The man of a thousand Unicode characters, Michael Kaplan, recently blogged about the new version of Microsoft Keyboard Layout Creator. For those of you who haven't heard about it, it does exactly what the name suggests — lets you create and edit keyboard layouts.

I find Michael's blog fascinating to read on occasion as I have a passing interest in languages and it's always good to see the progress we're making in accomodating all of the world's dialects. Of course, my writing is limited to English, the occasional French, and the (very) rare Japanese so the chances of me running MSKLC seemed slim at best.

As luck would have it, I recently needed to use the quotation mark (") on my iMac at home under XP. For anyone coming from North America, European (and British) keyboards are weird to begin with, but in this case the Apple keyboard drivers had mapped the quotation mark to the diaeresis (¨). They look somewhat similar, but VS doesn't like the latter at all. Copying and pasting a symbol twice every time you need to type a string doesn't quite cut it either, not to mention that it's the exact opposite of agile ;)

So I downloaded the Keyboard Layout Creator and within about five minutes had the problem fixed. In case this is of use to anyone in the UK or Ireland who's running XP with a Mac keyboard (perhaps five other people), I'm posting a link to the installer here. Just run setup, choose the new keyboard in Regional Options, and all will be well :)

[Apple UK Keyboard Layout for Windows (with proper quotation marks)]