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Over the years, I have used, and largely adapted to, a number of laptop keyboards of different layouts. I largely "hunt and peck" for home/page up etc, so their meanderings don't concern me too much. One that I really couldn't come to terms with had the up-arrow of the inverted T snuggled in where my right pinkie expected to find the shift key. I eventually took to using an external keyboard with that machine whenever I could.
But one I've started using recently is proving quite unsettling. It has an extra column of "multimedia" keys down the left edge of the keyboard. Every other keyboard I have ever used has tab/caps lock/shift/ctrl as the leftmost. (And I still remember the pain of adapting when caps lock and ctrl got swapped.) My (probably incorrect, but by now incorrigible) resting position has my left pinkie on the inner part of the shift key and if I glance down the joint of my pinkie aligns with the edge of a "normal" keyboard. On this keyboard, being "one key inboard" looks wrong out of the corner of my eye, and makes me stop to recalibrate. It really does disrupt my typing. I'll give it go for a while, but it might soon be time to break out an external keyboard.
</not quite a rant>
Software rusts. Simon Stephenson, ca 1994. So does this signature. me, 2012
While laptop keyboards don't bother me, I think there should be some sort of IEEE standard regarding layout as far as relative key positions are concerned. Given the highly variant laptop sizes available, it would be impossible to specify how big keys are, or their dimensional position on the keyboard plane.
You can get compact keyboards, but if you travel a lot, the keyboard will eventually (and sooner rather than later) get mangled and broke, so IMHO, the juice ain't worth the squeeze.
Having said all that, the best advice I can offer is that you man-up and stop whining.
".45 ACP - because shooting twice is just silly" - JSOP, 2010 ----- You can never have too much ammo - unless you're swimming, or on fire. - JSOP, 2010 ----- When you pry the gun from my cold dead hands, be careful - the barrel will be very hot. - JSOP, 2013
Keyboard quality & layout was one of the biggest factors in my latest laptop purchase (a Lenovo P1 - very nice). Hate the Dell(s) I get from work, HPs are dreadful, and so are Macs now (I have a 2009 MacBook Pro, which has the best laptop keyboard I’ve ever used, but the current ones are lousy).
But none of them are as good as my mechanical keyboard...
Java, Basic, who cares - it's all a bunch of tree-hugging hippy cr*p
Laptop vendors considering their special keys more important than the standard keys sadly ain't news. Having to press Fn to access keys like F5 because lowering the brightness is obviously more important than getting things done is pretty much the standard nowadays. And smuggling the Fn key where the Ctrl key should be (and putting Ctrl in place of Fn) goes back years as well.
I dare to claim that this cancer ain't new either but rather metastasis of the older issue: Software pack-ins. Every friggin' system vendor wants to differentiate itself by filling the preinstalled system with their crap instead of differentiating themselves by simply providing a work environment out-of-the-box.
A previous laptop had PAGE UP and PAGE DOWN keys arranged side by side in a horizontal layout on the right side of the keyboard. I was accustomed to scrolling through my PowerPoint presentations by using those keys. Unfortunately, the keyboard on my docking station had the same two keys in a _vertical_ layout with PAGE DOWN and DELETE side by side. I deleted quite a few slides before I realized what was going on. I solved the problem by adding a control to “Disable/Enable Delete Key” to my caps lock controller utility.
I've found that using KeyTweak is a tremendous help when I get a laptop that has a keyboard layout that has just a few keys positioned where I don't want them.
Theoretically, you could use it to rearrange the entirety of your laptop's keyboard's keys (changing it to DVORAK or AZERTY, et cetera); keep in mind, though, that any external keyboards you use will also have their layouts modified.
It took a quick look at that page, it says it's using a registry feature to adjust the layout. That limits its usefulness because AFAIK nothing at that level can treat one keyboard differently from a second, which means that if you remap your laptop keyboard to un it, any external keyboards will end up with an ed layout instead.
That became a major issue for me a month or two back when work bought me a fruitbook and installed bootcamp on it for me to do my normal work. That stuck me with a laptop keyboard which had all the windows control keys in a different order than my external one; making it next to unusable.
Hunting around for fixes I first found and quickly discovered that registry based tools were useless for my needs. I then discovered that autohotkey could do things on a per-keyboard basis. However users on the AHK forum itself recommended against doing so (very brittle implementation it seems) and instead pointed me toward the Interception driver/api package and a CLI remapping tool written by someone who needed it for gaming purposes. That's worked reasonably well since I got it setup (the initial install has all the user friendliness of a homebrew foss project ) and figured out how to adjust the mapping files it generated manually (it records keydown+keyup on a keydown and nothing on keyup, which broke anything that needed a key held down; fortunately splitting it up wasn't that hard to do).
The only limitations are that it can't successfully remap the fruitbooks fn key (I assume the touchbar support needs a special non-standard driver in the loop); and that the tool runs as a console window instead of in the tray or completely headless.
I've considered writing my own app around the api, but as always procrastination is the greatest nation and nothing has happened yet.
Did you ever see history portrayed as an old man with a wise brow and pulseless heart, weighing all things in the balance of reason?
Is not rather the genius of history like an eternal, imploring maiden, full of fire, with a burning heart and flaming soul, humanly warm and humanly beautiful?
Training a telescope on one’s own belly button will only reveal lint. You like that? You go right on staring at it. I prefer looking at galaxies.
-- Sarah Hoyt
I refuse to use a laptop keyboard at all. Being flat in physical orientation I find them impossible to work with.
I even went so far as to purchase an external keyboard that broke down into 3 pieces, so they would fit into my computer bag. The two main pieces were half of a standard keyboard, right and left. The third was a number pad.
I used it until I wore it out. I now use a standard USB keyboard.
I must admit I am a "Hunt and Pecker". The major regret I have is that I never learned to touch-type.
Software might rust, but programmers don't, I am happy to say.
They do fade away into forgotten languages, frameworks and tools however.
Here's one way to better appreciate the keyboard you're using -- try using one of those roll-up silicone keyboards. They've got sort of a "mushy" feel to the keys Keyboard (sometimes described as being marshmallows or Jell-O), combined with the "grippy" feel of the silicone on the fingertips makes it a not-so-pleasant experience. Next level of torture would be an 1970s/1980s era "Chiclet" keyboard found on some 8-bit micros... or worse -- keyboard from a Sinclair ZX-80 and ZX-81 (hrm... imagine the level of torture you could inflict if it also replicates the experience of the wobbly 16K memory expansion).