Linked by David Adams on Fri 5th Aug 2011 16:08 UTC
Graphics, User Interfaces A couple of days ago I read a blog post by Stephen Ramsay, a professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a Fellow at the Center for Digital Research in the Humanities. In it, he mentions that he has all but abandoned the GUI and finds the command line to be "faster, easier to understand, easier to integrate, more scalable, more portable, more sustainable, more consistent, and many, many times more flexible than even the most well-thought-out graphical apps." I found this very thought-provoking, because, like Ramsay, I spend a lot of time thinking about "The Future of Computing," and I think that the CLI, an interface from the past, might have a place in the interface of the future.
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> list files with full description sorted by modification date in descending order.

Excellent example. When was the last time you *needed* to list all files sorted by modification time? Because I can't remember such a time. I'm always amazed how people browser their files by *manually* searching the list presented by their computer. I thought computers are meant to do the searching for you?

Many even don't know they can just start typing the first characters of the file if they know its name. By just browsing and clicking on names, they also usually don't know how the files and folders are called, they only learn to recognize them when they see them.

For most purposes, I find GUIs horribly slow and inefficient. I use them for graphics work and browsing, I didn't find good CLIs in those areas or they were too expensive to learn (e.g., I still use GIMP only once a year, so I'm not going to learn the shortcuts there..).

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_txf_ Member since:

Excellent example. When was the last time you *needed* to list all files sorted by modification time? Because I can't remember such a time.

I use it quite often. If you can't remember the name of the file but can remember the time you used it, then modification time helps. It even helps when you cannot remember exactly when you last used it by looking for it as an offset relative to a file that you do remember modifying.

Just because you don't use it, doesn't mean it isn't valid.

Reply Parent Score: 4

mrstep Member since:

All the time - it's totally useful for development. Say I'm exporting from a graphics app, and then need to copy to another directory - I can easily see which files have most recently been updates (both source and resources) and know that things are in the right state. It's useful for photos if you browse the directory containing them, documents, etc. Name is useful if you know the name, but by last-modified is incredibly good to have too.

And speaking of command line, I just needed to concatenate multiple .pvr graphics files into a single file, and the GUI tools I have don't want to do that. Pity the person who doesn't know how to cat 1.pvr 2.pvr ... > merged.pvr. Just sayin'.

Reply Parent Score: 1