My venerable T40 (which has small pieces of plastic coming off of it at an alarming rate) was having a few keyboard issues lately. Some of the keys’ lettering has worn off, which is not that big of a deal. But some keys don’t actually work all of the time, causing me to type a lot of errors. And sometimes on boot some keys just aren’t working. Given that these keys often include h and m, two letters that are part of my login name, this is a little annoying.
A while ago I ordered a new keyboard on EBay, and foolishly decided to have it delivered to Peter’s house in Belgium, because I was going to spend ten days there over Christmas. Of course, it is probably no surprise to anyone that the delivery with US Postal Mail took a lot longer than the 7 planned days, and it arrived long after I had left Belgium again.
This weekend I finally went past Peter’s to go and collect it. I was going to wait until I was back in BCN to install it, but this weekend my laptop failed to have working m and h keys six reboots in a row, so I decided to install it straight away. And it’s definitely an improvement.
Living here in Barcelona I have come to realize even more than before that the layout differences between French/Belgian and US are range from understandable to completely silly. Exchanging Q/W for A/Z makes no sense to me at all. Putting the numbers to be used with shift is only very vaguely understandable, and mostly annoying just because it is different. The Spanish one is not that much better, but at least it has Q and W right. For programming, both are frustrating (having to use alt for square brackets and parentheses).
So I have decided some time ago that for me personally, the One True Keyboard from now on will be US/International. So that’s the keyboard I ordered for my laptop, and when I was in the States I also got a wireless keyboard with this layout.
Funnily enough, while I’m a good typist and I manage just fine switching between French and English/Spanish, having my laptop in English and the desktop in Spanish is breaking my muscle memory. The most baffling difference: ( and ) are above 9 and 0 on the English one, and above 8 and 9 on the Spanish one.. I hope someone up there is enjoying this.
So tomorrow I will bring my English one to work and from that point on I hope to have US/International rock my world.
(Apparently I am not alone thinking the keyboard situation is silly – Julien, my boss, apparently also always uses US, even though he remains a real French man).