Monday, November 27, 2006

Why is there no 'turn off overstrike mode' option

Two of the most idiotic and loathesome features of Windows are the capslock key and overstrike mode. Close competitors are the idiotic features whereby Windows ignores the fact that you were selecting only part of a word and force selection of the whole word instead, the fact that cut and paste defaults to keeping the current formatting and the fact that in Word a document that has track changes turned on will always open in the 'view with markup' mode.

I have never found a use for any of these features but turning them off is either not possible or not an option. Although the Insert key can be remapped to have another function this does not seem to guarantee elimination of the loathesome overstrike mode. Same holds for the capslock key. If I remap the key I will end up in a situation where capslock is turned on and I can't turn it off.

These should be user preferences that can be easily and reliably set at the platform level. I keep telling Windows to turn off sticky keys, why do I still get asked about them? I told the machine to turn the option O-F-F. That does not mean ask me again next time I hold the shift key down for five minutes. Its my shift key you stupid machine.

Nanny options like Melinda Gate's talking bloody paperclip should be easy to disable.

The PC keyboard has function keys but for some reason the user has never really been allowed to configure them. I want two keys added to my keyboard. The first would reset the capslock, overstrike and any other modal interaction (did I mention the ultra-idiotic numeric keypad overlay mode on the thinkpad).

The second key would be for control-alt-delete. This is now a regularly used key sequence, hitting it by mistake no longer has a negative consequence (oh yes I remember the handily placed RESET key on the Apple ][). So make it easy to activate.

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