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Top control/alt/shift

Shift and meta keys at the top centre of the keyboard
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Ever tried to type ALT-F8 or CTRL-U with one hand? Not easy. It can require very ungainly hand positionings. It's really annoying if you spend most of the time running applications or browsing with just a mouse or the arrow keys plus page-up/down/enter, and then have to bring the other hand into place to select a command from the keyboard.

My suggestion is to mount a third cluster of CTRL, ALT, SHIFT, and anything similar you have on your keyboard, in a convenient location just above F5 and F6. The current layout is great for touch-typing but useless for one-handed programming (if you have to hold a book open, take notes from the screen, hold your place with finger in a column of figures, eat, etc.) Since many programmers have pretty unorthodox typing styles, and people are using their keyboards less and less, I think this could be popular.

You couldn't solve this by re-mapping the function keys to be control and alt, because I often need to press combinations of them with ctrl and alt in the applications I use.

pottedstu, Nov 19 2001

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       And while you're at it, put Delete nearer to Ctrl and Alt so I can use one hand to try and break out of the BSOD while using the other to attack the computer with whatever heavy object is near to hand.
CoolerKing, Nov 19 2001
  

       'many programmers have pretty unorthodox typing styles'
Not just programmers. My manager types solely with his right index finger, using his left index finger for the <shift> key.
I can manage ALT+F9 with one hand on my Dell QuietKey keyboard, but any greater stretch is beyond me. Have a pastry.
angel, Nov 19 2001
  

       I can stretch to ALT-F10 on my full-size IBM keyboard. Or Right-Shift-A, if I wanted to.
hippo, Nov 19 2001
  

       While we're at it, let's move the keypad to the left side. That way I can keep my mouse on the right yet still have the alphabet keys 'centered' in front of me. As it is, I either have to slide the whole keyboard over (which can leave no room for a mouse on some keyboard drawers) or keep the keyboard centered but slide my hands 3" to the left to type.   

       Yeah, I know, I know.
phoenix, Nov 19 2001
  

       See pottedstu's last paragraph, PS.
Guy Fox, Nov 19 2001
  

       This is a nice idea. The problem with remappable is that the keyboard becomes a carnival mystery house--everything is then mislabeled.

Related (sorta'), I once saw foot pedals for SHIFT, ALT (Mac:OPTION), and CTRL keys. Thought them a good idea. Especially for Photoshop and other tablet input use.
bristolz, Nov 19 2001
  

       Use vi instead of emacs.   

       I read the last paragraph. Remap F6 to be a shift key (not shift+F6), map F7 to alt, rearrange the rest, and either cut out two function keys you never use, or if you must have access to all of F1-F12 then move your favorite two to the windows & menu keys in between the right alt&ctrl buttons.   

       The Japanese Microsoft Internet Keyboard Pro has about a dozen extra keys on it for remapping fetishists, or I guess Japanese people.
prometheus, Nov 19 2001
  

       Working for IBM, I have the old time big iron IBM keyboards <take two men and a small boy to carry them, 17 years old.> and I can reach almost anything on the keyboard with one hand, from right-control to the number 2 or the F2 key, and the Three-Finger-Buggeroff is simple.
StarChaser, Nov 19 2001
  

       Go back to your Mac and get MacOS X which is very stable (well, it's just BSD Unix with a thin veneer of pretty graphics on top, isn't it?).
hippo, Nov 20 2001
  
      
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