psst...you weren't supposed to tell them that. No, seriously, for newbies I think the bells are good instructional aids. I used to want them off, but they seem to be helping. I would only turn them if covertly coding in the bushes (say you are on a sting operation and have to take notes) and you don't want anyone to know where you are hiding.
Re: Re: Learn vi/vim in 50 lines and 15 minutes
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I've always find them annoying, and never, ever helpful. It hardly helps you in typing a wrong command, as almost any character is a valid command anyway. It's not that if you mistype a and hit s or z that you've hit a non-command. q is one of the few characters that's unclaimed (at least in standard vi, many clones have assigned a command to it - I've a command in my .rc file to disable it), but since it's unclaimed, it's tempting to :map it to something else.
beep! usually means "the command you tried to give cannot be performed with the cursor in this situation", like not being able to go to the next line if you're on the last line anyway. But since nothing is happening (if something would happen, vi wouldn't beep), it's bloody obvious already that the command you intended to give isn't working.
No, seriously, for newbies I think the bells are good instructional aids.
Oh, get out of your ivory tower. I detest this degenerate attitude that newbies are morons and can't think for themselves. (That's a general pet peeve of mine, and not specific to you, or to vi). I really love that fact that a few hits on the return keys or the (back)space button bring my cursor down, left or right towards to margin. I really don't want vi to beep because I couldn't bother to count whether it was 3 or 4 lines. If I hit 4 times, I'm there, even if it was three lines. (Yes, I know shift-G brings me there, and ^ or 0 brings me to one of the left margins, and $ to the end - return and space, due to their large keys, are sometimes faster). I don't think it'll help newbies that vi beeps.