Browsing without a mouse

My roommate John had mentioned some Linux feature he had found that allowed for mouseless browsing: when you pressed a key, each of the links on a webpage would appear with a letter next to it, and you could follow a link by pressing that letter. No using the mouse. This morning I found a few Firefox extensions that allow this kind of browsing, and although I’ve only been using Hit-a-Hint for about five minutes I’m already hooked. The other one, the aptly named Mouseless Browsing, looks good too — it looks to me like it has more settings you can tweak. But by the time I had found MB I had already installed HaH, and I like the default behavior of HaH so I’ll stick with it for now.

As part of my delayed but accelerating descent into geekdom, I’ve come to understand this aversion to the mouse. I think that people really get nuts about keyboard shortcuts through some combination of a) using the computer enough for it to be important, and b) getting comfortable enough with their software to want to understand non-necessary but useful things like keyboard shortcuts. I’m increasingly there on both counts. Plus once you start trying to not use the mouse, it gets to be kind of an obsession. The less frequently you reach for the mouse the more you wonder whether there is a keyboard shortcut for that too.

In reading today’s Lifehacker, where Wendy had asked people to mention their favorite shortcuts, I was reminded of that Onion opinion piece where the guy was going on and on about the usefulness of keyboard shortcuts. I would never do that, would I?