Slashdot: War Declared on Caps Lock Key
A good idea. And while we’re at it, let’s dump those silly Ctrl and Alt keys. Who uses them? F1 – F12 can certainly be abandoned, as well as that triumvirate of uselessness, Print Screen / Scroll Lock / Pause. Don’t get me started on Microsoft’s “Windows” and “Menu” keys (or Apple’s “Apple” key). “Insert” has outlived its usefulness, and Page Up/Down were obsoleted by scroll-wheels. That leaves “Home” and “End,” which I could live without. “Delete” is kind of redundant if you have “Backspace.” “Tab” never works the way you want it to. “Escape” is a false hope. And number keypads are an obvious waste of space. What does that leave us with? This:
I’m not being entirely facetious here. Most of the keys on a modern computer keyboard are relics of some older technology, be it a typewriter (tab, caps lock) or a text terminal (scroll lock). They increase the likelihood of typing mistakes and make computers look more intimidating than they need to.
Of course, there will always be some user screaming if you remove his favorite key, so it’s easier to keep the legacy keys than remove them. And for power users, mouse-driven interfaces still can’t match the speed of Escape Meta Alt Control Shift. This will have to change, and I think it will with large, multiple-contact, flexible touch screens. Keyboards will stick around for a long time, because there’s nothing better for getting a lot of text down fast, and the tactile response is important. But they will be more “peripheral,” stripped down to their essential function and used only occasionally.