Let's kill the CAPS LOCK KEY

Does anyone use the CAPS LOCK key? It does seem to be a throwback from a very different time. WHO NEEDS A CAPS LOCK KEY? INTERNET NEWBIES? YOUR FAVORITE SPAM MAIL PROVIDER? (Especially when most WYSISYG word processors like Microsoft Word have a function that easily converts text to upper case whenever you please.) This Slashdot post: War Declared on Caps Lock Key explains it all.

“I’ve launched a campaign to rid the world of the caps lock key. Sure, there are more serious problems to solve but please, think of the children! How am I going to explain to my kids why some of the most valuable keyboard real estate is squatted by a large, useless key that above all you must not press! Our campaign mission is simple: to send a message to the computer industry to force it (by any means necessary) to retire the CAPS key. It’s going to be a hard, long, and possibly very embarassing war on uppercase, but some things just need to be done. ”

Of course, there is a (Google) group called CAPSoff to discuss the woes and strategies (and some humorous nonsense) about getting rid of the keyboard’s least popular key.

Allow me to point out that I have two other keyboard pet peeves too:

  1. The num(ber) pad on the right of most full keyboards, that rarely gets used and requires a Kent Tekulve side-arm mousing style. I want those 4 inches back on my desktop!
  2. Keyboard real estate I’d like to have is a BACKSPACE key on my powerbook keyboard.

A trivia question: do you know how “upper case” got its name?

Update: Of course, there is a blog about the CAPS LOCK key fight.

4 thoughts on “Let's kill the CAPS LOCK KEY

  1. John

    Upper case refers to the container of letterforms that typesetters would keep the capitals in. It was above the case for the small letters, hence “upper case”. What do I win?

  2. donturn


    The legend goes that the topmost drawer in a typesetter’s bureau, the UPPER drawer was traditionally where they kept the upper case letters.

    You win the admiration of many, the scorn of the losing entries (what losing entries?) and secure knowledge that you embody a Harpold-like knowledge of the history of typesetting.

    Oh, and a beverage next time we meet.

  3. Prentiss Riddle

    I’m with you completely on the numeric keypad question.

    I did in fact go to Fry’s and buy a compact keyboard sans keypad for the last PC I owned but I’ve never seen one for the Mac.

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