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Chapter 28. Tweaking the GUI > Remapping the Keyboard

Remapping the Keyboard

Do you ever wish certain keys on the keyboard were in different locations? I, for one, have been particularly annoyed about the location of the Ctrl, Caps Lock, and Alt keys ever since IBM moved them back in the eighties with its "improved keyboard." Because IBM was setting the PC standards back then, everyone else had to follow suit. Toshiba was one of the big holdouts, but even its superior keyboard arrangement finally met its fate. For those of us who grew up with standalone terminals, doing word processing with WordStar, programming in dBASE, and using numerous other programs that made heavy use of the Ctrl key, this arrangement was an outrage. The solution for the years before Windows was to use a key remapping program (WordStar even came with one, called Switcher) that reversed the locations of the Ctrl and Shift Lock keys.

Well, with Windows came the Alt key for keyboard shortcuts, and soon we were really in a mess with keyboard placement. Keys floated around for a while, with no fully accepted standard. Oh, and now we have the WIN key, the Windows Menu (right-click menu) key, and many laptops have a special function key for controlling brightness, sound level, and so on. If you're a touch typist, all these rearrangements can be a bit annoying.


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