Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Broken Keyboard = Blessing In Disguise

The letter "F" popped off my keyboard today. While some might think of it as a disaster, I'm okay with it. I've popped the keys off keyboards before, and it's actually turned out to be something of a blessing.

Put aside for a second the life skill of knowing how to put keys back on computers. That's a pretty good skill, but that's not the subject of this post. The subject of this post is how sometimes when things break, you get to find a better way of doing things.

In this case, way back last year, I killed the left hand shift key on my computer. I used to be a power shifter, and when I'm in the zone I'm a pretty fast and hard typist. Keys know when they are being pressed, and sometimes - in the case of my poor shift key - they've had all they can handle and they run for cover.

The trouble with the shift key's run for freedom across my desk was that I was in the middle of a book project with a tight deadline. There wasn't a day to take the thing in to be replaced, and my attempts to put the key back on were a failure (my mother has since showed me the way, which I deeply, deeply appreciate. As does my resecured "F" key).

So what's a freelancer to do? Deadline looming, keyboard busted . . . . tears, right?

Actually, CAPSLOCK.

Since the shift key was broken, I had to hit my CAPSLOCK whenever I needed a capital letter. At first, this felt incredibly awkward. My hands kept trying to shift where there was no shift key and it was a royal pain in the palm. I wouldn't get the CAPSLOCK key turned off in time and spent precious minutes with deleting until I retrained my auto-correct.

But then . . . it started to feel natural. And then it started to feel fast.

Now I'm hooked. Forget you, shift key - I've got CAPSLOCK. And CAPSLOCK has my loyalty, because since I got the hang of thumping it for a capital letter and then thumping it again for regular style as opposed to pinning my hand down on the shift key, I type 10 - 15 words faster per minute. You have no idea what that's worth to me under a deadline.

I've CAPSLOCK'D so much I burned my little light out. I don't know how to fix that. But it's much less important than my faster typing speed.

The "F" key reminded me today to be grateful for that original bit of breakage, though, and I just thought I'd share my new tricks with the CAPSLOCK. Give it a go and see how it feels for you, too. What differences do you notice?

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