Where are the bumps on _your_ keyboard?
December 26, 2007 8:26 PM   Subscribe

What's with the little bumps on the F and J keys on my computer keyboard? Yes yes ... I know they are guides for touch-typing, but I'm sure that when I was learning to type back in high school on electric typewriters (pre-computer days) the bumps were on D and K. Am I mis-remembering this? Did they change, and if so, when? And did every typist go crazy when it happened?
posted by woodblock100 to Technology (22 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
AFAIK. the bumps have always been on f and j, the home keys.
posted by acoutu at 8:30 PM on December 26, 2007


Yeah it always has been f and j.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:35 PM on December 26, 2007


I have seen keyboards where D and K were different. Most others either had no indication at all, or marked F and J.

And different ways are used. Sometimes there's a ridge at the bottom of the key. On some typewriters, the two special keys had deeper indents than normal.

There's no formal specification. There never has been one. There's a convention, but keyboard manufacturers have been playing fast and loose with it for decades. This is but one example of many.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 8:40 PM on December 26, 2007


I don't know about pre-computer days, but I'm pretty sure I remember the bumps being on D and K on some of the Macs we used in middle and high school.
posted by flod logic at 8:42 PM on December 26, 2007


Yes, they used to be on D and K consistently. It changed somewhere between 8 and 11 years ago. I don't know why, but it drove me crazy too.
posted by MaxK at 8:42 PM on December 26, 2007


From the Jargon File:
"Usually on the 5 of a numeric keypad, and on the F and J of a QWERTY keyboard; but older Macs (like pre-PC electric typewriters) had them on the D and K keys (this changed in 1999)."
posted by goingonit at 8:57 PM on December 26, 2007


Apple on D/K vs. F/J
posted by null terminated at 8:59 PM on December 26, 2007 [1 favorite]


From null terminated's link:

Note: Prying off the keycaps voids the keyboard's warranty.

That is some bullshit right there. How else do you clean a keyboard?
posted by Mikey-San at 10:44 PM on December 26, 2007 [1 favorite]


My Apple Extended Keyboard II (the best keyboard ever made save the IBM Model K, IMO) has the bumps on D and K. And yes, using ones that have the bumps on F and J drive me insane.

I'm pretty sure that Apple keyboards dating back to the Apple II series have the bumps on D and K. I have no idea where the unholy business about putting them on F and J originated, but sadly it seems to be winning now.
posted by Kadin2048 at 11:24 PM on December 26, 2007


As a data point my 27 year old Model M has them on F/J. Whether placement there is because of IBM or whether it was already following a perceived convention I don't know.
posted by Mitheral at 11:58 PM on December 26, 2007


My Apple //e has small round bumps on D and K. My ][+ has no bumps at all.
posted by flabdablet at 1:08 AM on December 27, 2007


As above, I know D & K as the Macintosh home bumps.
posted by rhizome at 1:17 AM on December 27, 2007


The keyboards we used in my high school typing class had bumps on the D and K. I don't really recall which particular computers these were, but I know they were Macs, and I very clearly remember Mr. M's shrill voice as he began each class with "Good morrrrning everybody TIME TESSSSSST!!! MIDDLE FINGERS ON THE DEEEEEEE AND KAAAAAAAAY!" You just don't forget something like that. He also called all the slow typists "Leroy" for some reason. But that's another story for another time.
posted by katillathehun at 1:29 AM on December 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


Lots of people here recalling older Apple keyboards with the D and K, but can anybody chime in with information about pre-computer keyboard layouts? Anybody got an IBM Selectric handy to check?

I can no longer remember such details about the electric typewriters we learned on in high school - they had tall cylindrical 'keys' that plunged up and down - but I'd be willing to bet that the IBM typewriters in the office where I went to work had them on D and K.

But how on earth would such a shift take place? With the change from typewriters to computer keyboards? And if Apple kept the D and K for as long as it could, is this then a PC thing? Maybe it happened with the early IBM personal computers?
posted by woodblock100 at 1:41 AM on December 27, 2007


As far as I remember old typewriters they all had bumps or elevations on the D and K. At least here in Sweden. Both manual and electric. And in my opionion it was a better solution: The indexfinger moves around a lot and can get lost, while the middlefingers are more sedatary and keeps in place. Just my 0,5 Euro.
posted by Rabarberofficer at 2:14 AM on December 27, 2007


The really early Selectrics didn't have any bumps that I can tell, nor did the later models, nor did this early Olympia, nor this early Royal.

The later Smith Corona had them on the D and K. The typewriters I used to learn typing in school had them on the D and K as well, if memory serves.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:27 AM on December 27, 2007


I have a few typewriters at home, I'll check them tonight. (Heck, if you can wait a few days I can even check a Smith Corona Word Processor).
posted by drezdn at 6:19 AM on December 27, 2007


Anybody got an IBM Selectric handy to check?

No Selectrics, but our office has an IBM WheelWriter 3 and Canon AP810, both of which are bump-free. If you like bumps, though, you can always add aftermarket ones.
posted by TedW at 8:04 AM on December 27, 2007


Lots of people here recalling older Apple keyboards with the D and K, but can anybody chime in with information about pre-computer keyboard layouts? Anybody got an IBM Selectric handy to check?

Just checked the Selectric II in the cube next to mine....no bumps at all.
posted by Lucinda at 8:09 AM on December 27, 2007


tits on a keyboard: n.

Small bumps on certain keycaps to keep touch-typists registered. Usually on the 5 of a numeric keypad, and on the F and J of a QWERTY keyboard; but older Macs (like pre-PC electric typewriters) had them on the D and K keys (this changed in 1999).

posted by dhartung at 9:40 AM on December 27, 2007


When I first learned to type in 1989 both the electric keyboards (IBM I think) and the manual ones (Olivetti) had bumps on the F and J.
posted by shelleycat at 7:44 PM on December 27, 2007


The IBM Selectric did not have bumps on any keys. (I personally verified this on my Correcting Selectric II, and I'm pretty sure that none of the earlier models did either.)

At least when I position my fingers on the Selectric, I always use my right little-finger to find the Return key and position myself from there. The keyboard layout is distinctive enough (the keys are banked steeply, compared to a computer keyboard, for starters) that once I've found that, I've never had much of a problem finding the home position.

I don't know where the "key nipples" got started, but it wasn't on 'ol Blue.
posted by Kadin2048 at 12:38 AM on December 28, 2007


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