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Learn Aikido in North Devon


Section :: Rants and Raves

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Mac Keyboards – why I bought one when I already have one!

Small, beautiful and frustrating…
Wednesday 23 January 2013.

There are some things about the Mac that are beautiful and some things that drive me up the wall. The keyboard falls into both categories. Slim and elegant with a sleek aluminium sheen and low-profile white keys it certainly looks lovely. But in use, it’s a pig.

The damn’ thing doesn’t even have a Forward-delete key. If you want to delete the character to the right of the cursor, you have to press a key labelled ‘FN’ and simultaneously press the Backspace-delete key. Intuitive it ain’t.

It also lacks other useful keys. For example, the UK keyboard has no has no hash key (#). Pressing Shift-3 produces the pound symbol (). It took me a while to figure out, and a fair bit of Googling, that you have to press ALT+3 to produce a hash – something that is vital to know if you do much programming.

A Tale Of Two Keyboards: my original (above) - small, beautiful and impractical; my new one (below) a bigger, less elegant beast but one that I can live with.

There are other keys that are missing too. Missing, that is, if you re used to working on a PC. No Page-Up or Page-Down, for instance. Well, I finally gave up fighting against the damn’ thing and decided to invest in a better keyboard. The one I bought was the alternative Apple keyboard with an integrated numeric keypad (another thing that is missing from the dinky little keyboard that’s supplied s standard). This extended keyboard cost me about 50 and it is money well-spent. Not only does it have a Forward-delete key (thank God!), but it also adds on Page-Up, Page-Down even a pair of Start-of-Document/End-of-Document keys. It still doesn’t have a dedicated Hash key but I guess can learn to live with the ALT-3 key combination to produce a # when I need one.

And, as an added bonus, the keyboard is wired. At first sight I thought the standard unwired (Bluetooth) keyboard seemed pretty neat. The trouble is, it needs batteries. And batteries have to be replaced (at inconvenient moments, usually when I haven’t got any suitable batteries to hand). On the whole, I think I’ll be happier with my new, slightly less beautiful but hugely more practical, wired keyboard. Oh, the simple joy of a Forward-delete key!

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