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Saturday, May 11

Another keyboard to learn

I have a lot of computer keyboards to use. I regularly use three laptops. I have touchscreen keyboards on my phone and tablet. I've probably used dozens of computers over the years, and they all seem to have their own different keyboard layouts. The QWERTYUIOPASDFGHJKLZXCVBNM keys are where you might expect them (except on the Kindle, where the layout is too rectangular), and reflect what I learned on my late grandmother's typewriter when I was but a child, but the other keys move about.

I have two laptops now with Microsoft keyboards attached to them. I like the real-sized keyboard, and the Microsoft keyboard, though slightly harder to use with its sunken keys, is a decent bit of kit. At home I have the wireless version, with a wireless mouse on the side. At the office, I have the wired version.

So why, in the name of some non-existent superbeing, are these two keyboards laid out differently? Same manufacturer, same market, same keys... subtly different layout. The wireless one has its principle keys laid out without the gaps between the letter keys and cursor keys, and the cursor keys and number pad. The wired one, has the special function keys (volume etc) on a special row above all others.

Is this a plot to make me memorise the locations of keys on all keyboards independently of each other? Am I being trained to look with my fingers? (I type with my eyes on the screen, not the keyboard.)

Or are the product designers favouring something spurious, rather than standardisation.

If it were all the same, it would be easier.

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