Death to Caps Lock

Caps Lock Troll KeyI’m not the first person to complain about this, and I certainly won’t be the last, but Caps Lock really needs to go. Since the advent of the Internet, typing in all caps has been a sign of screaming, anger, trolling and sheer laziness. In one way this is a blessing. The Caps Lock key often serves as a sort of “Scarlet Letter”. It helps mark idiots on the Internet, making them much easier to ignore. But as a writer, I still hate this key, mostly because of its placement right next to the letter A.

Seriously guys, can’t we move Caps Lock up to the top row of keys? At least there I wouldn’t hit it all of the time while typing. I’m sure there are utilities that could help me reassign it on my own computer, but this is the kind of thing that should be standard on any machine.

Sometimes I wonder if capital letters on their way out, anyway. There are plenty of languages that don’t use them. And with the advent of smart phones, typing capital letters is even harder than before. Perhaps one day caps will be limited to period fonts and antique signage. Until then, lets make it a little harder to type in all caps.

Steve Lovelace

Steve Lovelace is a writer, photographer and graphic artist. After graduating Michigan State University in 2004, he taught Spanish in Samoa before moving to Dallas, Texas. He blogs every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at http://steve-lovelace.com.

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4 Responses

  1. Paul says:

    In my view the principal problem with CAPS-LOCK isn’t that it types all-caps but that it inverts the function of the shift keys. Although it’s possible to find the rare use for all caps, it is nearly impossible to find a use-case for typing uppercase in unshifted mode and lowercase in shifted mode.

    On a typewriter (if you can find one these days), the key immediately in front of (below) the shift key is shift-lock. Its function is to type all caps without us having to hold down the shift key. To release the shift-lock we can press either shift-lock again or the normal shift key. Back in the day when typing uppercase was far more commonplace than it is today, this was a useful function and so easily escaped from as to be innocuous when not needed.

    Caps-lock, on the other hand, reverses the shift function: tHE lORD OF THE rINGS represents a pattern of upper- & lowercase that is never used in English nor in any other Roman-scripted language of my acquaintance, except in illustrations of how absurd caps-lock is.

    I imagine that caps-lock was invented by someone at IBM who either had an unclear idea of how shift-lock was supposed to work or thought to improve upon it. The result has been decades of irritation by millions of people.

    The extent of my religiosity is the belief that there is a circle of hell reserved for programmers doomed to use their own software over and over for eternity. The next circle over is surely reserved for ill-inspired hardware jockeys.

  2. Jacked says:

    Good points, Paul, but on my computer the IDIOT-LOCK doesn’t invert the shift key function. Mac OS X Mavericks on a Mac Pro.

    IMO the “caps lock” key serves a useful purpose which Lovelace already has pointed out: it LOUDLY marks those who use it for normal communication as idiots who can be ignored as a source of insightful ideas in most discussions. For this reason alone I would miss the key, though it would be nice if it were moved to a less privileged position to make way for a more important key or function.

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