Re: Path Dependency in 101-key boards
Fri, 13 Aug 1999 09:19:39 -0700 (PDT)

On Thu, 12 Aug 1999, Rohit Khare wrote:
> August 12, 1999
> Defunct Keys and Odd Commands Still Bedevil Today's PC User
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> A carry-over from DOS, PrintScreen was given new life as a
> screen-shot function in Windows. System Request, from the mainframe
> era, is used in Linux but rarely anywhere else.
> A key from early word processors, Scroll Lock apparently has one
> primary function now -- to operate the Scroll Lock light.
> Another mainframe relic, Pause now stops the operating system while a
> computer boots up. In DOS, Break stops a program.
> A cancel command for mainframes, Escape is one of the few function
> keys to make a graceful transition to the modern keyboard.
> Once used to toggle between number keys and functions, Number Lock is
> now used almost solely by video game players.

She forgot two.

A desperate attempt by Microsoft to fragment keyboard layouts and
introduce a dependency for computer manufacturers upon their Windows
logo trademark before Windows collapses under its own bulk, this key
remains a useless blemish upon the keyboard. In fact, it often
reduces usability by getting confused with the Ctrl or Alt keys on
the left side of the keyboard. Making this tiny mistake while using
a full-screen program throws the system back into Windows graphical
mode just to display the "Start" menu, with potentially disastrous

Not content with one custom key, Microsoft proceeded to insist on
two. Another redundant key added to keyboards by Microsoft's
marketing team, the menu key makes it easy to miss the Ctrl or Alt
keys on the right side of the keyboard as well.

-- ?!ng

Never anthropomorphize the computer. It doesn't like that.