Tales from the Evil Empire

Bertrand Le Roy's blog

News


Bertrand Le Roy

BoudinFatal's Gamercard

Tales from the Evil Empire - Blogged

Blogs I read

My other stuff

Archives

I'm not alone! (die, caps lock, die!)

It seems like I'm not alone in my hatred for useless keys.

I mean, who hasn't pressed Caps Lock instead of Tab or Shift? When was the last time you voluntarily used Caps Lock?

Me, I physically extracted the Caps Lock key from my keyboards...

http://capsoff.blogspot.com/

UPDATE: here's a suggestion I sent about a year ago to the Microsoft keyboard team... I didn't even remember sending that and found it by chance today:
"There are a few keys on keyboards that are really still here for historical reasons. Typically, they are the toggle keys that are associated with a status led: caps lock, num lock, ScrLk and the infamous F lock. One of the problem with these keys is that they are next to other keys that are actually very useful and often-hit like Tab or digits. They are very often accidentally hit, which disrupts the flow of typing.
Possible solutions:
- Get rid of the keys or move them to a place where it's difficult to hit them accidentally.
- Give an option to disable these keys.
- Give them a touch feel distinctly different from other keys
- Return to the old behavior of these keys which is that their toggle nature is physically reflected by the distinctive click and persistent depressed state they used to have on typewriters and early computers. This has the advantage of making the status led dispensable, which is great for wireless keyboards. By the way, why is the status led not on the key itself: on my keyboard, it's on the bottom of the keyboard. What's the point of that?
"

Comments

Adam said:

I think it should be moved near the Scroll Lock/Num Lock keys... makes sense doesn't it? Still not as useless as the Windows key, however. (Yes, I said it) I still can't believe it was put between the 2 most widely used shortcut keys - at least that is where it is located on my keyboard. There is nothing more frustrating than working in Photoshop and accidently triggering the start bar or some other strange windows action.
# August 17, 2006 4:09 PM

K4GDW said:

Hmmm... I think it'd be a great idea to move the caps lock key somewhere out of the way. I do find myself using it frequently when writing SQL statements and occaisionally in writing *nix shell scripts. Perhaps put it somewhere near the Num Lock key.
# August 17, 2006 4:57 PM

Bertrand Le Roy said:

Yes, the consensus seems to be to move it to some other place. Personally, I don't care as long as it's out of the way.

As for the Windows key, for me it's one of the most useful, maybe because I'm using Vista. Hit Windows, type photo, return, and boom, Photoshop is launched. A huge time saver for me. But I do agree that it gets in the way sometimes, especially in games (but I only play on the 360 and the DS now so it's not a problem for me).

# August 17, 2006 6:01 PM

Eric Wild said:

Don't forget the insert key! That is the most useless key.
# August 18, 2006 3:55 PM

Mike said:

Caps Lock is prime keyboard real estate, immediately adjacent to home row. So don't remove it -- remap it! With standard keyboards, Ctrl is the most popular remapping. On a Kinesis Ergo (that I happen to use), Escape is the most popular, since the default Escape key is in a crappy spot.
# August 18, 2006 4:52 PM

Manish said:

I think caps lock is placed at that location coz in the typewriters, this is the location where the key to hold shift key down is placed, if you've seen a typewriter, the shift and caps lock (i dont know what it is called in typewriter) are joined to the same shaft, only the (so called) caps lock has a locking system attached. About windows key, i've no idea why the placed it here, it is really sometimes very frustrating.
# August 21, 2006 3:46 AM

Caps Mishaps said:

If you are writing SQL statements it is a godsent to be in the position that it is. Why not try pressing shift 5 times quickly on your keyboard and enable the beep sound for when you toggle the capslock option? Then at least you would have a reminder for when you hit it. The other option would be to not look at your keyboard while you were typing.
# August 21, 2006 4:54 AM

Gary Taylor said:

I use a keyborad that allows me to turn of the windows key, so I no longer accidently get the start menu. (The keyboard has been designed for gamers but I find usefull in my coding).
# August 21, 2006 8:44 AM

FDumlao said:

The question is... what goes in the Caps Lock key's place? A blank space on the keyboard is going to be ugly, as well as a waste of space, especially on my laptop's keyboard. As far as the Windows key, that is a nice feature Bertrand, I know because I have been using it for more that a year on Mac OS X. However the Windows key is not needed in this instance. On the Mac you get to this feature by using "Command + Space Bar" which is easy enough because these are right next to each other, on windows we have the "alt + Space Bar" used to access the title-bar menu (is this the same on Vista?) but perhaps we could use the unmapped "crtl + Space Bar" to do the same thing?
# August 21, 2006 9:16 AM

vizeetor said:

CAPS lock key has never bothered me and I do use it every now and then. But I do agree, it makes sense to move it somewhere else but then the question arises, what should be placed there instead? :-)
# August 21, 2006 12:07 PM

Tom said:

Adam, the windows key is not useless. It can be very useful for shortcuts. Try hitting window-r and see what happens, or windows-l, or windows-d. There are many useful shortcuts with the windows key. I am sure there is a list out there somewhere. I definitely would not consider the windows key useless. You can buy a keyboard that does not have the windows key on it.
# August 22, 2006 8:08 AM

MJL said:

I think they should develop a keyboard for developers, one designed by a developer, they could call it Microsoft Developer Keyboard. It could be both good for games and development. For extended usage, and the short cut keys should be - extended find and replace and things like debugging. As for the cap lock + window keys - these are both keys I would never dream of using. I too would love to see them gone!
# August 22, 2006 11:01 AM

Bertrand Le Roy said:

Caps Mishaps: I'm clueless about what you mean when you say that not looking at the keyboard while typing (which all reasonably fast typers do) helps in any way in not hitting the caps lock key... I would argue that it helps in accidentally hitting it, that's the point.

# August 22, 2006 1:52 PM

LFX said:

I personally would prefer the caps-lock to be a shortcut (shift + alt + control + C) I don't care how long, as long as it out of the way!
# August 23, 2006 5:28 PM

miechu said:

you can always remap keyboard via windwos registry: 1. open regedit 2. HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet001\Control\Keyboard Layout 3. right click & add a new binary value named: Scancode Map 4. enter value: 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 02 00 00 00 00 00 52 e0 00 00 00 00 5. log out; log in; - last four numbers mean: zamien 52 e0 (insert) to 00 00 (null) - the first lone 2 number describes te amount of remaped keys + terminator - at the end there's gotta be a terminator (null) - you can add more binds, just add another four increse the first numer, and don'tforget that terminator this way you can rebind every key :D die insert, die! ;) best regards miechu (wanna thank me? ;) mail me at: miechu # miechu.pl)
# August 30, 2006 5:09 AM

miechu said:

argh! where did those "\n\r" go?!
# August 31, 2006 4:23 PM

Robert Cowart said:

Ctrl was immediately left of the A key for ever, before IBM decided to rearrange the PC keyboard on the IBM AT in the '80's. Computer terminals such as the famous ADM 3A all had it there. IBM decided to make the keyboard more like a typewriter. Big mistake, since virtually anyone using a PC for word processing was using WordStar which used the Ctrl key for editing, scrolling, cutting and pasting, block moves, and everything else. I still use those commands and can edit fast as heck with them (way faster than with a mouse, pgup, PgDn, arrow keys, and backspace. I can do all kinds of things like delete to end of line (Ctrl-P), delete line (Ctrl-Y) using macros I wrote for Word that emulate Wordstar. SO I always have to remap the keys. I put Ctrl where CapsLock is, put Alt where Ctrl is, and put Caps lock where ALt is. Much better layout. Currently writing about Windows Vista and realize my trust program RemapKey isn't working in Vista because it can't find the registry....:( Bob Cowart Author of 20 books about Windows including "Using Windows XP" (Que) upcoming...Using Windows Vista
# September 10, 2006 2:52 AM

Johnny said:

Hmmm... To Taiwanese and maybe other Asian users Caps Lock is a little bit important because we need it to switch between IME and English input. I don't remember pressing the Caps Lock key when I actually want to press the Tab key, but I do sometimes press the Function key instead of Ctrl on my notebook. Yes, it is sometimes quite bothering.
# October 21, 2006 9:14 PM

Tj said:

I LOVE the windows key;

Windows Key+E-My Computer

Windows Key+R-Run

Windows Key+D-Minimize/undo minimize.

I use the windows key the most, apart from Alt+TAB and Alt+F4

But i think CAPS lock should be moved, and that "Insert" should be DESTROYED!!

I think ill just pull mine out!! =D

And if you go into control panel, and accessability options....you can make your computer beep when you turn on caps lock....then you always notice it!

# February 23, 2008 11:02 AM

Steve said:

I have the Microsoft Natural Ergonomic 4000 keyboard, and it has a utility that allows you to disable the Caps Lock key.  This is a great feature, unfortunately the inept developers at Microsoft can't even get this feature to work right.  Somehow a fumble on the keyboard will trigger its activation anyway, and you then cannot change the setting back because the Caps Lock key is disabled!  So then you have to go into your keyboard settings dialog, re-enable the Caps Lock key, close the dialog, hit the Caps Lock key to turn it back off, and then go back into the keyboard settings dialog to disable the Caps Lock key again.  I don't know what kind of standards (if any) Microsoft requires of its employees, but I find it especially pathetic that they can't even get a feature as simple as this to work 100% of the time.

# April 18, 2010 5:49 PM

King_DuckZ said:

I don't really understand why you guys don't use it. When you learn how to type, you soon get to know that for an upper case character you have to use the shift key opposite to the hand you're using for your letter. So H is lshift + h, G is rshift + g. And that's why you have two shift keys.

Now, typing an all caps word only using shift keys would force you into a weird and awkward dance (unless you're lucky and all the letters you need are on the same side, which shouldn't happen anyways). Go ahead and type MY_DEMONSTRATIVE_TEST, and no cheating!

Writing all-caps words happens quite often, for example when you're a developer. Depending on the language and on the adopted coding style, you are required to put an all-caps word every now and then, such in:

for (int z = FIRST_INDEX; z < LAST_INDEX; ++z)

I find caps lock to be quite useful, and it's right in the good place for me.

I assume that other heavy typers (other than coders) have cases where they often put all-caps words in the middle of a text.

Besides, if you look at the screen and you type an unwanted caps letter, you immediately know that you hit the wrong key. You don't need any led, and if you have to rewrite the whole sentence is because you were watching your keyboard while typing. If you do so you're a beginner and you don't deserve to express your opinion on how things should be changed.

# March 25, 2011 8:41 AM

Bertrand Le Roy said:

@King_Duckz: that last sentence is such a nice touch... To each his own. I personally avoid shouting and none of the programming languages that I use force me to shout, by a lucky coincidence. Note that the new Google laptops did remove the Caps Lock key, so I guess I'm not alone in my misguided quest for the elimination of that key...

# March 25, 2011 8:18 PM