Tagged With keyboard

Predicting the future is near impossible -- but that doesn‘t stop us all from having a red hot go. Human beings have been predicting the future since the beginning of history and the results range from the hilarious to the downright uncanny.

One thing all future predictions have in common: they‘re rooted in our current understanding of how the world works. It‘s difficult to escape that mindset. We have no idea how technology will evolve, so our ideas are connected to the technology of today.

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I love a good mechanical keyboard. There's something so satisfying about hearing the light tapping noises when I punch down on the keys. While mechanical keyboards are highly prized by gamers and coders, they can also be appealing to those that work on PCs on a regular basis. I often work from home so having a keyboard that is suitable for gaming and work would be the Holy Grail for me. Does the Ozone Strike Pro fit the bill? Let's find out.

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If you have to Google/copy/paste every time you want to type a word with an accented character, we have good news for you: There's an easier way. Read on for the fastest way to type these letters on Mac, Windows and Linux.

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Tablets and smartphones are now standard productivity tools in the workplace and while they can do a whole host of things that a laptop can, they fall short when it comes to one function – typing. While some have mastered the art of touchscreen typing, it’s never going to be as good as tapping your fingers on a tangible keyboard. Good thing there are portable, wireless keyboards available on the market. We give the Microsoft Universal Foldable Keyboard a test drive.

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iOS (Jailbroken): As Addictive Tips points out, the visible-only-when-necessary keyboard on iOS devices comes with a dismiss button on the iPad, but not on the iPhone. This behaviour is fine most of the time, but I'm sure you've run into certain lousily-coded apps that cover up important information with the keyboard even when you're done typing. Pull to Dismiss solves this problem.

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One of the biggest pet peeves for users who switch to Mac from Windows is the Delete key, because it feels backwards. To make matters worse, the vast majority of Mac users don't use the full-size keyboard (which has Delete keys for both directions). Here are a few quick shortcuts to set the matter straight for everyone, but especially for those MacBook users out there.

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Windows only: If you need to lock input to your computer temporarily, skip applications that require to you key in fancy combinations to unlock things. BlockInput unlocks itself. The options for BlockInput are simple. You select which hotkey you want to use to activate the program and how many seconds you want to the application to lock the input from your mouse and keyboard. The default is CTRL+Q and 5 seconds, presumably so the first time you test the program you don't find yourself staring at the computer for the next half hour waiting for it to unlock. Whether you need a window of time to wipe down your mouse and keyboard with some sanitising wipes or you have a particularly sensitive application you want to make sure isn't disturbed, BlockInput is a dead simple solution. BlockInput is freeware, Windows only.

BlockInput

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Windows only: Your system's got a fancy keyboard with a host of handy media shortcut buttons, but they only work with a select few apps. Media Keyboard 2 Media Player fills in the support gap. Once installed, MK2MP acts as a middle man between your keyboard and popular media-applications like VLC, Xion, XMPlay, 1BY1, and Winamp. The application runs almost invisible to the end user, passing the keyboard command onto the application with the right trigger. You can enable and disable common media-keyboard keys for each program, and specify whether it sits in your system tray or stays incognito. If the program you need to control isn't yet available, the application is in active development and open to suggestions for new players to be added. Looking for a new media player in general? Check out the Hive Five results for best desktop media players.

Media Keyboard 2 Media Player

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Sticking with trusted computers is your best bet for security, but sometimes security-unknown setups are unavoidable. Enter text with a Greasemonkey-powered virtual keyboard, though, and key-loggers are out of luck. Using a virtual keyboard isn't an absolute guarantee against having your login and password lifted—thieves can be rather resourceful, of course—but it is a good defence against hardware and basic software key-loggers. More than 22 keyboard layouts are available, making it easy to take advantage of that great Slovenian password you've been dying to use. Virtual Keyboard Interface is a Greasemonkey script, works wherever Greasemonkey does.

Virtual Keyboard Interface

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CrazyLittleFingers is a keyboard locking application. Unlike some of the previous keyboard lockers we've covered, CrazyLittleFingers corresponds the keystroke to a picture and sound related to the key. Press L and you see a picture of a lion. Press R and you see a movie of a rooster. Keys that have no symbolic link for children like the page up and page down keys produce rising and falling guitar sounds. Numbers show the number on the screen. The only caveat is that it doesn't lock the mouse. This is fine on a single monitor setup, because you can't click through the images or access the start menu so clicking wouldn't accomplish anything. On a multiple monitor setup however it only locks the primary screen, the mouse is still effective on the other screens. It would be nice if the program did a simple poll to see if other monitors were active and darkened/disabled them. Still if your toddler isn't a proficient mouse user it should work fine. CrazyLittleFingers is freeware, Windows only. Photo by John A. Ward.

CrazyLittleFingers

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A new video shows off the primary features of the all-touch-screen keyboard in the next update of Google's Android mobile platform, code-named Cupcake. The video shows the touch-screen keyboard running on HTC/T-Mobile's G1 handset, but other manufacturers are reportedly considering an all-touch handset to be run on Android. You'll also see the newest updates to the G1's capabilities, including video recording and, for the browser, inline finding and selective copy and paste.

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Windows only: TeamPlayer allows you to use multiple mice and keyboards on a Windows based system. Under normal circumstances you can plug multiple USB mice in, but moving the two simultaneously will result in Windows struggling to decide which input to use for the single cursor on the screen. TeamPlayer is designed for a group environment where multiple people will be interacting with the same computer. Each mouse is assigned a unique coloured cursor to identify it. When testing on my system my primary PS/2 mouse was assigned red, and the secondary USB mouse was assigned blue. There are two small caveats with Teamplayer:

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Mac OS X only: Free application FunctionFlip adds a new preference pane to your Mac's System Preferences that lets you choose which function keys you want to operate purely as standard function keys versus special keys on a per-case basis. Say for example that you like the volume keys instead of the corresponding function keys, but you don't want to dedicate function keys to your controlling iTunes (or some version of this scenario). Normally you can only choose all function keys or all special keys by default. With FunctionFlip, you say which keys operate as special keys and which operate as the default function key (e.g., F1, F2, etc.). FunctionFlip is a simple but smart piece of freeware, Mac OS X only.

FunctionFlip