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Old 04-13-2016, 12:53 PM
janeslogin janeslogin is offline
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How does one use a PC without a mouse? Can one...?

I just dropped my mouse. No harm done. But, suddenly I recalled that I had never used a PC without a mouse.

Somewhere there must have once been instructions on how to navigate and enter without a mouse. Quickest way to instructions, I Google what? Probably ~How to use a PC without a mouse~?
  #2  
Old 04-13-2016, 12:57 PM
Mangetout Mangetout is offline
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You can do it with just the keyboard. The tab key tends to cycle through clickable items, and the enter key is more or less equivalent to click or double click.
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Old 04-13-2016, 12:58 PM
Gary T Gary T is offline
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...I Google what? Probably ~How to use a PC without a mouse~?
Yep. Here's one of many results: http://www.wikihow.com/Use-Your-Comp...ithout-a-Mouse
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Old 04-13-2016, 12:59 PM
chrisk chrisk is offline
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"Mouse keys windows [version]" (insert the proper reference to your windows version there.)

This is an accessibility feature in all versions of windows that lets you simulate a mouse with a number keypad.

Googling "Keyboard shortcuts windows" may also have suggestions for ways to do particular things with the keyboard that you'd ordinarily use the mouse for.
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  #5  
Old 04-13-2016, 01:00 PM
Lemur866 Lemur866 is offline
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Most applications and web pages let you tab your focus from one field/control to the next, and use enter the same way you'd use a mouse click.

There are also all kinds of keyboard shortcuts you can learn to use. Win+r to open the run menu rather than clicking start, and so on. I constantly use Win+r to run things and Win+e to open explorer windows rather than click through the GUI.

And of course ctrl-c, ctrl-v, ctrl-x, ctrl-z and ctrl-y.
  #6  
Old 04-13-2016, 01:01 PM
Czarcasm Czarcasm is offline
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How would she click on that link? I just hit "TAB" multiple times, and the link never highlighted.
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Old 04-13-2016, 01:06 PM
Thudlow Boink Thudlow Boink is offline
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I remember when "PC" meant this, and they didn't have mouses.
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Old 04-13-2016, 01:08 PM
Thudlow Boink Thudlow Boink is offline
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Originally Posted by Czarcasm View Post
How would she click on that link? I just hit "TAB" multiple times, and the link never highlighted.
It worked for me. But it took a long time to get to that particular link, because there are so many clickable things on the page.
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Old 04-13-2016, 01:11 PM
mistymage mistymage is offline
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Originally Posted by Czarcasm View Post
How would she click on that link? I just hit "TAB" multiple times, and the link never highlighted.

That worked for me but it took about 30 clicks because first it highlighted everything clickable from the top of the page (Straight Dope Message Board > Main > General Questions > etc) and then highlighted each name in subsequent posts and then the reply image and the multiple quotes image and then landed on the url in that message.
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Old 04-13-2016, 01:17 PM
Czarcasm Czarcasm is offline
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Got it-thanks.
  #11  
Old 04-13-2016, 01:32 PM
TriPolar TriPolar is online now
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People used to be asking me how does one use a PC with a mouse? Now if you'll excuse me I have to go tie an onion to my belt.
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Old 04-13-2016, 01:46 PM
Atamasama Atamasama is offline
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People used to be asking me how does one use a PC with a mouse? Now if you'll excuse me I have to go tie an onion to my belt.
In those days the world was sepia-toned.
  #13  
Old 04-13-2016, 01:54 PM
cochrane cochrane is offline
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Originally Posted by Atamasama View Post
In those days the world was sepia-toned.
According to Calvin's dad, the world was black and white until some time in the 1930s.

http://calvin-and-hobbes-comic-strip...k-and.html?m=0
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Old 04-13-2016, 06:45 PM
Senegoid Senegoid is offline
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Originally Posted by Thudlow Boink View Post
It worked for me. But it took a long time to get to that particular link, because there are so many clickable things on the page.
Another quicker way that could work: Type Ctrl-F (opens a search window at the bottom of the screen). Search for something that appears in the text of the link. (I searched for "wikihow".) Once you have that highlighted, press ESC to close the search window. You may now find that the focus is on that link. At least, that's how my Firefox browser behaves.
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Old 04-13-2016, 08:24 PM
CookingWithGas CookingWithGas is offline
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This is an accessibility feature in all versions of windows that lets you simulate a mouse with a number keypad.
The U.S. government requires software applications that it contracts for to be compliant with Section 508 of the Workforce Rehabilitation Act, which provides standards for accessibility by people with disabilities that prevent them from using conventional user interfaces. The standard requires that applications must be able to be used without a mouse, which requires being able to see where the cursor is on the screen. So you can certainly use a PC without a mouse although some applications it accommodate it better than others.
  #16  
Old 04-13-2016, 08:28 PM
Melbourne Melbourne is offline
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According to Calvin's dad, the world was black and white until some time in the 1930s.

http://calvin-and-hobbes-comic-strip...k-and.html?m=0
And that is also why movie flashbacks always used to be in B&W, but are now in "strange color".

The old flashbacks flashed back to when the world was B&W, but that was a long time ago. Now we are just going back the the '70s.
  #17  
Old 04-13-2016, 08:29 PM
krondys krondys is offline
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One often overlooked key for windows users is the 'menu' key, often located next to the right-control key. This will open contextual menus for highlighted objects (similar to right-clicking with a mouse).
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Old 04-13-2016, 09:19 PM
Isilder Isilder is offline
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Originally Posted by janeslogin View Post
Somewhere there must have once been instructions on how to navigate and enter without a mouse.
I take it the question is "how did one use a GUI before the mouse ? "

NO. The mouse came before the GUI - the GUI as we know it anyway.

Both came out of Xerox Parc, but outside graphics labs ( computer programmers and computer hardware experts developing graphics systems), the office and home computer users, and even most university computer users, got to use a mouse to assist with text based programs (or to play games), before they got a GUI to operate via mouse.

Last edited by Isilder; 04-13-2016 at 09:23 PM.
  #19  
Old 04-13-2016, 10:26 PM
TriPolar TriPolar is online now
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I take it the question is "how did one use a GUI before the mouse ? "

NO. The mouse came before the GUI - the GUI as we know it anyway.

Both came out of Xerox Parc, but outside graphics labs ( computer programmers and computer hardware experts developing graphics systems), the office and home computer users, and even most university computer users, got to use a mouse to assist with text based programs (or to play games), before they got a GUI to operate via mouse.
There were plenty of GUIs made for keyboard only operation. Mouses (mice?) were rare for a long time. Some terminals allowed for a light pen to be used, but it was somewhat cumbersome to switch between that the keyboard. Trackballs and joysticks were also more prevalent before the low cost mouse appeared. Parc decided to use an existing mouse design instead of the those other choices. In the early 80s lower cost mice began to appear as consumer products.
  #20  
Old 04-13-2016, 10:31 PM
Princhester Princhester is offline
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Mice are undoubtedly very useful and I hate having to use a computer without one. But they are also slow and I make an effort to learn how to do everything I routinely do by keyboard if possible. Most routine steps I can do using rote learned keyboard routines faster than it would take me just to get my hand on my mouse.
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Old 04-14-2016, 12:27 AM
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Windows, at least, has an accessibility feature. The same way it has a keyboard that can be operated by the mouse, it has a mouse that can be operated by the keyboard. It takes over your number pad when Num Lock is off.

Of course, the vast majority of programs also have shortcut keys.

For web browsing, you can press F7 to enter caret browsing mode. This will a text caret (aka cursor) to text, and you can use the arrow keys. You also have page down and such to scroll.

This works in Firefox for sure, and I believe it worked in Internet Explorer. It does not work in Chrome, as it is not a very accessible browser and never has been. I'm surprised tabbing through links even works.
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Old 04-14-2016, 12:31 AM
Senegoid Senegoid is offline
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Mice are undoubtedly very useful and I hate having to use a computer without one. But they are also slow and I make an effort to learn how to do everything I routinely do by keyboard if possible. Most routine steps I can do using rote learned keyboard routines faster than it would take me just to get my hand on my mouse.
This.

The mouse is essentially for barely-computer-literate non-technically-proficient home users. Professional computer users (e.g., document entry typists) and any other "power-users" learn all the keyboard key strokes for doing at least all the most common operations. Especially if you're doing a lot of touch-typing, it's much faster to use keystrokes for everything than it is to keep moving one hand back-and-forth between the keyboard and the mouse all the time.

(ETA: The mouse and GUI were MAJOR factors in making personal computers accessible (that is, easily usable) by the Great Unwashed Teeming Masses.)

Even before mouses, there were off-keyboard add-on devices -- even the numeric key-pad -- that professional high-speed users were reluctant to use. The numeric key-pad was only for entering large quantities of all-numeric data.

It was long a standard goal that ALL operations that could be done with a mouse could also be done with the keyboard alone. I think, as modern computer applications have become more and more elaborate, this has fallen by the wayside somewhat. Certainly, for graphics-intensive applications like CAD, I expect some kinds of graphic operations really need to be done with a mouse.

Last edited by Senegoid; 04-14-2016 at 12:33 AM.
  #23  
Old 04-14-2016, 12:43 AM
Senegoid Senegoid is offline
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Of course, the vast majority of programs also have shortcut keys.
Long before the days of GUI's and mouses and other pointing devices, applications of all sorts had long lists of control-keys, ALT-keys, shift/alt/ctrl/function-key combinations, etc., for doing all of their operations. Remember the days when each application (like a text editor, dBase-II, Visi-Calc, etc.) came with keyboard template -- a cardboard cut-out that you laid over the keyboard, or above the functions keys, with all the functions listed next to their assigned keys?

And, every application had ITS OWN set of functions and mappings of which functions were assigned to which keys? So every app did a lot of the same basic functions (like "delete line/record") with different keys?

One of the genius moves of GUI-style systems was to define all of the most common actions as functions of the GUI system itself, and define API's for all of the apps to access those functions. And with this, came MUCH more standardized behavior, at least for all the common functions. And standardized key-combination mappings. Suddenly, all the basic functions common to nearly all applications (like insert, delete, cut, copy, paste) were available in ALL apps, and worked the same way in ALL apps, and used standardized keys. In the days when this was a new thing, it was a BIG BIG new thing. It was revolutionary!
  #24  
Old 04-14-2016, 06:21 AM
Ruken Ruken is online now
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Originally Posted by krondys View Post
One often overlooked key for windows users is the 'menu' key, often located next to the right-control key. This will open contextual menus for highlighted objects (similar to right-clicking with a mouse).
Now not included on some keyboards
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Old 04-14-2016, 06:25 AM
Nava Nava is offline
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And standardized key-combination mappings. Suddenly, all the basic functions common to nearly all applications (like insert, delete, cut, copy, paste) were available in ALL apps, and worked the same way in ALL apps, and used standardized keys.
Except for the little detail of some genius deciding to set different shortcuts for different languages... Thankfully Microsoft is actually relatively rare in doing that.
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Old 04-14-2016, 02:44 PM
Senegoid Senegoid is offline
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Except for the little detail of some genius deciding to set different shortcuts for different languages... Thankfully Microsoft is actually relatively rare in doing that.
At U. C. Berkeley, circa early 1970's they were developing a time-sharing operating system for the CDC-6400 (a machine not particularly well-suited for time-sharing). This was strictly in the text-only command-line-interface days. There was no uniformity among the various utility programs regarding the command you should type to exit the program -- in some, the command was EXIT, in some the command was QUIT and there may have been a few other variations.

The developers explained this once in this clever way: It would be easy to work within some utility program and yet forget what program you were in. But as long as you knew what the command was to get out, that would remind you what program you were in.
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Old 04-14-2016, 02:45 PM
Senegoid Senegoid is offline
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Now not included on some keyboards
The "Menu" key.

Maybe not necessary. Try Shift+F10 and see if it does the same thing.

Last edited by Senegoid; 04-14-2016 at 02:45 PM.
  #28  
Old 04-14-2016, 02:58 PM
Ruken Ruken is online now
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Originally Posted by Senegoid View Post
The "Menu" key.

Maybe not necessary. Try Shift+F10 and see if it does the same thing.
Oh it does. But I'd vastly prefer it between my Alt and Ctrl keys, rather than a Print Screen key.

I'm not allowed to remap it
  #29  
Old 04-14-2016, 03:09 PM
DCnDC DCnDC is online now
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I remember when "PC" meant this, and they didn't have mouses.
When I worked at Safeway the computer we used to send orders to the warehouse was a very old PC running some very early version of MS-DOS (this was the early '00s). Our computer was particularly outdated, as apparently most other stores had considerably more modern equipment.

I remember fondly the morning Corporate sent what appeared to be a kid right out of college to install software updates, and finding him in that back office completely baffled, staring at a blank screen with a C prompt in the corner, the little green cursor blinking at him mockingly. I tapped him on the shoulder, flipped him a quarter and told him to go get himself a soda. "I got this."
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Old 04-14-2016, 09:55 PM
Senegoid Senegoid is offline
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When I worked at Safeway the computer we used to send orders to the warehouse was a very old PC running some very early version of MS-DOS (this was the early '00s). Our computer was particularly outdated, as apparently most other stores had considerably more modern equipment.
From circa 1994 to 2002 I worked for a small family-owned company that made cash register software. We had a customer -- a chain of retail stores seen in many malls -- that still had our older version of circa 1990 or so.

That retail chain is still using that 1990 version of the cash register to this day (yes, April 2016). I saw one in one of their stores recently. It's unmistakable. The screen in that old version was a plain old plain text DOS style screen.
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Old 04-14-2016, 10:17 PM
spamforbrains spamforbrains is offline
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Don't all computers come with touch pads and/or touch screens these days? None of mine have "Menu" keys and they all have touch pads. I always keep a spare mouse around in case the dog eats my mouse or something otherwise weird happens.
  #32  
Old 04-15-2016, 02:42 AM
Senegoid Senegoid is offline
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Don't all computers come with touch pads and/or touch screens these days? None of mine have "Menu" keys and they all have touch pads. I always keep a spare mouse around in case the dog eats my mouse or something otherwise weird happens.
I have an Apple laptop of some sort here, which has a touchpad with a single button to click. (The Microsoft style touchpad has two buttons.) On this machine, I can get a context menu by pointing at whatever object on the screen, then doing Ctrl+Click. Is there supposed to be some other way to do that as well?
  #33  
Old 04-15-2016, 04:05 AM
Francis Vaughan Francis Vaughan is offline
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I have an Apple laptop of some sort here, which has a touchpad with a single button to click. (The Microsoft style touchpad has two buttons.) On this machine, I can get a context menu by pointing at whatever object on the screen, then doing Ctrl+Click. Is there supposed to be some other way to do that as well?
Turn on tap to click and tap with two fingers. If you open the settings for the trackpad it will show you a huge set of gestures. Newer Macs have a force sensing pad that adds more functionality still. Actually "clicking" is so last century.
  #34  
Old 04-15-2016, 10:35 AM
duncs duncs is offline
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Originally Posted by Senegoid View Post
This.

The mouse is essentially for barely-computer-literate non-technically-proficient home users. Professional computer users (e.g., document entry typists) and any other "power-users" learn all the keyboard key strokes for doing at least all the most common operations. Especially if you're doing a lot of touch-typing, it's much faster to use keystrokes for everything than it is to keep moving one hand back-and-forth between the keyboard and the mouse all the time.

(ETA: The mouse and GUI were MAJOR factors in making personal computers accessible (that is, easily usable) by the Great Unwashed Teeming Masses.)

Even before mouses, there were off-keyboard add-on devices -- even the numeric key-pad -- that professional high-speed users were reluctant to use. The numeric key-pad was only for entering large quantities of all-numeric data.

It was long a standard goal that ALL operations that could be done with a mouse could also be done with the keyboard alone. I think, as modern computer applications have become more and more elaborate, this has fallen by the wayside somewhat. Certainly, for graphics-intensive applications like CAD, I expect some kinds of graphic operations really need to be done with a mouse.
Erm... Computer programmer here and I always use the mouse. It would be very difficult for me to do my job without using a mouse. about the only key combination I use is Ctrl+c and Ctrl+v.
  #35  
Old 04-15-2016, 10:58 AM
Thudlow Boink Thudlow Boink is offline
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Don't all computers come with touch pads and/or touch screens these days?
I think that's true of all laptops nowadays. I don't know that desktops necessarily come with anything; you can buy your peripherals separately.
  #36  
Old 04-15-2016, 11:25 AM
Francis Vaughan Francis Vaughan is offline
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Emacs user here. I can code in almost anything, and can cheefully use Emacs without touching the rodent. The trouble with the WIMP interface, and one that was noted very early in its adoption, is that it is often slower than a keyboard, simply because you need to move your hand away from the keyboard and then back again.

Using a system that is built around the WIMP paradigm is clearly not going to be easy without the mouse. Browsers are not easy - although there is always lynx. It is surprising what you can achive with lynx when you really really have to.

Using an integrated development environment that leans on the WIMP paradigm will be pretty difficult obviously. So Eclipse, Visual Studio and the like will not be fun.

Then again, I did my first real programming on 80x24 terminals (and learnt to program on punch cards.) Kids today....

Last edited by Francis Vaughan; 04-15-2016 at 11:26 AM.
  #37  
Old 04-15-2016, 11:26 AM
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Erm... Computer programmer here and I always use the mouse. It would be very difficult for me to do my job without using a mouse. about the only key combination I use is Ctrl+c and Ctrl+v.
I agree.

Menus and dialog boxes are great. There is no way you are going to remember the short cuts for the 2 or 3 hundred different things you want your text editor to do. I find text selection works better with a mouse. It is not that hard using the keyboard but it is easier with the mouse.

The reason things like vi and emacs stick around is that a lot of times you only have access to a text shell. I know that is the only reason I use vim.
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Old 04-15-2016, 04:36 PM
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I learned to love mice way back on Xerox Altos. So, I'm real old-timer in that department. So the back-and-forth keyboard-mouse thing is so second nature I haven't been bothered by it for almost 40 years.

I have sometimes had to use a MS-Windows computer without a mouse. You learn the alt/tab/etc. key sequences and you can get around it.

The last time was when I was doing an MB upgrade on a machine and something hinky was going on recognizing the mouse (actually the USB ports). I had only one din port which I kept for the keyboard (and no splitter). So I had to do all the debugging, driver fixing, etc. using the keyboard. But that required only using the OS interfaces. No apps. The non-standardization there would have been an even bigger pain.

For devices like the FireTV and FireTV Stick (which are Android devices), some apps assume a mouse which neither has. You can add one to the FireTV but not to the Stick (not easily, anyway). So there are "virtual mouse" apps that let you use the remote to fake a mouse. Apparently these aren't the only Android devices with this problem. It's just enough to get through a setup menu ("Click on Okay") or something. Not a thing you want to use everyday.
  #39  
Old 04-16-2016, 11:00 PM
Nefario Nefario is offline
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Originally Posted by Thudlow Boink View Post
I remember when "PC" meant this, and they didn't have mouses.
Heh. I remember AutoCAD 1.1 (YES - CAD!! ) and a use of a mouse was OPTIONAL!

"CAD" in the early 80's was all 2-D drafting at best or circuit board layout and if you turned on the "Snap" command so all you movements were in known increments with the arrow keys and it worked OK. Slow but doable.

Last edited by Nefario; 04-16-2016 at 11:00 PM.
  #40  
Old 04-17-2016, 11:34 AM
DrCube DrCube is offline
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My computer boots into a bash console. A mouse won't help me there. I can start a window manager if I want, but often don't.

With Windows, you can use Win+R, type "cmd" and enter to get a DOS prompt.
  #41  
Old 04-20-2016, 07:18 PM
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I had a student at one point when I was TAing who ran some modified Ubuntu UI that has vim keybindings. All I know is that he could run his entire computer (or at least the vast, vast majority of it) using vim-like keyboard commands. It was... something. It even integrated with his web browser and other applications that have their own keybindings.

Last edited by Jragon; 04-20-2016 at 07:19 PM.
  #42  
Old 04-22-2016, 10:28 PM
BigT BigT is offline
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Originally Posted by Senegoid View Post
The "Menu" key.

Maybe not necessary. Try Shift+F10 and see if it does the same thing.
Huh. I knew could press Ctrl-Esc for the Windows key, and that F10 by itself worked like pressing the Alt key, but I never learned that shortcut.

Back when I was still on Windows (before my hard drive semi-crashed), I remapped the Menu key to use as a modifier so I could type in IPA. Using Shift-F10 for the menu function would have been handy. (Though I did eventually map it where the Menu key counted as pressed if I didn't press any other key with it.)
  #43  
Old 04-23-2016, 08:07 PM
Spiderman Spiderman is online now
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From the advent of windows thru Office 2003, all of the shortcut keys were the same. I rarely used a mouse in office as I knew a significant portion of the shortcut keys. Since my hands were already on the keyboard, it was much faster put a finger on <Ctrl> or <Alt> & simultaneously press the appropriate key for the desired function. If I ever meet the douche who changed it all in Orifice 2007, I will beat him within an inch micron of his life. Oh, I won't kill the little pecker, I want him to suffer from the pain of Every. Single. Bone in his body being broken...for starters.
  #44  
Old 04-24-2016, 05:55 AM
Bones Daley Bones Daley is offline
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I always keep a spare mouse around in case the dog eats my mouse or something otherwise weird happens.
Train your dog to use his paw to operate the mouse instead of his mouth.

Last edited by Bones Daley; 04-24-2016 at 05:56 AM.
  #45  
Old 04-24-2016, 07:34 AM
Shinna Minna Ma Shinna Minna Ma is offline
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When I first started working at the Pentagon as a contractor tech, there was a guy I shadowed for a week or two so I could learn how to get places and what I was expected to do. He rarely, if ever, used a mouse, and his fingers were so quick it was hard to follow along.
  #46  
Old 04-25-2016, 06:23 AM
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You know when you open a command-prompt window (a console window)? And you want to paste some text at the command prompt? And you right-click and select "paste"?

How do you do that without a mouse?
  #47  
Old 04-25-2016, 08:36 AM
Malden Capell Malden Capell is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Melbourne View Post
You know when you open a command-prompt window (a console window)? And you want to paste some text at the command prompt? And you right-click and select "paste"?

How do you do that without a mouse?
Ctrl-V, surely?
  #48  
Old 04-25-2016, 10:32 PM
Senegoid Senegoid is offline
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Most or all of the standard keyboard shortcuts don't work in a Command Prompt window, since the Command Prompt window tries to emulate a plain old pre-Windows DOS system. (Similarly in Linux.) But there is that menu at the top of the window, which may have an "Edit" option on it. You might be able to open that menu using any of the above-described methods for opening menus. If the E of Edit is underlined, try Alt-E. If you can get the Edit menu to open, you can select Cut, Copy, or Paste as desired from it.
  #49  
Old 04-26-2016, 04:24 AM
nightshadea nightshadea is offline
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heh I remember as a kid a mouse was 60 dollars extra and the salesman told me they were on the way out because nothing used it at the time .... then win 3.1 came out
  #50  
Old 04-26-2016, 07:47 AM
Melbourne Melbourne is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Malden Capell View Post
Ctrl-V, surely?
Sadly, no.

Ctrl-V at the command prompt places a Ctrl-V character there (displayed as ^V).
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