Friday, December 19, 2008

No. 0047 - Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V Appreciation Day

As Christmas is fast approach in this holiday season, it is very important for us to be a little bit more grateful for the things we may have taken for granted during the year. That's is why I'm dedicating this invention to two commands that we all PC users have grown to love: copy (Ctrl+C) and paste (Ctrl+V). I use them so much that I think the left Ctrl key on my work keyboard is probably the shiniest key from my pinky polishing it every time that I pressed it.

We all have used them, probably on a daily basis. What is so great about them is that they are universal commands that can be used between different programs, even outside the realm of the "World of Microsoft Word" (WoMW). My favorite 'inter-program-Ctrl-C&V-ing' is pulling stuff off of Adobe Acrobat/Reader. It is so easy, sometimes I feel like I'm plagiarizing. If you are reading something online and don't understand a certain word or phrase and it doesn't have a link? No worries, Ctrl+C, Ctrl+V and Google search in the corner will save the day. Got a long string of numbers such as credit card numbers? Ctrl+C & V will take care of you. Another favorite Ctrl+C & Ctrl+Ving moment of mine is when I'm pulling a JPEG from the web or pdfs to put into my power point. You see, I have a pep-peeve of saving separate JPEGs onto my hard drive and then insert my pictures into my document from my hard drive. My goal has always been to keep my HD as lean as possible and Ctrl+C&V allows me to bypass saving anything.

Today at work, I wrote 400-500 lines of code in Matlab in one sitting. How was I able to achieve that you may ask? Nothing but a little magic that I pulled with my pinky and ring finger. Some of you that are more programming savvy may ask "if you need to use copy & paste so much, why don't you just write some loops instead?" My answer to you is that it's complicated, OK!!!

Let us not take things for granted this holiday season and appreciate something that is so simple yet so powerful such as these two quick key commands. Maybe the next time you are cleaning and dusting your keyboard, you can give the Ctrl, C and V key an extra shine so they would stand out amongst all the other keys on the keyboard. Or maybe give those three buttons a tune up/check up every once in awhile. The Ctrl key is very prone to looseness since it typically sits on the corner of the keyboard. And lets not forget that 'C' and 'V' also has double duties serving as 2 of the 26 members of our alphabets ('C' probably gets used more so if you have to pick a favorite one to baby, I would pick C). Since the holiday seasons are also about being a little nicer than usual, I'll also give a shout out to the Apple's Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V counterparts: Apple+C & Apple+V (Unix's 'highlight' and 'double mouse button/middle mouse' are not bad either). I invite all to share their favorite copy and paste moments as we celebrate Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V Appreciation Day.

Note* Ctrl+X is not too bad either, but I don't use it nearly as much. I think Ctrl+X is a bit more barbaric than Ctrl+C & Ctrl+V, as I may accidentally delete stuff when I don't mean to (back-to-back Ctrl+X action will do that to you). Maybe next year I may grow comfortable enough to appreciate it as well. Ctrl+Z is a very strong runner-up for next year too.