Emacs Redux

Return to the Essence of Text Editing

Lossage

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Are you sure you’re using Emacs in an efficient way? Perhaps you’re overusing commands like C-f and C-b to navigate around when you can be using more efficient alternatives like M-f and M-b (or a third-party package like ace-jump-mode). Gaining such insight is somewhat hard, as we generally don’t pay attention to our sub-optimal usage patterns. If we could only see what were the last few hundred keystrokes we entered in our current Emacs session… Turns out we can do this with the aptly-named command view-lossage (C-h l) (lossage means malfunction). It displays the last 300 keystrokes and its output looks like this:

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n e r a l l y SPC d o n ' t SPC n o t i c e SPC o u
r SPC s u b o p t i m a l SPC s u a g <backspace> <backspace>
<backspace> <backspace> u s a g e SPC p a t e <backspace>
t e r n s . SPC I f SPC w e SPC c o u l d SPC o n l
y <return> s e e SPC w h a t SPC w e r e SPC t h e
SPC l a s t SPC f <backspace> h e w SPC <backspace>
<backspace> <backspace> <backspace> f e w SPC h u n
d r e d SPC k e y s t r o k e s SPC w e SPC i <backspace>
e n t e r e d SPC i n SPC o u r SPC c u r r e n t SPC
E m a c s SPC s e s s i o n . . . SPC T u r n s SPC
o u t SPC <backspace> SPC w e SPC c a n SPC d o SPC
t h i s <company-dummy-event> . <backspace> SPC w i
t h SPC t h e SPC m a c <backspace> g i c a l <backspace>
<backspace> <backspace> <backspace> <backspace> <backspace>
<backspace> <backspace> SPC c o m m a n d <return>
` v i e w - l o s s a g e ` SPC ( b o u n <backspace>
<backspace> <backspace> <backspace> ` C - h SPC l `
) . C-p C-p M-q C-n C-n C-n C-e C-x b l o s s <return>
C-x b l o s C-g C-h l

Inspecting it can be super enlightening! I do this all the time.

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