Re-doing my whole environment

By | June 28, 2017

I recently bought a new Kinesis Advantage 2 QD keyboard, which forced me to re-learn how to properly type (not that I were any good before…). I’ll probably write a review for it at some point. ┬áNow that I have it in my hands I decided to make some changes to my development environment and, why not, blog about them.

The first thing worth mentioning is that I’m learning to touch-type. So far, it’s been a different experience than I expected. I thought it was going to be extremely difficult to actually learn the place of each key, since I’m also switching layouts (more on that later), but I actually learned that in two and a half days! This doesn’t mean that I type at any speed that could be considered acceptable by any stretch of the imagination. I make way more mistakes than before and I’m slower than an injured snail, but now I do all that without looking at the keyboard. And that I consider to be a great improvement!

Since I knew I’d have to re-learn how to type from scratch, I decided to go all in and also switch to a healthier layout right away. I always wanted to and had tried in the past. But since I had my old layout very accessible, I was doomed to fail from the get go. So I used the fact that I was learning touch-typing and that my new keyboard allowed me to use Dvorak natively to force myself to use that layout by default. Now, I know how to touch-type in Dvorak and haven’t had the need to fallback to Qwerty at any point. By the way, Dvorak was actually the layout I wanted to learn in the first place, so I didn’t have to make any compromises #WIN!

I’ve also recently decided to try out the i3 window maker desktop and really loved it. This adventure was prompted first out of curiosity and then because I found that my preferred heavy desktop environment (Cinnamon) was throwing down my video performance (and I couldn’t get used to any of the other ones I tried). I’m really enjoying this choice.

Finally, I decided to re-do my Emacs config, for which I wish to do a whole series on this blog. I’ll be starting this today and blogging about it shortly.

I also have plans for the future.

I’ve always been a heavy mouse user. I don’t really find it to be such a bad practice; it’s very convenient for several uses. But since I’ve gotten my new keyboard, I’ve noticed that the context switch when coming back to the keyboard has increased significantly. This is caused mainly by the way the keys are distributed (I always get lost for a few milliseconds until I find the right position) but also because of the fact that I really got used to not looking down, which again, it’s a very big #WIN. For that reason, I’ll try to come up with a plan for making myself use the keyboard more.

As a last idea for the future before finishing the post, I’d like to share one I’ve used in the past with great results an I want to come back to. I’ve picked out this one from Ben Orenstein and it goes like this: every day, take some amount of time (maybe half an hour) to make your programming environment better in some way. It can be anything, from a little thing, like adding a new keyboard shortcut in order to repeatedly save you few keystrokes, to something bigger, such as writing a script to perform an action you use frequently.

I hope you enjoyed this topic. Keep an eye out for future updates on this topic.



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