Friday, July 22, 2005

Caps Lock to the rescue

After a few months with the Matias Tactilepro I grew restless again when I noticed that ALPS keyswitches are not the same thing as Buckling Springs. They do not become softer as BS keys would, and keep a nasty 'tack' feel and are extremely noisy. Not that the Matias is a bad keyboard, I prefer it over a membrane keyboard anytime. So it was time to hook up my Unicomp again, the rightful heirs to the IBM Model M. As this is a PS/2 keyboard with DIN plug, I run it over a Sitecom USB-Dual PS/2 Adapter. The keyboard is a special one, a 3270 style emulator keyboard with 122 keys. Lamentably, the last system to support it well was OS/2, so it does excellent service on my OS/2 based P/390 mini-mainframe. It has no Apple key, which means that it has no Windows key - one of the more daft developments of the last decade.

So I noticed new stuff in Tiger's keyboard menu- the ability to switch these key functions to other keys - and YES: *caps lock*, that anachronistic holdover from the heavy typewriter era, can be switched to *command*, which is the official moniker of the Apple key. Emacs, of course, does not even blink, as I switch the function keys I am using in .emacs to available, working PF keys.

Ok Apple kernel guys: now make a driver for my 122 key 3270 Unicomp, so I can access all function keys, and do an Attn, SysRq, CrSel and exSel (not to mention ErEOF) when I want to. Who is the Apple OSX keyboard driver champion?

But the Caps Lock switch is pure gold: the most irritating, struck-by-accident key given an innocent, and when intentionally pressed, useful and necessary function.

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