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Keyboard Shortcuts as A New Manual

Thursday June 4, 2020

Recently I blogged about reading the manual and how reading the manual for things is a great INTJ gift on which to capitalize.

Toward the end of the same blog post, I also mentioned that writing one’s own manual can yield really powerful outcomes. And I wanted to share a micro-example of that: Keyboard shortcuts.

Here are my most recent additions. It so happens that they’re all using Ctrl + Super + some-key. (Super is the “Windows key” on my keyboard. Also, my Ctrl and Caps Lock keys are swapped)

  • c-su-F11 = Shuffle mp3s, pick some, make a random playlist, play it.
  • c-su-F12 = Toggle qmmp shuffle mode / shuffle off.
  • c-su-7 = Open VLC window with a playlist full of 150 randomly-selected videos.
  • c-su-c = Open client folder for browsing
  • c-su-/ = Catfish full-text search of frameworks
  • c-su-. = FSearch filename search of frameworks
  • c-su-h = Play a happy John Denver yodeling sound
  • c-su-m = Open Google Messages (text messaging) in browser
  • c-su-n = Catfish filename search of frameworks
  • c-su-o = Open Orage calendar for quickly checking the calendar…
  • c-su-u = Open GPick color picker
  • c-su-v = Open xfce4-popup-clipman for picking from clipboard history.
  • c-su-y = Open today’s journal entry file in Geany.

I have a lot more planned. And they’re not easy! The way I design these things, I often have to write a system script before I can even start figuring out where the shortcut goes.

Previously I was more of a “learn the existing shortcuts” guy. I didn’t create many of my own keyboard shortcuts, but instead I’d review the existing ones from time to time. I think this was similar to reading the manual—“what did the author intend” was kind of the point.

In comparison, developing my own shortcuts seemed pretty lame, because what if the software environment was already designed around a given set of shortcuts in the first place? Wouldn’t it be a waste of time to write my own shortcuts from scratch? What if I inadvertently hobbled my ability to learn the system?

As it turns out, no, it’s not a waste of time. Whatever else it may be, it’s mine. And for an introvert, anything that’s mine is basically the same as free energy.

And you know, while I have my own software-batcave tools, this keyboard stuff is more like watching the formation of a physical batcave, in a weird way.

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