No CAPS LOCK key so far...


Well whaddya know. While I was just speculating on the fate of the CAPS LOCK key on One Laptop Per Child 2B1's, Christopher Blizzard posted about the OLPC keyboards he's testing.

"Water resistant" not "water proof", the sealed keyboards are a variety of weights and key travels, and after Christopher and his team test them, they will do a larger test with K-12 students.

Tests of keyboard without CAPS LOCK keys!

While these keyboards are not end-production models, and each country will be able to offer customized keys in its preferred layout, the lack of CAPS LOCK keys at this stage is a strong sign that this time around, Nicholas Negroponte will not need to toss keyboard designers in jail.

CAPS LOCK Update!:

In his keyboard post comments, Christopher Blizzard says:

"Yep, the CAPS LOCK and the other *LOCK keys are gone. A lot of other things are going to change on the keyboard, but those aren’t coming back."

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I like the keyboard layout. Redo/Undo is so much easier than Ctrl keys.

What might the three little people key be for? Killing aliens on Space Invaders?

I like the idea of changing paradigms and implimenting new things. I like how they are seeking to make intuitive programs for the children. Single-button entry to the programs code and easier use for common key combos such as cut and paste are moves in the right direction, but why stop there.

In fact, I'm wondering why OLPC hasn't delved into more style and implementation standards and changed them. One such change I'm thinking specifically about is our archaic key layout. The QWERTY keyboard was orginally designed to NOT be the fastest layout. This layout dates all the way back to the typewriter so the swinging arms of the keys would not get stuck on adjacent keys that commonly follow each other.

The research has already been done. There are optional layouts ready to be implemented. They have been studied and proven more efficient, but one thing still lacks. A large demographic willing to learn and buy the new layout. Hmmm... I haven't been to many third-world countries, but I bet any kid there would not shriek in horror for not having a keyboard in the well-known QWERTY fasion.

Perhaps this is like the age old English-Metric battle, but I'm pretty sure that no Mars landers are going to crash because of a implementation change such as this one. I would think that a project that boasts of breaking so many design models would have been able to conquer this simple task as well.