Saturday, January 06, 2007

keyboard crazyness

Be warned, this is a rant.

Today is Biblical Magi day in Spain, so i got some nice presents. Amongst them i got a new keyboard to replace the current one, that has half broken keys and sometimes i end up pressing C instead of Ctrl+C with the bad consequences this has (good we have Ctrl+Z, but as Ctrl is the broken key, sometimes this fails too :-D). The keyboard in question is a Microsoft Wired Keyboard 500 [image], and i will have to return it, not because it is from Microsoft, but because it follows the trend to not have keys where they should be.

Why is there a key that is not Return below backspace?
Why right Ctrl is not in line with the vertical of Shift?
Why the Insert, End, etc keys are in a 3x2 block instead of the typical 2x3?
Why the 4 arrow keys are not on the same baseline than right control and 0 from the numeric keyboard?
Why F12 is not on the vertical of backspace?

This surely seem small things to the dude that designed it, but me, that know the keyboard by memory NEED that the keys are where they should be, and unfortunately it's becoming quite hard to find a decent keyboard with the keys in the correct positions :-(


apol said...

In the FIB we got these (white ones) and it is terrible.

oort said...

I know this pain. On university we have that sort of "cool" keyboards. I was searching for (nearly) ideal keyboard and I've found Logitech UltraX Media - laptop keys, classic layout and it's not so expensive (not as diNovo ;))

Henrik Pauli said...

As much as I think innovation is good, changing keyboard layout like that is a terrible idea. I really hate when they put completely unneeded keys under your fingertips, removing useful whitespace (yes, I love hitting Power Off instead of Delete, thank you very much, especially when there’s no Fn key to press for it to activate). I really hate when they push down or reorganise the 3×2 block of keys (again in favour of the Three Most Useless Keys On A Keyboard™), maybe except for Insert, which I 1) never use anyway 2) most programs don’t show noticeably that you had hit it.

So yeah. Terrible.

Oh, and they love removing whitespace between the key blocks, so a Return can more easily end up as Del, a Ctrl as Left, a KP_Zero as Right, and so on…

As for the shape of the Return key, in North America, the Backspace, Backslash, Return, RShift, RCtrl organisation is the norm, in Europe it's Backspace, Return, Return, RShift, RCtrl, taking out a key-sized bit from the left of Return for Backslash. Neither of which is making it look like the arrow on the key, anymore :)

Béranger said...

The "dash"-like ENTER key, assorted with the backslash interposed between it and the backslash -- like in the disputed keyboard -- is exactly how the US layout of the IBM Model M keyboard looked in 1987! Therefore, I don't agree that the first critique is a valid one. Read this.

josh said...

I gotta disagree. Other than the positioning of the f12 and arrow keys, this is the perfect keyboard for me.

I am perfectly capable of hitting an enter key the size of my backspace key. The 'L' shaped enter key means that the '\' key is either placed to the left of the backspace key (making it very small for a key used so much) or to the right of the right-shift (which is just unacceptable).

I really don't have a preference for the orientation of the 3x2 block of keys. I don't use them enough for it to matter.

Toni said...


It's good to see I'm not the only one suffering. After a good long search, I found just what fit the bill:
Logitech Internet 350 Keyboard (USB).

It's a classic design with Windows keys plus a couple of multimedia keys (volume, play/pause). The arrow keys and Enter, Insert,Delete, etc. are just where you want them to be. Bliss ;) You can get it for a low price and I like the feel of it.

You can see it here: logitech 350 keyboard official site.

Constantin said...

I know exactly what it feels like to type on such a keyboard (we have similar ones at school). I keep pressing Delete when I want Home or End.
This is the exact reason I bought a Logitech UltraX Media keyboard instead of those shiny A4tech ones.

Anonymous said...

I'm using a Cherry Cymotion
keyboard and I'm very happy with it. Cherry makes nice keyboards if you like like me old school, IBM style, clickety keyboard.

They even have a special Linux version

Anonymous said...

This keyboard is for he who makes great use of the Backspace key, see how its twice the size that it normally is? :-)

Messing with the insert/delete block seems popular.. I've had to use keyboards where its a block of 9.. the wake/sleep/off keys were in the position of insert/home/end, and a Logitech keyboard with a double-height delete key and no insert at all!

All of these keyboards must be designed for people that cannot remember where the keys are, so it doesn't matter that they're not in the correct position.

Richard said...

I don't think this is a big deal, I mostly use a keyboard at home, that has the keys arranged like a laptop+seperate numblock, and while it's different from standard keyboards, it's easy to adjust. My laptop has a different layout as well, and I have a standard keyboard for for some other Computers as well. Consistancy is vastly overrated.


Gonzalo said...


I have a traditional IBM keyboard. It's the bulky, "click-clack" programmers keyboard. The only trouble, which it isn't for me as that's what I am used to, is that it has the US-layout.

If you are interested, I'll send it to you for free (shipping is on you). I am in Granada and I believe you are in Barcelona, so it shouldn't be that much. Consider it a small token of appreciation for all your KDE work.

Albert Astals Cid said...

Thanks Gonzalo :-), but i also need ES layout so a US one will be similar worse.

mustard160 said...

Found some nice Cherry keyboards here! the wireless ones are really good, I have a stream at work and a stingray at home. neat low profile keys and look good too.