RE: Characters used in programming languages (was: Re: Word, Asia n characters, ...)

From: Marco Cimarosti (
Date: Tue May 08 2001 - 05:02:34 EDT

From Net Link wrote:
> We need more shift and shift lock keys so that more than ASCII
> can be done from a keyboard. Typing /U#### is also not acceptable.
> My program editor already uses Ctrl-Shift, Alt-Shift and
> Ctrl-Alt to get
> more key combinations on all the other keys but using two
> shift keys is awkward for
> anything used frequently.
> We need Unicode keyboards.

A keyboard that allows entering any of the 1,114,112 Unicode characters with
a single key-press and a combination of shift keys?

Theoretically such a device is possible, but not all of it can stay *over*
the desktop.

One of the current keyboards has about 47 graphic keys. Add 1 single shift
key and we double the possibilities: 94 characters. Add a second shift and
reach 188 characters, and so on.

In order to reach the appropriate number of combinations we need *fifteen*
shift keys: 2^15 * 47 = 1,540,096.

Now, considering that at least one of our hand's finger is needed to depress
one of the 47 graphic keys, it follows that a maximum of *nine* shift keys
can be depressing using our *hands*.

That's where we have to take shoes off: a pedal keyboard must be added,
containing a minimum of six "shift pedals", to be depressed with our toes.

It is a pity that the encoding power of our body is limited to 20 bits. If
we just had one more fingers or toe, we could have had a keyboard with shift
keys only and no graphic keys!

(Or, maybe we could... Hmmm... No, it would be against equal opportunities
on the work place :-)

_ Marco

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