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From: dvo...@houem.UUCP
Subject: Mice, Pointing, Cursors and the Universe
Message-ID: <209@houem.UUCP>
Date: Thu, 19-Jan-84 23:55:49 EST
Article-I.D.: houem.209
Posted: Thu Jan 19 23:55:49 1984
Date-Received: Sat, 21-Jan-84 02:27:24 EST
Organization: Bell Labs, Holmdel NJ
Lines: 57

I work at Bell Labs, use Unix and its heavily used visual (screen)
editor, "Vi" a lot (at home where I have a HP2621-like terminal).
At work I use my BLIT, a bit-mapped terminal that affords (thanks to
UNIX) one to create, using a mouse, multiple windows on the screen.
Each window is a separate "terminal".  Into one of the windows one can
download (from the host) a mouse-driven screen editor.

Thus I have a choice of a cursor- vs. mouse-driven editor, or BOTH
on the same terminal simultaneously.  MY opinion is:

NO CONTEST.  Gimme a mouse anyday; no need to press anything N times,
or to search for strings (BTW, the BLIT program also allows that).
With a mouse can do exactly what you want, i.e., POINT to that word
and change it.

OK I confess, I did work for Xerox reasearch for 4 years, and got hooked
there.  But when I came to the labs I screamed until they got me something
similar to the Altos and Dandelions of Xerox.

Finally, I'd like to know if Robert Maas has used a mouse with GOOD
software.  If so, I'd say he's entitled to prefer a screen editor.
However, bona fide research has shown that mice beat the keyboard
in text-editing efficiency.   I believe that mice also beat trackballs,
and I know that they beat joysticks.  Of course, people do not always
the most efficient device.

After all, isn't a mouse really a trackball--with the additional
feature of microswitchs for additional functionality?

OK, off my last point...

What you really want is to point to everything ON THE SCREEN with
your fingers.  But you can't do that very well at 12 characters per
inch!!  It's a cinch for a mouse or a trackball.

Of course, what you REALLY want is just to **LOOK** at what you want to
edit, and have the cursor move there, then change the text.  It's
not so far can buy glasses that monitor eye position, and
have a terminal with which you occasionally glance at a corner crosshair
for calibration.  Then the cursor moves wherever you look...


A hopeless mouse addict,

Chuck Dvorak (...houem!dvorak) AT&T Bell Labs  Holmdel, NJ


In case it didn't come across, I speak as a USER.  While Xerox makes
workstations with mice, and Teletype (an AT&T company) makes the 5620
Dot-Mapped Display, I never would have used them (or loved them) as
a USER if they didn't make life better for me.