Norbert Nerdly Rides Again: Keyboard Concerns

Brian H. Gill's 'Meet Norbert Nerdly.' (2015)
(Norbert Nerdly — my frustrations, personified.)

I had finished last week’s discussion of crossword mania and the end of civilization before the trouble started. That’s part of the good news.

Then my computer’s operating system told me it was time for an update. I still haven’t decided whether that news was good, bad or just routine. I’ve filed it under ‘routine’ for the time being.

The update went smoothly. That’s what I’m assuming, at least.

When it was over, a browser that hadn’t been there before asked me to make it my default interface for the web.

Saying “no” and making it stick didn’t take more than a few minutes.

Then I noticed that Control-Alt-Delete didn’t work any more.

I’d been expecting this.

My news feed includes the occasional technogeek headline, so I was aware that Control-Alt-Delete was right up, or down, there with the abomination of desolation in terms of bad ideas that should never have been implemented.

In the ardent opinion of one technogeek, at any rate. I didn’t read the op-ed, so I don’t know why Control-Alt-Delete is or should be anathema.

I probably wouldn’t have agreed, since I prefer using keyboard commands for several functions: particularly when point and click becomes, well, pointless. Partly, I suspect, because I remember when graphic interfaces and mice — mouses??? — were new.

Good grief, I remember when electric typewriters were new.

So I resigned myself to life without Control-Alt-Delete. And within a few minutes I discovered that nothing happened when I tried keying in characters like “*” and “-.”

Don’t let my phlegmatic recitation of sequential frustrations give the impression that I remained cool as a cucumber throughout this concatenation of calamitous keyboard crises.

I was — I’ll say peeved, and leave it at that.

Intermittent Weirdness: a Capricious Keyboard

Brian H. Gill: brilliant, talented and on medication. (2021)It’s been years since I thought about remapping a keyboard.

And even then, I hadn’t seriously considered turning my QWERTY keyboard into a much-cooler Dvorak, Colemak or MTGAP layout.

I don’t deplore efficiency or new ideas.

But I learned touch typing on a QWERTY layout, have used that skill almost daily for over a half-century, and don’t see a point in developing a new set of muscle memory routines.

Before I’d gotten very far in my quest for keyboard remapping utilities, my son did a quick diagnostic on my system.

It wasn’t the operating system update that was close to giving me conniptions.

My keyboard was due for replacement. Overdue, actually.

Makes sense. I’d noticed that some of the new weirdness was intermittent. Sometimes I could key in an “*” and sometimes I couldn’t.

Ideally, I’d have suspected that my keyboard issues starting right after the update was coincidence. But, as I’ve said before and probably will again, we don’t live in an ideal world. And I’m not an ideal human being, which is another topic.

Before I could get started on pricing keyboards, my youngest daughter told me that my son had ordered a new one — an ergonomic keyboard, somewhat like the one I’d inherited from my father — and that it should arrive Wednesday.

I decided that trying to type with a capricious keyboard was an exercise in frustration.

Since my frustrations don’t need exercise, I also decided to spend the bulk of this week reading, and working with a graphic/3D program that has a very point-and-click interface.

A Family Visit and Looking Ahead

Streaming together for ThanksgivingSecond-oldest daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter arrived Wednesday.

They were on their way back from a wedding, with side trips to Mammoth Cave and other points of interest.

Areas of interest? Never mind.

The point is that I thoroughly enjoyed the visit, appreciated photos from the wedding, Mammoth Cave and a nifty dinosaur park whose name escapes me.

Then the traveling trio embarked on the last leg of their return trip, the new keyboard arrived and was introduced to my my computer by my son. Not necessarily in that order.

And that’s all I’ve got for this week.

I’ll have more, I trust, by next Saturday. Maybe about curiosity.

One of the Parishes on the Prairie priests pointed me to something St. Thomas Aquinas wrote about “the unknown vice.”

It’s in “Summa Theologica,” II, 2, Question 167; and so far I’m about half-way through. St. Thomas Aquinas is chattier than I am, and that’s saying something.

One more thing.

We’re in the final two weeks of Lent. It ends on Thursday, April 14, this year. Then it’s Good Friday, Holy Saturday and the best news humanity’s ever had.

Maybe that’s what I’ll talk about next week. That’d give me more time to think about what St. Thomas Aquinas wrote.

Finally, the usual ‘stuff that’s not entirely unrelated’ link list:

About Brian H. Gill

I was born in 1951. I'm a husband, father and grandfather. One of the kids graduated from college in December, 2008, and is helping her husband run businesses and raise my granddaughter; another is a cartoonist and artist; #3 daughter is a writer; my son is developing a digital game with #3 and #1 daughters. I'm also a writer and artist.
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