Catching some Zs

The Z key on my mate’s laptop keyboard has stopped functioning.  He’s not sure whether to be happy that it’s not a commonly-used vowel that has failed him; or sad that a key has stopped working.  I told him to be thankful that he’s not American, given their penchant for using Zs in preference to Ss.

Instead of buying a new keyboard, retailing at around £17, he’s decided to live with the imperfection, for the time being at least.  As a workaround, he keeps a Word document open in the background containing a solitary letter Z and a corresponding z.  When needed, he copies the appropriately-cased Z into his destination of choice.  (For completeness, the key to the left of the Z is also defective, so he’s unable to type | and \.  Not being a techie, he doesn’t miss either.)

His ridiculous set-up got me thinking.  If you were really stretched, you could probably live with only nine keyboard keys: CTRL, C, V, ALT, TAB, SHIFT, ENTER, ← and →.  These would allow you to flick between applications and copy and paste characters between them, navigating left and right through a pre-copied list of characters.  And dedicated use of the mouse could get rid of all of these.

Regardless, the image of Rob flitting between applications in search of a Z tickled me.


6 Responses to “Catching some Zs”

  1. Mum on September 24th, 2009 22:31

    ………….and I thought Z was a commonly used consonant not a commonly used vowel? What an expensive education!

  2. Dan on September 24th, 2009 22:41

    I never said the Z was a vowel. I think you’ve inferred something that wasn’t implied. 🙂

  3. Dan on September 24th, 2009 22:42

    [And we won’t comment on your use of four ellipses with a trailing full stop. Damn! There’s me commenting.]

  4. Stefan on September 25th, 2009 00:21

    Nine keys is about nine more than you need. You have got pretty close to describing Dasher – I am pretty sure that with just a bit more practice than I have ever bothered to give it, I could type faster and more accurately with Dasher than a keyboard.

  5. art vandelay on September 25th, 2009 00:29

    mate again now I see…

  6. Simon on September 25th, 2009 00:57

    On a Mac you can use the system-widekeyboard viewer or character pallette, available from the Input menu.

    You still need the modifiers to work though, AFAIK, which is annoying.


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