Keyboard hack

Why do all the keys on a standard keyboard feel the same? The only tactile clues are little bumps on the f and j keys to help you find the home row. Some keyboards use different colors for different keys, but such visual clues train you to look at the keyboard. If you want to learn touch typing, you need tactile clues.

I experimented with this while changing how I use the control keys. By putting a little felt* on top of the control keys, I could feel when I’d reached for the correct key. This particularly helps when switching from my desktop to laptop since the left control key is in a different position on each keyboard.

* I didn’t actually use felt but rather the soft half of a velcro fastener because that’s what I found first.

5 thoughts on “Keyboard hack

  1. Hey, I like to use the Caps Lock key as a Ctrl, because I rarely use the Caps Lock. Just a hint, but it might not work for you.

  2. Thanks for the suggestion. I remap caps lock too. I’ve been using the caps lock key as my only control key until lately. Now I’m trying to use both control keys (and both alt keys) analogous to how I use both shift keys.

    I use the caps lock for control when I have my left hand on the keyboard and my right hand on the mouse, e.g. selecting with the mouse, then C-c to copy etc. But when I have both hands on the keyboard, it feels better to use the left control key, maybe because it’s more symmetric with my right hand.

  3. I’m a big fan of keyboard symmetry — I remap my caps lock key to another return key, and I had a cell phone that had a really awesome keyboard in terms of tactile feedback, there was a very fine set of fingerprint like things on the keys. Was a joy to interact with, but I don’t remember the model at the moment.

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