The Fn of the Ctrl Key

I’m in the market for a notebook and so I’ve been looking around at different models to see what’s out there and of all the things to get hung up on I’m stuck on keyboards. Forget specs, forget memory or speed or hard drives or touchpads or any of that, it’s the keyboards that have me stuck.

First, I’m looking for either a 15.4" or 17" notebook and very few computer makers seem to realize that you can also make the keyboard bigger, not just the monitor itself. It’s for this reason that Dell dropped off my list first, and I’m a huge Dell user. Even on their 17" notebooks the Home/End/PgUp/PgDn keys are located in the upper right-hand corner, *above* all the other keys. Seriously, with all that room and they can’t even put keys along the right edge or off a full num pad? Horrible design.

Second, after typing on my wife’s work ThinkPad I realize I can’t own any notebook that places the Fn key where the Ctrl key is on a real keyboard. How daft was that decision? Did someone that hated the keyboard put it there? After typing for a few hours I realized I didn’t once use the Fn key yet I tried to hit the Ctrl key probably once every 45 seconds.

Third, I need my Windows key. Yes, probably not as important as the Ctrl key but I realized after 5 minutes that I use that Windows key. The same key I thought was a silly little annoyance I now rely upon. I even got my wife to use it and now she goes crazy on her ThinkPad without it. The three most useful things are Windows+D which minimizes all windows instantly, Windows+R which brings up the run box and Windows+E which starts a new browser instance.

I can excuse the last one, the Windows key isn’t really seen as many as important and space is limited on a notebook BUT #1 and #2? Forget it. In fact, I would really love to talk to someone in hardware design and find out why for the love of all that’s holy the keys are placed where they are on over 60% of laptops. It might save someone’s face actually because if I ever sit next to someone on a plane and they happen to mention they designed the ThinkPad keyboard layout I’m just going to sock ‘em right in the kisser.