touching the trackpad and it keeps going all over the place. I believe the only trackpads that have never caused me problems where the ones that came on the different iterations of mackbooks that I have used. For any other trackpad, I usually disable them when I want to write, code or spend more than a couple of key presses on the keyboard.

Of course, my issues with trackpads still happen on my current Dell laptops (work and personal). Whenever I am working with Emacs (which is usually my main editor) I kept jumping between buffers unintentionally. The annoyance of it!!

The Solution

This being Emacs, I thought, I gather that there is package to fix my issues. First hit on my search was disable-mouse. Perfect. The setup, as below, is very easy.

(use-package disable-mouse
  :ensure t
  :config
  (global-disable-mouse-mode))

And because I always run Emacs fullscreen, when I am typing on the laptops, I no longer have issues with clicking where I don’t want. On top of that, I am learning to never take the hands from the keyboard just because that is how I have been conditioned anywhere else.


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