Sorting it all Out Michael Kaplan's random stuff of dubious value Be sure to read the disclaimer here first!
I have talked a whole bunch of times about the disconnect between the hardware side of keyboards and the software "layout" side of them. Like in Keyboards: hardware vs. software, for example.
If I am in Windows and I am looking at the device manager, I can see an item there for my keyboard:
(ignore that disabled Wireless adapter, I just didn't need it enabled just then; it is not related!)
and if I then plug in a Dell USB keyboard I have lying around (I grabbed it from work for reasons I will explain momentarily) it then adds another entry to the list:
Now you'll see no details are available on what kind of layout the hardware has. Even the 101/102 key entry for my laptop (a keyboard which I guarantee you does not have either 101 or 102 keys!) shows the problem.
The keyboards do not, as a rule, communicate about what they are to the computer. Even that USB layout is clearly plug-and-play, and not really very plug-and-communicate-what-it-looks-like.
The initial keyboard is figured out through a very complex mechanism of choosing based on OEM decisions (the OEM knows what hardware it bundles, so it just makes sure that is the starting selection).
This can occasionally lead to problems if there is no good information for particular hardware items (the Japanese 109-key hardware is a great example of a device that doesn't work all that well in Windows due to missing information on it, a fact that has apparently bitten an OEM or two while trying to put together the hardware to ship).
In the end, you can change the setting, but it isn't easy so unless you know the answer. There are a lot of choices....
I have to admit I like what Apple does here a bit more. :-)
If you plug in that same USB keyboard to a MacBook Pro running OS X 10.5 like mine, Leopard knows it has the same problem of identification of the keyboard hardware:
This wizard then asks a fews clarifying questions, such as this one:
or this other one:
and then it eventually decides it knows:
Some time next week I need to try out the tons of different language keyboards I have in my office to see if there are other questions I can make it ask! :-)
Anyway, this just strikes me as a much easier/better answer than forcing someone to know the exact hardware in question, right?
Kudos to Apple on this one, a much more usable solution for that whole out-of-the-box experience....
This post brought to you by ␏ (U+240f, a.k.a. SYMBOL FOR SHIFT IN)
"If the keyboard is working correctly... you can skip this step"
Umm... how do you skip this step? This is almost DailyWTF worthy...
Fair enough. :-)
There is the CLOSE button up there on the left, id that intuitive for Mac users?
What they meant to be talking about was if this dialog comes up and the thing that was plugged in was not a keyboard, then there are no worries. But the text is not entirely clear (and they never got into the CANCEL button on the Mac as much as they probably should have!).
I'm not a big Apple fan, but I think that the Apple solution is so much more user-friendly than what Windows does (or doesn't do) that it does make you wonder what life would be with a Mac.
How difficult would it be to add a feature like this to Windows? As an outsider I get the impression that there is so much bureaucracy and politics within Microsoft that adding simple user-oriented features such as a keyboard identification wizard is nigh on impossible -- please correct me if I am totally wrong here.
Well, it is not exactly bureaucracy, but there is sometimes an inertia here that is hard to overcome....
I do think that if MS did go down this road they could do an even more complete job here (finding everything from the 101, 102, 103, 104, 105, 106, etc. keyboards in short order -- each with minimal effort), but the trick is convincing someone that the current solution is insufficient.
There is an Apple-like feature in Halo.
At the very beginning of the game you go through a technical check, and the tech guy holds an object up, then down, and asks you too look at it (the way an eye doctor would do).
This detects you controller preference for up-down behavior (push up look up, or push up look down (airplane control type)).
Clever, many people don't even realize they do a joystick configuration.
Why did you take photos of the screen instead of screenshots?
Command shift 3 to take a full screenshot
command shift 4 to get a range
command shift 4, then space to select a window
hold control at any of the final steps to get the screenshot sent to the clipboard instead of the desktop.
To be honest, because I didn't know -- I am new to the platform!
Of course from now on I know what I'll be doing here. Thanks for the info. :-)
That part of the setup really impressed me, too. It seems like one of those cases where somebody asked "what problem are we actually trying to solve here", and finding the exact make & model of the keyboard wasn't the answer.
Here is a great link for Mac keyboard shortcuts...
Actually, the setup scripts for X11 on my ubuntu machine does a similar sort of "press your keys and let us cogitate" process - though a normal user will never see it.
You have to manually reconfigure the xorg package to get there - which you should not have to do.
At work, when I plug in a handheld barcode scanner into my Mac, I get the same dialog. The scanner is implemented as a keyboard, that is, when you scan a barcode, it sends keystrokes that correspond to the barcode to the computer.
Of course, I can't press the key they mention, because the scanner only has one button: the trigger.
It was funny the first time, but as mentioned, you just dismiss the dialog and go about your business scanning stuff.
Re screenshots: If you'd rather not use the keyboard shortcuts, open up Preview and select Grab from the File menu.
@Zoomba: "Umm... how do you skip this step? This is almost DailyWTF worthy..."
You close the window. I know shocking, right.
Hans, I had the same barcode scanner issue on my Mac, but I figured that rather than close the dialog box, I'd fake the Mac out. I printed two Code128 barcodes, one that encoded "Z" and the other that encoded "/", and then scanned them at the appropriate times... and it works perfectly. :)
I'm guessing Microsoft can't easily implement this sort of convenience because of all the varied legacy hardware they have to maintain support for. There's just too much.