Keyboard Claw

A subset of the ShortCuts, are the KeyboardClaws: the odd contortions which computers sometimes require. If we were to engrave this page in stone, it could become the digital RosettaStone of the ThirdMillennium?.

Maybe it should be KeyboardClause instead of KeyboardClaws :-)? Perhaps
LeoScott had an opportunity to attend a demo of some software running on a minicomputer using a particularly baroque color terminal. The gentleman giving the demo had the audacity to brag that his software could not be crashed. Having some familiarity with the terminal and guessing that the software might not be able to handle everything the terminal could spit at it, he proceeded to use all ten of his fingers to press various keys, causing the terminal to send a rapid stream of characters to the computer. Needing to press just one more key to cause the terminal to send really fast, he leaned over and pressed the eleventh key with his nose. The gentleman's software promptly blew chunks. Leo calls this "rolling your nose on the keyboard." It was the ultimate KeyboardClaw.

Reminds me of a pianist (his name eludes me) who said, "Play it with your nose if you have to, but play it!"


My SignificantOther happens to have been born in Germany, she told me Ctrl-Alt-Delete is called the DosClaw? in German, though I think the spelling is a bit different than my phonetic reproduction. it is actually called ape claw (affengriff)

There's a DosBoot? joke in there somewhere.

The AtariSt's operating system TramielOperatingSystem (TOS), which had many similarities to DOS (including, I believe, CtrlAltDelete to reboot), was started by a boot loader called DAS BOOT.
On the KinesisKeyboard the Control, Alt, and Delete keys are adjacent to each other (in the left thumb area). With a bit of practice you can hit all of them with one finger. This can be satisfying sometimes. :-)

Even more fun, Ctrl-Alt-Backspace can be accidentally hit with one thumb on KinesisKeyboard, as mentioned above, that's the magic "Kill the X server" combo. Once, In the wee hours of the morning, ten hours into a big coding binge, about a month after I started using my Kinesis....
Northgate, who used to make gourmet keyboards, made one with a teeny tiny button in the back which issued the CtrlAltDelete when pressed.
I want a keyboard with a red button under a flip-up clear plastic cover. Flip the cover up, mash the button, reboot. I don't need it as much as when I was running WinDOS, but Netscape does tend to take the X Server down - keyboard and all - in Linux. This of course means the button can't be a key per se, but just a remote reset button such as is on the front of the case (which is quite out of reach beneath the desk). There's a human factors lesson in there somewhere.

-- StevenNewton

The AcornArchimedes machines had proprietary keyboards with a large (but sufficiently recessed) reset button at the back, next to where the mouse plugged in. This had a dedicated wire within the cable, so it could trigger a motherboard reset even if the keyboard wasn't being read.

The TRS-80 Model III had an orange reset button on the top right of the keyboard, recessed in its own little well. It provoked much curiosity among those unfamiliar with computers. "What does this do?" was often followed by the gnashing of teeth of those who hadn't yet saved their work to tape. The reset button also had a great tactile response, which just begged to be pressed. In retrospect, this may have been a GoodThing.


Ever since my VAX days (where I had to keep track of the difference between CtrlC and CtrlY), I've wanted a VelocitySensedKeyboard? - so that a moderate press of some interesting key (like Return) caused a simple line break. A harder press would cause a suspension of output (like CtrlS), and a still harder stroke would interrupt execution of the current process. Really whacking the key would, of course, force a reboot. -- TomStambaugh

harpsichord versus piano, sounds like a good idea to me.

Hmmm, I tend to keyboard in a concert-piano style, and I think this is analogous to hitting the final chord and watching your piano disappear through a trapdoor. So I vote this suggestion as something evil that must be stopped. More on track, I'm always surprised how many critical systems reboot if you unplug the system-console.

On which note, see the RISKS DIGEST 16.85 - "Re: Sparc10 keyboards and resetting the CPU". They don't actually _crash_, but they do drop into the boot monitor. http://catless.ncl.ac.uk/Risks/16.85.html#subj8

see also StrongKeyboardTyping
I remember people always complaining about the weird keyboard claws the Apple engineers came up with for various boot-time commands. (e.g. command+option+C+D to boot from CD.) It made sense, though. They were designed so that they wouldn't happen accidentally or because of a bad keyboard. Now they've all been simplified (e.g., just hold down C to boot from CD). I wonder if they now get appreciably more support calls because of this. -- RobertFisher

It increases the probability of MysteryMode.


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