20)What Is The Most Useless Key On The Keyboard?

Q) What is the most useless key on the keyboard?

A) Capslock.

Let me start this entry by telling you a little story about a family member of mine. This person is a bit eccentric; when he’s not regaling the family with his suprisingly aggressive Donald Duck impersonation he’s shouting with rage over the freaking Boston Bruins.  He’s a pretty angry guy, is what I’m saying.  Anyway, due to a sit com-esque series of events, I ended up working with the guy one summer.  Needless to say, it was a rough time.  It would have been bad enough had I not known him, but being related to a man who was simulatanously 1) a yeller 2) a close talker and 3) a anthromorphic duck impersonator was just too much. 

During our brief tenure as co-workers it became neccessary to have some brief communication with him via text message.  He didn’t really understand text messaging, to be honest, so I gave him the benefit of the doubt when I got a couple text messages in all caps.  After the fifth time, though, I brought it up to him. 

“You know you’ve been texting me in all caps, right?”

“Yeah, I know.”

“So…I mean, like, is that intentional, or?”

“That’s just how I do it.”

After some prying, I found out that he sends all forms of written communication in all capital letters.  Why?  Your guess is as good as mine.  There is just no logic behind that decision, but it did get me thinking that this was probably the one time in modern history that an individual has made good use of the caps lock, the single most pointless key on a board filled with useless buttons (Scroll Lock came in at number 2). 

Honestly, I have no idea why computer manufactors continue to put this relic onto keyboards.  I feel like it’s one of those things that seems to make sense in theory, but in reality just does more harm than good.  Other than to get across the point that you’re angry, which you could just as easily do by holding down the shift key while typing, when has it ever served any purpose? 

Capslock is a holdover from the days of the typewriter.  Never heard of it?  It looks like this:

In those days, there was no way to put emphasis on letters other than to go back and underline them, which would have been a very tedious process.  IBM introduced caps lock in the early 80’s, and it’s been with us ever since, despite computer nerds constantly protesting about the lack of use of the key on what is a pretty prominent part of the keyboard.

Except for the occassional weirdo making a conscious decision to type in all caps, it’s primary role is to be a minor annoyance.

Additional Info

http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/caps-lock

http://www.cracked.com/blog/an-interview-with-caps-lock-most-misunderstood-key/

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/tech/personal-tech/computing/Key-logs-out/articleshow/7295428.cms

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~ by fc13 on January 26, 2011.

3 Responses to “20)What Is The Most Useless Key On The Keyboard?”

  1. On my keyboard there are two keys that have NEVER been used. They are labeled “ScrLk” and “Pause/Break.” Not only have they never been used, I have absolutely no idea what they even do.

    At least “Caps Lock” gets used occasionally by mistake.

    • Haha, yeah, I tried pressing scroll lock and it does nothing. I looked it up and I guess it can be used in Microsoft Excel and a few other programs, presumably to stop the text from scrolling? Pause/break is another relic, but it is still sometimes used in PowerPoint, apparently. That’s my main problem with Capslock; it’s in a position on the keyboard where it’ll occasionally get hit, which is a huge annoyance. And by “huge annoyance” I mean I have to take 5 seconds to switch it off.

  2. I have someone at work who will send things with almost everything capitalized. It drives me crazy because, in my head, I’m thinking, “Why are you yelling at me?” Also, sometimes I hit the stupid button with my pinkie finger and then I feel like I’m yelling at myself while I’m typing and that’s just no good.

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