06 October 2011

The Toolbar and Blank Key Challenges

I issue two challenges, in this post.  The first gives you geek points; the second geek cred; and both together, a substantial step forward in becoming an ubergeek.

1. Turn off all toolbars in your Visual Studio.
I've never used them (admittedly, I do have the Solution Configurations" and Stop Debugging commands in the menu bar), and didn't realize how often many developers use them.  I was working a Kata session at Utah Code Camp and SQL Saturday 94, this last weekend, with a fellow who used Cut and Paste commands in the context menu.  That may be a step or two beyond "crutch" status.  Incidentally, Scott Hanselman posted something similar to his blog, earlier this year.

Note, we both disabled the navigation bar at the top of documents (Tools > Options > Text Editor > All Languages > General > Navigation bar).

2. Get (and use) a keyboard with no key labels.
At the aforementioned  Utah Code Camp, David Adist showed up in the speaker green room with a blank keyboard.  Although I had seen them before, I never though I could use one.  He claims that experienced programmers already have a good sense of touch-type; but, you can't exercise your ability when you can cheat by looking at the keys.

Das Keyboard has two models: silent and mechanical.  The mechanical version gives you that great, "clacky" sound that makes you sound like you're typing very fast (even though half of those keystrokes are the backspace key!).

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