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Old 08-12-2008, 12:11 PM   #1
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Default Clickety-clack keyboard is going back

My computer was in the shop for a few days. When I got it back I hooked up the new keyboard I bought a few weeks ago (see “A clickety-clack keyboard” for details).

When I hooked the iMac up again I plugged in the Das Keyboard for the first time. (It arrived three days after I ordered it.) I very much like the responsiveness of the keys, including the clacks.

But it is going back because of one little problem: while it does indeed work on a Mac it has the Command and Option keys reversed. And in fact, the two keys do not exactly produce all the actions that they do on a real Mac. I am too old and too conditioned to have to relearn how to type quotes, copy and paste, hide apps easily, etc. (especially as all the other Macs work the same old way).

When you attach an unknown sort of keyboard to a modern Mac, a setup screen prompts you to click on a couple of keys and then choose a keyboard format. It defaulted to U.S. 101 or 102-key layout, and I chose that at first. But then I found myself in trouble over special characters (curly quotes, accented characters, that sort of stuff), so I went back and switched to the European setup. Then those characters were fine.

But in neither setup did the Command (Apple) and Option (aka Alt) keys work correctly. First they were reversed from normal Mac positions: The left-side Alt key is next to the spacebar with the Windows key to its left (next to Control). I am accustomed to finding the Apple key next to the spacebar with the Option/Alt key to the left.

But I believe that some of the functions I usually find on the Apple key were actually on the Alt key, which made it even more difficult. I was unable to use keyboard shortcuts for Copy, Paste, Cut, Hide, etc.

These problems were a deal-breaker. I think they would have been even if I didn’t have 3 other Macs that I use — I am too hide-bound to learn new tricks.

So now I need to return it. Too bad. I do like the way it works on straight typing.

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