Keep the Accent On Productivity With USInternational

Having worked for a few organizations with global footprints and being in a position where I need to switch from Windows to OS X on a regular basis, I can tell you from first-hand experience that it is sometimes quite frustrating when I need to include accented characters in a document and wind up using Windows key sequences out of habit. Many switchers may be in this situation as well, having just entered the world of OS X after being longstanding Windows users.

OS X aficionado, Rainer Brockerhoff, feels this pain too and has released an new OS X Leopard-compatible key layout called USInternational which maps Windows key shortcuts while preserving most of the standard OS X option-key sequences.
Read More about Keep the Accent On Productivity With USInternational

Mac 101: Activate the Onscreen Keyboard in OS X

An onscreen keyboard can be a powerful tool for screencasters. This tutorial will show you how to turn on the onscreen keyboard that OS X has built-in.

To turn on the onscreen keyboard:

  1. Go to the System Preferences panel
  2. Select the “International” icon

  3. Go to the “Input Menu” tab
  4. Select the “Keyboard Viewer”

  5. You now should have an American flag in your menu bar. Click on the American flag and select “Show Keyboard Viewer”

  6. You now should have a keyboard on your desktop that displays whatever your press on your keyboard. Quick, easy, free!

* If you click the plus arrow in the upper left hand corner of the keyboard it makes it much larger.

Mouse vs. Keyboard: The Great Divide

iPhotoOK, so you work on the web. That’s a given. But what are you doing when you work on the web? Most likely, interacting with some application on your computer. Now drill down one more level: are you using the mouse (or other pointing device) or the keyboard for most of that interaction? There’s the question that has the potential to bring users to blows.

I was reminded of this debate by a blog entry from Hank Williams, who was reacting to the recent launch of Ubiquity (which our sister blog OStatic covered). Ubiquity provides a very keyboard-oriented interface, though it includes some mouse affordances as well. After pointing out that keyboardists and mousers are different, he goes on to admit

Now don’t get me wrong, I am a fairly fast typist. But my problem is I can’t remember commands. Putting a keyboard command in my head is like putting sand in a sieve. The reason I love graphical interfaces is because I can’t remember shit.

Read More about Mouse vs. Keyboard: The Great Divide

Xbox to Get Its Own Video Shows

The Safran Digital Group will produce scripted short-form content for the Xbox, according to reports. We’ll have more tomorrow, but for now the basics:

  • Safran represents clients like the actor and producer Sean Combs, Nia Vardalos, Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer, but major movie stars are not expected to participate.
  • The six shows are likely to be comedy, horror or science fiction.
  • Reports differ on whether the shows are debuting in the summer or fall.
  • Microsoft says this is the first of many Xbox content deals; it’s also talking to MySpace.
  • The shows will have an unspecified window of exclusivity on Xbox before they are available elsewhere.

Are Keyboard Problems Plaguing MacBook Pros?

After much anticipation, my new MacBook Pro arrived this weekend. Following an evening of migrating files, applications and settings to the new laptop, I was extremely pleased with its speed, responsiveness, and all the little things that make it an excellent Apple laptop. But this morning, when I reached the office, we hit a serious snag. After waking up from sleep, the keyboard and trackpad were completely unresponsive, even after multiple reboots, removing the battery, and hitting just about every key combination I could think of.
After significant hassle, I attached a USB keyboard and mouse to the laptop, and that’s how we’ve been operating for the last few hours.
Considering I can sometimes be the quintessential Apple fanboy, this is a very public issue. Looking throughout the Web for a magic key sequence or seance I could provide to wake the keyboard back to life, I stumbled upon a discussion board on Apple’s support site that shows dozens of people with the same, unfathomable issue.
Some have written, “External USB keyboard and Bluetooth mouse work fine, but the built in keyboard and trackpad are dead,” and others… “Randomly, the keyboard and trackpad go completely dead, and though the computer seems otherwise unaffected, I cannot do anything.”
It looks like the only solution is to take the laptop to a repair facility pronto, and we can expect the machines to be out of service for a few days at the very least. I want so badly for this to be a user error, so I can laugh at myself later, but it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen.

Apple announces new keyboard…and officially makes the wireless version lame

Today Apple announced a brand new shiny keyboard. It’s sculpted out of beautiful aluminum is freakishly thing.
But with all the hype they managed to leave out some major differences in the wired vs. wireless versions.

Apple Wired/Wireless Keyboard

The top keyboard in that image is the wired and the bottom is the wireless/bluetooth version.
Yes, those are to scale.
No, the new wireless version does not have a keypad…or any of the new “shortcut” keys.
The new wireless version is effectively just a cut out of a laptop keyboard.
While I think Apple has created a magnificent new product here, I think they’ve made a horrible move by only offering these options. It’d be one thing to offer a wired or wireless version of each (as I can see the smaller version coming in handy for travelers), but it’s a different thing to only offer a wired version to get a full keyboard.
I’m crossing my fingers here that in the coming months they’ll offer a new wireless version of the full keyboard. Until then I’ll just have to keep using my now horribly outdated and inferior “old” white keyboard…that I purchased 2 months ago.

Apple Pro Keyboard Repair

I had a broken Apple Pro keyboard to deal with at work today, and so, in accordance with one of my favorite mottoes – when in doubt, take something apart – I took it apart. This turned out to be a bit harder than I expected, so I took pictures and thought I would post a how-to guide here.

A quick introduction: This is the keyboard that shipped with the G5 Mac Pros, and in terms of everything but color, is identical to the keyboard from G4-era Macs as well. I was doing this repair because the keyboard was full of food and gunge, relic of a past user, and there was no way that I could issue this to anyone else in the condition it was in. Unfortunately, it was also the only keyboard that I had with the handy little shortcut-reminder stickers that used to come in boxes of Final Cut Pro, and the user wanted those. It was clean it out or nothing. So, without further ado…
Read More about Apple Pro Keyboard Repair