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Input Devices Portables

Stop Trying To 'Innovate' Keyboards, You're Just Making Them Worse 459

Posted by Soulskill
from the we've-randomized-the-keys-for-your-convenience dept.
FuzzNugget writes "Peter Bright brings the hammer down on the increasing absurdities of laptop keyboard design, from the frustrating to the downright asinine, like the 'adaptive keyboard' of the new Lenovo X1 Carbon. He says, 'The X1's Adaptive Keyboard may have a superior layout to a regular keyboard (I don't think that it does, but for the sake of argument, let's pretend that it does), but that doesn't matter. As long as I have to use regular keyboard layouts too, the Adaptive Keyboard will be at a huge disadvantage. Every time I use another computer, I'll have to switch to the conventional layout. The standard layout has tremendous momentum behind it, and unless purveyors of new designs are able to engineer widespread industry support—as Microsoft did with the Windows keys, for example—then their innovations are doomed to being annoyances rather than improvements.' When will laptop manufacturers focus on perfecting a standardized design rather than trying to reinvent the wheel with every new generation?"
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Stop Trying To 'Innovate' Keyboards, You're Just Making Them Worse

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  • Windows keys? (Score:5, Informative)

    by guruevi (827432) <<evi> <at> <smokingcube.be>> on Saturday January 18, 2014 @10:42AM (#45998059) Homepage

    The "Windows key" location existed before on other systems, it was called the "meta" key. Apple had the Apple logo in that place, Sun keyboards had the diamond logo, even the Symbolics machines had the key well before Microsoft even talked about ripping off DOS.

  • by evilviper (135110) on Saturday January 18, 2014 @11:02AM (#45998205) Journal

    Input devices are the most important part of any computer, yet we don't worry about keyboards/mice on desktops, because we know we can swap them with something we prefer, at will. With laptops, we're stuck with the cheap junk that's included. And worse, we're stuck with the economics laptop makers are under, and we don't want to pay $500 extra for a high-end laptop, just to get a $20 keyboard we like.

    If laptop makers standardized on a few sizes of keyboard, and made them easy to slide in and out and swap with a different model, life would be good...

    It's POSSIBLE for laptop makers to get it right and include a great keyboard with their laptops. There are innumerable awesome small keyboards out there. In fact, I use nothing but ultra compact keyboards for my home computers, because the ergonomics of super-flat are best, and the lack of a keypad on the side makes reaching over for the mouse vastly quicker and easier. To make an awesome laptop, start with a keyboard like this one: http://typematrix.com/ [typematrix.com]
    But the odds of them doing that are far too slim, and there's just too little incentive to ever expect it to happen. The input market is far too specialized. Instead, just make the parts interchangeable, and not only will your core customers be happy with their input options even on the cheapest laptops, but your products will also sell better to non-English speakers, who want a very different keyboard.

    It's long overdue.

  • by nicomede (1228020) on Saturday January 18, 2014 @11:03AM (#45998217)

    As a Linux user it's sometimes necessary to cleanly reboot the machine through the Kernel call Alt+PrintScreen+ REISUB, I don't see how to do that on this laptop?

  • by Ceriel Nosforit (682174) on Saturday January 18, 2014 @11:26AM (#45998355)

    We have  where ~ should be. That's a big clue right there who's responsible for this shit.

  • People should learn to sit properly, and type properly.  This greatly increases health and mechanical efficiency.  It is from poor mechanical efficiency and techniques that stress the body that injuries and wear-and-tear come.  Fixing this is a matter of training: stretches like Yoga, on a daily basis, movement like Taiji, again practised daily, studing how one moves in activities they do regularly and striving to understand and refine them, like the way a concert pianist develops from a beginner to what you see perform on stage.  There is no substitute for proper learning, whether a special chair or a weird keyboard.  If you can't sit properly, a fancy chair won't fix that.   If you can't type reasonably effortlessly and with a minimum of stress, changing the keyboard layout won't help.  At best a new layout can give you a few percent improvement in speed, but that is unimportant: time spent learning a new layout should instead be spent improving basic posture and technique, and proper posture and technique will give sufficient speed on a standard layout.

    Obviously if you can't be bothered to learn and practice and improve, you won't develop in terms of posture and technique, and this short-sightedness and laziness is endemic in the West, and is exacerbated by pressures to do more and more in ones job.  But work pressures will not magically make things better, and work pressures plus strange keyboard will not do so either.
  • by Hamsterdan (815291) on Saturday January 18, 2014 @12:39PM (#45998843)

    But unless it's IPS, rotating an LCD will shift colors because the viewing angles aren't the same for horizontal vs vertical. It also messes up font smoothing since the order of sub-pixels isn't the same (unless the OS is aware of that)

    Still won't work for a laptop

  • Re: Oh yes (Score:4, Informative)

    by MouseTheLuckyDog (2752443) on Saturday January 18, 2014 @01:32PM (#45999219)

    So then why didn't the Dvorak keyboard take hold? QWERTY was designed to keep keys on mechanical typewriters from jamming,

    When will people get their facts straight? QWERTYdid not prevent jamming by making people type slower. They prevented jamming by arranging keys in a way that you are very rarely pressing keys next to each other. Which means the strikers are less likely to collide.

  • by Immerman (2627577) on Saturday January 18, 2014 @02:36PM (#45999651)

    Probably because I modified the original phrasing and failed to update the article preceding it.

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