The evil that is the (Canadian) multilingual keyboard

Someone sent this to me on my Facebook, after I went on a lengthy rant about how the left shift key on my new Sony Vaio was NOT as the display model showed (it was last year’s model), NOR was it the same as the Future Shop photos displayed online. Not even the pink one, as I previously thought.

I want a PC because that’s what I know and what I like, what I’m comfortable with, but dammit to hell! EVERY SINGLE laptop at the store has this %&*#@&# multilingual keyboard! :mad:

Except for the Macbooks.

The Macbook air at 11.6" has the same screen size as the Sony I bought and returned, yet is a fair bit thinner. It has the same processor speed, same RAM. It has a QUARTER of the hard disk space, owing to the ridiculously expensive flash memory, and yet it costs twice as much.

But because of the keyboard layout, and how much that factors into note taking, essay writing, etc., I’m seriously considering this laptop despite the (IMO) absurd price difference between the two.

I can never sustain my anger long enough for a pit rant, but…yeah…fuck the French keyboard! I can’t even imagine a unilingual Francophone thinking this is a good idea, presuming they type home row like I do! PC makers are really shooting themselves in the foot. :smack:

This took me a mere couple of weeks to get used to.


Shift enter.

The above was typed on a Canadian multilingual keyboard by an American-trained typist with my eyes closed.

How can a keyboard be “bilingual” when the two languages share the same alphabet?

Canadian French still uses the accented letters that euro french does…

Could be worse, every now and again I swap out my husbands keyboard for a german one I brought back a while ago … he usually takes an hour or so of answering emails and typing on message boards before he notices :smiley:

Umm, can’t you go into ‘Preferences’ on Mac or something in ‘Control Panel’ in Windoze and swap the keyboard for something else? That’s what I do to set Dvorak as the default.

The actual keys don’t match the letters that you may be typing, but you’re a grown-up; you shouldn’t have to look at the keys anyway.

Meh, I had some trouble with the new layout too, but I got used to it.

There are actually new buttons that have been added to this layout, making it more cramped. No windows settings will fix that. Take a look at the pictures in that link.

I never knew so many people used both shift keys. I type without looking at the keys, but I use the right shift key every time.

Yeah, my apologies, I just did. Me and my big mouth; I thought you were talking about the older Canadian French keyboard that was the same mechanical keyboard with a different layout.

That being said, there are ways to re-map the keyboard. If it really drives you batshit, you could transform the two added keys into redundant shift and enter keys, or reverse them (though I don’t think you’d want to do that with the enter key!!)

I’m an unhappy Mac user and I don’t get the added expense of a MacBook Pro. Mine is an absolute lemon.

Goodness, don’t you find that awkward? I see that you’re 'I’s are nicely capitalized which would have taken a right middle finger stretching up and a right pinky stretching down in QWERTY; there’s no way on earth I’d do that for the ‘C’ in Dvorak. Left shift for right hand characters, every time.

I really miss having the control and alt keys on both sides of the keyboard.

I actually had to train myself to rely on the left one more, when my mom bought me my last netbook as a surprise Christmas gift. The ‘up’ arrow key was placed in between the / and the right shift. It was a stupid stupid STUPID keyboard layout, which I “got used to” after about three months of cursing a blue storm whenever mom wasn’t over. I didn’t want to return that piece of crap, though in hindsight, after replacing a hard drive on it and having the AC pin crack on it, it might not have been a terrible idea.

But this is where I draw the line. Yes, I don’t have to look at the buttons, which look like a dog vomitted watermelon on the keyboard. But that backslash between shift and the Z threw me off the SECOND I started typing on the display models at the Future shop.

See, the FR language code in Windows? THAT I don’t mind. We learned how to type all the French diacritics in grade 7. I can even do the German QWERTZ keyboard. But the second you change the physical layout of the keyboard, I’m screwed! :frowning:

Now that I think about it, my way of typing is completely nonstandard- I type by rapidly moving my hands around the keyboard and touching the keys with my index fingers. Capital I is left index finger on the i, right index finger on right-shift. Which I understand must sound even more awkward to you, but it’s somehow become second nature to me.

I type in English, French, and Esperanto (and occasionally Japanese). On Windows, I was using the Canadian Multilingual keyboard setting, plus a substitution program for the Esperanto letters. On the Mac, the legacy Canadian keyboard setting provided is not Unicode, and so I’m using the US Extended keyboard setting, which gives me option keys for the letters I need. Hardwarily, almost all Canadian computers sold in English have the US keyboard, and we remap it if we need to. I’ve never seen a hardware Canadian Multilingual Keyboard. I think that the next computer I buy will have a Canadian French hardware keyboard.

Just walk through a Best Buy, Future Shop, Staples, and Sony Store. I’ve been to all four in the past two days, along with a few mom and pop computer shops. The multilingual keyboard is STANDARD for a windows laptop now. (At least in Ottawa)

I wouldn’t like a bilingual keyboard, but since I use Macs, I’m not concerned about it at this point. If I’m forced to buy a bilingual keyboard on any future Macs, no problem - I’ll be buying future computers in the US.

Bluetooth keyboard for use with the lappy? Mac brand, if necessary?

I worked on a German laptop for a couple of years, it was fine, just takes getting used to.

As I understand it, it isn’t the Canadian multilingual standard layout that bothers the OP, but actually the physical keyboard layout, right? Looking at the Wikipedia article about keyboard layouts, it seems that the US keyboard is an ANSI keyboard, with 109 keys in the extended version, featuring a long left Shift key and a small Enter key, while many keyboards around the world (including the Canadian multilingual standard, Canadian French, UK, Irish, Italian, etc.) are ISO keyboards, that is 110-key keyboards (extended version) with a short left Shift key and tall Enter key.

I tend to use the Canadian French keyboard (not the multilingual, which I don’t really like) and it works quite well, if that’s what you’re used to.

Exactly right. If it’s default to french, I can actually use it. But not with the current added buttons.

Fortunately, I’m typing on my brand new 13" Vaio. My mother spotted it out of the corner of her eye, and it was the ONLY keyboard at the store with the US English layout. IN BLACK, no less! I am thrilled, I came so close to buying an overpriced, underpowered Mac, and was saved! Huzzah!! :slight_smile: