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Input Devices Portables

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

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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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 18, 2014 @10:36AM (#45998023)

    Anyone else find that you cannot get 16:10 laptops these days unless they're made by Apple?

    Damn the "movie nerd" 16:9 ratio!

  • Oh yes (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Please don't put cursor keys where the right shift key should be. Nothing like pressing cursor-up in a console window when you meant to type a capital letter.

    • But without going through annoying changes like that they'll never stumble on that one "Oh yeah, this is much better" change they can patent and make a fortune off of.

      You know, it's really insensitive of you to want a product that works nicely when they're only trying to find their way to dominate the industry and get a slice of everyone else's pie.

  • by Kell Bengal ( 711123 ) on Saturday January 18, 2014 @10:38AM (#45998029)
    The worst keyboard I ever used was the Logitech MX5500. Poor design all over - it was clear that whoever designed it was focussing on ideas that sounded nice, but were ergonomically unfeasible. Stupid things like putting keys underneath the keypad such that pressing them from a natural posture caused cramps, or removing the numlock key and replacing it with some calculator function integrated with the LCD display. Perhaps they forgot that computers powerful calculators in of themselves? The list went on - I wrote an eight page engineering design critique (I teach college mechatronic design) and sent it to them. The logitech PR person who answered it said they'd send it on to the design office. From what's come out of there since, I'm sure they just sent it straight to trash. :P
  • by Trepidity ( 597 ) <> on Saturday January 18, 2014 @10:38AM (#45998033)

    Many Europeans are already used to using different keyboards at different times. As we speak I'm typing on a Danish-layout keyboard remapped to US-English. Which is... almost like US-English, except that the Enter key is vertical rather than horizontal, so \| is located to the left of enter rather than above it (can't remap the physical shape of the keys...). Oh, and `~ is to the left of Z. Sometimes I use a UK keyboard, which is somewhat different yet again.

    • by dwater ( 72834 )

      I disagree, but make the same comment with the point that there isn't such a thing as a single 'standard layout'.

      On the other hand, the USA and China both use the same layout, so perhaps that's enough people to count as 'standard'. I wonder what they use in India.

      • I just got back from a trip to Hong Kong, and the shape of keyboards I used there somewhat resembled the parent poster's layout description (with the exception of the ~ key relocation). Granted this could be related to Hong Kong's history as a British colony and might well be different to mainland?

    • Many Europeans are already used to using different keyboards at different times.

      Yes. For me it's three.

      Mostly, I'm using the Neo2 [] layout. When gaming, I use the standard German qwertz layout, and sometimes I have to use US English. It takes time getting used to it, but once you've mastered a layout, you're fine on ANY DEVICE.

      The problem I see here is that the X1, by re-positioning or abandoning physical keys, effectively forces you to not only know 3 different layouts, but 3*2 = 6. Great.

      (Plus, with the caps lock key gone, I'd have to hack Neo2 to get the 3rd level switch on the home o

      • by TWX ( 665546 )
        I use a Sun Type 6, an Apple G3 104 key, a Dell standard 104 key, and a Dell D520 all at work, a Gateway 2000 "Anykey", a Dell D410, a Gearhead wireless with trackpad all at home. Each keyboard has variations in at least two of Ctrl, Alt, backslash, backspace, pgup, pgdn, window, menu, Fn, the arrangement of the F-keys, the arrow keys, or some other thing.

        And I can go seamlessly from keyboard to keyboard. Any nerd worth his chops should also be able to do this.
    • by evilviper ( 135110 ) on Saturday January 18, 2014 @11:10AM (#45998273) Journal

      Many Europeans are already used to using different keyboards at different times. As we speak I'm typing on a Danish-layout keyboard remapped to US-English.

      As someone who touch-types Dvorak at home, and has to switch back to QWERTY at work, I think I can safely say my experience trumps your few symbol keys moving around...

      The thing that bothers me the most is poor visibility... I'd be fine with the CTRL and ALT keys moving all over the place with different laptop keyboards, IF the keyboard was backlit... Those with small, low-contrast ink labels in low-light are the WORST. Without a clear visual indicator to orient yourself to using a different keyboard than usual, it can be painful to switch... Lighting can make all the difference, and a smooth transition.

      Personally, I'd like laptops to standardize keyboard sizes and connectors so we can swap them after-market, as I previously said here: []
      But I prefer the current state of uselessness to laptop makers standardizing on lowest-common-denominator crap that is good for nobody.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Raumkraut ( 518382 )

        As someone who touch-types Dvorak at home, and has to switch back to QWERTY at work, I think I can safely say my experience trumps your few symbol keys moving around...

        I'd argue that no, it actually doesn't trump it.
        IME it is *far* easier to switch between two completely different systems, than to switch between two systems which are exactly the same, except for one or two minor parameters.

        Consider a Brit, who fluently speak both English and Russian, conversing with two people; one of whom speaks Russian, a

        • by Cinder6 ( 894572 )

          I'd argue that no, it actually doesn't trump it.
          IME it is *far* easier to switch between two completely different systems, than to switch between two systems which are exactly the same, except for one or two minor parameters.

          Agreed. I can switch between QWERTY, Dvorak, and Workman [] on-the-fly without any ramp-up time, but a one-month stint in Germany with QWERTZ threw me off for at least half my stay. And then it took time getting used to QWERTY again when I got home.

          The innovation I would really like to see from laptop keyboards is to make them mechanical. It doesn't bother me that most desktop keyboards are membrane crap, because I can replace them with a good keyboard, such as the Das Keyboard (yes, I know the redundancy of "

    • I suspect that's a lot true now than it used to be. A decade ago, I would typically type on 3-4 computers a day, and now always the same set. I tried switching to Dvorak, and found it was great on my home desktop and on one other machine where I'd changed the keymap (and the keycaps - it was an old model M that let you pop off the keycaps and rearrange them), but it was painful switching to the other computers that I had to use that day, so eventually I gave up. Now, most days the only keyboard (discount
    • by hjf ( 703092 )

      It's worse in spanish. For some reason, there are TWO Spanish variations: Spain and Latin America. I have absolutely no idea why. Sure, the spanish keyboard includes the Ñ key (which is dumb, as ñ is not so often used. It's not really difficult to type ~ then n to make ñ. You still have to pres ' then a to make á. And you use áéíóú more than ñ).

      But anyway, spanish vs latin is just dumb. In one, to make an @, you have to type AltGr-Q, in the other is AltGr-2

    • Indeed the situation in Europe can be quite horrific, some years ago I would often find myself working on Swiss (qwertz), UK (qwerty), Belgian (azerty) and Scandinavian (qwerty) keyboards during my average day. To make matters worse I were working on the machines remotely so glancing down on the keys to find that "misplaced" comma, period, forward slash, parenthesis and so forth were not an option. My favorite layout to hate is the Belgian/French azerty where digits and period require use of shift as the ke
  • by hessian ( 467078 ) on Saturday January 18, 2014 @10:38AM (#45998035) Homepage Journal

    Too much "innovation" is appearance only, or the act of making gee-whiz gadgets that look like they might be far out. The clueless buying public falls for it every time.

    Back in the 1990s, I used one of those Microsoft ergonomic keyboards for a little while... but then I learned that it was in fact putting more strain my hands. Back to the old tried-and-true 100-year-old typewriter style configuration.

    Every time I've tried any kind of tricked out keyboard, the result has been the same. It doesn't work better than the original. For innovation to be actual innovation, it must solve a problem and do so in the context of reality, not merely be a nifty concept or look.

    • I really like my $20 MS comfort curve keyboard. Recently got a new computer and the chicklet style keyboard was unusable for me so I tossed it.

      It's the same reason I don't go for laptops in general. I wish someone did some innovating at least, like make a keyboard that can pop up and split in half or something. Until then, I have to stick with desktops for real work or be prepared to carry a second usb keyboard around, killing portability and laptoppiness.

    • Can you provide a reference for your claim that the ergonomic keyboard produces more stress? Everything I found as well as personal experience says the opposite. Or was this peculiar to you?
  • soon as you can patent "improving standardized designs"...

  • Windows keys? (Score:5, Informative)

    by guruevi ( 827432 ) <evi&evcircuits,com> 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.

    • Typing on a Sun Type 5 always screwed me up when I'd been using a PC keyboard for a while; my fingers were all out of place because of the row of keys on the left hand side.

      • The original IBM PC keyboard --- and most of the clones (say Keytronic) -- had all their function keys on the left-hand side. I recently ran across one of the WordPerfect function key overlays that slipped over those left-hand keys.

        My beef with the Sun keyboards was the mushiness. Oh yeah,.. and the freakin' optical mouse. (I still have an Ultra60 with one of those.)

    • by phayes ( 202222 )

      Ahhh, Symbolics Keyboards...

      Shift-Control-Alt-Meta-Super-V for the WIN!!!

    • Symbolics machines had the key well before Microsoft even talked about ripping off DOS

      The serviceable 16 bit CP/M clone was the Holy Grail for every geek in his garage who saw the potential of the 8086. What the geek didn't have was a full suite of programming languages ready to port and the resources to build on the launch of the new IBM micro,

      • Symbolics machines had the key well before Microsoft even talked about ripping off DOS

        The serviceable 16 bit CP/M clone was the Holy Grail for every geek in his garage who saw the potential of the 8086. What the geek didn't have was a full suite of programming languages ready to port and the resources to build on the launch of the new IBM micro,

        Except Gary Kildal who famously refused to sign the IBM NDA on the advice of his wife going surfing instead. Microsoft then bought MSDOS 1.0 from one of said garage geeks. But all they needed it for was to be undetected long enough to be able to sell MSBasic while they worked on a clone.

        The Windows key was appearing on DEC keyboards before it was a Windows thing. And that is from Symbolics as many of the DEC engineers were Symbolics graduates. And when DEC crashed, Microsoft bought up most of the talent. Gi

      • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) *

        A full suite of programming languages? Kids today are spoiled, what's wrong with assembly? I mean, besides the fact that 8086 assembly is a pain in the ass compared to a Z-80 or 6802?

    • by NoKaOi ( 1415755 )

      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.

      The point wasn't that MS was innovative in creating the Windows key, the point was that they got other manufacturers to include the Windows key in their keyboards.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Does anyone actually use the damn Windows Key? I have a Microsoft keyboard (the "split-in-half" one, tilted and all). It has a "Windows" key and another one on the right the is for - menus or something? I never touch either one. Hell, I rarely even hit any of the function keys. The only non-standard key I use is the one that brings up a calculator because at least that's useful.
      • Yes! Those keys are for stopping the action when you're playing FPS games.
      • Windows 7 added a lot more functionality to the Windows keys, especially for dual monitor setups. Win+P lets you toggle each monitor on and off, Win+Shift+Left/Right moves windows between screens, Win+Left/Right tiles windows to the left or right side of the current screen, Win+Up maximizes, Win+Down restores or minimizes, Win+E opens a new Explorer window.

        There are a few more, but those are the ones I use frequently. Admittedly, I rarely use the Menu key, but that makes it quite handy to use as the Host Ke

  • by sideslash ( 1865434 ) on Saturday January 18, 2014 @10:42AM (#45998061)
    I would pay a lot of money for a backlit, Microsoft Natural style keyboard. Googling indicates I'm not alone. I don't care about gaming, but when I walk into my home office at night and sit down, I want to see where all the keys are. And I'm used to the Microsoft Natural keyboard shape from many years of exclusive use.

    You getting this, Microsoft / clone manufacturers?
    • Then I **highly** recommend the Verbatim keyboard. Nice and heavy, solid business-like feel with great tactile and audio feedback. I bought two, one for replacement if first breaks. Great keyboard.
  • Optimus keyboards (Score:4, Interesting)

    by abies ( 607076 ) on Saturday January 18, 2014 @10:54AM (#45998153)

    Take a look at [] []
    and other things from this family.

    This is an _adaptive keyboard_.

    Yes, it is plain horrible for coding or text editing, but idea behind it is to support some more niche programs for video/photo editing, 3d modelling etc, with keyboard changing icons on keys depending in which mode are.

  • 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: []
    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 iggymanz ( 596061 ) on Saturday January 18, 2014 @11:08AM (#45998253)

    cubic yards of standard keyboards are out there for you. some of the rest of us appreciate some choice and variation. carry a standard USB keyboard for those times you have to use someone else's machine and don't like their keyboard.

    • by jaymz666 ( 34050 )

      I believe the topic is laptop keyboards, no? So if you're stuck on a laptop with a weird layout, even adjusting back to a standard keyboard can be a problem.

      Just moving between a standard keyboard and a microsoft curve (with only a slight curved layout) can be challenging

  • by Sponge Bath ( 413667 ) on Saturday January 18, 2014 @11:10AM (#45998263)

    This is the same principle that makes heavy customization of OS installations not worth while. If you have to move between a large number of machines, you can't count on that certain editor being installed or your favorite key mapping configured. After a while, you give up and get accustomed to the least common denominator.

  • by geekmux ( 1040042 ) on Saturday January 18, 2014 @11:13AM (#45998289)

    OK, the poster has a valid argument perhaps within the Slashdot community, whom in a given day, may traverse their hands across a dozen or more keyboards in their various tasks, but the argument to manufacturers falls completely flat.

    Believe it or not fellow keyboard jockeys, the other 95% of the planet will buy a use that laptop, pretty much exclusively, for the next 4-5 years. The average person does not know nor care about the day-to-day keyboard issues of the 5%.

    To be honest, I'd rather see vendor variety. Backlight keys, increasingly intelligent designs and layouts, and even the return of the buckling-spring design have all come about through constant innovation.

    Let me put this to you another way. Within your demands for a "standard" design, do you really want to subject the world to iKeyboard as the standard? Be careful what you ask for, for the 95% control your fate.

  • by mwvdlee ( 775178 ) on Saturday January 18, 2014 @11:14AM (#45998295) Homepage

    In my opinion, the best keyboard for over a decade is the "whatever the cheapest keyboard Microsoft is selling".
    Currently it's this: []

    It's wired.
    It has all the keys, all in the usual place, all actual clickable buttons.
    It doesn't have RSI-inducing wrist-rests.
    It isn't colored like a rainbow.
    It doesn't bend in contortionist ways.
    It doesn't have a "shutdown" button you accidentally hit every once in a while.

    I've been through multiple iterations of this "cheapest MS keyboard", and they're all good.
    (When MS software finally croaks, their hardware division will still be going strong).

    Some other brands have similar keyboards too, also cheap and also better than the more expensive keyboards.

    With keyboards, as you go up in price, you go down in usability.

    • Not always. Unicomp's model Ms are rather expensive ($80 or so), but very usable. I also have a Corsair K60. It's a gaming keyboard, so not as good for long typing sessions due to the lack of "click" in the mechanical switches, but the shorter key travel and lighter activation force are good for fast action, as is the true n-key rollover. It has the same layout as a model M, with a cluster of buttons at the top right for extra functions (media controls, mostly useless due to global hotkeys, though the key t
      • by pellik ( 193063 )
        I've had an IBM model m keyboard I've been using forever and I just now discovered these guys still make them. Thank you.
    • I'm typing on a Microsoft Comfort Curve 2000. I think I paid $11 for it. I'm devastated they discontinued it. The 3000 just isn't the same.
  • It will be great if all keyboard can have the exact number of key everywhere. And only change the position of the characters according the language, but all have the same number and sizes of keys. Ex: Latin America has a big "enter" key, which in the US is smaller, because the US has a extra key over the "enter" key. I don't care which layout is better, but it will be great to have the same keyboard keys size everywhere.

    There is also a nag that Spain has a different kind of keyboard of Spanish Latin Amer
  • by devphaeton ( 695736 ) on Saturday January 18, 2014 @11:19AM (#45998317)

    The only thing I would ever want from a laptop is a keyboard that's in the ergonomic 'split' style. Yes that would be butt-ugly and probably make the laptop itself the size of an elementary school desk, but with RSI issues I can't type on a standard keyboard for very long. Yes you can plug a standard ergo USB keyboard into a laptop, but that setup requires a desk as it is too big for my lap. Since I'm desk bound with that, I just use the desktop computer I already have.

    Meanwhile, I'm noticing that decent ergo kbs are getting scarce for desktops too. Back 10 or 15 years ago there were dozens of brands and all of them cheap and good, now there are only 2 or 3 to chose from with crappy key layouts and they last about a year or so.

  • Personally, I tend not to use my laptop keyboard much. Instead I put the laptop on a folding stand to raise the monitor height and use an external keyboard and mouse. One reason for this is ergonomics; I get less neck strain and can choose a keyboard I like. But the primary reason is that I wear keyboards out. After about eighteen months or so the keycaps are falling off and the identifying marks on them are a distant memory. That's a little more frequently than I like to change laptops and it's a pai

  • Bad example. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by csumpi ( 2258986 ) on Saturday January 18, 2014 @11:32AM (#45998393)
    I agree, the ever changing keyboard layout is frustrating. The worst ever offender is macbook keyboards where they made the power button a keyboard button (and in the worst place, where a 'del' or 'backspace' button should be).

    However, the keyboard linked in the article actually has some nice ideas, for example replacing the totally useless caps lock with 'home' and 'end'. It would be a great keyboard for programmers.

  • Get off my lawn? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Vellmont ( 569020 ) on Saturday January 18, 2014 @11:39AM (#45998435) Homepage

    I'm not sure about the rest of it, but I HATE the caps lock key. I NEVER use it. I'm glad someone has thought about how it's mostly a nuisance these days for typing in passwords, especially on a crowded laptop keyboard where it's easy to miss-type and hit a key without knowing it. Seriously, who uses freaking caps-lock?

      (Oh, and why yes, I am a software developer and use all kinds of strange keys, but certainly not caps lock). ~ occasionally, but not enough to get me cranked off. I also certainly don't expect a hardware maker to cater to the needs of the 1 person in several thousand that writes software for a living. I run linux too, but I rarely use the function keys. I really have rather a rare need to go to a text console.

    Frankly I think it's people like this guy that hold back any sort of innovation. The standard keyboard layout is archaic, and has needed to change for years. People that use computers these days are everyday people who don't need a freaking scroll lock key. The laptop I'm currently using has home and end on the top right, and doesn't have a scroll lock key at all. I didn't even notice that until just now and have had the laptop for a year. My only real complaint is it's too tight, and not comfortable. But it's a very small laptop that's light and really portable (perfect for travel, or just having a spare machine I can grab in my bedroom when I need it).

    • Re:Get off my lawn? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by dokebi ( 624663 ) on Saturday January 18, 2014 @11:59AM (#45998559)

      I have been remapping caps lock to ctrl for years, and it's really nice. Having it (capslock/ctrl) be replaced by home/end would be a disaster for me.

    • by mytec ( 686565 )

      ... but I HATE the caps lock key. I NEVER use it

      What you said about the caps lock key, reminded me of this keyboard []: "Do you think the Caps Lock key is pointless, and would be more useful as Ctrl?"

    • Yeah. And if they don't want to remove it, they should put it back on the bottom where ctrl is now. Ctrl is used way more often.
    • I use capslock to switch keyboard layouts, as I need to regularly type in two different languages. It's quite handy for that.
    • Seriously, who uses freaking caps-lock?

      don't expect a hardware maker to cater to the needs of the 1 person in several thousand that writes software for a living

      Who uses the cap locks key? I do. I'm a programmer and a writer and I use it in both of my professions / hobbies. I would use it to type words in all caps like you did. The extra keystrokes or hunt-and-peck method that you must have used to write "HATE" and "NEVER" is too inefficient for me. Want to move the caps lock some place different? I'm open to suggestions. Just don't take it away entirely.

      Next: Who uses the scroll lock? I do. Very rarely, but I do. It's useful on occasion in spreadsheet ap

    • "Seriously, who uses freaking caps-lock?"

      Taking help-desk calls, I've been horrified to find out that there are people who use it for typing any uppercase letters. I'll sometimes use remote-viewing software to watch someone's screen as they're trying to log in to something, and as they're typing their password I'd see the Caps-Lock warning pop up. I'd warn them that they'd accidentally hit Caps-Lock and that would mess up typing their password. "So how am I supposed to type a capital letter?" they'd ask
  • ...what people do, as LONG AS THEY REMOVE THE CAPS LOCK! Yes, I typed that holding shift. The first thing I've done on every KB since 1998? REMOVED THE CAPS LOCK! Yes, I'm a programmer, yes my #DEFINE are in caps, yes, I type my SQL in CAPS. No, I'm not going to cry about my first-world problem of NEEDING TO HOLD DOWN SHIFT! It's easy to train your pinky to hold it-- it becomes natural real quick.
  • by QuietLagoon ( 813062 ) on Saturday January 18, 2014 @11:47AM (#45998481)
    Give me an easy way to permanently (and independent of the OS in use) disable the CAPS LOCK key. That is all I ask.
    • by TWX ( 665546 )
      Yeah, the article writer lost me with "And let's be honest here. Caps Lock is a fantastic key. It's cruise control for cool. It's probably the best key on the keyboard." I'm sorry, but I use capslock so seldomly that I could easily do without it, and since my first keyboard placed control there anyway I've already gotten used to change in that space.
    • Pry the key off, glue a washer (or three - cut them to fit with scissors) around the element, then glue the caps lock key down to them. Result? A finger rest for your left pinky that says "CapsLock". TFTFY.


  • 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 begi
  • by egarland ( 120202 ) on Saturday January 18, 2014 @12:00PM (#45998571)

    Messing with keyboard layouts is not something to be taken lightly. Just like you wouldn't reverse the break and gas pedals on a car, moving keys around on the keyboard should not be done trivially. That said, the caps lock key is in one of the most easily accessible locations on the keyboard, and its one of the keys we use the least. It should be moved, and replaced with one we use more often. Personally, I'd like to see a new modifier key here. One thing I have done in the past, is to re-map my caps lock key to alt, which can be done with a Windows registry setting []. This makes using key combinations much easier, which is nice when you're playing WoW and need as many keyboard shortcuts as you can get.

  • by Ralph Spoilsport ( 673134 ) on Saturday January 18, 2014 @12:01PM (#45998575) Journal
    The Model M. You can still buy them here: []

    You will buy one, once. It will last you the rest of your life, or, until USB disappears, which ever comes first.

  • I use a Happy Hacker at home. I use a QWERTY at work and also often need to use BE AZERTY as that is standard where I live. (This is different from e.g. FR AZERTY that I also have used)
    The portable I use is again a little bit bit different. And obviously the phones are different as well in layout.
    I also have a RT MKW01 [] that I use for watching movies.

    To work, I hate keyboards from a portable and if I can help it, I will always connect a 'real' keyboard to it, no matter what the layout is.

    From experience I kn

  • Truly Ergonomic (Score:5, Interesting)

    by holophrastic ( 221104 ) on Saturday January 18, 2014 @02:07PM (#45999433)

    I've been using the Truly Ergonomic ( [] ) keyborad for well over a year now. It's totally different from a normal keyboard. I'm also using a blank-keycap one, in dvorak mode, with some personal key-changes.

    I love it being different. I love the way that it's different -- columnar arrangement, tab, backspace, enter down the middle, home-row shifts, delete mirroring escape.

    It took a whopping two weeks to get used to the new layout. Much like it took me two weeks to switch from qwerty to dvorak fifteen years ago. And I've no trouble bouncing back and forth to "normal" keyboards when necessary.

    More important that how I feel, is how I feel. My fingers move a lot less, I type much more fluidly, I'm much more comfortable, and long days feel the same as short days.

    I welcome new designs and layouts. You're not forced to use the ones that you don't like. Which is good, because otherwise I'd be forced to use a qwerty keyboard -- you know, the one designed to be horrible to use. The author might want to focus on that problem first.

  • by Misagon ( 1135 ) on Saturday January 18, 2014 @05:23PM (#46000703)

    The article on Ars Technica missed the worst thing about the new ThinkPad keyboard: what happened with the Caps Lock function.
    To enable Caps Lock, you press the Left Shift key twice.

    That's right, one press less than what is required for invoking Sticky Keys under Windows - which everyone hates because it gets invoked when you don't want it. Expect a shitstorm from angry Thinkpad users who will buy laptops with this keyboard.

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