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Monday, April 07, 2003
Using Emacs

I've been playing with Emacs for a little over a month now.
What ultimately led me to it was Paul Graham's site. I am
really becoming fascinated with Lisp as a programming language,
as a result I decided to try out Emacs because of it's embedded
Lisp interpreter.

When I was introduced to Unix, I was indoctrinated by my
Professor about why VI was better, and there was never a
significant discussion about the benefits of Emacs. Due to that
introduction I remained largely ignorant of the vast
capabilities a text editor could possess. However after reading
about it on Paul Graham's site and then downloading it and
tinkering with it, I became hooked.

It's interesting to note that it's far easier to use Emacs "out
of the box" than VI, because you typically don't have to know
all the funky key strokes just to move the stupid cursor or edit
a line of text. It supports many of those funky commands, but
it also provides support for the more familiar arrow commands,
Page Up / Page Down and the Home / End keys.

To truly tap into the power of Emacs though is going to be a
long process. It took me a fairly significant amount of time
just to get to a point where I felt comfortable using it instead
of Ultra Edit for my daily file processing requirements. To
become an Emacs expert though, I can already tell it's going to
take a long, long time.

I have found the O'Reilly books Learning GNU Emacs and GNU Emacs
Pocket Reference to be indespensible during the learning process.

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