Way back in the old days of netbooks I bought an Asus Eee PC 701. And by way back, I mean in October of 2007 when they weren’t called netbooks, which just might happen again in the near future. The little device was very usable for me; so much so, that it was the sole device I used to report from the slow-paced and relaxing hellaciously maddening Consumer Electronics Show last year. I distinctly remember pounding out a post while leaning next to a pillar at the vast Microsoft and Intel booths, which is something I simply couldn’t do easily with other devices I owned at the time.
The one bit that really hit my productivity wasn’t the low-resolution screen, although that didn’t help matters. What killed it for me was the small Right Shift key that was on the far end of the keyboard row. Time and time again, I’d hit the Up Arrow key during my touch-typing which made a stressful situation even worse. Think about it: you’re trying to type as fast as you can and all of a sudden, your cursor jumps to the line above and you’ve typed ten characters in the middle of another sentence before you even realize it. Folks that don’t truly touch-type won’t get too bothered by this, but I for one am thrilled to hear that Asus might be revamping their Eee PC keyboard layout. This info isn’t based on any news out of Asus, but instead comes from a manual for their 1002HA/S101H models that’s featured on Liliputing.
Netbooks are already compromising a number of other key aspects, so why compromise on the correct placement of a heavily used key? I’ve steered away from netbooks that don’t use a mainly traditional keyboard layout, which is one of the reasons that I purchased an MSI Wind. The Lenovo S10 I’m looking offers the same feature challenge as the Asus models, so as a content producer, my productivity is getting hammered when using it.
Instead of waiting for Asus to “shift” their keyboard layout, or if you have a netbook with the same Right-Shift key challenge, there is a way mitigate it. I got so frustrated with my Eee PC keyboard that I physically pulled the two keys and swapped them. Using a free utility for Windows, I then re-mapped the key functions. You can’t easily change the size of the keys, but you can change what they do. Maybe I’m just a keyboard snob… is this shift key that much of a big deal to you too or am I pressing the wrong buttons?