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Google Idle Technology

Google Wants To Take Away Your Capslock Key 968

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the they-can-have-it dept.
heptapod writes "Slashdot reported earlier about Google's Chrome notebook and keen-eyed readers would have noticed the lack of a caps lock key. 'According to Google, this will improve the quality of the comments, because people will not be able to write all in capital letters. I'm not a fan of the caps lock key myself. I never use it, so it can go to hell, for all I'm concerned. But taking away choice from people is not good, especially when this is not going to improve the quality of comments.'"
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Google Wants To Take Away Your Capslock Key

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  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @10:17AM (#34485890)

    Those of us who use it sparingly or for specialized reasons will be deprived of it. And those who USE IT TO ON EVERYTHING WITHOUT REALIZING IT'S THE EQUIVALENT OF SHOUTING will still be stupid. And stupid people will find a way to be annoying no matter what you do.

    You could take every key but "a" away and websites/services will still be filled with denizens sporting aol email addressees posting:

    aaaaaaaaaaaaaa

    • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn.gmail@com> on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @10:18AM (#34485898) Journal

      And stupid people will find a way to be annoying no matter what you do.

      Like just holding down the shift key?

      • by somersault (912633) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @10:20AM (#34485920) Homepage Journal

        Stupid people probably don't even know shift works for caps. I've seen people pressing caps just to get a single capital letter in their password.

        • by dintech (998802) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @10:27AM (#34486048)

          I have a colleague who uses her mouse upside down. Meaning invert x, invert y, clicking with her thumb, cable facing downwards. She says that's just how she started using it and it never occured to her to use it the other way. She's no less accurate than I am with a mouse either.

          I've heard stories of one individual completely stumped when he ran out of desk space but couldn't move the mouse cursor any more to the right than the middle of the screen. Clearly he didn't realise that you pick the mouse up...

          • I would say that holding the mouse upside-down is quirky, but not necessarily stupid. You realize that everything you've ever seen in your entire life is upside-down, because your eyeball contains only one lens, right? You're so used to seeing it that way, that you don't even think of up as down and vice-versa, because you've only ever seen it that way your whole life.

            By my logic, your colleague may be one of the few people that actually holds the mouse correctly.
            • Except the retinal image in the brain is not "upside-down", because there is no such thing as "upside-down" when it comes to patterns of electrical activity in your brain. This guy's behaviour is strange because relative orientation in the outside world is something that does really exist.
          • by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @11:01AM (#34486632)
            Mate of mine is a lefty, but used his mouse in a right hand configuration. He just positioned the mouse in his hand so his left index finger was over the left mouse button, and moved it between the two buttons as needed.

            Six months ago I switched it for him. His immediate reaction was "Oh wow that's much better!"

            He wants a technical job in IT.
            • by frenchbedroom (936100) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @12:06PM (#34487898)

              I'm right-handed but I use my mouse my the left hand. That way it's closer to the keyboard, I mean, the part of the keyboard I use all the time, the letter keys of course. And I can reach it with only a minor movement of my left arm instead of having to go aaaall the way to the right, past the arrows and the numpad.

              Combined with a bit of knowledge about keyboard shortcuts (Ctrl-Ins : Copy, Shift-Del : Cut, Shift-Ins : Paste) and drag and drop (select some text, drag it with Ctrl key pressed : easy copy-paste), I find it a very ergonomic disposition. And it didn't take very long to learn to use the mouse left-handed (my right hand is still more precise though).

              I haven't inverted the mouse buttons though, because I like to use it with the right hand from time to time.

            • by Nadaka (224565)

              I am left handed and use the mouse with my right hand, because that is where the mouse goes, and it requires less dexterity than touch typing or hitting the right key sequence while playing a videogame.

            • by Firethorn (177587)

              You want wierd? My dad is right handed, uses his mouse in his left hand. Standard config, just on the opposite side fo the keyboard.

              Trick is that he's an accountant. Easy access to the numberpad is more important to him than any extra control of the mouse.

            • Mate of mine is a lefty, but used his mouse in a right hand configuration. He just positioned the mouse in his hand so his left index finger was over the left mouse button, and moved it between the two buttons as needed.

              I'm a lefty, and that's actually how I prefer using a mouse. For some reason it works better for me than switching the buttons - maybe because it doesn't require any thought if I switch to someone else's computer, or maybe because I mouse somewhat ambidextrously.

      • by Doug Neal (195160) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @10:42AM (#34486330)

        And stupid people will find a way to be annoying no matter what you do.

        Like just holding down the shift key?

        Yes. [googleusercontent.com]

      • by ChefInnocent (667809) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @11:57AM (#34487716)
        CAPSLOCK or Shift
        ________are those keys that
        ________flitter ravenblack words
        ________________________________acrossmyscreen
        windowsmenumeta
        ________________are
        ___________________keys
        _______________________that
        ___________________________fly
        ______________________________me
        ________________________________around
        ______________________________________invisiblespace


        gOOGLE
        take not my expressive locks controls and alternates.
        Some User lackingnbsponslashdot
    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      Those of us who use it sparingly or for specialized reasons will be deprived of it.

      Easy, just replace it with shift-meta or something similar. It annoys me more than it helps me but I occasionally use it so I don't xmodmap the lock away... Not sure if there is any logic there but I think I just don't want to get used to it being another shift key for when I use someone else's computer.

    • by Yvanhoe (564877) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @10:43AM (#34486342) Journal
      I use the caps lock key a lot. On French keyboards, when a word begins with an accentuated letter, the only way to display it correctly is to hit caps-lock and press "é" or "à". Give me way to write easily É or À otherwise this is a (arguably minor) feature you remove from me.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        I use the caps lock key a lot. On French keyboards, when a word begins with an accentuated letter, the only way to display it correctly is to hit caps-lock and press "é" or "à". Give me way to write easily É or À otherwise this is a (arguably minor) feature you remove from me.

        I've been using only french keyboards forever and I never have had to use the caps lock key to get a capital É or À or È or  or Ù, etc. Shift works just fine, don't know how you have your keyboard configured but it would seem something is wrong.

    • by More_Cowbell (957742) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @10:51AM (#34486470) Journal
      "The problem with America is stupidity. I'm not saying there should be a capital punishment for stupidity, but why don't we just take the safety labels off of everything and let the problem solve itself?"
      • by dangitman (862676)

        The problem with America is stupidity. I'm not saying there should be a capital punishment for stupidity

        Maybe not, but perhaps there should be CAPITAL punishment for stupidity?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by BK553 (1835684)
      According to http://www.istartedsomething.com/20101208/fear-not-chrome-os-has-caps-lock [istartedsomething.com] it has an option. Crisis over.
    • by N1AK (864906)

      >

      You could take every key but "a" away and websites/services will still be filled with denizens sporting aol email addressees posting:

      aaaaaaaaaaaaaa

      Or take away the dedicated italic, bold and underline keys!.... Wait we don't have those? Talk about removing choice.

      Deciding to drop hard keys isn't removing user choice. If you build it with a caps key you are making a decision for the user, without it, you're making another. Personally, I'm more than happy to save a bit of space for a more functional key, and have caps lock as a meta-key.

  • I'm a bit scared (Score:5, Interesting)

    by suso (153703) * on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @10:19AM (#34485916) Homepage Journal

    As much as I hate the caps lock key (reassigned mine to be an extra Esc), I just submitted a bug on Chrome that it doesn't have a command line --geometry option, which I consider a pseudo standard thing for X apps. I can't help but see that Google is going from the mostly standards compliant company they once were to becoming a Microsoft as far as following standards goes. I'm sure there are other examples people will bring up and maybe a comment along the lines of "They were never standards compliant".

    • I just submitted a bug on Chrome that it doesn't have a command line --geometry option, which I consider a pseudo standard thing for X apps.

      Have you filed similar bugs against all of Mozilla's products?

  • OMG!? (Score:4, Funny)

    by digitaldc (879047) * on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @10:20AM (#34485928)
    OMG WTF GGL?
  • Personally I have both: Keyboards where I physically disconnected Caps-Lock and Keyboards where Caps-Lock causes trouble. I think, I have never, ever needed that key, not even once.

    I am all for it!

  • Good Riddance (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Sonny Yatsen (603655) * on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @10:21AM (#34485950) Journal

    The Caps Lock key is an arcane relic of the ancient IBM keyboards and for most users, it's completely unnecessary. It screws up passwords, for one, and it is in a position that is way too easy to hit accidentally. Besides, there's been a movement to ditch it for ages now, and thus far nobody's complained. Did nobody notice that the OLPC computer also ditched the CapsLock? Besides, anyone who still wants to use all caps still has the shift button.

    • by jedrek (79264)

      While I agree with you, there are situations where caps lock is useful - when writing in caps along with numbers and punctuation.

      • by jgtg32a (1173373)
        The only time I need to do that is for CD keys and half the time those aren't actually case sensitive or they automatically put everything into upper case anyway.
    • by Zedrick (764028)
      The Caps Lock key is an arcane relic of the ancient IBM keyboards

      "ancient" IBM keyboards (like the IBM 1391411 I'm typing this on) are about the only ones that doesn't have any "problem" with capslock (hitting capslock by accident), since it's clearly separated from the "a"-key and gives you plenty of feedback when hitting it (sound + feeling).

      Of course, not having caps-lock might stop idiots from shouting, but they'll just express themselves in some other annoying way.
      • Every keyboard I've ever used (well, every standalone keyboard) has the spaced gap between the 'a' and CapsLock key. The only keyboards that doesn't have the spaced gap that I've ever used are laptop keyboards, but they are generally bad for more than just that reason.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by rsimpson (884581)
      I don't have a problem with them taking away the functionality of the Caps Lock key, but I do have a problem if they take the actual physical key away. I currently have it mapped to Ctrl because it is in such a convenient place just left of my pinky, and navigating around vim I use Ctrl a lot. So the function of Caps Lock is pointless, but the actual key itself is very important.
    • Re:Good Riddance (Score:4, Informative)

      by stewbacca (1033764) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @11:13AM (#34486862)

      If you are a touch typist, having to hold a shift key down for more than 2 capital letters in a row really slows down your typing speed and contributes more to repetitive motion injuries.

    • It screws up passwords, for one

      Just about every operating system warns you when your capslock button is on during logon. For other password dialogs, you would generally notice the problem when typing in your username, so I can't help but think this is a pretty minor problem IRL.

      Besides, there's been a movement to ditch it for ages now, and thus far nobody's complained.

      You just haven't been paying attention. Every time this subject comes up on slashdot, a bunch of people (including me) complain about it.

      Besi

  • by scubamage (727538) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @10:21AM (#34485952)
    So this means no more cruise control for cool???????
  • by NiteShaed (315799) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @10:22AM (#34485976)

    "According to Google, this will improve the quality of the comments"

    They should probably take away all the other keys too.......

    • by IBBoard (1128019)

      And the computer, in case they start using the mouse and an on-screen keyboard, or even touch-screen, or handwriting recognition.

  • by david.given (6740) <dg.cowlark@com> on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @10:24AM (#34485994) Homepage Journal
    ...I couldn't use Emacs or shell editing without it. Beats me why it's labelled 'caps lock', though --- the other control keys on the keyboard are all labelled 'Ctrl'.
  • by dazedNconfuzed (154242) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @10:25AM (#34486008)

    Why the continuing bother with Caps Lock, SysRq, Scroll Lock, and Break? Does anyone use them? at least, any number of people above statistical noise?
    How about the Windows and Menu keys? anybody use that on a regular basis? would a statistically meaningful number miss them?
    And while we're at it, usage of the Function keys (12 of them!) seems vanishingly small.
    Nineteen nigh-unto-unused keys, times how many keyboards out there with them?

    • I think the only people who still use all these keys are people who like overly complex video games that uses every single key on your keyboard, plus all the buttons on your mouse, plus some sort of neural interface to get working.

  • Heck, I've edited the registry on my windows machines to disable the key anyway. Only gets me into trouble. Be nice to map it into something else. Definitely not a key that has much use anyway.
  • If you are on Windows there is a reg change you can make that will turn you CAPS into a CTRL key and it is the greatest thing I've ever done to my computer. There is one huge caveat though if you are on someone else's computer it will turn into a huge annoyance though.

    http://johnhaller.com/jh/useful_stuff/disable_caps_lock/
  • by stuntpope (19736) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @10:29AM (#34486092)

    Perhaps the functionality should be retained, but entered via a function key or a two-key combination that requires pressing to enter that mode.

    This way, people who need to type extended all-caps can still do so, but it won't be mistakenly keyed by dolts who hit it as a shift key and then flail away without returning it to lower case. Of course, people who want to be annoying and "shout" will still be able to do so, but it might cut down on the inadvertant clueless shouting.

  • I have been mulling over the possibilities of adopting tablet devices at work so we can connect to our HP-UX server for access to the POS and inventory stuff. Other than logging in, everything must be entered in caps.

    Actually, now that I think about it, maybe this will be the single motivating factor for finally upgrading our 20+ year old software.

  • I never understood why there is a hardware button that was SOOOO easy to hit by accident over something that could much easier and better been done with software.

    Can all hardware vendors get away from the CAPLOCKS key?

  • It has already been reported that you can change the search key back into a caps lock key if you so desire through a preference. http://www.istartedsomething.com/20101208/fear-not-chrome-os-has-caps-lock/ [istartedsomething.com]
  • No, seriously, can anyone explain to me why some people insist on capitalizing every letter in their e-mails and/or comments? I've been wondering about this for years, and I've never been able to figure it out. I seriously doubt these folks write in all caps when they use a pen (or do they???), so why do they do it on a computer? What is their "logic" for this?

  • when a company finds a way to make the world a little more foolproof, the world will make a better fool....

  • WTF? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by gstoddart (321705) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @10:34AM (#34486192) Homepage

    I assume this bit is from a Slashdot posting and not Google:

    According to Google, this will improve the quality of the comments, because people will not be able to write all in capital letters. I'm not a fan of the caps lock key myself. I never use it, so it can go to hell, for all I'm concerned. But taking away choice from people is not good, especially when this is not going to improve the quality of comments.

    Attention people -- keyboards are use for more than posting comments.

    What the hell kind of drivel is this?

  • I code in a case sensitive language and use case to indicate different data types. This would be a huge pain!
  • by G3ckoG33k (647276) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @10:34AM (#34486208)

    How about å, ä, ö, and ø?

    I know quite a few Vikings who are pissed at the lack of it in plain ASCII.

    Unfortunately, Columbians have taken control of the matter from Erkissonians. An now Göögle?!

    • by gstoddart (321705)

      I know quite a few Vikings who are pissed at the lack of it in plain ASCII.

      Well, the A in ASCII does stand for American, so I don't think anybody is worried about the Vikings.

  • by digitect (217483) <<digitect> <at> <dancingpaper.com>> on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @10:35AM (#34486224) Homepage

    Good luck creating architectural drawings. (IMAA)

    It has been convention since the beginning of time to write everything in CAPs. Not that conventions can't change, but there is a whole system of communication in the construction industry related to the assumption that instructions and notations are always capitalized. Similar reason to why US construction is still Imperial, there is too much embodied energy in the current method to risk confusing it with a change to another system.

  • I don't necessarily think they should take the option away. I just think it should by one of those buttons where you have to hit a function key + caps lock. I don't necessarily use caps lock, but I'm sure there are people who do. My only problem is that I always accidently hit when I'm going for shift or tab and its just a pain.
  • ... they are offering me the opportunity to buy a device that doesn't have a caps-lock key.

  • by a_nonamiss (743253) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @10:44AM (#34486362)
    I've been using this [johnhaller.com] Windows hack to turn my Caps Lock key into a regular old Shift key for about a year now. I hardly noticed, except I don't have sentences tHAT LOOK LIKE THIS ANYMORE.

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