Get the PITCHFORK key ready! Microsoft intends to molest the keyboard layouts again.

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depletedvespene

25 Jun 2019, 16:57

I just found about this on GH and now I gotta share with you, because misery loves company.

According to OS News, Microsoft is considering a dedicated Office key for keyboards.

Let me stress that the kind of application-dependent functionality that Microsoft intends this dedicated key for... is what the F row was created for in the first place. This is the kind of shenanigans that '90s Microsoft pulled... and though they say they've abandoned their underhanded tactics, they're seemingly are still very much an integral part of their bag o'tricks.

FFS.

Where is the SMITE key when we truly need it?

Fkazim

25 Jun 2019, 17:18

Luckily I'm fine as I don't have a windows key on my keyboard.

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Polecat

25 Jun 2019, 17:51

Well they shot down Microsoft Palladium, which was a hell of a lot more insidious, so maybe this will just die on the vine? If Billy's mom had let him play with the other kids we wouldn't have this kind of bullshit.

andrewjoy

25 Jun 2019, 18:14

They have two windows keys two shift keys who control keys ( that all send different scancodes) a menu key and 12 bloody F keys.

If they cannot program proper keyboard navigation with that then they need to give up and go home.

I would however be all for F13 to F24 becoming standard !

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depletedvespene

25 Jun 2019, 18:19

Polecat wrote:
25 Jun 2019, 17:51
Well they shot down Microsoft Palladium, which was a hell of a lot more insidious, so maybe this will just die on the vine? If Billy's mom had let him play with the other kids we wouldn't have this kind of bullshit.
Well, SOMETIMES Micro$oft does back out of stuff they force onto the users ("Clippy", anyone?)... but abandoned software can be made to disappear entirely, while abandoning hardware is rather more difficult.

IF MS does force this on us, via OEMs, even if it later recants, we'll have to deal with the fall-out from this disgraceful key. It's bad enough to deal with "winkey" vs. "winkeyless" keyboards... but then also add "officekey" vs. "OKL" layouts? And where would they put this intended "Office" key, anyway? In the bottom row? Or would they pull a DK Saver, forcing it between F12 and Pause?

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depletedvespene

25 Jun 2019, 18:23

andrewjoy wrote:
25 Jun 2019, 18:14
They have two windows keys two shift keys who control keys ( that all send different scancodes) a menu key and 12 bloody F keys.

If they cannot program proper keyboard navigation with that then they need to give up and go home.

I would however be all for F13 to F24 becoming standard !
That, or at least recover EF1..EF10. Dedicated Undo, Redo, Cut, Copy, Paste keys in the second column there doesn't actually sound like a bad idea.

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zrrion

25 Jun 2019, 19:26

There's already dedicated wake/sleep/power keys and media keys, my guess is that an office key won't be implemented at all but if it is it'll be on an f key like the media keys are on some laptops.

Findecanor

25 Jun 2019, 21:31

I think the right way for Microsoft now to do it would be either:
  1. Bundle the new Office Keyboard only in a package with Microsoft Office, or:
  2. Bundle Microsoft Office with a utility that would remap an existing key, say the Menu key to the Office modifier key, if the user chooses to enable it, or:
  3. Make the key enable a layer with existing unused key codes in the USB HID "Consumer" page for "AL Word processor", "AL Spreadsheet", "AL Presentation App" etc and allow the user to configure which apps that these codes would launch.
Any other scheme I can think of would be abusing their position on the Windows platform, and should be considered a violation of antitrust laws.
depletedvespene wrote:
25 Jun 2019, 18:19
And where would they put this intended "Office" key, anyway? In the bottom row?
Yes. The news about the key originates in this tweet by WalkingCat. It shows an image of the Office key concept as a key inserted in-between right Alt and Windows keys, thus stealing space from the Space Bar

Microsoft had been asking test users for feedback about the key, on prototype keyboards.
I think that Microsoft would have got so much negative press and reactions all over the Internet at this point, that they should have cancelled this.

dharmi

26 Jun 2019, 12:21

I don't think you understand how a bureaucratic, top down, conservative, business oriented system works.

Microsoft doesn't care about voting and public opinion like in a democracy. They are among the most Chinese of American firms, in the sense that decisionmaking is more akin to the PRC than to the USA. The nine or so members of China's Politburo have votes, and they outvote one billion people.

Even if Microsoft got one billion negative responses from individuals like you and me, if their nine biggest business partners like Dell agreed to building keyboards with the office key, they would go with their business partners.

Luckily Microsoft keeps losing market share. Linux is getting more common. Open Office is good. We can live without Microsoft and its pathetic products.

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depletedvespene

26 Jun 2019, 12:26

dharmi wrote:
26 Jun 2019, 12:21
I don't think you understand how a bureaucratic, top down, conservative, business oriented system works.
Oh, yeah, we do. We already back in the 90s called Microsoft "maoist" for their shameless repetition of their own dogma as if it were the reality.

It was actually not fun to see that moniker resurrected when Windows 8 came out, because it showed MS had NOT learned the error of its ways.

dharmi

26 Jun 2019, 15:10

depletedvespene wrote:
26 Jun 2019, 12:26
dharmi wrote:
26 Jun 2019, 12:21
I don't think you understand how a bureaucratic, top down, conservative, business oriented system works.
Oh, yeah, we do. We already back in the 90s called Microsoft "maoist" for their shameless repetition of their own dogma as if it were the reality.

It was actually not fun to see that moniker resurrected when Windows 8 came out, because it showed MS had NOT learned the error of its ways.
The Chinese Communist Party hasn't changed at all. Why should Windows? Every new iteration of Windows, every new 'upgrade' or 'update', has been forced on us with minimal reference to our preferences.

For business purposes, I was repeatedly offered a Windows phone or laptop or tablet in the past 10 years. Free stuff, IF I did something else such as purchasing X or ordering Y. I never took up a single one of these offers and have no regrets. Free Windows devices usually are of minimal use.

andrewjoy

26 Jun 2019, 18:26

dharmi wrote:
26 Jun 2019, 15:10


For business purposes, I was repeatedly offered a Windows phone or laptop or tablet in the past 10 years. Free stuff, IF I did something else such as purchasing X or ordering Y. I never took up a single one of these offers and have no regrets. Free Windows devices usually are of minimal use.
Paying for stuff only goes so far.

When things get to the point where even if you get paid to use something its going to cost you more in other areas, you wont take the money. If its a close call and product A is 10% behind product B and you get paid by product A to use it , you will use it. But when product A is 100% behind product B they wont be able to pay you enough to use it.

Example

Cattus_D

27 Jun 2019, 00:21

andrewjoy wrote:
26 Jun 2019, 18:26
dharmi wrote:
26 Jun 2019, 15:10


For business purposes, I was repeatedly offered a Windows phone or laptop or tablet in the past 10 years. Free stuff, IF I did something else such as purchasing X or ordering Y. I never took up a single one of these offers and have no regrets. Free Windows devices usually are of minimal use.
Paying for stuff only goes so far.

When things get to the point where even if you get paid to use something its going to cost you more in other areas, you wont take the money. If its a close call and product A is 10% behind product B and you get paid by product A to use it , you will use it. But when product A is 100% behind product B they wont be able to pay you enough to use it.

Example
Windows phones are excellent, actually. The interface is superior to that of the iPhone and that of the few Android phones I have experience with. I am still using two Windows phones now (Lumia 1020 and Lumia 950). Unfortunately, they will soon be replaced by a new Nokia Android phone because some of the software I require is no longer available on the Windows phone platform.

Back on topic: I think the proposal to add another button is a bit silly - and rather MS-centric.

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vometia
irritant

02 Jul 2019, 13:04

Hmm, that's a point, I wonder if there's such a thing as a minimum-height, non-moving MX-compatible keycap that can be used to replace those stupid Windows keys and return the useful hand-positioning gaps for those of us who don't touch-type? I'm not even sure what to search for. :/

Lanrefni

02 Jul 2019, 14:13

vometia wrote:
02 Jul 2019, 13:04
Hmm, that's a point, I wonder if there's such a thing as a minimum-height, non-moving MX-compatible keycap that can be used to replace those stupid Windows keys and return the useful hand-positioning gaps for those of us who don't touch-type? I'm not even sure what to search for. :/
You're looking for switch blockers,X-keys and PMK are both pretty cheap options.

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vometia
irritant

02 Jul 2019, 17:07

Lanrefni wrote:
02 Jul 2019, 14:13
You're looking for switch blockers,X-keys and PMK are both pretty cheap options.
Awesome! Thank you. Seems so obvious... after someone else points it out to me. :D

Findecanor

13 Oct 2019, 16:56

Microsoft is doing it ...

Two keyboards with an Office key and an Emoji key are up on Microsoft's store:
Microsoft Bluetooth Keyboard
Microsoft Ergonomic Keyboard

Apparently, the Emoji key is supposed to launch an Emoji Picker in Windows 10.
The new keys replace the Windows and Menu keys on the right-hand side. The Fn/Menu key is moved to the left. With the space bar's left edge being moved inwards so much, I'd think that gamers using WASD are going to be angry about having to stretch for the Space Bar.

Microsoft Ergonomic Keyboard
The ergonomic keyboard looks like a replacement for the "Natural Keyboard" 4000. The keys are unfortunately flat and wide but higher than scissor switches (so I would question how nice that would be to type on).
However, they have reduced the offset of the bottom alphabetic row on the right side, thus making the columns straighter (which I think is a good thing...), and the left side's columns were already pretty straight on previous keyboards.
Looking closely, it seems that the ISO left shift would be 1u as on MS Sculpt Ergo and not 1.25u as on the MS 4000, and an ISO Enter key would be a small as on a Apple keyboard ...
Menu key on left side. Instead of Fn layer there are media keys, lock key and tree keys labelled 1, 2 and 3 at the top. Microsoft's sparse web page mentions "Shortcut keys" but does not point where they are, and I suppose those could be those three numbered keys.
Two Delete keys: above backspace and in the normal position for some reason... Clear, =, parenthesis and Backspace above the numpad. Print Screen, Scroll Lock, Pause and Num Lock have moved one step left.

Microsoft Bluetooth Keyboard
Chiclet keys. Print Screen, Scroll Lock, Pause and Num Lock are gone, replaced with a Clear and a magnifying glass key (Cortana?).
Fn key on the left, with media keys on the Function key row.. The Function key labels are tiny and there is no toggle like on the MS Sculpt so I suppose Function keys are second-class citizens now.
Last edited by Findecanor on 13 Oct 2019, 20:16, edited 1 time in total.

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zrrion

13 Oct 2019, 19:14

at least there's a symmetrical bottom row on those things, so while its not the best, it could have been worse. Additionally, things like sleep, wake, power, and all the other keys MS has added, they haven't become standard either, so I don't think anyone besides Microsoft it really going to adopt this as any kind of standard

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depletedvespene

13 Oct 2019, 19:50

Findecanor wrote:
13 Oct 2019, 16:56
Microsoft is doing it ...

Two keyboards with an Office key and an Emoji key are up on Microsoft's store:
Microsoft Bluetooth Keyboard
Microsoft Ergonomic Keyboard

Apparently, the Emoji key is supposed to launch an Emoji Picker in Windows 10.
The new keys replace the Windows and Menu keys on the right-hand side. The Fn/Menu key is moved to the left. With the space bar's left edge being moved inwards so much, I'd think that gamers using WASD are going to be angry about having to stretch for the Space Bar.
Those things SUCK. Where is my pitchfork?

Some quick observations:

BOTH: 1U Alt keys on both sides. Bad idea. Even worse when remembering RALT is AltGr in all countries using something other than the plain English (USA) layout.

BOTH: Ain't clear what "Clear" in the numpad is going to mean. Backspace? Delete? Unix-like ^U? Plain old NumLock (because that keyboard was made by a graphic designer using an Apple keyboard)?

Ergonomic: Delete twice... and PrtSc to the left of the top Delete key — looks like they lazily copied a 75% layout and didn't bother adjusting anything. The supranav keys are shifted for no good reason (and note how Num Lock is there).

Ergonomic: the gigantic RCTRL key is inexcusable, especially when looking at the puny RALT key.

Ergonomic: the addition of the equals sign and the parenthesis to the numpad are about the only positive additions in the entire keyboard.

Bluetooth: no separation between the three clusters.

Bluetooth: gone entirely are the supranav keys. No sign of their functionality being sent to the Fn layer.

Bluetooth: the ignorant dimwits from today say a lot of crap about the F keys, implying they're useless (an undeniably false fact); however, even if that were somehow true, it's plainly indefensible to state the same about the Esc key... which is just as diminished here.

Garbage. Both models.
Last edited by depletedvespene on 14 Oct 2019, 13:19, edited 1 time in total.

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depletedvespene

13 Oct 2019, 19:51

zrrion wrote:
13 Oct 2019, 19:14
… I don't think anyone besides Microsoft it really going to adopt this as any kind of standard
The Windows and Menu keys weren't standard either back in the day, but MS forced them onto the standard by... well... force.

I bet $$$ they're already pushing OEMs to adopt these changes, too.

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Polecat

13 Oct 2019, 20:26

depletedvespene wrote:
13 Oct 2019, 19:51

The Windows and Menu keys weren't standard either back in the day, but MS forced them onto the standard by... well... force.

I bet $$$ they're already pushing OEMs to adopt these changes, too.
Of course they are. After Win95 came out any manufacturer that wanted to put the trademarked Windows keys on their keyboard had tp pay Billy a licensing fee, and that's exactly what this latest mess is all about. It's pathetic that Microsoft has to resort to this kind of greedy, manipulative marketing tactic, but when you can't come up with a superior product I guess you have to try something...

Findecanor

13 Oct 2019, 20:42

depletedvespene wrote:
13 Oct 2019, 19:50
BOTH: Ain't clear what "Clear" in the numpad is going to mean. Backspace? Delete? Unix-like ^U? Plain old NumLock (because that keyboard was made by a graphic designer using an Apple keyboard)?
It sure looks an Apple-bred junior designer had done them ...
The Clear key on Mac keyboards is Num Lock when connected to a PC but there is also a separate code in the USB HID standard for a dedicated Clear key.

I would be interested in inspecting these keyboards' report formats later, so see which keys will product existing USB HID usage codes, and what those are, ... and if Microsoft are putting any keys into a proprietary block. (which is also allowed by the standard)
The right thing to do would have been to reuse existing hitherto unused USB HID codes for the Office, Emoji and Clear keys: both to allow other keyboards to use them and to be able to map them on other OS:es.

BTW. I got a used MS 4000 a couple of weeks ago for study and could not found any standard fields for the "zoom" lever in its USB protocol, but I found a proprietary block which is probably where the input goes. :x Its numpad also has the =, (, ) and Backspace keys BTW.

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depletedvespene

13 Oct 2019, 20:56

Findecanor wrote:
13 Oct 2019, 20:42
depletedvespene wrote:
13 Oct 2019, 19:50
BOTH: Ain't clear what "Clear" in the numpad is going to mean. Backspace? Delete? Unix-like ^U? Plain old NumLock (because that keyboard was made by a graphic designer using an Apple keyboard)?
It sure looks an Apple-bred junior designer had done them ...
The Clear key on Mac keyboards is Num Lock when connected to a PC but there is also a separate code in the USB HID standard for a dedicated Clear key.

As garbage goes, it also strikes me how inconsistent the garbage IS: the Bluetooth keeb (for these things do not deserve the full noun) has a regular 5×4 17-key numpad, whose only oddity is the Clear key instead of Num Lock (nowhere to be found in the entire unit); while in the pseudergo keeb, the position is taken by the equals sign (actually a good thing) and Clear goes to the extra top row. The former has no nav legends on the numpad, while the latter does.

And for extra fury, check out the placement of the legends on both \| keys.

I'm betting not on an Apple-bred junior designer, but on TWO different Apple-bred junior designers.

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depletedvespene

13 Oct 2019, 21:02

Tagotis be upon... not us, but Microsoft. I can't believe I hadn't noticed before.

Look at the stagger on both units. (warning: can't be unseen)

davkol

14 Oct 2019, 13:14

I've looking for an "emoji" key lately, so that's fine with me, although I would rather base it on Compose.

The MS Ergonomic Keyboard sucks, though. It doesn't have a split spacebar, the Alt keys are small, and they've firmly gone back to full-size form factor. I hope there will be an update to the Scupt Ergonomic Keyboard too, with the respective redeeming features.

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depletedvespene

14 Oct 2019, 13:32

Findecanor wrote:
13 Oct 2019, 20:42
depletedvespene wrote:
13 Oct 2019, 19:50
BOTH: Ain't clear what "Clear" in the numpad is going to mean. Backspace? Delete? Unix-like ^U? Plain old NumLock (because that keyboard was made by a graphic designer using an Apple keyboard)?
It sure looks an Apple-bred junior designer had done them ...
The Clear key on Mac keyboards is Num Lock when connected to a PC but there is also a separate code in the USB HID standard for a dedicated Clear key.

I would be interested in inspecting these keyboards' report formats later, so see which keys will product existing USB HID usage codes, and what those are, ... and if Microsoft are putting any keys into a proprietary block. (which is also allowed by the standard)
The right thing to do would have been to reuse existing hitherto unused USB HID codes for the Office, Emoji and Clear keys: both to allow other keyboards to use them and to be able to map them on other OS:es.

BTW. I got a used MS 4000 a couple of weeks ago for study and could not found any standard fields for the "zoom" lever in its USB protocol, but I found a proprietary block which is probably where the input goes. :x Its numpad also has the =, (, ) and Backspace keys BTW.
Speaking of that...

Assuming that they indeed add a numpad equals key to the numpad on the pseudoergonomic keyboard... what is it going to send? The USB HID codes DO include a numpad equals scan code, but the keyboard layout tables in Windows do NOT support it. The obvious and correct choice is to update those tables to produce an equals sign, but... I'm willing to bet more money that they'll pull some stupid shenanigan, like hard-coding the keyboard's controller to send the scan codes for the =/+ key (which will not produce the desired result in non-English keyboards); they will later revise the controller to ask (through an undocumented API, of course) what language is active and if it should not be English, then send Shift-0 instead. Which, of course, will "solve" most cases, but not all.

Findecanor

14 Oct 2019, 14:43

depletedvespene wrote:
14 Oct 2019, 13:32
Assuming that they indeed add a numpad equals key to the numpad on the pseudoergonomic keyboard... what is it going to send? The USB HID codes DO include a numpad equals scan code, but the keyboard layout tables in Windows do NOT support it.
I sniffed my MS 4000. It sends the numpad =, numpad ( and numpad ) codes ... but in a single-byte array on a second interface which is a "Generic HID" interface and not a "Keyboard". :roll:
The numpad's Backspace key is sent as an additional Backspace key on the regular Keyboard interface. (It does not compress both Backspaces pressed at the same time into one)

That second interface also has a single-word array for codes in the "Consumer" page and proprietary fields.
I have to correct myself from earlier: The "Zoom" rocker does send codes "AC Zoom in" and "AC Zoom out" as key codes in the "Consumer" page. I had missed it because I thought it was an analogue control ... which it feels like. The proprietary fields are for the five macro keys on top (or whatever they are for).

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depletedvespene

14 Oct 2019, 15:56

Findecanor wrote:
14 Oct 2019, 14:43
depletedvespene wrote:
14 Oct 2019, 13:32
Assuming that they indeed add a numpad equals key to the numpad on the pseudoergonomic keyboard... what is it going to send? The USB HID codes DO include a numpad equals scan code, but the keyboard layout tables in Windows do NOT support it.
I sniffed my MS 4000. It sends the numpad =, numpad ( and numpad ) codes ... but in a single-byte array on a second interface which is a "Generic HID" interface and not a "Keyboard". :roll:
Indeed, that raises the probability on further shenanigans instead of going through the proper procedure for the three keys = ( and ) on the new numpad. There really is no excuse to avoid updating the layout tables, FFS.


I'm having flashbacks to the Green Mud Bank, where similarly stupid paths were taken on certain projects, all to avoid touching some older component, with, quite probably, a similar negligent attitude.

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XMIT
[ XMIT ]

14 Oct 2019, 23:33

It's just a remapping of RWin. :yawn:
D9ThmeyVAAEy3dW.png
https://twitter.com/h0x0d/status/1140784669962584066
D9ThmeyVAAEy3dW.png (86.87 KiB) Viewed 1414 times

mr_a500

15 Oct 2019, 12:27

I have never in my life owned a keyboard with a Windows key on it.

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