Olds go nostalgic for the good old days of tech

I’m trying to use Termux on my smartphone, and it works, but I’m having to say goodbye to vi after 40 years because it’s no good for a touchscreen

vi has no tolerance for fat-fingered wrong-keying at all, it just piles up into a mass of “that was not what I was trying to do in any way”

So I’m having to learn nano and the default readline editing keys like a n0000b

I guess both at once is not the way to do it, better do nano first — fancy-editing the command line is not that important :thinking:


I’m having to get used to nano at work too. We evicted vi from our systems for reasons I didn’t really pay attention to (bigger install with more dependencies and more potential for bugs/flaws?). I’m not really great in vi, but the things I did use it for, I had committed to muscle memory for years. And of course they don’t work in nano and it doesn’t handle pasting properly. So it’s just annoying.


… there’s a lot of “what’s the nano key for 𝑥” and then it’s just “nano doesn’t do that” :disappointed:


I’ve gotta be honest, I’ve never actually used vi (or similar) for anything more than basic text editing. But it’s always been the one editor that was available on any linux system I used. Just the basics, which are pretty easily learned once:

  • move the cursor around (ok, occasionally I have to look up what I have to put in the config file to get compatibility mode, but…)
  • basic editing mode
  • save a file and quit
  • quit without saving a file
  • search for text

Pretty much the only “advanced” thing I occasionally do in vi is use a regex for text replacement. I’ve accidentally used some of the other features occasionally, but that’s a one-off.

The few times I’ve had to use nano… well, it’s prettier, but it doesn’t really make things easier.


My iPod Touch 4, that I bought refurbished in 2013, will no longer connect to the iTunes Store.


… the benefit of nano over vi being if we hit a couple of wrong keys it only makes two mistakes, rather than 2 × 2𝑛 + 2 magical improvements :confused:


I mean… the worst I’ve seen is accidentally inserting a letter multiple times because I started typing before getting into insert mode. A quick quit-without-save/reload usually rights things if I do something accidental. But, YMMV :smiley:

1 Like

I have used vi (or more likely vim) when I have had no other choice. I’ve learned enough of it to get by, but I’ve never enjoyed using it.

I’ve used nano (and pico before it) because it gets installed by default and is usually available, even on BSD. I find it generally inoffensive, with most of the necessary functionality being clearly spelled out.

If I’m going to spend much time working with text in a terminal, I’m going to install emacs. I have no justification for it other than I got into it at one point in my life and I’m just used to it now. I’ve never been particularly productive in it, and I’ve never really gotten to the point where I can copy and paste without using the menu or just pasting into the terminal, but it still feels better than the other two.

That said, if I’m working with text in a terminal, it’s generally just to modify a config file here or there. If there’s anything that’s larger or actually important, then I should be checking it into source control. If I’m doing that, then there’s probably a better editing experience to be had locally. These days that usually means VS Code. It’s lightweight by today’s standards, as well as free and open source, and it supports just about anything I want to throw at it with very little trouble.

1 Like

AI is discussed…by the Fourth Doctor.


The closest thing they had to GPS in 1971:

1 Like

Our family’s version at that time was Dad drives, Mom reads the map.