GETTING RID OF THE CAPS LOCK. This Slate article by Christopher Beam from 2010 about how Google is eliminating the caps lock feature of the keyboard. The article thinks this is long overdue: “What’s most shocking about Google’s announcement isn’t that it’s scrapping Caps Lock—it’s that the button has lasted this long.” The article argues that the caps lock feature is old-fashioned, a hangover from the days of the typewriter when two different carriages were needed for upper and lower cases, and holding down a shift key while typing was difficult. Now, the article says; “As of 2010, the most-common Caps Lock users are enraged Internet commenters and the computer-illiterate elderly.” My views on this are shaped by being one of the “computer-illiterate elderly.” I think that this is one of the campaigns driven by techies who are more interested in new technology than in how consumers use a product. The purpose of caps lock is to facilitate touch typing, whereas the proposed replacements for the caps lock key (a “search” key for Google), are suited for one at a time uses. The caption of this post or a book title are much harder to type using a shift key for each letter. A large portion of my typing errors come when I capitalize the first two letters of a word. I gather that new devices often don’t use traditional touch typing so that touch-typing keyboards are themselves becoming old fashioned. I take some comfort from the fact that there are a lot of computer-illiterate elderly, maybe enough to constitute a niche market.

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