Katherine Hayton | There is no ‘i’ in ‘keyboard’


24 Oct / There is no ‘i’ in ‘keyboard’

Seriously, there’s not. Look at this.

There it should be, snuck between the U and the O but instead it’s nowhere to be seen.

I like to think that the world doesn’t revolve around me but from the look of my keyboard my favourite letter in the world is quite obviously I.

The E is on its way out as well but that’s perfectly understandable being the commonest letter in the English alphabet and all. I know this thanks to reading Misery by Stephen King as a youngster and it having made a great impression upon me.

I also seem to recall that the second most used letter was R and unless Stephen King was deliberately misleading me, something which I cannot for the life of me fathom a reason for, then it should also be on the way out. It’s not.

The S is looking a bit shaky and the O looks like a second U tilted to one side, but the rest of the keyboard is feeling just fine and dandy, thank you very much.

Maybe I type words ending in “oise” a lot and that’s the source of my trouble.

The reason they’re wearing away at all can be firmly laid at the feet of my high school education where I was forced, along with the rest of my third form class, to learn to type for three months. Three months.

We learned with aprons covering our fingers, a large chart showing the location of letters on a keyboard on the wall, and manual typewriters. Only the last of those is relevant to my current complaint.

If you’ve built up the routine of hitting a key as hard as you can with your finger because if you don’t it won’t make a mark on the paper and also built up the muscle strength in those said fingers, you don’t just lose it because the technology changes.

Three months nearly thirty years ago and I still thump away at keys as though they need to depress a full inch. At least I’ve lost the habit of using Twink to cover up my mistakes. Messes up the screen, that.

By Katherine Hayton in Katherine Hayton's Blog
  • The Barefoot Backpacker

    I have a Microsoft Surface Tablet (it’s not my main computer, but it’s the one I take travelling, and the one I type most of my stories & blogs on in the pub). It’s the first generation, and about three years old now. It’s also showing its age in responsiveness.

    That, however, is not the main problem. It came with a “keyboard”, and I use the word quite loosely. It’s a thin sheet of blue rubber that serves also as a protective cover. However, the “keys” are ill-defined, being merely delineated squares on the rubber mat with letters on them. There is nothing to ‘press’, you merely have to hope that by prodding the pad where the buttons are, the letter will appear on screen.

    This happens approximately 85% of the time. The other 15% of key presses result in … nothing happening. Since I’m a very quick typer, plus also relatively unobservant, this often results in my looking at the screen and finding that three entire words are missing from the 2-line sentence, and the two words either side of the gap have run in to each other.

    My answer to this is to press harder and firmer on the keypad; a pointless exercise really as there’s nothing to press, so it doesn’t make any difference at all, but it does make me feel a bit better. It is, perhaps, telling that the keys most faded are the full stop and the comma. The backspace key, surprisingly, is mostly still legible.

    I love desktops. I love having a proper keyboard. 🙂

    • kathay@orcon.net.nz

      Ha! That reminds me of the ZX87 (yes I really am that old) that my father bought us when I was MUCH younger. It looked really cool with a rainbow stripe, but didn’t have any actual keys at all, just markings on a flat box where you were meant to press. Halfway through typing a program we’d look up at the monitor and see that at some point our fingers had slipped slightly to one side so nothing typed at all, or it was complete gibberish. I mean, even more complete gibberish than computer code is to start with 🙂 I feel your pain. I will now stop complaining and be grateful that even though I can’t read the letters assigned to them, at least I have keys.


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