Fun with a keyboard… not!

Argh! And, I cannot emphasise that enough: argh! My keyboard at IIA-Australia is driving me potty!

“Oh, poor you,” I hear you say, “Why? What is it doing?”

Thank you for your concern.  Let me explain.

It looks like an American keyboard.  Seems reasonable, given the use by both nations of the dollar as unit of currency.

(As an aside, at this point, I note wryly that, following the 1966 example of the country itself, the Australian keyboard too has chased away the pesky £ – I found it hiding in the “Insert Symbol” option on Word and I understand it can also be coaxed into view by ALT CTRL $.  Here goes: ¤ – WTF? Oh, that was ALT CTRL 4.  To get the GBP symbol, you have to remember that the AUD symbol is actually SHIFT 4.  So, substituting into the formula, I try again ALT CTRL SHIFT 4: £!  Hoorah!)

Well, that was fun, but where was I?

Oh, the potty-drivingness of it all.

Many readers will be aware of the way the @ symbol and the “” symbol often switch between the top set of keys and the second from the bottom set.  On my keyboard, as is the US-keyboard habit, @ is @ the top (v. v. small joke) and “” is at the bottom.

I am frankly amazed by how often I have the occasion to type these symbols.  I am jackiely infuriated by how often I select the wrong one.  Brain- and muscle-memory combine to have me type “ when I mean @ – and vice versa – several times a day.  When will my hands adapt, I wonder?

An added frustration arises from the way the keyboard handles quotation marks.  Possibly very cleverly, the keyboard uses “ to provide an umlaut over vowels, without using the CTRL SHIFT ; key combination.  In other words, type “CTRL colon” and then a vowel and you get an umlaut on the vowel: ö.  See? Or type “ and then a vowel and you also get the umlaut: ö.  Neat.

BUT if you want to open a quotation beginning with a vowel, you have to remember to type “ then a space before the vowel: “o, what a lovely war!”, for example.  If you don’t, you end up with: ö, what a lovely war!”  Not quite the same thing.

Possibly because of that quirk, whenever you type “ and hit the space bar once, you get no space, just in case you want to open a quotation with a vowel.  If you want to open a quotation with something other than a vowel, that is fine.  It sorts itself out.  But, if you want to close a quotation and move on, you find yourself locked to the end of the last sentence: “Here is my quotation.”here is my new sentence….    Argh!!!!

A small frustration you may think but it raises its head somewhat frequently.  Maybe I will feel calmer for sharing the “pain” – or maybe not!  Thanks for reading! 🙂


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