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When & Why Did the Shifted Numeral Two Change on Keyboards?


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Here's something that always bothered me, and probably must also irk someone else...

 

When & Why did the industry change the Quote & AT sign on the keyboard?

I learned to type on an old Royal Manual Typewriter, which is the same typewriter that my Mother had learned to type on, and was probably my grandfather's typewriter... as shown below:

post-7682-0-26481300-1437494008_thumb.jpg

Clearly, this thing is very old. Even to this day, sometimes, I really bang the hell out of the keyboard, because I learned to type on this relic. It's the closest thing laying around that I can use to illustrate historic precedent, although it seems pretty clear what the function of Shifted Two has always been. Here's a closeup:

post-7682-0-05689900-1437494023_thumb.jpg

A few years after learning to type, I went to an Atari 400. This should amuse those of you who have used Atari 400s. I banged the hell out of that 400's membrane keyboard, and it never failed, much to it's testimony as a very solid piece of gear. Other than that, the transition was fine, and I adapted to the membrane keyboard, no problem. In someways, I actually miss it. Then I got an Atari 800, which of course, had the finest keyboard ever produced for any device with a keyboard... & yes, I thumb-slapped that spacebar like Victor Wooten, and it always held up. The Shifted #2 was, just as the old Royal Typewriter, a freakin' Quote mark, as you are aware. Same goes for friend's CP/M machines, TRS-80s, and Commodore systems. Even the ancient Teletype at school had what you would expect, as a shifted #2...
P8GsV.jpg

 

 

 

Things changed when I got my Amiga 1000...

Commodore-Amiga-1000-or-A1000-073-Keyboa

 

As it did for those of you who had purchased an Atari ST.

 

AND, Keyboards have never been the same.

 

Does anyone have the full story on why this design change came about? Is it different on keyboards in different parts of the world? Can you actually buy a modern keyboard that has the old layout? *(Not just a matter of logically re-assigning keys, but an actual, physical, shifted 2 "Quote" character printed on the keycap.).

 

I'd like to know much more about this curious bit of history!

 

 

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This is one of the things I have to adjust to when I use the A8. I always pause when I need a quote. I think the 2/@ key makes more sense since quotes are now in home row. ("sense since" - don't you love English?).

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Still, I'm second guessing that the OP kind of didn't like the swap "quotes"<-> "@" due to the need to relearn to type them but it was fine when he had to relearn to type "1".

 

Anyhow:

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keyboard_layout#History

 

"The Selectric (1961), an electric typewriter, changed layout in a few ways, primarily in symbol placement. The Selectric layout moved "_' off of the digits, replacing them with@^*, and instead placing '" and -_ as pairs on keys; this is a cause of the divergence between the bit-paired keyboards found in the 1960s and 1970s and the typewriter-paired keyboards that are now standard in the US. This change was made because smaller characters hit the paper with less force, and consolidating smaller characters such as '" into a pair on a single key avoided needing to adjust the force based on shift state.[4]"

 

For the reasons:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IBM_Selectric_typewriter#Layout

Edited by phoenixdownita
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...errr ..... what happened to the "1" key on "yer olde typewriter"?

 

Ah, yes, the "1" key... haha. Back in the day, typists used a lowercase "L", which replaced the "1", and since an "l" looks like a "1", and an "O" looks like a "0" to a human reader, many old-time typists did not transition well into the "Computer-Age".

 

Typists were taught, even later, when electric typewriters came out, that this was the standard, correct thing to do, even when there was an actual key for a "1", many secretaries persisted with the way that they were taught to type, which they doggedly believed to be correct.

 

 

As you can imagine, this had rather extreme consequences, particularly in the Payroll Department, when computers first entered into common usage, haha. I was well aware of this issue, so it didn't effect me, but many people did not transition well, during the 1950s through the 1970s.

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In the late 1990s I worked in the IT department of the local sheriff's department. One of my jobs was to help people working there transition from using Wang terminals connected to some mainframe somewhere, to web-based (ugh, MS Frontpage) storage of documentation.

 

One of the things I noticed in some of the original docs coming off the Wang, when I was converting them to HTML, was that some people who had been typing these things obviously worked on keyboards that lacked 1 (and maybe also 0?) keys. Lots of lowercase-L for 1 (e.g., "l0 years"). That cracked me up, and made me sad, at the same time. ;)

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Yes:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_and_American_keyboards

 

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=uk+keyboard

 

BTW: on a Raspberry Pi the first thing I have to do is change the keyboard layout from UK to US as I have a US keyboard and the RPi defaults to UK.

Edited by phoenixdownita
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Yes:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_and_American_keyboards

 

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=uk+keyboard

 

BTW: on a Raspberry Pi the first thing I have to do is change the keyboard layout from UK to US as I have a US keyboard and the RPi defaults to UK.

 

OH! That is AWESOME! I must get some of those!!! Perfect for ATARI emulation...

 

That article on Bit-Paired Keyboards really cleared things up. Looking at the ASCII Chart, the whole thing becomes totally clear.

 

Thanks!

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OH! That is AWESOME! I must get some of those!!! Perfect for ATARI emulation...

 

That article on Bit-Paired Keyboards really cleared things up. Looking at the ASCII Chart, the whole thing becomes totally clear.

 

Thanks!

 

You may want to actually click on the note [4] article from the wiki quoted piece:

http://www.quadibloc.com/comp/kybint.htm

 

That contains so much info it's insane!!!

 

Also make sure you look at all the keys on a UK layout due to the presence of the "pound" on "3" key I am not sure it's ideal for Atari either.

Edited by phoenixdownita
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It's also worth noting that even the earliest Symbolics keyboards had changed their keyboard layouts from the traditional US typewriter format:

 

This is a Symbolics Space Cadet keyboard for the earliest Symbolics LM-1 systems, circa 1979:

 

1920px-Space-cadet.jpg

That thing is Badassed!

 

Oh, how I miss the deeply concave, "Capsule" dished keycaps! Is there a modern keyboard that has the old, deep capsule keys?

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It's also worth noting that even the earliest Symbolics keyboards had changed their keyboard layouts from the traditional US typewriter format:

 

This is a Symbolics Space Cadet keyboard for the earliest Symbolics LM-1 systems, circa 1979:

 

1920px-Space-cadet.jpg

 

What are the "thumbs-up", "thumbs-down", "it went left", "it went right" keys for? Are those proto cursor arrows?

Edited by phoenixdownita
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...

 

Also make sure you look at all the keys on a UK layout due to the presence of the "pound" on "3" key I am not sure it's ideal for Atari either.

 

Oh, but wait... the "3" key is effed up. Grrrrr.

 

 

 

So, the apparent solution is to buy some UK keycaps and then re-map the US keyboard #2 key & @ key. Do-able, but annoying.

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Oh, but wait... the "3" key is effed up. Grrrrr.

 

So, the apparent solution is to buy some UK keycaps and then re-map the US keyboard #2 key & @ key. Do-able, but annoying.

 

Check:

http://www.quadibloc.com/comp/kyb02.htm

 

It seems some asian layouts are much better wrt to the placement of the English characters to Atari mapping, maybe you can buy one of those and use it in En mode.

Edited by phoenixdownita
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What are the "thumbs-up", "thumbs-down", "it went left", "it went right" keys for? Are those proto cursor arrows?

Look at that thing, ha! I love it, "HYPER-SUPER-META-CONTROL"!!! Perfect title for the next Voivod or Vektor album, lol.

 

Also, the historic UNIX "Meta" key... it actually was a freaking physical key named "Meta"... and was not just Metaphorical... haha, learn something new everyday.

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In the late 1990s I worked in the IT department of the local sheriff's department. One of my jobs was to help people working there transition from using Wang terminals connected to some mainframe somewhere, to web-based (ugh, MS Frontpage) storage of documentation.

 

One of the things I noticed in some of the original docs coming off the Wang, when I was converting them to HTML, was that some people who had been typing these things obviously worked on keyboards that lacked 1 (and maybe also 0?) keys. Lots of lowercase-L for 1 (e.g., "l0 years"). That cracked me up, and made me sad, at the same time. ;)

Thanks, that made me 101, err... lol!

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