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keyboard trends

On Tue, 2011-01-18 at 15:35 -0500, Tom Metro wrote:
> While looking at laptops and stand-alone keyboards recently, I see there
> are several trends happening. I'd be curious to know what people think
> of these "features."
> Number pads seem to be showing up on more laptops, even those with 15"
> screens. I guess this is in part due to the wide aspect ratio screens.
> Have we all turned into accountants? Do you use your number pad?

It's a waste of effort for me: I'm so used to using the top row number
keys that a number pad is superfluous.

> F-keys on laptops have had a second function to control the hardware,
> such as changing the display brightness, when used with an Fn modifier
> key. Newer HP laptops reverse the logic of the Fn modifier key, such
> that you have to press the modifier to get the traditional F1-F12
> function. I rarely use either mode of these keys, so this wouldn't
> bother me, except I see they also put Insert into the F-key row, and I
> use that all the time. I tried making use of the Insert key on several
> demo laptops (of course running Windows) as part of the Shift-Insert
> shortcut for paste, but couldn't get it to work with or without the Fn
> modifier. (Have they removed that shortcut from Windows?)

Cntl-X|C|V is universal AFAIK, so I don't care where the insert key is
when I copy/cut and paste. I only use it occasionally to switch to
"overwrite" mode when editing text. As for having the other F# keys
accessible only via a "Fn" key, that would depend on the applications I
was using. If I were a WordPerfect user, I'd insist on having the
traditional function. Those who prefer mice might not care.

> Half height up/down keys. No doubt in an effort to save space and cost,
> several manufacturers are making keyboards with the up/down keys
> occupying the space of a single key. While Up/Down make be less used
> than right/left, this seems like it could be a disadvantage.

I'd be uncomfortable with that: I still use a number of "old world"
programs that require the arrow keys for navigation.

> By far the most visible trend in keyboards right now is "chiclet" keys
> or more formally island-style keyboard. 

I suppose it depends on what each user prefers: "Chiclet" keys are
probably the result of pressure-pad switch matrices instead of
individual switches under each key. I could get used to one so long as I
wasn't switching from "chiclet" to traditional all the time.


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