10.0560 planctus tabulae clavum

WILLARD MCCARTY (willard.mccarty@kcl.ac.uk)
Fri, 3 Jan 1997 22:11:12 +0000 (GMT)

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 10, No. 560.
Center for Electronic Texts in the Humanities (Princeton/Rutgers)
Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
Information at http://www.princeton.edu/~mccarty/humanist/

[1] From: "Sarah L. Higley" <slhi@troi.cc.rochester.edu> (32)
Subject: The old ctrl-key position!

Let me add my two cents to David Hoover's remarks about the function keys
on keyboards, which I hate at the top as well! Since I use notabene, so
many of my commands require the combined use of ctrl/alt/shift with the
f-keys, and I will never give up my keyboard until it's collapsed. But
the following is my biggest gripe, and I wonder if anybody else shares it
with me: I absolutely hate the decision on the part of keyboard makers
to transpose the control key and the caps lock key. I grew up on
"Wordstar," believe it or not, and the very handy method it taught me of
combining ctrl and a letter character for the arrow functions is with me
to this day: I've customized my NB to treat ctrl/e as up one line, ctrl/x
as down one line, ctrl/f as forward one word, and so forth. This means
that I can type at lightening speed, correcting as I go, never taking my
hands off the keyboard or my eyes off the screen to use the arrow keys.
Whenever I have to use a wordprocessor that is not notabene, I feel dizzy
and clumsy, shifting my hands off the board, looking around for the
arrow keys. For this reason I've never been able to get a laptop. Laptops
don't allow you to customize the major function keys. Will that ever

I've been using this system for over twenty years, now, and I suppose I
could try to recustomize my keyboard to use the alt key or the ctrl key in
its new position, but it's like asking someone to change from qwerty to
another system of typing.

How many other people are griped by this switch? I use the caps lock
key so seldom; I don't know why it should be in this privileged position,
but the control key is like my stick shift. Will they ever allow one to
customize laptop keyboards? I have been repeatedly told that this is

I was hot to buy the last of the 1019 Toshiba Satellites two years ago,
because it was the only laptop I knew of that had the control key in the
old position. Alas, it didn't work out.

Sarah Higley
Associate Professor of English
The University of Rochester