tag:news.ycombinator.com,29801240:29808765 DecoPerson DecoPerson https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=29808765

While writing & editing code, and only while doing that, I have a tic that looks insane to onlookers. The last comment I received was “Why the hell are you tapping the caps-lock key non-stop?”

I don’t know why I do it. It helps me think, though. Maybe any of the keys on the keyboard would satisfy my cravings to tap a key repeatedly, but I unconsciously chose capslock because it’s mostly benign to press. Perhaps it’s the toggling of the capslock state that tickles my neurons? I don’t know!

Similarly, I felt very strongly about the contents of my clipboard while doing any input on a real keyboard , until I discovered IntelliJ’s clipboard history feature (Ctrl+Shift+V) and more broadly Window’s terrible but sufficiently functional version (Win+V). The emotions I felt about clipboard contents were intense. I had to have something small, succinct, and simple in my clipboard like a single word, so that I could spam Ctrl+V and Ctrl+Z constantly without consequence, just like my capslock tic.

I do wonder if my fidgeting helped me learn editor shortcuts, because while I’m never quick enough to meet my own editing-speed goals, my editor fu earned me the title of “Text Wizard” at one company. It’s fun blowing peoples’ minds by smoothly executing a column-based edit on thousands of lines of data, saving them potentially hours of manual editing.

Aside: A coworker once called a one-line regex a “dark incantation,” and a forty-line regex I wrote on someone else’s’ PC earned the title of “Cthulhu’s Lullaby.” Good text editing skills is a superpower in our age (for many but obviously not all occupations).