posted by Thom Holwerda on Mon 12th Jul 2004 08:45 UTC

"Annoyances, Page 2/2"
Multifunction keyboards

Probably the most useless invention since some scientists came up with the idea to split atoms inside a bomb. First of all, who in Steve Jobs' name uses these multifunction keys? I have yet to find one person who actually uses those extra keys. Those keys are completely illogical. Why? Well, most 'average' pc users don't have their hands on the keyboard all of the time. They have one hand on their mouse, and the other hand, well, somewhere else. Not on the keyboard, in any case. Therefore, in order to use the extra keys, he'll have to make an extra move. And since everyone is lazy, they won't do that. So, they will use their mice to click the Outlook Express icon, and not that email key on their keyboards. And I don't blame them.

Secondly, it is getting harder and harder to find a decent quality keyboard without these keys. If you are like me, you want a high quality keyboard. This means you'll probably have to go with Logitech or Microsoft. But, when the shops in my hometown only sell that multifunction nonsense, I am almost forced into using them. Luckily I found a very special keyboard somewhere else, but still, more ignorant people are forced to spent more money on extra features they won't use. Stupid, really.


Yes, I dislike ordinary mice. They need a considerable amount of desk space, they need a mousepad (yes, most people also use a pad even when they have an optical one), and they're ugly. The best alternative? Trackballs! Yes, everyone, get out, go to your shop, and buy a trackball! They produce less strain on your arm and shoulder, they're easier to use, use less desk space, don't require a mousepad, and they're sexier.

Of course they have disadvantages as well. They are not very suitable for games, for instance. When you are a gamer, stick with your mouse. Another little thing is that they require regular cleaning. Because you operate the ball with your thumb, a lot of dirt gets inside.

But for me, the choice is easy: trackball! It was probably the best thing that entered my household after the Complete Greatest Hits, by The Eagles.


We all hate fanaticism, don't we? We all hate fanatics, don't we? Yet, we are all guilty of it, at least once or twice in our lives. That's not really a bad thing, nobody is perfect. But, there is a group of people who have taken fanaticism in the computer world to a higher level. Whether it be GPL fanatics, Windows zealots, Apple addicts or whatever, they are annoying. Very, very, very annoying.

I mean, it is of course okay to try to convince others that your platform or belief is the one and only, but try to keep it civilized. And that last thing really is missing these days. Editors are 'attacked' at the personal level just because they express their opinions on tech articles! That's crazy! Think about it, before screaming all sorts of nonsense simply because someone doesn't share your affection with a platform or OS.


I hope you enjoyed this article, and I would really like it if you use the comment section to express your ever returning irritations in the world of computing. And please, keep it civilized. In the end, it all comes down to 1's and 0's.

About the author:
Thom Holwerda is a regular visitor on and has contributed more than once. His first computer experience dates back to 1991 (a 286 entered the household). Over the years he has played around with several computers, but it wasn't until 2001 that he really started to experiment OS-wise with computers. His favorite operating systems are Windows Server 2003, Mandrake Linux and BeOS. He also has an affinity for the QNX Neutrino RTOS. He is also contributing to the SkyOS project, being responsible for the Dutch translation, and also functioning as an overall moderator on SkyOS’ independent forum, The eXpert Zone.

Table of contents
  1. "Annoyances, Page 1/2"
  2. "Annoyances, Page 2/2"
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