Keyboards & Mice: Pointing and Input Devices

Keyboards have been with us since typewriters, and they seem simple enough, but there are lots of obscure bits of knowledge that can aid you or thwart you in using them effectively.

One question being frequently asked in the 21st Century by new Linux users is, "Can I use a PS2 or PC/AT-type keyboard with the display section of an old video-display terminal I was given for free?" Alas, except in a few cases with relatively new terminals, the answer is "No." Most vendors of "classical" character-cell video terminals used their own keyboard interfaces, which were proprietary both in electrical connection and in key encoding.

The mouse computer peripheral device was invented during the late 1960s by Douglas Engelbart at Stanford Research Institute. (Here are some of Dr. Engelbart's musings on why he settled on this type of pointing device instead of something else.) The Xerox Alto was the first deployment of the complete "windows, icons, and mice" technology later adopted by other computer vendors. BYTE magazine published this article about the Alto in 1981. (And we should also Remember the Star.)

General Keyboard Information

Keyboards for DEC and Other Video Terminals

Keyboards for PCs and Workstations

Keyboards for Macintosh/iBook/iMac/PowerBook

As of Mac OS X 10.4 (Tiger), Apple has provided a built-in way to configure the "Caps Lock" key to behave as a "Control" key. See "Keyboard & Mouse" settings in System Preferences.

Keyboards for PDAs: PalmOS, WinCE, etc.

General Mouse & Pointing-Device Information

If you make a mistake with your mouse, it's a mouso!

The Efficient Dvorak Keyboard Layout

Alternative to QWERTY

Information Elsewhere on the Web

Information from Keyboard and/or Pointing-Device Vendors

Disability Keyboard Information

Items of Serendipity

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(schizophrenic mice)
Introductory material copyright © 1995
and archive contents collection copyright © 1995, 1999, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2010 Richard S. Shuford.

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