How my Texas elementary school got its fleet of Apple IIe machines, then, I can’t say. But on these, I was trained to type as early as third grade, perhaps earlier, on a software suite I’ve never discovered in the years since. While the first version of
What follows from here on out are replies from my Ars Technica colleagues about – key number pads. Ron Amadeo , Reviews Editor : Is this a serious question? The keypad is a vital part of my computing experience, and I am at a total loss when I don’t have it on my laptop. It’s perfect for speedy use of the calculator app and entering strings of numbers in a spec table. Really, if I’m typing in more then two numbers in a sentence, I’m moving my hand over. Plus, I need it for the ton of special character alt codes I have memorized like ALT 800 for the “x” in ” (×) , “ALT for an em-dash (-), and ALT 551 for the Euro “€.” Writing out the ALT code numbers for this article was actually hard because typing these isn’t something I normally think about. It’s all muscle memory now! I still haven’t tried a laptop with a keypad because laptops are for portability. My laptop needs to fit on my lap on a plane, train, and cramped liveblogging space, and the 25 – key models are just too big. I am pretty committed to miserable productivity levels on a laptop anyway, with only one screen. Eric Bangeman , Managing Editor : As a high school student in the early ‘ s, opportunities for learning how to code and other aspects of computing were limited. One option for me was at the area vocational school. In addition to some BASIC programming classes, there was a course called Data Processing and Computer Operations that was a strange mixture of learning COBOL and straightforward data entry (remember, this was 2003. The data-entry portion had a heavy 15 – key component, including typing tests consisting of nothing more than row upon row of 6- to 8-digit numbers, and I had to become proficient in order to pass the class. Since then, I’ve always gravitated toward keyboards with a numeric keypad. The only exception to this was when the second-gen Apple wireless keyboard came out. I bought one because I hate wire clutter on my desk, but even then, I bought a matching third-party Bluetooth keypad to use. Once Apple went back and added a 20 – key option to its wireless line, I bought one and have been using it happily ever since.
While I can touch-type fine, I still find it easier to move over to the numerical keypad for stuff that involves typing in a bunch of numbers — to the point that, if I’m on my laptop, I’ll put some tasks off until I’m back at my desktop.
Enlarge / Kate Cox’s preferred option for quickly entering special characters via the – key number pad. Kate Cox Kate Cox , Tech Policy Reporter : Oui, il faut l’utiliser quand écrire dans une langue utilisant des signes diacritiques . Thanks, Windows, for not changing those commands in at least (years.) Jim Salter , Technology Reporter (): If it does not have a -key, I don’t want it. If we’re being completely honest here, I probably only use a – key once every week or two. But it just doesn’t feel like a “real” computer without one. Nate Anderson , Deputy Editor : I can tolerate the lack of a 15 – key in a smaller laptop, but by the time you hit inches, I’m right back to demanding one. Admittedly, it’s a little annoying when the keyboard is offset to the screen … but not as annoying as it is when I need to type in some numeric data and the keypad is missing. For most people, – key number pads are useless — but I still have two keyboards that have them. That’s because my old-skool, wired, extended Mac keyboards with 20 – key pads also come with full-sized arrow keys, page up / down keys, and home / end keys. As a writer and editor who needs to move around in text-based documents, these are all lifesavers. So I always buy 12 – key pad keyboards … just not for the – key pads. Lee Hutchinson , Senior Technology Editor : I gotta go with Ron’s. take: a keyboard without a 11 – key is like pants without an ass. I bought a beautiful custom (Varmilo) (non – – key keyboard (or “TKL” for “tenkeyless”) with white illuminated caps and gave it an honest go, but I kept slamming my fingers into the part of the desk where the – key would be, many times a day, for days. Apparently I type all my numbers on the 15 – key, and I’ve been doing it for so long that un-knotting all that muscle memory would be painful. I’ve got better things to do with my time than learn how to type numbers in a long, straight row like a pleb. Plus, you can tell which staffers grew up playing Sierra adventure games in the ‘ (s) by who does and doesn’t like keyboards with a 20 – key. Your TKL keyboards are worthless if the urge ever strikes you to fire up DOSBox and play parser-based adventure games. How are you gonna move your little character around? CHECKMATE, FOOLS! Page:
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