A step towards reducing Emacs Pinky

Posted on Wed 03 November 2010 in geek

As someone who spends most of the day attached to their keyboard I'm fairly sensitive to RSI inducing things. One thing I do suffer from is what's colloquially known as "Emacs Pinky". As the Ctrl is the start of practically every editing command in Emacs it's the left little finger that spends most of it's time stretched out and after a long heavy coding session can be more than a little sore.

I've made adaptations including re-binding the useless Caps Lock key to being an alternative to Ctrl (although my use of it is sporadic). However one other culprit is the incredibly useful GNU Screen.

I've been running with the default bindings for some time which use the Ctrl-A sequence as the command sequence. This is especially troubling when you have multiple nested screens. Today I finally cracked and made the decision to break out of this bad habit. So starting today I've chosen the backtick (`) character for the escape sequence. This makes the normal (and most frequent) screen action of switching screens a two stroke press without having to hold any control key down. We shall see how long it takes to retrain my muscle memory.

Does anyone have any tips for reducing strain on the little finger inside Emacs itself? Sometimes I wonder if it would be easier to replace Ctrl actions with a double tap on the space bar before going for the modifier key. Is that even possible?

I found this entry on superuser useful for other screen config tips.