Posts tagged with keyboards - page 2

What are you doing for the next 6 months to be a better developer?

Scott Hanselman posed the open question on his Hanselminutes podcast and there have already been some good responses. My own plan includes:

Improve programming techniques

My girlfriend gave me the well-regarded Code Complete, Second Editionfor my birthday. I shall read it cover to cover and adopt good practices I am not currently practicing.

Manage my life

I have started reading GrinGod’s copy of Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity. I will move tasks out of my head and concentrate on what is achievable right now.

I have set-up these tasks now in Midnight Inbox (great but a little rough) and will keep an eye on OmniFocus. I will be prepared to use my free Moleskine I won in the Moleskinerie summer draw if neither does the job and not immediately write my own software.

Interact with other developers

My Subversion talk at the Guernsey Software Developers Forum went well. I will seek new members and engage in discussions of development with regards to local issues such as those in the finance industry.

I will spend less time on IRC as it is distracting and the non-persistent nature means good answers are lost. Instead I will help more on forums and be prepared to wait for answers to my own questions.

Learn new technologies

I will investigate technologies and learn them where they appear applicable to my work or I find personally interesting. These include:

  • Ruby on Rails – clean MVC development with AJAX support… but what about libraries and performance?
  • LINQ – simple but powerful object-relational mapping as standard but far away in .NET 3.5
  • Cocoa – Apple’s OS X development based around Objective-C giving compilation and dynamic typing
  • MonoRail – if I’m going to continue with ASP.NET it won’t be with WebForms
  • SharpDevelop – the Visual Studio API is terrible and this project looks well designed and usable

Contribute more to open source

I will contribute more to my favorite open source projects. This includes:

  • AnkhSVN – improve user interface and head up the 1.1 release
  • SubSonic – refactor more code and help out where I can

Lead development at work

At my new job I will concentrate on the new technology and vision for the next-generation of tools to deliver to our staff and customers and lead my team as appropriate.

I will distill my experience contracting for the last 7 years into the best practices for the company and continue to lead them in adopting modern practices. We now have have source control, formalized request for change and release management procedures however we still need to embrace new tools, write comprehensive unit tests and switch to object-relational mapping for new development.

Switch key-map to Dvorak

I have swapped out my DAS 2 at work for my Apple Pro with the key caps rearranged for Dvorak. I will stick to this layout until I can properly touch-type. I won’t actually make me a better developer but it should keep RSI at bay. (This post was written using Dvorak)


Office shortcuts for accented characters on Windows

Many years ago I came across, by accident, a way of entering foreign accented characters into Microsoft Office applications by way of a standard non-accented UK/US keyboard.

Whilst this technique is documented in a few places very few people seem to have come across it.

Press Ctrl and a symbol followed by a letter and it will apply this symbol to the letter if it forms a valid accented character. Some symbols require you press Shift at the same time as Ctrl if you normally need to press Shift to get the symbol (e.g. ^ on via Shift6)

Symbol Name Diacritic Examples
: Colon Umlaut äëïöüÿÄËÏÖÜŸ
^ Caret Circumflex âêîôûÂÊÎÔÛ
Single quote Acute áéíóúðýÁÉÍÓÚÝÐ
` Apostrophe Grave àèìòùÀÈÌÒÙ
, Comma Cedilla çÇ
~ Tilde Tilde ã?õ?ñÃ?Õ?Ñ
Double quote Double acute ????
@ At Ring åÅ
/ Forward slash øØ
& Ampersand æœßÆŒ

For example to get  you would type CtrlShift6 (where ^ lives) then let go of the keyboard and press ShiftA (for A). Voilà!

It sure beats trying to remember Alt-01nn numeric keypad codes or delving into the depths of Start > Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Character Map.


Fixing MacBook Pro keyboard annoyances under Windows

This article was written when Boot Camp had limited device driver support and is now therefore out of date.

There are a few annoyances with the MacBook Pro keyboard when in use under Windows XP via Boot Camp. The lack of back lighting and the swapped WindowsAlt keys I can’t help with but the getting the Fn key operational, replacing Alt Gr and switching misplaced symbols I can.

The lack of Alt Gr for those people who need to use foreign characters or the Euro symbol can be solved by simply pressing Alt and Ctrl together instead.

Misplaced symbols (UK keyboards)

The UK keyboards don’t quite work as expected so I’ve put together a couple of key maps to solve the problems.

For the most part the keyboard act as a normal UK Windows keyboard, i.e. # is next to Enter and " are up on Shift2. One key however isn’t right and that’s \ which should be next to Z but can be found up by 1.

MacBook Pro UK Windows Keymap solves this backslash problem and is recommended for experience Windows laptop touch-typists.

MacBook Pro UK Mac Keymap makes the keyboard operate as it is labelled and indeed how it operates in OS X. Experienced Mac users, non touch-typists or consistency seekers – this is the one for you. (Note that # is CtrlAlt3 as per OS X)

Installing these key maps

Download the above file and ensure you unpack the ZIP – you’ll get an error if you try and run the MSI from inside the ZIP as there is another file inside the i386 folder that it needs.

Once installed head into Control Panel > Regional and Language Options then go to the Language tab and press Details…

Click Add… and choose input language English (United Kingdom) and the appropriate keyboard layout of either United Kingdom (MacBook Windows) or United Kingdom (MacBook Mac).

Click OK then choose English (United Kingdom) – United Kingdom (MacBook … from the drop-down box under Default input language and finally hit OK!

Getting the Fn key to work

Input Remapper lets you remap various keys but most importantly comes preconfigured and with a driver to enable Fn on the MacBook while in Windows.

Volume, brightness, Eject, Num Lock, page up/down, home and end will work just as you’d expect.

Additionally FnBackspace will delete, FnEject will print screen, the odd key to the right of the Apple logo will provide context menu and pressing Fn while clicking the track pad will give you right mouse clicks so no need for Apple Mouse.

Have fun!