How to Figure Out "Who's That For?!"

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Reader Comments (42)

I thought all caps meant you are YELLING ! DAMMN!

October 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJames Yeamans

Panel 2 is a winner. As is "pIG lATIN FOR YOUR FINGERS"; sadly, my Mac doesn't invert the shift selection, it just makes everything capitalized.

October 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJay in Oregon

Seriously? The first thing I do whenever I get a new computer (or a new version of Windows) is make sure there's a way to keep the Num Lock key from coming on by default. I can type digits faster using the number row above the alphabet anyway, and I value my arrow keys, particularly in games where you can use the diagonal ones.

October 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAlfvaen


October 31, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterchaotk

I still remember when, somehow, I had hit Insert by mistake and activated "Overwrite" mode in Microsoft Word. I had NO IDEA what was going on for minutes.

Now, who in the world uses THAT?

October 31, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFriendly Floyd

Wow, it's like you've hit all my pet subjects! I'm a programmer and I've had calls from people saying their keyboard doesn't work in Excel anymore ... seriously!

I actually don't use NumLock (Googles "Luddite" - wow, had no way of guessing that) as with combinations of Shift and Ctrl one can quickly navigate a whole document and easily cut, copy and paste. Programmers don't actually write code, they just copy/paste from code they wrote previously (we are given one of every character when we graduate and use copy/paste from then on).

Also, all of windows can be navigated with the keyboard alone and it's way faster if you know every short-cut. There is only one thing you cannot do and that's click on the notification tray - but and you guessed it, you can use a keypad driven pointer to get to those too - and its controlled by the key pad!! For the win!

Funny as always Scott, cheers :D

October 31, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJawfin

Ah, the insert button, I think every computer user has gone through that phase. The same for Ctrl-Shift, mixing up half your keyboard...
They really should teach this kind of stuff at school.

October 31, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterckikilwai

Ok, where can I get keyboard labels for "sabotage"? Maybe "cruise control" for the Caps Lock key.
I used to have a set of fake keys that you could stick onto your keyboard. One was "panic", another "eject seat" and a third one that I forgot.

October 31, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterfoogoid

I DARE you people to find an use for the Lock Scroll key.

October 31, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBauds

Horrible Luddite! Great, I just found my Halloween costume!

October 31, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermohrorless


October 31, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterUKNick

That horrible luddities would use a computer is gold! Top of the comedy pyramid. One wonders if horrible luddites would also read aweb comic but pass on the comments.

October 31, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBill N in VT

I have an IRC client with a split screen, so you can scroll up while still seeing newly incoming messages. Scroll Lock turns the split screen on or off. Chicken McBooyah. ...Of course, ctrl-z does the same thing.

I do remember back in the days of DOS and Unix when scroll lock actually did something meaningful. I just can't remember what it was. I vaguely recall that it... locked the screen... from scrolling?

These days, all those useless keys are just buttons I can map to additional skills in World of Warcraft. They're perfect since I'm not using them for anything else.

October 31, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLockeZ

When I get a new laptop one of the first things I do is pry out the Insert and NumLock keys. I leave CapsLock in -- I have the OS map that as a third Ctrl key.

October 31, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTim McCormack

"I DARE you people to find an use for the Lock Scroll key."

I use scroll lock from time to time. When I'm connecting to a remote computer through a terminal emulator, scroll lock is occasionally needed to see all of a commands output.

I probably use it once or twice a year.

October 31, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMichael

Remember those days of green characters on a black screen? That's the last time that insert and scroll lock had any use. Of course, there are still people using legacy systems who have use for those keys.

The keys should be removed from keyboards. Why? Anyone using a legacy system is likely doing so via an emulator of some mainframe system. The emulator program is perfectly capable of mapping a handy key to those functions.

Macs don't have any of the keys in question. Why? Because Macs never used DOS (also because they always had a mouse.) If a Mac needed one of the keys then see the previous paragraph.

October 31, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSoul of Wit

@ Bauds: I actually do have a use for the Scroll Lock button...there are some KVM switches (Keyboard/Video/Mouse) that use the Scroll Lock button as a switch to change computers :)
(of course, they use that button because it has no other use anymore :)

October 31, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJim

My KVM takes a double click on scroll lock followed by the number to get to the PC I want to use. As for the rest....

October 31, 2011 | Unregistered Commentercharles



October 31, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBI Fan

You forgot the worst key, the start menu key. You know, that one with a windows logo on it right between the control and alt keys. The only thing that it does is kick me out of computer games when I meant to hit the control key, and all to open the start menu?! I can do that with the mouse.

October 31, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGregory Bogosian

If I were a Luddite, I would be a horrible Luddite.

Thanks, again, Scott for sharing your sheer brilliance!

October 31, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterbyevad

Horrible Luddites!
I will have to remember that one.

another key is scroll lock. it does nothing except screw up excell.

October 31, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterrodbotic

When I was a kid, about 11 or so, I wrote a 40pg story and while editing I accidentally hit the "insert" key. I couldn't figure out what was going on so I REWROTE 20pgs before I finally went to my dad pissed as hell and he went "...-click- Fixed."

October 31, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSaith

Insert has great use when programing. Copy code, paste code, press insert, type over variable names/numbers that need to change.

I tell myself this every time I have to help people figure out why their typing is suddenly goofy.

October 31, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJacob S

Call me "Horrible Luddite" {ah, I finally found my Halloween costume!], I navigated this whole comic and comments without using mouse.
Sad confession - I didn't make the jump to mice or GUI until 1998 - I thought graphic user interface was for imbeciles and would ruin computing.Then I figured out people don't want to use computers for computing - they want to use it for "stuff"
and now Steve Jobs will have everybody else doing away with both keyboards and mice with voice commands and hand gestures on or in front of a screen - jazz handing like Tome Cruise in Minority Report - somebody is laughing ...

October 31, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKevinKunreuther

What Alfvaen said. Also, the numeric key pad makes a far better cursor pad than that stupid inverted-T version where Home, End, PgUp & PgDn are far away from your finger home positions.

Laptops without a numeric keypad (usually anything smaller than about 16" ... and all Macs, of course) are horribly, horribly crippled.

October 31, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterspiffy

Num lock, I actually use, because I need it on when I'm using my attached keyboard so I can use the number pad and off when I'm using my laptop keyboard because its 'number pad' is on the letters. Scroll lock... well, I'm told it's useful to map functions onto. The windows thing is really handy if your mouse gets messed up, which I've had happen to me a few times. Insert, though, is totally the sabotage button. No use for it.

October 31, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAmy

I can't help but think that some of you actually don't use scroll lock, insert, pause/break, and the rest (as opposed to mock-commenting). This makes me sad. I can honestly say that these blocks of keys are on my must have list when selecting a keyboard...and they better be in the right place. Finding a laptop was quite the challenge, I tell you.

Also, for those asking:
Scroll Lock - Use at a FreeBSD console session to scroll the buffer.
Pause/Break - Combine with the windows-key to get system properties.
Print Screen - Take a screenshot.
Insert - Use with shift to paste with my dominant hand.

October 31, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDivergence of B

Find myself wishing, sometimes, for a keyboard with a built-in trackball mouse in place of the number pad...

November 1, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterfilsmyth

Heh, love it! I get a couple calls a month from users saying they can't log in. First thing I say is, "make sure your num lock is on, and caps lock is off."

Looks like the other commenters have mentioned how useless the special keys are for 99.999% of users, so I'll just skip to a question for Scott.

I have to know: do you pronounce "Sabotage" like Nimoy, or like Shatner?

November 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRob

Insert is a great key in combination with Ctrl or Shift. When doing copy/cut and paste from the keyboard, you could use Ctrl-C, Ctrl-X, and Ctrl-V... *or* you can use Ctrl-Insert, Shift-Del, and Shift-Insert (my fingers know them instinctively by now). Being left-handed, my left hand is sometimes on my mouse and sometimes on the keyboard, but my right hand is almost always hovering on the arrow keys, very convenient to the Ctrl, Shift, and Insert/Delete keys after moving around with the arrow keys (and of course Shift-arrowkeys highlights text, just before pressing Shift-Del for cut, moving to the new spot, and Shift-Insert to paste, all in the same spot with the same hand). Much more convenient than the far distant C/X/V keys for me. Of course, every once in a while I run into some brain-dead program that doesn't support the Insert/Del method of copy and paste, just the C/X/V ones. gRRRRR....!

November 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBob

I still never found out what the use of Ctr-Shift was, it also took me a few months to realize that that was the reason I was typing completely different. :S

November 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJoris

In excel, scroll lock will make your arrow keys scroll the document without moving your selection/focus. These days you could of course do that with the scroll bars, but it is more cumbersome and error prone. Moderately useful, but not a whole extra key's worth, I agree.

November 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJoachim

Yes, blast the insert button!
this is why on my computer, it just opens the command line :)

November 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAlex Ponebshek

@gregory, the windows key does a lot of different stuff. windows-r opens a "run" window. windows-e opens explorer (the file system explorer). windows-d clears your screen so you can see your desktop. windows-l locks your computer if you're at work and walking away from your computer for a bit. Pretty handy, really. I use it plenty. Num lock and scroll lock annoy the piss out of me, though, and I can't remember the last time I legitimately needed the caps lock key.

November 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDrowlord

Here is a useless key: Home.
I pushed it and it scrolled to the top of the webpage. Pretty sure it does nothing when on any other page. Useless? Anyone? I will say that in the case of accidentally tapping things, a over-sensitive touchpad with tap-to-click enabled takes the cake.

November 1, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterslizz

Numlock is for using the 10key. Turning it off is for when you need diagonal arrows.

If you are using the numbers above the letters, then you aren't really doing 10 key with any effectiveness.

Once again, the keys that are critically important to users in industries that have been using computers longer then any home use are being derides by ignorant people.. Because, hey if you don't use it, clearly it's used by NO ONE.

Also, gui worth anything is completely usable with a key board, often faster.

November 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGeekoid

Pressing Home to take you to the top of the web page sounds useful enough for me; likewise End will take you to the end, quicker than a bunch of PgUp or PgDn key presses. Your annoyance was probably from having pressed it by mistake rather than on purpose. When entering text (like I am right now), Home and End take you to the beginning or end of the line I'm on. Very useful. I've seen people hold down the left arrow to get to the beginning of the line, when they could have just pressed the Home key once and been done. This is on a PC; I seem to remember using a Mac and being annoyed that Home and End did something different, but I can't remember the details.

November 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBob


November 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMatt

@Kevin Isn't computing technically a type of stuff? Everything is stuff.

November 4, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGregory Bogosian
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