by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2005/02/24 02:03 -05:00, original URI: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/michkap/archive/2005/02/24/379466.aspx
The scene is familiar -- you are typing along and suddenly you are not seeing the letters you typed. And suddenly you imagine you are channeling your inner Homer Simpson as you say
D'oh, stupid keyboard!
But the computer has not been possessed. It may be the situation the inestimable Kate Gregory describes in Language bar have a mind of its own? :
For several months now, I've been plagued by unexpected language changes while I'm typing. I'll type one character, maybe a quote or a question mark, and I'll get a really strange character instead, say a capital E with an accent on it. I came to realize that it was the language settings, and I keep the language bar on my toolbar so I can flip back to English whenever this strange thing happens. But I didn't know why it was happening, and I found stopping what I was doing to mouse over to the bar and click back to the language I wanted very frustrating.
Well, now I know what was going on! ALT-SHIFT rotates through the languages. I'm a huge ALT-TAB user, and I ALT-SHIFT-TAB when I need to cycle backwards through that list. I also use a fair amount of other ALT-things, like ALT-A to bring up the favourites menu in IE, then arrow keys to choose an item. I really prefer the keyboard to the mouse. Well I guess every once in a while an ALT-SHIFT gets through to the language bar and flips my language. So now when I go to type a URL and see ццц I can quickly make it right.
Лфеу (er, Kate)
That's actually one very common issue. And there is no shame in at all, though I admit to curiousity in wondering if Kate really has a cyrillic keyboard in her list? :-)
Happens to me all the time!
I was once trying to repro a bug that occurred only if you have more than 50 keyboard selected, and then one never knew what one was getting when one ALT-SHIFT'ed, or how to get back where one was before. I finally found a brilliant workaround though -- I added the US English keyboard 51 times, under 51 different languages. That way no matter what I accidentally switched to the letters would look the same. At the point things only sucked in one application -- can you guess which one?
It was Word. Can you guess how? Well, Word which chooses the language to tag the text with based on the input language, causing what I thought was a brilliant workaround to be one of the most non-intuitive blocker to proper spell checking since the time my dictionary fell off my balcony back when I lived on the third floor and viciously attacked a house plant. It did manage to prove that the book is mightier than the plant, though. Much to the chagrin of my former downstairs neighbor, who was quite happy when I finally moved several buildings away.
Where was I?
Oh yes, when keyboards seem to be misbehaving. Maybe this one seems familiar to you?
I have a couple computers at the office that run Word 2000 and lately whenever I try to put an accent mark on a vowel it just inserts two accent marks instead. (Quite annoying!)
I've tried reinstalling the keyboard language and reinstalling and updating Office but to no avail.
Unfortunately, this one turned out to be the Bugbear.B worm. Luckily Symantec has a removal tool. But it is best to not ignore this sort of problem when it happens (the person who reported this particular problem admitted it had been going on for months).
One more -- similar to the last one but with a happier ending:
This has been bugging me for months. I am not sure when it started, but any time I try to put an apostrophe into a document, nothing happens. Then if I hit the key again I get two of them.
I have to hit the backspace key to get what I wanted. So it takes three keystrokes to get me what should have taken one. Is this some sort of virus? Help!
Ah, no virus this time. However, it turns out that this person had installed the "United States - International" keyboard layout. This layout has the apostrophe as a dead key for an acute accent. And as I have said before, dead keys are not intuitive. In his case either the apostrophe and a space or uninstalling the layout were both okay options. He chose the latter since he did not need the international layout....
This post brought to you by "Я" (U+042f, a.k.a. CYRILLIC CAPITAL LETTER YA)
# Simon Montagu on 24 Feb 2005 12:28 AM:
# Michael Kaplan on 24 Feb 2005 6:34 AM:
# Jeremy Davis on 24 Feb 2005 8:22 AM:
# Michael Kaplan on 24 Feb 2005 9:27 AM:
# Matthew W. Jackson on 24 Feb 2005 10:30 AM:
# Michael Kaplan on 24 Feb 2005 10:37 AM:
# Matthew W. Jackson on 24 Feb 2005 2:14 PM:
# Michael Kaplan on 24 Feb 2005 3:17 PM:
# Matthew W. Jackson on 24 Feb 2005 6:59 PM:
# Michael Kaplan on 24 Feb 2005 7:02 PM:
# Matthew W. Jackson on 24 Feb 2005 9:58 PM:
# Michael Kaplan on 25 Feb 2005 2:39 AM:
# Matthew W. Jackson on 25 Feb 2005 9:59 AM:
# Matthew W. Jackson on 25 Feb 2005 10:00 AM:
# Michael Kaplan on 25 Feb 2005 10:42 AM:
# Rosyna on 27 Feb 2005 7:59 PM:
# Michael Kaplan on 27 Feb 2005 8:09 PM:
# Rosyna on 28 Feb 2005 2:50 PM:
# Michael Kaplan on 28 Feb 2005 2:53 PM:
# Sam Ferencik on 11 Oct 2007 5:10 AM:
Yours is one of the websites I came across when looking for a solution to the Alt-Shift-Tab problem described by Kate. I have found the cause now and have posted it as a comment to Kate's blog (see the link above).
Just in case anyone gets here looking for the solution...
# Maria on 28 Nov 2007 4:20 PM:
I have gone through all the comments in this bolg, still can not solve my problem. My problem is almost the same as Kate's. When I type / , it shows é, when I type ? (shift+?), it shows É. I tried that Alt + Shift many times, suddenly I got / and ?. But when I open another file, same problems come again. And the question is I don't know how I made my last time successful. I guess that was just a coincidence.
Please help me!
susan on 28 Aug 2010 5:53 PM:
How do I capitlize my letters on the flipback phone. I think Im over my head with this phone!
2011/04/23 Solution: The Dead Keys Conundrum: An Encyclopedia Brown Mystery
2011/04/22 The Dead Keys Conundrum: An Encyclopedia Brown Mystery
2007/11/29 If the problem is bad enough, we should probably look beyond the workaround
2007/10/27 Keyboards gone wild, or maybe just French (aka CSI: Text Input)
2007/10/15 Hitting the 'right' keys (in the 'wrong' order), looking beyond damage control
2006/05/17 Not all keyboard layouts are the same
2005/08/20 The Keyboard Convert Service
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