Finger memory failure

A month or two ago I noticed that I was making a lot of errors at the command line. At first, I figured I was just typing too fast, but then I noticed that the errors were all of the same kind. Instead of typing, say,

cd git/drtwoot

I’d type

cd git drtwoot

with a space instead of a slash1 to separate the directories.

Why am I doing this? I’ve been working at Unix terminals continuously for about fifteen years. And for almost all that time, my right pinky has known to curl down and tap the “/” when it’s time to type a directory separator. What’s with the space all of a sudden?

The answer, I soon realized, is LaunchBar. I use it so much for file and folder navigation that it’s convention of using a space to start a sub-search down one directory level has wormed its way into my brain and leaked out into my use of the Terminal.

In some ways, the weirdest thing is that it’s taken so long for this to happen. I’ve been using LaunchBar for over three years, and this didn’t become a problem until recently. I wonder how long it’s going to take to get my fingers to relearn the difference between the two.

  1. And I’d just like to point out again that people who say “backslash” (or who write that copy for commercials) should be strung up, the flesh stripped from their bones, and their entrails fed to wolves. It’s 2011, folks. None of you have ever worked at a DOS terminal, so the word “backslash” shouldn’t even be in your vocabulary.