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Ovid (2709)

Ovid
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Stuff with the Perl Foundation. A couple of patches in the Perl core. A few CPAN modules. That about sums it up.

Journal of Ovid (2709)

Monday November 10, 2008
04:39 AM

MacBook Pros and Cons

[ #37844 ]

Despite earlier protestations that I was getting fed up with Apple and may use Linux on my next Laptop, I broke down and, um, bought the new MacBook Pro 15". I'm ridiculously happy with it (no problems with connectivity this time!), except for one thing:

Why the hell did you screw up the keyboard, Apple?!?!?!

(The above pic is not really the keyboard, but it's pretty darned close)

I mean, the keyboard feels great and I love the fact that it lights up in the dark, but that's about it. Everything else seems to suck.

My first indication that I was going to have a problem was when I kept hitting the backslash, '\' instead of the "Enter" key. Apparently, on the European version of their keyboard, Apple thought it would be funny to introduce an extra-slim version of the enter key, one that's ridiculously easy to miss while typing. Thanks Apple!

Some of the keys just don't make sense to me. For example, I can now type the plus-minus sign (±) and the section symbol (§). While that's all well and good, unless you want a 573 key keyboard, sooner or later you have to give something up. What did they think was a fair trade-off? Hmm, where's the octothorpe/hash symbol (#)?

Excuse me? On a BSD based system they left off the hash symbol? I know various European keyboards push this symbol all over the place (it's shift-3 on US keyboards), so I hunted and hunted over my keyboard, convinced that I had missed it. Nope! It's not there.

I finally had to hit Google to find the damned key. Seems you have to hit alt-3 for that. This is just unreal. They gave up the '#' for the '±' and '§'? I'm dumbfounded. Apparently it's not like this on the US keyboard.

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  • Now you know why I don't have a (physical) UK layout Macbook. And why I'm peeved that Apple won't sell US layout Macbooks in the UK. French, yes. US, no.

    Oh. Update. Iiiiiiiinteresting... They do now offer US keyboards in the UK. Rah! [apple.com]

  • I see they made left shift smaller and moved ~/` in order to get ±/§. That's a really bizarre trade off. Must make proper typing difficult. My left pinkie rests on the right side of left shift.

    If they were hunting for space on they keyboard, here's a suggestion... DESTROY THE CAPS LOCK! The most useless key on the keyboard is now larger than left shift. WTF?

  • Another good reason to stick to the US layout. However, if you're stuck with a different layout, take a look here:

        http://www.keyboardmaestro.com/main/ [keyboardmaestro.com]

    This might be able to make all your pain go away(tm)

    • I do that. It makes life much easier. I type a hash much more often than a pound sign. Combined with the fact that Apple's UK layout still has double quote / at-sign in the wrong place means that it's pretty much unusable...
    • The mislabelled keys can be dealt with in software, but that backslash/enter snafu is even worse than the thinkpad putting a non-key (Fn is hardwired) on the lower left corner where the ctrl should be. The thinkpad's escape key is also in an unusable location for me (so now all my vims have been remapped to use ^c as ^[.

      Sigh.

  • I don't like the fact that the letter M on the new Apple keyboards looks like an upside down W.

    Okay, I know that in general an M does look like an upside down W but in most fonts it isn't a mirror image. The M usually has a vertical leading edge while a W doesn't.

    When I first saw it I thought that it was a mistake and that someone had stuck on the wrong key.

    John.
    --

    • OK, I just saw that. I hadn't before. Now this is going to bug me forever. Thanks for ruining it :)

  • I hit the very same annoyance, and posted a solution here: http://use.perl.org/~oliver/journal/32027 [perl.org]

    (Note that was written for Tiger, but I guess it'll work for Leopard too?)

  • That keyboard doesn't look as bad as the ones I tried to use in Norway or Iceland!

  • The stupidest thing on the UK Mac keyboard is that the 2 key also has the @ and € symbols printed on it - shift-2 for @, alt-2 for €. So you'd think that the 3 key, via which you access the £ sign and the # would have both printed on it. But no!

    Just be grateful that you don't have a French keyboard. There you have to press shift to get the numbers.

  • "#" has been option-3 forever, at least since my first Mac in 1995. But that "±" and "§" key is hella goofy.