Re: design prototype: the ultimate unicode keyboard?

From: Gregg Reynolds (
Date: Mon Jul 18 2005 - 16:27:09 CDT

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    Kenneth Whistler wrote:
    >>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.

    Depends on how often you need to do it. I can touch type on an Arabic
    keyboard, but there are always those rarely-used keys that I can't quite
    remember. In that case, it would be a big time-saver if the keyboard
    could change dynamically from English to Arabic.

    I think it would be hugely useful for learning e.g. Vi. Assuming that
    is that it can be programmed to do something like: hold down
    shft-ctl-z, and little arrows pop up on the h/j/k/etc keys. Or in
    emacs, hold down some key combo and some kind of mnemonics show up
    indicating e.g. ctl-f for forward-char. Much easier than trying to
    remember where such info is in online help.

    If they can keep the price point somewhere in the vicinity of ordinary
    keyboards they will own the corporate marketplace, or at least that
    segment whose workers use multiple languages. I have the Arabic
    keyboard memorized, so I don't generally need the letters printed, but
    most of my colleagues covet such a keyboard, even if it only uses
    stickers. They could just print out an image of an Arabic keyboard and
    pin it next to the monitor, but they want the info on the keys.

      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.

    I would think a dynamic keyboard display could do the same (in principle).


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