Pony request: option to disable editor shortcuts November 22, 2011 9:35 AM   Subscribe

The keyboard shortcuts in the editor (which I think are recent since I haven't noticed them before?) clash with OS X's text-area shortcuts. Specifically, ^B for bold steps on the systemwide ^B for "move cursor back one character". Can we have a user preference to disable these?
posted by spitefulcrow to Feature Requests at 9:35 AM (29 comments total)

I wrote a Greasemonkey script to disable them.

We don't want to add another profile preference for this because we don't feel like it will affect too many people. I completely understand the annoyance though, and we hope there's enough overlap between 'folks who use Control-B' and 'folks who use browser add-ons' to make this work.
posted by pb (staff) at 9:38 AM on November 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


Here's the thread where we added the keyboard shortcuts and talked about some of these issues.
posted by pb (staff) at 9:39 AM on November 22, 2011


just out of curiosity, why would one need to use ^B rather than the left arrow key? ^A and ^E emacs bindings are super useful, but i'm happy with the arrow keys for single characters
posted by iotic at 9:59 AM on November 22, 2011


just out of curiosity, why would one need to use ^B rather than the left arrow key?

Because, as an emacs user, my left pinky is permanently welded to the control key, so moving my right hand over to find the arrow key is actually more trouble than just typing B, particularly since I'm likely in the middle of a bunch of commands and don't want to pull my hands out of the flow to do that.

(Especially on this keyboard, where the arrow keys are actually a function key, or on my version of that keyboard where they are also keys, but tiny and out-of-the-way.)
posted by DU at 10:08 AM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh and thanks for the GM script. I was going to complain myself, but figured the percentage of emacs users must be tiny and I'd just be laughed at. Had no idea OSX has the same binding.
posted by DU at 10:10 AM on November 22, 2011


just out of curiosity, why would one need to use ^B rather than the left arrow key?

Because it means I don't have to take my hands off the … oh, what DU said.
posted by spitefulcrow at 10:25 AM on November 22, 2011


I'm still waiting for Metafilter to support toggling between command mode and insert mode.
posted by kmz at 10:25 AM on November 22, 2011 [6 favorites]


I wrote a Greasemonkey script to disable them.

Works perfectly. Thanks.

We don't want to add another profile preference for this because we don't feel like it will affect too many people. I completely understand the annoyance though, and we hope there's enough overlap between 'folks who use Control-B' and 'folks who use browser add-ons' to make this work.

Seems like it.
posted by spitefulcrow at 10:27 AM on November 22, 2011


DU: “Because, as an emacs user, my left pinky is permanently welded to the control key, so moving my right hand over to find the arrow key is actually more trouble than just typing B, particularly since I'm likely in the middle of a bunch of commands and don't want to pull my hands out of the flow to do that. (Especially on this keyboard, where the arrow keys are actually a function key, or on my version of that keyboard where they are also keys, but tiny and out-of-the-way.)”

As an emacs user who uses the Happy Hacking II, I have to say that the II is a good investment, if only because it adds a back button. Which I use a bit in emacs, too. Also, is it really possible to use emacs key bindings in browser? I guess maybe you're on OSX, but for me in Chrome/Ubuntu, ^b doesn't do anything, whereas ^f obviously does something else entirely.

My kingdom for a <context menu> key, though. Thank god I can add it easily with the almighty AutoKey.
posted by koeselitz at 10:32 AM on November 22, 2011


It took you three minutes to come up with that Greasemonkey script, pb? You're getting soft, man.
posted by slogger at 10:34 AM on November 22, 2011


By "adds a back button," I of course mean "adds arrow keys."
posted by koeselitz at 10:35 AM on November 22, 2011


Which I use a bit in emacs, too. Also, is it really possible to use emacs key bindings in browser? I guess maybe you're on OSX, but for me in Chrome/Ubuntu, ^b doesn't do anything, whereas ^f obviously does something else entirely.

No, I'm on Linux. But I've got my GNOME properties set to use emacs-like bindings and I think Firefox inherits them while Chrome ignores.

You aren't missing that much, though. Really only C-f/b/p/n/a/e are supported and only if I've got a textarea selected. The ones I really want, like M-b/del don't work.

As an emacs user who uses the Happy Hacking II, I have to say that the II is a good investment, if only because it adds a back button.

I think I'm using the same keyboard. If by "back" you mean "backspace" then yes, I use that all the time. The fact that I need to delete usually means my flow is interrupted anyway, so it hurts nothing.
posted by DU at 10:38 AM on November 22, 2011


Oh the arrow keys. Yes, I definitely need those if only for, once again, Firefox. The "awesome"bar doesn't let me type C-n to scroll through the choices, so I need to use arrows. And I haven't memorized where the Fn arrows are, because my HHII is new.

oh oh oh oh! That reminds me! Have you ever gotten your keyboard into a state where the top row is permanently shifted? Like, typing '1' gives you a '!' and no amount of futzing around fixes it? (There's no numlock or shiftlock key on this keyboard.) And the problem follows the keyboad when you move it? Because I've had that happen three times in like 2 weeks and it's getting annoying.
posted by DU at 10:42 AM on November 22, 2011


Sounds like something getting physically stuck in the shift key. Have you tried banging on the shift key(s) a bit to see if that helps?
posted by kmz at 10:59 AM on November 22, 2011


Nope, nothing physical. These are new keyboards and it's actually happened to two separate ones in use by two separate people. Restarting X worked once then we discovered we could mash the keys and we'd by luck hit whatever keycombo got them stuck in the first place.
posted by DU at 11:02 AM on November 22, 2011


DU: “oh oh oh oh! That reminds me! Have you ever gotten your keyboard into a state where the top row is permanently shifted? Like, typing '1' gives you a '!' and no amount of futzing around fixes it? (There's no numlock or shiftlock key on this keyboard.) And the problem follows the keyboad when you move it? Because I've had that happen three times in like 2 weeks and it's getting annoying.”

I haven't had that specifically happen. However, when I was on Vista, I used to have this bug all the time where the whole keyboard would shift randomly. The only thing that would fix it was hitting "shift" repeatedly. Took the shift key out and cleaned it half a dozen times, and this never happens in Linux anyway, so I'm sure it was Vista. Weird.

I assumed that it was because mine is about two years old, and has been through a lot of shit. But maybe the HH Lite keyboards just have funny shift bugs. Otherwise, it's my favorite keyboard ever. I have thought about getting a new one, though, but - well, this one still works flawlessly, so it'd only be able getting the white so I'd have both colors. Which is silly, but hey.
posted by koeselitz at 11:53 AM on November 22, 2011


Windows has an accessability feature called "sticky keys" where you bang "shift" 5 times and shift, ctrl, alt and the windows key become toggles, maybe you triggered something like that accidentally?
posted by arto at 1:44 PM on November 22, 2011


Wouldn't it make more sense to detect if the user is on a Mac and just disable the Ctrl key bindings, since the Cmd key bindings work just fine and are what a Mac user expects to work to make something bold / italic anyway?
posted by Space Coyote at 2:57 PM on November 22, 2011


That might work, Space Coyote. If this turns out to be a constant frustration we can look at that. It makes it a bit harder to say Control-B = Bold. I know Mac users are used to translating Control into Command, but unless this is a big problem it's nice to offer the option of using either.
posted by pb (staff) at 3:18 PM on November 22, 2011


Windows has an accessability feature called "sticky keys" where you bang "shift" 5 times and shift, ctrl, alt and the windows key become toggles, maybe you triggered something like that accidentally?

I think it must be something *like* that, but not that specifically. A coworker suggested it and it didn't undo.
posted by DU at 3:58 PM on November 22, 2011


arto: “Windows has an accessability feature called "sticky keys" where you bang "shift" 5 times and shift, ctrl, alt and the windows key become toggles, maybe you triggered something like that accidentally?”

Naw, that wasn't it. "Sticky keys" is obnoxious, so I immediately disable it the first chance I get. And in all instances, it was the keyboard – my laptop's own keyboard still works.

Actually, on Vista I had another more maddening problem, too. I think it was the USB port. The problem was, every other time I stood up – no other times – the keyboard would stop working, and I'd have to unplug it and plug it back in. I watched myself, and I don't touch the keyboard or the computer when I'm standing up. Still, I kept having this problem.

And I don't have it in Ubuntu, so it must be software, and it must be Windows Vista. There was really only one really good solution.
posted by koeselitz at 4:32 PM on November 22, 2011


Space Coyote: Wouldn't it make more sense to detect if the user is on a Mac and just disable the Ctrl key bindings, since the Cmd key bindings work just fine and are what a Mac user expects to work to make something bold / italic anyway?

Yes please!
posted by JiBB at 5:08 PM on November 22, 2011


What is the attraction of the happy hacking keyboards?
posted by shothotbot at 5:24 PM on November 22, 2011


Ctrl key in a more convenient (for some) location. Smaller size means less reaching. Space savings.
posted by DU at 6:01 PM on November 22, 2011


shothotbot: “What is the attraction of the happy hacking keyboards?”

I type about a billion times faster on my Happy Hacking than I ever did on any other keyboard, and with less effort. The key action is absolutely perfect. And, yes, the control key is in "the right place." It's a funny thing to get used to, since lots and lots of different keys require Fn to actuate them (all the F1-F12 keys, Page Up, Page Down, etc) but once you do get used to it, it's wicked-fast, fun, and rather comfortable.
posted by koeselitz at 8:11 PM on November 22, 2011


Anyone up for a funny keyboard story? I was about to add a request that we add a keyboard shortcut for the 'link' button in the editing window. But I then thought that maybe there already is one, and I should just try. 'Ctrl-L' just put me in the address bar, as usual for FireFox. But maybe I can find it in the page source.

'View Page Source' has always been 'Ctrl-U' for me. Bing! Thanks, shortcut fairy.
posted by benito.strauss at 6:10 AM on November 23, 2011

Space Coyote: Wouldn't it make more sense to detect if the user is on a Mac and just disable the Ctrl key bindings, since the Cmd key bindings work just fine and are what a Mac user expects to work to make something bold / italic anyway?
Me too!

I am totally hooked on the Emacs keybindings and go out of my way to avoid places that don't support them. The most common mistake I make is to think, "I'd like to add something at the beginning of this line", hit control-A and start typing, and bam! everything I've written before is gone, because I secretly "selected all". This happens about once per minute while I'm writing.

It would have taken me a while to stumble on this one (I move backwards by words more often than by characters), but suddenly making ten <strong>s on a line is similarly disorienting.
posted by fantabulous timewaster at 3:45 PM on November 23, 2011


Windows' keyboard accessibility features are buggy. There's one (FilterKeys, IIRC) that offers to turn itself on if you leave the right-hand Shift key depressed for five seconds, and if you decline that offer by clicking Cancel or hitting Esc, your keyboard starts behaving as if Shift were permanently depressed: typing a b c gets you A B C, typing 1 2 3 gets ! @ # etc. Pressing Caps Lock while in this state will fix the alphabetic keys, but leave the numerics shifted. It's really irritating. I first encountered this on a library front-desk computer I was responsible for maintaining; it had been triggered by a pile of returned books carelessly left leaning on a keyboard.

It took ages, but I eventually found out completely by accident that to fix it all you need to do is press and release the left Shift key.

But if weird-arse Shift behavior follows the keyboard from computer to computer, it's probably just a stuck switch under a Shift key.
posted by flabdablet at 8:08 PM on November 23, 2011


I haven't had to deal with this for quite some years now, because my login script for school computers now includes
set regval="HKCU\Control Panel\Accessibility\Keyboard Response" /v Flags
for /f "tokens=1,2,*" %%A in ('reg query %regval%') do (
	if "%%A %%B" == "Flags REG_SZ" set /a flags="%%C&~4"
)
reg add %regval% /f /d %flags%
which turns off the five-second Shift hotkey for FilterKeys.
posted by flabdablet at 8:52 PM on November 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


« Older MetaTalk Holiday Post Queue   |   A couple changes to make making Greasemonkey... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments