Keyboard layout modificationsΒΆ

Tags: plone

Philip von Weitershausen complains about his German keyboard layout as it is subobtimal for programming. What you're used to is of course important to your productivity, but some non-US keyboard layouts place some characters that are used in programming in way out of place locations. '[', { and so seem to be quite commonly hidden.

My personal typing weapon of choice is the good old 101 key clickety-click IBM keyboard . Good tactile feedback, heavy and solid enough to obliterate anything that crosses your path (or bugs). But the important thing for me is the 101 key layout. There is no windows/apple key to ensnare my little pinky. The left shift key has the size that God intended. The backslash is in the correct location.

Using linux, this was ideal. I re-mapped the CAPS LOCK to an additional ctrl key, but that was about it. Now that I'm using a Mac Powerbook, things are a little different. OSX uses the apple key in addition to ctrl/alt/shift. My eventual solution was to remap keys again. The goal was to keep the IBM 101 keyboard and the laptop's keyboard in sync.

  • CAPS LOCK is my only ctrl key.
  • The ctrl key is remapped to apple/command.
  • On the powerbook, both the alt and the apple/command key are used as "alt".

This makes me pretty comfortable and productive, there's a backlash however when taking someone else's keyboard: using the CAPS LOCK as control...

One gripe with Apple: they flatly refuse to ship powerbooks with US keyboards in the Netherlands. You can get an "English international" keyboard, but that's not the familiar US layout. The left shift is too small, the return key is double height with the backslash to the left of it. The normal keyboard you get is the Dutch one. In theory, that's not bad. But Apple is the only manufacturer that has Dutch keyboards. Everyone in the Netherlands is using US keyboards.

It wouldn't be that bad if you could just order a US one, but as I said: they refuse. My powerbook was imported from the USA (thanks Kapil) precisely for this reason: get me a good keyboard! My productivity depends upon it.

Now I'll have to take an additional look at Philip's Mac layout customisations if there's some more efficiency to be gained!

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About me

My name is Reinout van Rees and I work a lot with Python (programming language) and Django (website framework). I live in The Netherlands and I'm happily married to Annie van Rees-Kooiman.

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