Musing on Mac Keyboards

Posted Thursday, June 25th, 2009 at 11:19 am

I’m at a one-week contract this week, and the client uses only Macs. So I’m using an unfamiliar Mac keyboard — the kind with the transparent plastic casing, and the really stiff keys (by my standards, anyway).

I am starting to get used to the propeller key already, and getting sort of used to using Meta-K instead of my usual Meta-E to access the search bar/field in Firefox. But one nice thing…

Because of the weird keyboard, I’m hoping that I can avoid transferring these habits back to my normal, PC-keyboard typing. Maybe I’ll be able to turn this drawback into a minor advantage. (Which would be nice, because reaching for the propeller key on my home computer would be seriously annoying to me.)


  1. Lunatic E'sex
    Posted Thursday, June 25th, 2009 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    A nice feature in Mac OS X is that you can re-map any menu command to almost any key combination (“almost” because some keys are reserved–Tab is one of them, I’m afraid).

    Go to: System Preferences > Keyboard & Mouse and click the Keyboard Shortcuts tab. (You might also discover some highly useful built-in keyboard shortcuts in the list, this way.) Click the “+” button and you’ll get a dialog window where you can choose the app, menu item, and new keyboard combo you want.

    Anecdote: Back near the dawn of time (in GUI terms) I found it odd that Microsoft chose Control as their meta key, because I was used to using terminal software where Control-C, Control-S, Control-U, Control-Z, etc. were already used for control of data flow and processes. Plus I might actually want to ENTER control characters in an editor that supported their entry.

    Then there was the other extreme end of the spectrum where MIT Lisp machines had keyboards with Meta, Super, Hyper, Top, and Front modifier keys…

  2. Posted Thursday, June 25th, 2009 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

    Oh, cool. Thank you! My last day on this contract is tomorrow, so I probably won’t bother to remap anything this time around… but it’s nice to know that I could.

    (Actually, global and per-app keystroke remappability is a big selling point with me. I will keep it in mind.)

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  1. By Kagan MacTane on Thursday, June 25th, 2009 at 11:19 am

    On Twitter, Kagan MacTane said: New blog post: Musing on Mac Keyboards
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