May 30, 2020 by tolis

The keyboard hell

Trying to remember how many keyboards i’ve used or tried, is as impossible as trying to remember how many times i watched Star Trek in my life (spolier alert, too many for any normal human being)… And this had me wonder why this hapens and if i am the only one… I know the answer to the second is no, but as to why, things got more complicated lately (10 years) when i moved to a (partly) French speaking country.

The thing with French speaking countries like Belgium is that there is a different keyboard layout, and not just one, quite a few. The differences with the (probably) most common one – US International QWERTY – are too many to list all of them now but the reason is the existance of special characters, and when it comes to French there are quite a few.

This being said, Greek keyboards also have many special characters as well, and if we want to be correct, nearly all are different as the greek alphabet is completely different, however the big difference is that the Greek keyboards are based in QWERTY keyboards withthe addition ofcertain keys corresponding to greek characters when you change layout, but both Greek and US QWERTY are imprinted on the keys making it easier for a user to get used to them.

Lately i decided to improve my French language skills and after realising i cannot type any Frensh special character with a QWERTY keyboard, i bought an AZERTY layout keyboard, the MX Keys. And here is the extended nightmare.

K780 QWERTY – MX Keys AZERTY

The MX Keys is a very good keyboard, you can connect to 3 different devices to it (Apple, iOS, Android, Windows), it is illuminated, with tactile keys but there is a problem when you try to do all this with just one keyboard… Because it is one thing having to accomodate French and English characters in a keyboard, to accomodate Windows and Mac keys…

Mx Keys with the switch devide buttons

The thing is that the MX Keys have imprinted in the keys options for Mac and Windows, making using it more complicated, have a look a the + key above. The key shows the Mac options on the left and the Windows on the right. Or even worse, the pic below shows the Command / Alt and Start / Option dual configuration

MX Keys with Command / Alt and Opt/ Start buttons

Is there a solution?

Yes there is, or at least there should be… Back in 2007, Steve Jobs presented the iPhone which basically replaced the physical keys with the on screen keyboard saving space and giving the possibility to the users to see what they type when they change layout, or switch key arrangements based on the OS you use, so … Why not do this in a keyboard? Imagine a keyboard that would also show the keys as the are arranged in the layout of your choice, or would change as you press Shift…

To be honest maybe there is already such a keyboard, but if there is, they seriously need to do a better job at promoting it more 🙂 i would be the first to buy one and i am sure it would be a solution for many more like me.

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