Quirky Keyboards

Sholes typewriter, 1873. Museum, Buffalo and E...
Sholes typewriter, 1873. Museum, Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Quirky Keyboards

A new keyboard layout has been designed to increase the speed of typing.  It’s called the “KALQ” keyboard.  The most commonly used letters have been moved closer together to make it easier to type at speed.  The inventors claim it is far better than the standard QWERTY keyboard – which is no doubt true because the QWERTY keyboard was never designed for speed.  It was designed by Christopher Sholes in 1875 to slow down typing so the keys didn’t get stuck in old-fashioned typewriters.  At the time the idea was a good one – as jammed keys had to be forced apart with a crow bar before the typist could continue – but the QWERTY keyboard should have been phased out when computers arrived.  The ABCDEF keyboard is a much faster layout.  It isn’t perfect – but it is faster to use.

The QWERTY keyboard is the most illogical arrangement of keys imaginable.  Every day I make typos, tarnopsing letters that are near to each othre.

I once bought a new computer with an £100 “ergonomic” keyboard that was supposed to reduce the chances of Repetitive Strain Injury. The keyboard was split into two sections – that’s probably where the “ERGH!” in “ergonomic” came from because my left and right hands were in different time zones.  I felt like a concert pianist whenever I sat down to type.  After trying to use it for a year – hating it for every second – I replaced it with a normal QWERTY costing £1.99.  Best two quid ever spent!

 I’d like to see a new keyboard designed for making writing much quicker.  My keyboard would have “THE”, “AND”, “WAS” and “THAT” keys.  I’d probably add a few more word keys like “COULD” and “SHOULD” at the top to save extra time.  “Q” and “U” would be all combined into the “QU” key.  Speech marks and apostrophes would not require the use of the “SHIFT” key.  The “SHIFT” key would not be next to the “CTRL” key so I’d never accidentally reformat or delete a document.  The space-bar would be nice and big.  The function keys would have actual words on them to explain their functions instead of baffling icons. There would be an “ANY” key so that if the message “PRESS ANY KEY” appears on my screen I would have something to press.  Numbers would have their own keys so they didn’t have to share space with !”£$%^&*().  I’d probably like a row of emoticons too – so I’d know how to make them so people would know when I’m joking:)

My ideal keyboard would also automatically clean trapped gunk and dust, never have letters wear off through heavy use, and it would not have removable keys that could be swapped around as a joke.

 Alas, until someone invents my ideal keyboard, I’ll have to make do with my very QUIRKY one.

John Moralee (C) 2013

Flashes of Inspiration

Pablo Picasso 1962
Pablo Picasso 1962 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Flashes of Inspiration

Here are some 25-word flash stories.  I wrote them in response to a fiction thread asking for stories of exactly that length. I thought it was impossible to do that until I gave it a go.  Each had to include a specific word in story used as the title.  I hope you’ll find some of them amusing.

Change

 The chameleon met his old friends for their high-school reunion.

They all said the same thing.

You’ve changed a lot.”

Free

A street poet offered me a poem for ten bucks.

No thanks.  Anything cheaper?”

If you don’t need it to rhyme, I’ve some free verse.”

Button

Warning!  Never press this button!

He pressed it anyway.

The screen emitted hypnotic lights and sounds.

His mind ceased functioning.

The television claimed another victim.

Adversary

His adversary was in the mirror, mockingly copying his every move.

So he smashed it.

Victory!

Unfortunately, the shards sliced his throat

He died, too.

Children

The vampire children gathered in the cave entrance, their feral eyes shining in dawn’s half-light.

The sunlight frightened them back.

But tomorrow they would feed.

Goodbye

She waved goodbye to her husband at the station, tears streaming  – until the train had gone.

Then she smiled.

Her new lover was waiting.

Basket

Marisa filled her basket with everything for a great dinner party: fine wine, delicious food, scented candles.

The only things she forgot were the guests.

Eggs

I cracked the egg and tasted the creamy orange yolk.  Yum!

My comrades were appalled.

“NO!” they cried.

“What?” I said.

“That’s the last dodo.”

Spring

Spring started with rain.  And more rain.  And even more rain.

The downpour was endless.

Noah looked up at the dark, cloudy sky.

“Not again!”

Spring (again)

In the spring Laura loved watching the tulips and daffodils growing, but they made her sad, reminding her that life was beautiful outside her cell.

Eggs (again)

Every Halloween several children gathered outside his house – hurling eggs and yelling abuse.  He didn’t care.  Ignoring them was cheaper than paying the alimony.

Key

The arrogant man showed off his multi-million-dollar house to the famous painter Picasso.

Picasso drew the man’s key and smiled.

“That’s worth more,” he said.

Safe

The safe contained all of his valuables.

“Where’s the key to the safe?” his wife asked.

“Er … locked inside.”

“That’s stupid!”

Yeah, he thought.

He should have put her in, too.

Key (again)

He did not know why everyone panicked when he produced the key for the door.

“Wait until we’re back on the ground!” the passengers shouted.

Glare

Josephine noticed everyone staring at her on the crowded Parisian street.

“Why are they staring?” Josephine asked Marcel.

“Oh – we’re on Rue Du Glare.”

Something strange happened as I was messing around writing those tiny stories.  I found taking a few minutes to write some 25-word stories turned out to be a excellent way of getting my creative juices flowing for that day.  If you become stuck writing something, I’d recommend trying it.  It inspired me to write some longer stories with much larger word counts.

John Moralee (C) 2013