Wednesday, August 23, 2006

SHOUT IT OUT, BRUTHA! Death to Caps Lock
"The Caps key is an abomination," Hintjens writes on his blog. "It's a huge key, stuck right there where the Ctrl used to be, and as far as I know, it's only used by 419 scammers and Fortran programmers."

Zealous net newbies have also subjected the Caps Lock key to overuse, composing e-mails and newsgroup posts entirely in capital letters, an ugly and inelegant style of communication akin to screaming. In fact, the Capsoff organization's slogan is "STOP SHOUTING!"

The antagonism toward the Caps Lock key extends beyond its misuse by 13-year-old trolls and naive users. Caps Lock is also responsible for failed entries of passwords and other case-sensitive phrases. Users of word processors are forced to retype any text that was entered with Caps Lock accidentally turned on.

They really ought to put the dumb thing in some other location on the keyboard, as it's too close to the Shift key.

I could go into an extended discussion here of various aspects of keyboard design, evolutionary history, and its relation to archaeology, but I shan't bore you. I'll just toss it out there for your edification.

However, SJ Gould did write an essay on the whole QWERTY issue and concluded that the standard explanation of the key layout -- originally designed to keep users from typing to fast in order to keep mechanical arms from sticking together without the user knowing it -- is only partly true. It stuck because a particular typing instruction company standardized on that layout.

You know, kinda like how we got stuck with this bizarre bit of software kludgework known as "Windows". . . .

VIa Instapundit.