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 Post subject: Caps Lock Dilemma
PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2007 10:00 am 
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I love my ice Deck 82, but I wish Deck would make one more keycap for us OS X users:

A replacement for the *CAPS* key that has the command symbol on it.

The reasons for this are:

A) nobody but accountants actually uses the caps lock key anymore, and nobody really knows why accountants use it either

B) OS X lets you remap the command key to one of: caps, control, and option. Control and option (alt) are both useful in OS X, so caps is the best choice. I wouldn't really want to remap any other key anyway; Caps is the most useless key on my keyboard.

C) The Windows/Command key is relegated on the Deck to the upper-righthand corner, which is a stretch even for my big hands

D) Relegating it to the corner makes sense for Windows and Linux, but not for OS X's Command key, which you use for everything from opening files in the Finder to saving whatever you're working on to reloading a web page

So, Caps is the best alternative mapping for the Command key, but the option key provided in the mac keycap kit won't fit there.

Right now, my options are either to buy the whole 82-key blank keycap set (which is cool, don't get me wrong, but kind of expensive for just one key) and then carefully paint on a command key, or grind down my caps lock key and paint over it. Ouch.

I suppose another way to go would be to put the command key in Ctrl's spot (which is supported by OS X), but then I'd need a Ctrl key that would fit where caps lock is. I wouldn't mind that, because I spend a lot of time at the shell prompt, and use Ctrl constantly.

Actually, that would be popular with Linux people, too, who often like Sun-style keyboards such as the Happy Hacking, with the Ctrl next to the A. Another Linux-oriented key: "Meta" (for EMACS users to put on their Alt key).


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jul 16, 2007 6:16 pm 
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Hello. I registered for the purpose of chiming in on the subject of layout.

For background, I'm a Mac user, a gamer and a programmer. I touch type with two different language mappings, switching between them with a keystroke every now and then. Obviously, I don't look at the keyboard, but I'm very conscious about the keys being in a good layout. I'm currently using the Happy Hacking Lite2 (here's my setup). As always, there's room for improvement, so I have been looking at the Déck along with other premium keyboards for an eventual upgrade.

As things stand, the Déck is a step towards the direction I want to go - quality mechanical switches - and two steps back with the layout.

The biggest sticking points that I can see are:

Mostly Mac related:
- The nonstandard bottom row - we Mac users need the Command key all the time! laberreader says he's okay with the Déck 82, but for me, and I suspect for most Mac users, no Command next to spacebar = unusable keyboard. The HH manages dual symmetric command-alt keys in the same form factor as the Déck and a tiny sliver empty space left over, so it can be done. Though it's not so important on other OS's, I know some Linux folk have use for the key, and map stuff to it... was it called "super"? And I remember there were some relatively useful things it would do on Windows, Win-R, Win-E, Win-D for instance. Surely it can't hurt.
Mostly gamer / terminal work related:
- Esc is in the normal location - in other words, too far. Gamers and Unix folk in particular would like it on the left side of the "1" key. It'd fit there perfectly if you widened tab, shift etc by half keywidth to bring them closer to standard length, and shrunk the "1" key from oversized to normal.
- Ctrl in the normal Caps Lock location is just better. I could remap Caps to Ctrl - I have done that on my laptop - but then the LED will be on or off depending on whether I've hit Ctrl an even or odd amount of times. Like labelreader says - no one actually wants Caps Lock, and the odd time you do, you could easily reach a little farther for it.
General:
- Both Backspace and Del keys are more important than \| key, however, \| has better position. Clearly some reshuffling would be in order. Fn would be none the worse for being on the right side of the keyboard, and moving it would clear a bit of space.

So basically those would be the things that would need to change for me to get a Déck. I'm sure it's good hardware and a good value now, it's just not quite optimal. The HH Lite2, though equipped with worse components and no backlighting, has all these layout factors right. It only has one severe layout problem, lack of dedicated function keys.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jul 23, 2007 4:07 pm 
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I don't know much about Macs; I only have Windows and Linux computers around me. But I know that in both of those, it's pretty simple to remap keys once you learn how (Windows with a registry edit, Linux either by changing the keymap or with xmodmap). Is there no way to remap keys with a Mac, too?

For the record, I was in a similar situation as you. I like keyboards with small footprints, had a Happy Hacking Lite 2 (still do, along with five other keyboards I don't use), and got a Deck because of the keyswitches and f1-12 keys (I even keep the LEDs off all the time). I do, however, remap almost every key that isn't a letter, punctuation mark (actually I remap some of those, too), number, or f1-12. I've swapped esc and tab, because esc needs to be lower like you said (especially for vi). I've moved del next to enter, because as you said, it needs a better position. I've actually moved \| to the right shift key because I want it closer for TeX and I always use the left shift key, but you could obviously do something different. And I've remapped about fifteen other keys.

I also agree that both ctrl/caps and backspace could use better locations. In fact, I move ctrl to caps, leaving caps off all together, and I move backspace down next to p, even closer than it is on an HHK (which is where I got the idea of moving it). But the Deck layout is pretty much a stripped down laptop layout (plus a moved windows key); it's not their fault that caps has been in a stupid spot for 20+ years and backspace has never been as close to the rest of the keys as it should be. (I know that the HHK moves ctrl and backspace around, but I can't think of any other retail keyboard that does so. Certainly not one aimed at gamers, anyway.)

A note: The caps lock light only toggles if caps lock itself is toggling; if you put ctrl in its place, it won't turn the light on (or off if caps has been turned on). And if you keep the LEDs off, the caps lock LED won't ever light anyway.

A second note: I've never had a problem with using the windows key on a Windows machine. I mainly use it for win+r, win+m, and win u u, but they're not too bad, since they're not the sort of thing that you need to do all the time.

Anyway, the point is that you can remap a lot of things, at least in Windows and Linux. Surely there's some way to remap a keyboard with OSX. (Looks like there is: http://developer.apple.com/technotes/tn2002/tn2056.html. And it looks like there's at least some third-party software with a gui if you don't want to bust out a text editor and debug a bunch of XML. Of course, I've never used Ukelele, so I have no idea if it works. But it seems all right.)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2007 8:39 pm 
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Pyrthas,

Sounds like you have kind of a gappy-toothed board after all that! *grin*

Didn't you find that the Ctrl key banged against the Caps LED? I temporarily put it there, but I found it a) a bit ugly and b) didn't travel fully because it hit the LED. I thought about taking the LED out, but that would still leave a gap.

I'd much prefer Ctrl and Command keycaps that were the same size as Caps. It'd also be nice if they'd sell us the blank Caps key without the rest of the 82-key set!

Anybody else want these keycaps? *drum* *drum*


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2007 11:35 pm 
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Oh, I didn't move the keycaps around at all. I just remapped the keys themselves. You're right that if you try to move any keycap to the caps lock position (other than the right shift key) it'll run into the led. I have to admit, I don't think I'd pay for getting my keycaps renamed properly (although one of these days I'll get around to buying the blank set).


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2007 7:15 am 
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Pyrthas,

Oh, okay. Well, the position of caps lock on the keyboard is a waste of prime real estate to me... =) I'd definitely pay for another set of keycaps to get a match between label and function on the caps lock spot. Why buy a pretty lil' keyboard like the Déck only to have to explain to guest users that CAPS means "Command" (or "Ctrl")?

I wonder if the real culprit is that the Déck is related to those keyboards they have in police cruisers, where more conservative users expect to have a "shift lock" key. Geeks like us consider it a relic of the days when "carriage return" was a lever, but much of the general population still thinks of a computer as a fancy typewriter. =)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2007 8:34 am 
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Quote:
I wonder if the real culprit is that the Déck is related to those keyboards they have in police cruisers


The Deck boards ARE the keyboard that are in police cruisers, the only difference is a metal chassis and a rubber splashguarding membrane (which we will unfortunately never offer for the Deck line due to various reasons, mostly engineering and $$$, sorry).

Quote:
As things stand, the Déck is a step towards the direction I want to go - quality mechanical switches - and two steps back with the layout.


I feel your pain on that as I am a Mac user as well. The Deck was made originally in the interest of PC gamers (like all other peripherals) and the relocated Windows key worked well for that. The 'Mac' version has none of the keys remapped from this standard layout - it simply has different keycaps for aesthetics. The cost and time to create new firmware and implement it at this point, as well as carrying two sets of stock compared to actual demand isn't worth it for us which is why we do not do it (yes I know more people may buy our products if we offered them with these features but its not going to happen anytime soon). Consider this something that you wish could happen and may happen but isnt going to happen in the near future, sorry.

Quote:
I'd much prefer Ctrl and Command keycaps that were the same size as Caps. It'd also be nice if they'd sell us the blank Caps key without the rest of the 82-key set!


The more I read about this issue the more I think that may be what happens. Keep your eyes peeled for a topic specifically related to new keycaps, I will probably take suggestions and implement the most popular results. There will still be someone who wants a <insert idea here> keycap even afterwards so I can never make everyone happy :P but I will try.

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http://www.deckkeyboards.com - The best backlit keyboards on Earth
http://www.tg3electronics.com - Parent company of Deck, leaders in custom industrial keyboards


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2007 9:40 am 
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Adam,

I don't think you need two sets of firmware; OS X lets you map Caps lock as a Command (or Ctrl) key out-of-the-box, and I think a lot of people who might hesitate to install third-party keyboard mapping software wouldn't balk at all at using the Keyboard Preferences panel. So, all that's needed are the keycaps!

I'll be watching the site!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2007 10:45 am 
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http://www.deckkeyboards.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=392

I created the above post specifically for taking keycap suggestions, it is generally alot easier for us to offer new keycap layouts (if there is sufficient interest) than new keyboard features. Vote for your keycaps!

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Deck Guy Adam
http://www.deckkeyboards.com - The best backlit keyboards on Earth
http://www.tg3electronics.com - Parent company of Deck, leaders in custom industrial keyboards


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2007 5:54 pm 
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labelreader wrote:
Why buy a pretty lil' keyboard like the Déck only to have to explain to guest users that CAPS means "Command" (or "Ctrl")?
Well, either way I have to explain to them that backspace is next to P. But my main work computer has been customized too much to be of much use to anybody else anyway - among other things, there's no mouse (or mouse-related things, like buttons and scroll bars in Firefox) or desktop - so keys not being labeled properly isn't really the biggest problem.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2007 6:03 pm 
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Hehe. Maybe what Déck really needs to come up with are self-adhesive, die-cut, laser-printable keycap sheets as part of the blank keycap set (and a downloadable version of their keycap font, and a template for laying things out, etc). Then you could print the keycap you want on the size blank keycap you want, and presto...


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