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    Date: 22 SEP 1980 0407-EDT
    From: Moon at MIT-AI (David A. Moon)
    Something that I find consistently annoying is that if a mini-buffer-using command
    blows out before it completes (e.g. gets a file-system error and I c-Z from the EH)
    then it is not yet in c-altmodes history table and I cannot retry it.
This is not true, you are confused.  After reading from the mini-buffer, the string is
available in the ring.  Presumably what you are thinking of is typing C-X C-F and
having the filejob die before finding the defaults for the command, in which case the
mini-buffer has not been used yet and whatever you typed is only typeahead.