Cool way to use your old keyboard.
A typewriter is a mechanical, electromechanical, or electronic device with a set of “keys” that, when pressed, cause characters to be printed on a document, usually paper…
In computing, a keyboard is typewriter keyboard, which uses an arrangement of buttons or keys, to act as mechanical levers or electronic switches. After punch cards and paper tape, interaction via teletype-style keyboards became the main input device for computers. Despite the development of alternative input devices, such as the mouse (computing mouse), touch sensitive screens, pen devices, character recognition, voice recognition, and improvements in computer speed and memory size, the keyboard remains the most commonly used and most versatile device used for direct (human) input into computers.
A keyboard typically has characters engraved or printed on the keys and each press of a key typically corresponds to a single written symbol. However, to produce some symbols requires pressing and holding several keys simultaneously or in sequence. While most keyboard keys produce letters, numbers or signs (characters), other keys or simultaneous key presses can produce actions or computer commands.
In normal usage, the keyboard is used to type text and numbers into a word processor, text editor or other program. In a modern computer, the interpretation of key presses is generally left to the software. A computer keyboard distinguishes each physical key from every other and reports all key presses to the controlling software. Keyboards are also used for computer gaming, either with regular keyboards or by using keyboards with special gaming features, which can expedite frequently used keystroke combinations. A keyboard is also used to give commands to the operating system of a computer, such as Windows’ Control-Alt-Delete combination, which brings up a task window or shuts down the machine.
Standard “full-travel” alphanumeric keyboards have keys that are on three-quarter inch centers (0.750 inches, 19.05 mm), and have a key travel of at least 0.150 inches (3.81 mm). Desktop computer keyboards, such as the 101-key US traditional keyboards or the 104-key Windows keyboards, include alphabetic characters, punctuation symbols, numbers and a variety of function keys. The internationally-common 102/105 key keyboards have a smaller ‘left shift’ key and an additional key with some more symbols between that and the letter to its right (usually Z or Y). Computer keyboards are similar to electric-typewriter keyboards but contain additional keys.
Keyboards on laptops and notebook computers usually have a shorter travel distance for the keystroke and a reduced set of keys. They may not have a numerical keypad, and the function keys may be placed in locations that differ from their placement on a standard, full-sized keyboard.
The keyboards on laptops have a shorter travel distance and (usually) a reduced set of keys.
Smaller keyboards have been introduced for laptops, PDAs, smartphones, or users who have a limited workspace. The size of a standard keyboard is dictated by the practical consideration that the keys must be large enough to be easily pressed by fingers. To reduce the size of the keyboard, the numeric keyboard to the right of the alphabetic keyboard can be removed, or the size of the keys can be reduced, which makes it harder to enter text.
Another way to reduce the size of the keyboard is to reduce the number of keys and use chording keyer, i.e. pressing several keys simultaneously. For example, the GKOS keyboard has been designed for small wireless devices. Other two-handed alternatives more akin to a game controller, such as the AlphaGrip, are also used as a way to input data and text. Another way to reduce the size of a keyboard is to use smaller buttons and pack them closer together. Such keyboards, often called a “thumbboard” (thumbing) are used in some personal digital assistants such as the Palm Treo and BlackBerry and some Ultra-Mobile PCs such as the OQO.
Numeric keyboards contain only numbers, mathematical symbols for addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, a decimal point, and several function keys (e.g. End, Delete, etc.). They are often used to facilitate data entry with smaller keyboard-equipped laptops or with smaller keyboards that do not have a numeric keypad. A laptop does sometimes have a numeric pad, but not all the time. These keys are also known as, collectively, a numeric pad, numeric keys, or a numeric keypad, and it can consist of the following types of keys:
While other keyboards generally associate one action with each key, chorded keyboards associate actions with combinations of key presses. Since there are many combinations available, chorded keyboards can effectively produce more actions on a board with fewer keys. Court reporters’ stenotype machines use chorded keyboards to enable them to enter text much faster by typing a syllable with each stroke instead of one letter at a time. The fastest typists (as of 2007) use a stenograph, a kind of chorded keyboard used by most court reporters and closed-caption reporters. Some chorded keyboards are also made for use in situations where fewer keys are preferable, such as on devices that can be used with only one hand, and on small mobile devices that don’t have room for larger keyboards. Chorded keyboards are less desirable in many cases because it usually takes practice and memorization of the combinations to become proficient.
Software keyboards or On-Screen Keyboards often take the form of computer programs that display an image of a keyboard on the screen. Another input device such as a mouse or a touchscreen can be used to operate each virtual key to enter text. Software keyboards have become very popular in touchscreen enabled cell phones, due to the additional cost and space requirements of other types of hardware keyboards. Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, and some varieties of Linux include on-screen keyboards that can be controlled with the mouse.