Customers give Dell the finger over keyboard screw-up
Does this machine look shifty to you?
Dell has left customers shaking their fists this week after shipping an unspecified number of its Vostro 1310 and 1510 laptops in Europe with the wrong keyboard layout.
The embarrassing cock-up forces the Z key, which should sit beneath the A and S keys, along the row in Vostro laptops affected by the problem. Subsequent keys in the same row are also bumped along because the shift key is too big – making touch typing a tricky task.
That shifty feeling
Jake Gordon alerted us to the massive blunder yesterday. He told us he had been on the phone to Dell for 20 minutes before the world’s number two computer manufacturer admitted it was aware of the problem.
He said on his Flickr blog: "They keys are all there. Shift, \|, Z, X... its [sic] just that the left shift is too big, forcing everything over too far. The Z has to be between the A and S... look on ANY other keyboard and that's where it sits. This is not a US/UK layout issue, just a general monumental flaw."
We asked Dell if it could give customers a timeframe for when they can expect the issue to be resolved, and if it will be forced to withdraw any stock as a result.
However, Dell refused to offer any further comment on the blunder outside of this official statement:
"A limited number of Dell Vostro 1310 and 1510 laptops in Europe have been sent out with the wrong keyboard layout. We are working diligently to offer a solution to impacted customers and correct the error before any additional units are shipped.
"We will be contacting impacted customers directly to both apologise and instruct them on next steps. This issue is under investigation, and we will come back with more detailed information as soon as possible. We will be acting as quickly as possible to find a satisfactory solution for our customers." ®
'Right Click' key
"Who needs the 'right click' key either, since Apple is the only company to ship single-button mice in recent memory?"
Er. Right click on a Mac is CTRL+Click. Mac's have never had a 'right click' key - it is something which appeared on 'Windows' keyboards at the same time as the Start key.
I assume those suggesting dvorak have never looked at the list of keyboard layouts included with the OS (every OS i've looked on) or they would see that dvorak is not really too practical for anyone except yanks, as there is no option for a dvorak keyboard with standard symbols, only USA symbols! (you need to make a custom keyboard layout file for it - including on vista and the few linux distros i've checked so it's not even a case of the OS being pre-dvorak)
the correct layout for the second to bottom row of a standard UK keyboard is:
Small Shift \zxcvbnm,./ Big Shift - lower case
Small Shift |ZXCVBNM<>? Big Shift - holding shift
however many laptops to save on costs use the US base with UK keytops on giving a bigger shift key on the left, in this case they move the \| key to a different location to avoid shifting the keys along (i have 4 laptops, each has it in a different location!) - this appears to be where dell have screwed up, in not moving that key when using a US base (and the fix is of course a quick move of the keys and update the key mapping, probably a firmware update)
just don't get me started on the | key which has ¦ printed on it, whilst the ¦ key has | printed on it! (for those who don't know how to type that symbol, AltGr, as with all symbols) however linux so helpfuly decides to make both of them in to | keys
also worth noting that the euro key is on AltGR+4, some keyboards have it printed on the key but some don't - not sure if it's just me but as far as i can tell at one point pre-euro they seemed to all have it on, these days with use of the euro symbol being common it seems to be 50/50 if it has it printed or not
for typing other european languages, for french accents you can hold AltGr and type the letter, for others i have no idea... (except Alt+number of course) anyone?
Say no more!
Clearly, get rid of caps lock and put control back in its rightful place...
Then you can make the shift twice as tall instead of extra wide without messing with people's backslashes and letters, if you really need the extra surface area.
BTW, where the heck are my other 12 function keys? Why the heck do I have keys for launching a web browser and calculator and no reverse video button? Where's the character/line mode key?
Damn bitty box fools.
Why are Vostro owners using QWERTY anyway?
Seems a bit daft in this day and age to be using QWERTY anyway. If you want to type at a decent speed, switch to Dvorak. None of this 'ooh, we need to put keys in an inconvenient location so our typewriter can keep up'. You can buy Dvorak key boards if you want, or just pull the keys off a keyboard you've got spare and re-arrange them.
As for those mentioning RSI, Dvorak helps with that as well (one of the reasons I swapped from Qwerty), no more excessive finger stretching. Ahh, I hear you say 'but it's really difficult to learn' - nope, just get on with it and you'll be able to touch type on both layouts.
Plus, if you're having trouble with the number pad on the right forcing you to stretch for your mouse, then use your mouse with your left hand. Doesn't take long to learn either. Mouse on the right at home, left at work, should keep away those RSI blues for at least twice as long...