RE: design prototype: the ultimate unicode keyboard?

From: Kenneth Whistler (
Date: Mon Jul 18 2005 - 13:43:17 CDT

  • Next message: Raymond Mercier: "Re: design prototype: the ultimate unicode keyboard?"

    > Having such a keyboard, whose visual indicators can be programmed to
    > change with input method and with shift, opt and alt keys, would be a
    > real boon.

    I remain an utter skeptic about the usefulness of LED keyboards.
    They will serve a niche market, of course, but for most typists,
    they would be counterproductive. The whole concept of moving your
    hands *off* the keys to *read* the keys, and then back on the
    keys to key your input -- particularly for complicated IME's
    that change the state of input as you go -- strikes me as
    at best un-ergonomic and at worst frustrating and inefficient.

    The better alternative, all along, as far as I am concerned, has
    been to use the *visual* environment -- namely the monitor you
    are already looking at -- to provide a virtual keyboard that
    matches whatever the input state is. That avoids the hardware
    issues of LED keys (including the fact that keyboards get dirty),
    and lets you focus your visual attention on the screen and
    your tactile attention to the keyboard. Furthermore, a visual
    keyboard can also respond to pointing device (mouse, whatever)
    input as well, so that you can "hunt and peck" on it with the
    mouse, if you like, for unfamiliar keys, or to deal with the
    shift states of IME's.

    Johannes quoted from the FAQ on the keyboard:

    > It will be OS-independent (at least it can work in
    > some default state with any OS)

    I'll believe that when I see it. For such a keyboard to work,
    it has to get the OS to ship relevant information back *to*
    to the keyboard, rather than simply returning scancodes to
    the OS. Expecting that to happen in an OS-independent way is
    probably expecting too much -- hence the carefully qualified
    answer to the question.


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