I write software for a living. Once in a while, my computer will do something infuriating, such as following my instructions with destructive precision instead of intuiting what I wanted it to do. The scale of the damage ranges from a crashed program to obliterated data, and the punishment for these failures is usually the same: A quick, chiding smack delivered with the palm of the hand to the right side of the keyboard area, usually falling somewhere near the bottom of the keypad. Some might point out that aiming my blow between the mouse and keyboard would be equally productive while sparing my keyboard considerable wear and tear. While I do not disagree in principle, this somewhat misses the point of the act, which is to punish an insolent computer. At any rate, I’ve been smacking keyboards for over a quarter century now and I don’t think the habit is likely to be broken anytime soon.
This is to say, I go through a lot of keyboards.
Normally, I change keyboards an average of twice a year. However, despite my raw, feral hatred for my HP Pavilion, the keyboard that came with it is nigh-invincible. That computer took a savage beating during its term (which it earned, and then some) and the keyboard never faltered. I replaced the computer, and six months later the new keyboard failed as all mortal keyboards do under my cruel and unforgiving ownership. I reverted to the battle-hardened HP keyboard, and the thing is still in working order today. I finally had to replace it because the thing was so old I couldn’t bear to hit it anymore. Anything that survives that long under those conditions deserves a little respect. (Plus, I found a Logitech wireless keyboard / mouse combo for so cheap that, even if I were to smash them tomorrow, I would still feel like I made out.)
But check out the arrangement of the keys on the new keyboard:
|A Logitech wireless keyboard. The name is somewhat misleading, as I’ll bet it has wires inside.|
Note the section above the arrow keys. The usual arrangement is the one you most likely have in front of you. Two rows, the first with with Insert, Home, Page Up and the second with Delete, End, Page Down.
Despite my voracious keyboard consumption, I’ve never seen this. I’ve been typing on the same layout for over a decade now, so I’m exceptionally resistant to change in this regard, but I have to admit that this is an improvement. It’s one of those things that seem obvious once you see it, and you wonder why it took this long for anyone to come up with it. I see several advantages:
- Home / End are arranged horizontally, with more closely reflects how they are used. Page Up / Down are still vertical, which matches how they are normally used.
- For clumsy typists like me, the Delete key is the most popular of the six. It is now double-sized, thus reducing the chance of making mistakes while correcting mistakes.
- Insert is eliminated. This is going to be a major drawback for people who actually used that key. I never did. On the rare occasions when I needed it, I used the one on the numpad.
- The old setup wasted a lot of space. There was usually a wasteland between these keys and the arrow keys below. That space is now put to use, and the keyboard can be made slightly narrower as well.
I don’t know if this new setup is a coming trend or if this is just a mutant. Still, I think I’ll try to pull my punches on this one until I’m sure I can replace it.
Grand Theft Auto Retrospective
This series began as a cheap little 2D overhead game and grew into the most profitable entertainment product ever made. I have a love / hate relationship with the series.
What is Vulkan?
What is this Vulkan stuff? A graphics engine? A game engine? A new flavor of breakfast cereal? And how is it supposed to make PC games better?
The Game That Ruined Me
Be careful what you learn with your muscle-memory, because it will be very hard to un-learn it.
Silent Hill Origins
Here is a long look at a game that tries to live up to a big legacy and fails hilariously.
The Witch Watch
My first REAL published book, about a guy who comes back from the dead due to a misunderstanding.