'Right [OT], Keyboards, was: Donations for mIGUEL'S'
Lee Jones wrote:
> On a type writer or a real computer, it's a logical OR function. When
> both are down (shift lock OR up shift OR both), letter keys generate
> capitals. This is what people expect.
I wonder what people "expect" this? Aged typists? Let's not confuse
a limitation of mechanical typewriters, getting pretty rare now, with
some sort of ergonomic feature. The Shift Lock function related to a
limitation whereby it was only practical to make it operate on all keys
at once, and toggles added complexity. The Caps Lock (AKA: Alpha Lock)
on a REAL computer whether PC or otherwise is a *brilliant* feature.
> On the PC, it's a logical XOR function. When both are down (caps lock
> AND up shift), pressing a letter key gets you a lower case letter.
My other machine uses the German overlay (why? You may ask? Well, my
dad picked up a rather high quality, that is, real Japanese manufacture,
German keyboard and I've used it ever since) which amuses me no end.
Hash is an unshifted character, as are beta (s-tzet) and umlauts, and
mu, "squared" and a few other novelties are available as shifted. In
addition, caret and single quotes are prefix keys which make up accented
So far so good on this, but while it is OK that the shift lock is un-
locked by the shift key, some MORON in the code page department of you-
know-what organisation has decided that it is, cretinous typewriter-
style, truly a SHIFT Lock for ALL keys.
> I have always considered this a bug (not a feature) in the PC
> keyboard driver.
I challenge Lee to try typing on this German keyboard awhile and see
whether he would not rather keep the caps lock toggle and XOR function!
Put another way, does anyone know whether bug-fixed keyb.sys and
kbdgr.dll (WIN95) files are available?
>> On a type writer or a real computer, it's a logical OR function. When
>> both are down (shift lock OR up shift OR both), letter keys generate
>> capitals. This is what people expect.
I used "shift lock" when meaning "caps lock" in an attempt
to add variety of word usage. This was a mistake. I should
have said "(caps lock OR up shift OR both)" in the above.
> I wonder what people "expect" this? Aged typists?
Maybe people who can read the keycaps. All my keyboards
label the caps lock key as "caps lock". From this legend,
I believe it _should_ mean that you are locking the letter
portion of the keyboard in an upper case state.
> The Caps Lock (AKA: Alpha Lock) on a REAL computer whether
> PC or otherwise is a *brilliant* feature.
I agree. I don't know why the PC keyboard driver writers
broke a well defined function (caps lock == upper case alpha).
>> On the PC, it's a logical XOR function. When both are down (caps lock
>> AND up shift), pressing a letter key gets you a lower case letter.
> My other machine uses the German overlay [...] Hash is an
> unshifted character, as are beta (s-tzet) and umlauts, and
> mu, "squared" and a few other novelties are available as
> shifted. In addition, caret and single quotes are prefix
> keys which make up accented vowels.
I don't know sufficient German to address these specifics.
> So far so good on this, but while it is OK that the shift lock
> is un-locked by the shift key, some MORON in the code page
> department of you-know-what organisation has decided that it is,
> cretinous typewriter-style, truly a SHIFT Lock for ALL keys.
Ah, another "feature" that we can thank them for.
>> I have always considered this a bug (not a feature) in the PC
>> keyboard driver.
> I challenge Lee to try typing on this German keyboard awhile and see
> whether he would not rather keep the caps lock toggle and XOR function!
And I challenge Paul to explain why proper caps lock
functionality can't be considered part of the national
language setup and keyboard mappings!
The caps lock and up shift keys can certainly behave
differently for US and for German keyboards. Each can
provide the most "natural" functionality for the native
speakers (typers?) of that language.
On 7 Sep 97 at 17:15, Lee Jones wrote:
Ok what you're saying is it should be a logical OR that gives CAPS,
but only the shifts should give you !@#$% etc. What I find annoying
(I'm NOT a touch typist) is when I flick the caps lock on
accidentally AND FIND i'VE TYPED A SENTENCE mIGUEL STYLE and have to
erase it!! To prevent this scenario, I've prised the caps lock
keytop off. You can still press it, but its harder to do
Someone must have written a fixed kbd.sys or whatever - I'm 1/2
surprised that the feature isn't settable in the control panel -
every other bloody thing is. It probably is a bit setting in the
registry, to think of it - anyone got the compleat book of the
registry, or whatever?
Peter Norton's book called Inside the IBM P.C. is pretty old these
days, but it has a wealth of that kind of information. You are exactly right
in that the status of the Caps lock key is a bit in a low memory address
that can be set or cleared just like any other memory location. There is a
ROM BIOS routine for toggling this bit as well as bits for Scroll lock and
Numlock keys. There is a computer virus that causes randomization of the
case of tHe letTerS BEIng typed by setting and clearing the Caps lock bit.
When I wrote the speech driver that I use, I read that byte which has
all those lock bits in it and produce a message when one of them changes.
The shift keys do not modify these bits, but produce scan codes that are
just like hitting any other key. The BIOS sees that you have hit the shift
key so it makes an upper case letter if the mode was lower case or vice
Martin McCormick WB5AGZ Stillwater, OK 36.7N97.4W
OSU Center for Computing and Information Services Data Communications Group
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