Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 14th Jan 2010 11:37 UTC
Hardware, Embedded Systems It's funny how while software changes so fast, and many hardware components evolve at ridiculously fast paces (processors, memory, hard drives), the keyboard has remained largely unchanged over the years - until recently, that is. Even Lenovo has now buckled under the pressure, switching to a chiclet-style keyboard for ThinkPads - while also removing the SysReq key.
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Comment by palraabjerg
by palraabjerg on Thu 14th Jan 2010 13:14 UTC
palraabjerg
Member since:
2010-01-14

It's funny how while software changes so fast, and many hardware components evolve at ridiculously fast paces (processors, memory, hard drives), the keyboard has remained largely unchanged over the years - until recently, that is.

Oh yes. It still amazes me how ingrained keyboards are in habit and tradition. And this goes for nearly every single keyboard in production today. And forget an essentially minor tweak like the SysReq key...
Do any of you guys know exactly why the rows of a keyboard are non-aligned? In fact, not a single of the four main rows have the exact same alignment.
As far as I can make out, typewriters did this purely to make space for the little rods that go from each key to the main typewriter mechanics.

If you want a sensible keyboard design that actually take comfort and ergonomics into account (instead of tweaking mindlessly on a design that makes no sense in the age of electronic keyboards), the only two manufacturers I know of are Kinesis and Maltron. Maltron even has examples of how to create a more sensible flat keyboard. And I so wish someone would at least make the attempt to adapt such a design to a laptop.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment by palraabjerg
by bhtooefr on Thu 14th Jan 2010 13:20 in reply to "Comment by palraabjerg"
bhtooefr Member since:
2009-02-19

However, the staggered rows allow for better distinction of the rows without looking at the keyboard.

Anyway, SysRq isn't the most important key, although PrtSc is more important, and SysRq is underneath PrtSc normally. (I see Lenovo's put PrtSc under Insert, which is acceptable on such a compressed layout.)

What bothers me more is the function keys. On Windows, they're very necessary. Alt-F4? F5? Those two shortcuts alone warrant keeping them as primary function.

Reply Parent Score: 1

palraabjerg Member since:
2010-01-14

However, the staggered rows allow for better distinction of the rows without looking at the keyboard.

I would think that the little taps usually found on F and J would serve the purpose of finding the initial row just fine. The displacement of the rows mostly seems to serve the purpose of making you hit the wrong keys.
Another thing to hate about the ordinary keyboard design is the fact that both thumbs are dedicated to a single key: The Space Bar.
Kinesis gives you 6 keys for each thumb. Maltron gives you 8 (with a ctrl and an alt key for each thumb, With backspace, home and tab on the left, delete, end, enter and space on the right). There was even space enough left to separate '.', ':', ';' and ',' onto four different keys.
But don't mind my rambling too much. Changing the typewriter-keyboard habit of the entire world probably wouldn't be possible anyway ;)

Reply Parent Score: 1