Author Topic: The survivors of a long-gone era.  (Read 5227 times)

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Offline ideus

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The survivors of a long-gone era.
« on: Sun, 18 October 2020, 12:49:41 »

The survivors of a long-gone era.

Have you ever wonder why those keys at the top of the navigation pad are still there? Sys Rq, Scroll Lock, and Pause / Break. With the arrival of full graphical interfaces, these humble system's switches appear like a landmark of a keyboard layout. All known them, nobody is interested in them anymore.

1) Should they have to be removed?
2) Do you have any use for them? Please clarify if you are a windows, mac or linux user.

Share your thoughts.


« Last Edit: Sun, 18 October 2020, 12:51:50 by ideus »

Offline suicidal_orange

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Re: The survivors of a long-gone era.
« Reply #1 on: Sun, 18 October 2020, 14:33:13 »
Ctrl+pause/break was still used to interrupt VBA macros in Office 2013 in Windows, that was the last version I used so it may well still be useful there.  Scroll lock did something in Excel, though nothing I ever wanted to use...

On my main 1800ish board used at home those two keys aren't even on a layer.
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Online Findecanor

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Re: The survivors of a long-gone era.
« Reply #2 on: Sun, 18 October 2020, 15:32:42 »
1. Yes. At least the PrintScreen key's function.
I haven't used Windows regularly for quite a while. I last used the key on my mum's Windows PC to take a screenshot for her ... but instead of it dropping on the desktop like in the old days, it got stored on Microsoft's cloud storage that she never signed up for ... where we found a bunch of other screenshots but which she had taken by mistake.
If only for this reason of Microsoft having effed it up, should the key be removed.

2. I don't miss them on my Linux PC. I'm a GUI user. I have had them mapped to media keys for many years now: Prev, Next, and Play/Pause. With Shift, the keys do Vol-, Vol+ and Mute.

BTW. The keys have been removed/replaced on many mainstream keyboards already. Logitech has Bluetooth host 1, 2, 3-keys there now.
Microsoft's last flat full-size keyboard has a single Search-key above Home instead, and the Print Screen function is probably on the F-row somewhere, but those keys only have icons for the Fn-layer and I can't tell which of the several keys with a monitor screen icon it is.
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Offline depletedvespene

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Re: The survivors of a long-gone era.
« Reply #3 on: Sun, 18 October 2020, 16:16:11 »
Let's go in order, shall we?

Print Screen: used to print the (text) screen on a special contraption called a "printer" that today's younglings barely know about (I know, I know). That functionality, itself, has long been obsolete, but Micro$oft acted wisely (a rare move by MS) and repurposed it to capture the (graphical) screen to the clipboard. We have reached the point where the Print Screen key/keycap ought to be renamed to Screen Capture and everyone would be better off for it.

Of course, later on, the idiots at MS placed the interactive screen capture on Win+Shift+S instead of Shift-PrtSc, but that's another problem (perhaps they did it on purpose to undo the rare act of smartness from before).


SysRq (technically, Alt-PrtSc): originated in PC-DOS, to call up the lower levels of the operating system if anything went haywire on the application level (and boy oh boy did I put that to good use in the Windows 3.1 days!). Long obsolete, other than in Linux, which still uses it for basically the same functionality.


Scroll Lock: Undoubtedly, the most misunderstood and undervalued key in the entire keyboard. It was AND STILL IS used to  switch from regular (cursor) scrolling to window scrolling, and it's exceedingly practical on applications with large virtual windows (spreadsheets like Excel being the canonical example).


Pause: pauses the output (shocking, I know). This used to be vital back in the day of scrollbackless text windows (a feature kids today take for granted, but for which we used to pay our hard-earned money — I'm not actually joking here!!!), but not so today. STILL quite useful, for those of us that are... um... Homo Sapiens Sapiens enough to actually NOT be afraid of using the command line.

Some games actually ACKNOWLEDGE the Pause key! And in a regular keyboard is easily reached for during a game, unlike, say, P.


Break (technically, Ctrl-Pause, NOT Alt-Pause): breaks the current execution or output. Again, vital in command line environments... and in quite some more programs that are graphical in nature. Older systems had a dedicated key for it, but IBM moved it to a secondary assignment under Pause, which was a pretty smart decision usability-wise.

Unix has long used, and keeps using, ^C for the same functionality, which has been a source of clashes between Unix-style and CUA-style assignments for cut-copy-paste (which used to be secondary functions to be overloaded elsewhere back in the day, but now should be the absolute front line candidates to get their own base keys).



And now, the elephant in the room... why is not Num Lock in this list? EACH of the supranav keys has more legitimate uses than this ACTUAL relic of a bygone era, and yet it is Num Lock that remains present in any keyboard with a numpad, and in the base layer, too. It is high time Num Lock disappears and frees up the key for better uses. And if not, do as the IBM Model M SSK did, and move it to Shift-Scroll Lock — still available but out of the way.



Offline Learis

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Re: The survivors of a long-gone era.
« Reply #4 on: Mon, 19 October 2020, 18:47:23 »
Home and End are extremely useful for programming. In navigating code, they bring you to the beginning and end of a line rather than having to use the mouse or arrow a bunch of times. Pg Up and Pg Down are somewhat useful since they scroll much more quickly than using the scroll wheel on a mouse. I have remapped these to keys to be much closer in reach however, so in a sense these original keys are uneccesary for me lol.
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Offline hvontres

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Re: The survivors of a long-gone era.
« Reply #5 on: Mon, 19 October 2020, 22:25:57 »
I have the following uses:
PrintScreen for Greenshot in windows (work) and also for triggering screenshots in KDE in Linux (home).

SrollLock is for switching between keymaps in Linux. I have regular Querty and also Eurokeys for when I feel adventerous.

ctr-Break I think I have actually used that to stop badly behaving programs before.

I am planning on doing something better on my next build. I am planning on using a split-0 on the numpad for "End" and 0 and putting "Home" in place of NumLock and just having the Numpad be active all the time (thank you QMK) I'll know more in a couple of weeks once I have had a chance to play with it for a bit.
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Offline depletedvespene

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Re: The survivors of a long-gone era.
« Reply #6 on: Tue, 20 October 2020, 07:20:49 »

I am planning on doing something better on my next build. I am planning on using a split-0 on the numpad for "End" and 0 and putting "Home" in place of NumLock and just having the Numpad be active all the time (thank you QMK) I'll know more in a couple of weeks once I have had a chance to play with it for a bit.

Do remember that the lock statuses (statii?) can be set programmatically by the programs running on the computer, so you'll still need to be able to access Num Lock if some program decides to turn it off. To this effect, what I do on my mappings is to place Num Lock on Shift-Scroll Lock — out of the way, and in an easy to remember assignment.

Offline ideus

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Re: The survivors of a long-gone era.
« Reply #7 on: Tue, 20 October 2020, 08:13:35 »
Have you also noticed that the Pause key has lost its Break side legend recently?


Offline depletedvespene

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Re: The survivors of a long-gone era.
« Reply #8 on: Tue, 20 October 2020, 10:01:13 »
Have you also noticed that the Pause key has lost its Break side legend recently?

Both "SysRq" and "Break" are supposed to be front-printed (to signify that they're neither base-layer nor Shift-layer assignments; furthermore, SysRq is supposed to be green because it's accessed through Alt, not Ctrl). But then, some keycap makers conveniently "forget" to add them to cut down on costs, actual spec be damned.

Offline hvontres

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Re: The survivors of a long-gone era.
« Reply #9 on: Tue, 20 October 2020, 12:07:12 »

I am planning on doing something better on my next build. I am planning on using a split-0 on the numpad for "End" and 0 and putting "Home" in place of NumLock and just having the Numpad be active all the time (thank you QMK) I'll know more in a couple of weeks once I have had a chance to play with it for a bit.

Do remember that the lock statuses (statii?) can be set programmatically by the programs running on the computer, so you'll still need to be able to access Num Lock if some program decides to turn it off. To this effect, what I do on my mappings is to place Num Lock on Shift-Scroll Lock — out of the way, and in an easy to remember assignment.

I'll keep that in mind. I think that QMK actually has a feature that lets you turn NumLock back on automatically whenever a program tries to change it, but the shift-ScLock is a good idea if that doesn't work.
Henry von Tresckow

               
1986 Model M 1390131, 1987 Model M 1391401 , 1993 Model M2 Modded Reddragon k556(work keyboard)

Offline Riverman

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Re: The survivors of a long-gone era.
« Reply #10 on: Tue, 20 October 2020, 15:49:26 »
I use a terminal emulator at work to interface with our '70s era COBOL mainframe, so every key on my full-size keyboard, and then some, are used.  The people in our office who have been given more modern Dell keyboards that require multiple key presses to use Print Screen or Pause/Break, are usually not too happy.  Scroll lock isn't used with the terminal emulator, but I've used it in Excel on occasion.  Our data entry people make heavy use of the insert/delete/home/end/page up/page down cluster to navigate around fields.

Offline ideus

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Re: The survivors of a long-gone era.
« Reply #11 on: Tue, 20 October 2020, 17:49:26 »
I use a terminal emulator at work to interface with our '70s era COBOL mainframe, so every key on my full-size keyboard, and then some, are used.  The people in our office who have been given more modern Dell keyboards that require multiple key presses to use Print Screen or Pause/Break, are usually not too happy.  Scroll lock isn't used with the terminal emulator, but I've used it in Excel on occasion.  Our data entry people make heavy use of the insert/delete/home/end/page up/page down cluster to navigate around fields.




Half a century is a long time for a mainframe to survive. Which industry is that?

Offline hvontres

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Re: The survivors of a long-gone era.
« Reply #12 on: Tue, 20 October 2020, 20:52:49 »
I use a terminal emulator at work to interface with our '70s era COBOL mainframe, so every key on my full-size keyboard, and then some, are used.  The people in our office who have been given more modern Dell keyboards that require multiple key presses to use Print Screen or Pause/Break, are usually not too happy.  Scroll lock isn't used with the terminal emulator, but I've used it in Excel on occasion.  Our data entry people make heavy use of the insert/delete/home/end/page up/page down cluster to navigate around fields.
Time for M-122 :)
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1986 Model M 1390131, 1987 Model M 1391401 , 1993 Model M2 Modded Reddragon k556(work keyboard)

Offline Cosmin

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Re: The survivors of a long-gone era.
« Reply #13 on: Wed, 21 October 2020, 03:46:12 »

The survivors of a long-gone era.

Have you ever wonder why those keys at the top of the navigation pad are still there? Sys Rq, Scroll Lock, and Pause / Break. With the arrival of full graphical interfaces, these humble system's switches appear like a landmark of a keyboard layout. All known them, nobody is interested in them anymore.

1) Should they have to be removed?
2) Do you have any use for them? Please clarify if you are a windows, mac or linux user.

Share your thoughts.


Show Image


If you only mean the top three ones, I think the posters above me have done an incredible job of bringing back memories and covering whatever it was to say about the technical aspect of them.

I think the whole nav cluster plus those three keys are redundant when you have a fully programmable keyboard. I personally turned caps lock into Fn and with that key pressed with the pinkie finger WASD turn into arrow keys, Q turns into Home, E turns into End and R/F are PgUp/PgDn. From a functionality point of view I find this optimal as now I can sip coffee with the right hand whilst navigating with my left hand.

However, the nav cluster has survived to this day even in fully programmable keyboards as well as prebuilts. However...
- people are used to them. Basically you'd take away the steering wheel off a car - although that car can do without it, people will be very confused;
- aesthetics.


Edit: what's with the triple verification + captcha, took me forever to post  :eek:

Offline fanpeople

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Re: The survivors of a long-gone era.
« Reply #14 on: Wed, 21 October 2020, 04:54:46 »
*stares blankly in HHKB.

Offline ideus

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Re: The survivors of a long-gone era.
« Reply #15 on: Wed, 21 October 2020, 07:17:42 »

Offline depletedvespene

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Re: The survivors of a long-gone era.
« Reply #16 on: Wed, 21 October 2020, 11:35:46 »

I think the whole nav cluster plus those three keys are redundant when you have a fully programmable keyboard. I personally turned caps lock into Fn and with that key pressed with the pinkie finger WASD turn into arrow keys, Q turns into Home, E turns into End and R/F are PgUp/PgDn. From a functionality point of view I find this optimal as now I can sip coffee with the right hand whilst navigating with my left hand.

Weeeeeeeeelllll... it may be optimal for casual use, but ain't so when you start adding other modifiers. Fn+A as left arrow and Fn+D as right arrow are fine for going to the left or to the right on character at a time, but Fn+Ctrl+{A,D} for moving one word at a time isn't comfortable. Add to that using Shift as a text selector... and soon your hand contorts and cramps in ways one thought were not possible. And that's not taking into account the further complication if the keyboard lacks RCTRL "because no one uses it".

In essence, having to use TWO modifiers at the same time (Ctrl, Shift, Alt, and Fn as well to this effect) should be reserved for stuff that is used infrequently AND/OR that requires taking explicit attention to it; a good example of the former would be Ctrl-Shift-T to reopen a closed tab in Firefox and Chrome. OTOH, an example of the contortion problem would be needing to press Fn-Ctrl-5 to obtain Ctrl-F5. YMMV, of course.

Offline ideus

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Re: The survivors of a long-gone era.
« Reply #17 on: Wed, 21 October 2020, 11:55:58 »


Combo-key-access to keyboard functions is by definition against the original nature of computer keyboards, that is, to have a key for more recurring characters, symbols, and functions. The use of alternate layers in keyboards may be tolerated due to space restrictions; or, as someone already pointed, those characters of functions that are infrequently used. Programmable keyboards open full customization to fit everyone's needs, which fueled 60s and under 60 keyboards. Their layouts may be set to fit most people's needs, so no more dependency on off-the-shelve layouts. For everyone its own. However, there are keys in full-size boards that some of us rarely use, so we are here, with a coffee worth discussion on some of the more ubiquitous keys in that category:



Offline NassimO

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Re: The survivors of a long-gone era.
« Reply #19 on: Wed, 21 October 2020, 20:01:29 »
I use scroll lock as my push to talk key (i then bind it on my mouse since some softwares don't recognize some of my mouse buttons)

Offline Crabby

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Re: The survivors of a long-gone era.
« Reply #20 on: Wed, 21 October 2020, 20:10:40 »
And now, the elephant in the room... why is not Num Lock in this list? EACH of the supranav keys has more legitimate uses than this ACTUAL relic of a bygone era, and yet it is Num Lock that remains present in any keyboard with a numpad, and in the base layer, too. It is high time Num Lock disappears and frees up the key for better uses. And if not, do as the IBM Model M SSK did, and move it to Shift-Scroll Lock — still available but out of the way.

I mean arguably the Num Lock key can create all the other aforementioned buttons in one tidy cluster in a "nav-less" setup like the Coolermaster Pro M. So really it could be the most important one of them all!

Offline Riverman

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Re: The survivors of a long-gone era.
« Reply #21 on: Fri, 23 October 2020, 12:16:59 »
Half a century is a long time for a mainframe to survive. Which industry is that?
We do union health insurance administration.  We actually just got a new IBM mainframe, but it still runs the old software.  It's the software that's '70s era more than the server itself. :)  There was also a Data General mainframe here when I started, 20 years ago, but it died not long after, and was replaced by a small rack mount UNIX server.

Hvontres, the M-122 looks exactly like the terminal keyboards that two people here were still using when I started.  If I didn't think a Model M of some sort would drive my coworkers nuts, I'd have one in a heartbeat, especially if all of those function keys could be mapped properly. 

Offline hvontres

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Re: The survivors of a long-gone era.
« Reply #22 on: Fri, 23 October 2020, 12:45:24 »
Half a century is a long time for a mainframe to survive. Which industry is that?
We do union health insurance administration.  We actually just got a new IBM mainframe, but it still runs the old software.  It's the software that's '70s era more than the server itself. :)  There was also a Data General mainframe here when I started, 20 years ago, but it died not long after, and was replaced by a small rack mount UNIX server.

Hvontres, the M-122 looks exactly like the terminal keyboards that two people here were still using when I started.  If I didn't think a Model M of some sort would drive my coworkers nuts, I'd have one in a heartbeat, especially if all of those function keys could be mapped properly.

Then you might want to keep an eye on this :
Henry von Tresckow

               
1986 Model M 1390131, 1987 Model M 1391401 , 1993 Model M2 Modded Reddragon k556(work keyboard)

Offline Cosmin

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Re: The survivors of a long-gone era.
« Reply #23 on: Sat, 24 October 2020, 09:55:47 »

I think the whole nav cluster plus those three keys are redundant when you have a fully programmable keyboard. I personally turned caps lock into Fn and with that key pressed with the pinkie finger WASD turn into arrow keys, Q turns into Home, E turns into End and R/F are PgUp/PgDn. From a functionality point of view I find this optimal as now I can sip coffee with the right hand whilst navigating with my left hand.

Weeeeeeeeelllll... it may be optimal for casual use, but ain't so when you start adding other modifiers. Fn+A as left arrow and Fn+D as right arrow are fine for going to the left or to the right on character at a time, but Fn+Ctrl+{A,D} for moving one word at a time isn't comfortable. Add to that using Shift as a text selector... and soon your hand contorts and cramps in ways one thought were not possible. And that's not taking into account the further complication if the keyboard lacks RCTRL "because no one uses it".

In essence, having to use TWO modifiers at the same time (Ctrl, Shift, Alt, and Fn as well to this effect) should be reserved for stuff that is used infrequently AND/OR that requires taking explicit attention to it; a good example of the former would be Ctrl-Shift-T to reopen a closed tab in Firefox and Chrome. OTOH, an example of the contortion problem would be needing to press Fn-Ctrl-5 to obtain Ctrl-F5. YMMV, of course.

Hmm. I do agree with you but I'd rather contort my left fingers than take the hand off the mouse to access the arrow keys. It's actually more comfortable for me to press ctrl with the left side of my left palm, pinky on Fn and WASD with ring+middle+index finger. Wanna add shift? Left pinky on all three (ctrl+shift+fn) and WASD with ring+middle+index finger.

Of course YMMV, honestly it's one of the reasons why I prefer the Ergodox and the Planck to my staggered keyboards - the above are significantly easy to achieve due to the ortho profile and the keys being sameish width.

Offline ideus

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Re: The survivors of a long-gone era.
« Reply #24 on: Sat, 24 October 2020, 10:19:45 »
Half a century is a long time for a mainframe to survive. Which industry is that?
We do union health insurance administration.  We actually just got a new IBM mainframe, but it still runs the old software.  It's the software that's '70s era more than the server itself. :)  There was also a Data General mainframe here when I started, 20 years ago, but it died not long after, and was replaced by a small rack mount UNIX server.

Hvontres, the M-122 looks exactly like the terminal keyboards that two people here were still using when I started.  If I didn't think a Model M of some sort would drive my coworkers nuts, I'd have one in a heartbeat, especially if all of those function keys could be mapped properly.




Do you have a reference for mapping M's?

Offline hvontres

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Re: The survivors of a long-gone era.
« Reply #25 on: Thu, 10 December 2020, 19:52:43 »

I am planning on doing something better on my next build. I am planning on using a split-0 on the numpad for "End" and 0 and putting "Home" in place of NumLock and just having the Numpad be active all the time (thank you QMK) I'll know more in a couple of weeks once I have had a chance to play with it for a bit.

Do remember that the lock statuses (statii?) can be set programmatically by the programs running on the computer, so you'll still need to be able to access Num Lock if some program decides to turn it off. To this effect, what I do on my mappings is to place Num Lock on Shift-Scroll Lock — out of the way, and in an easy to remember assignment.

I'll keep that in mind. I think that QMK actually has a feature that lets you turn NumLock back on automatically whenever a program tries to change it, but the shift-ScLock is a good idea if that doesn't work.

I did manage to set up my Boston prototype to always force NumLock back on, even if software tries to switch it under the hood. I still have ScrollLock, but I use that on my linux machine to switch between Regular and EuroKey layouts.
Henry von Tresckow

               
1986 Model M 1390131, 1987 Model M 1391401 , 1993 Model M2 Modded Reddragon k556(work keyboard)

Offline nopunchespulled

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Re: The survivors of a long-gone era.
« Reply #26 on: Thu, 17 December 2020, 23:32:50 »
I have used them on keyboard to be function keys for capture programs since they dont work in games typically and wont mess anything up but really not useful imo

Offline Merfolk

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Re: The survivors of a long-gone era.
« Reply #27 on: Mon, 21 December 2020, 21:21:44 »
I use Scroll Lock Scroll Lock to switch computers on my KVM switch. 

Offline ideus

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Re: The survivors of a long-gone era.
« Reply #28 on: Thu, 24 December 2020, 14:02:50 »
Make a [Pause], take a [Break], enjoy this x-mas eve, [Print] a family shot, and [SysRq] new year—enjoy new-year 2021 in full health with your beloved ones.

Offline cheater

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Re: The survivors of a long-gone era.
« Reply #29 on: Sun, 27 December 2020, 12:48:02 »
I use Pause to send the mouse click using AHK and it's soooo useful.

Offline ideus

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Re: The survivors of a long-gone era.
« Reply #30 on: Sun, 27 December 2020, 13:27:20 »
I use Pause to send the mouse click using AHK and it's soooo useful.


Could you elaborate on it?

Offline cheater

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Re: The survivors of a long-gone era.
« Reply #31 on: Sun, 27 December 2020, 13:39:47 »
i mostly use that for firefox when i have to do the same thing in a bunch of tabs, i have f1/2 set to prev/next tab, and then i'll click using pause. it helps that i'm on tkl so pause is super easy to reach. also useful for when on a website that shows videos (eg youtube) and you want to focus in on the video element. the script is super simple:

Code: [Select]
#NoEnv  ; Recommended for performance and compatibility with future AutoHotkey releases.
#Warn  ; Enable warnings to assist with detecting common errors.
SetWorkingDir %A_ScriptDir%  ; Ensures a consistent starting directory.

; SendMode Input  ; Recommended for new scripts due to its superior speed and reliability.


; Only allow one instance of this script to run. If this script is run again,
; replace the old instance with the new one.
#SingleInstance Force

; Only use those hotkeys if Firefox is the current window
#IfWinActive ahk_class MozillaWindowClass

; go to previous tab on F1 or if you hold the right mouse button and scroll down
~RButton & WheelDown::
F1::
  Send, ^{PgUp}
return

; go to next tab on F2 or if you hold the right mouse button and scroll up
~RButton & WheelUp::
F2::
  Send, ^{PgDn}
return

; move tab left
+F1::
  Send, +^{PgUp}
return

; move tab right
+F2::
  Send, +^{PgDn}
return

; search backwards
F3::
  Send, +^g
return

; search forward
F4::
  Send, ^g
return

; click mouse button
Pause::
  MouseClick
return

#IfWinActive

Offline ideus

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Re: The survivors of a long-gone era.
« Reply #32 on: Sun, 27 December 2020, 17:29:09 »
It is interesting. Thank you for sharing.

Offline JucheCatgirlTS

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Re: The survivors of a long-gone era.
« Reply #33 on: Mon, 28 December 2020, 00:23:48 »
I use Scroll Lock near-daily at work, where I spend a lot of time in Excel, and my partner uses Pause/Break for something related to her work's VPN software.

Offline ideus

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Re: The survivors of a long-gone era.
« Reply #34 on: Mon, 28 December 2020, 11:20:01 »
I use Scroll Lock near-daily at work, where I spend a lot of time in Excel, and my partner uses Pause/Break for something related to her work's VPN software.


It is good to know that those humble keys are still in use nowadays.

Offline zslane

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Re: The survivors of a long-gone era.
« Reply #35 on: Mon, 28 December 2020, 13:23:40 »
On Windows I frequently use Alt+PrtScr to screen-capture the currently active window to the clipboard.

As for Break, it is a holdover from the old serial terminal days when hitting that key interrupted ("broke") the analog modem signal for a pre-established number of milliseconds, causing the mainframe front end to stop any current code execution and return the user to the command line. It is basically a hard interrupt, and often times the only way to break buggy software out of an infinite loop or hung state. Today such functionality is mostly meaningless, though I find it useful with retro-computing (i.e., emulators of old mainframes).

Offline kajahtaa

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Re: The survivors of a long-gone era.
« Reply #36 on: Mon, 28 December 2020, 14:06:57 »
Don't miss using serial ports to access storage, servers and network gear.

Neat to see how "old" things I don't have on a layer are still in use.


Offline quadibloc

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Re: The survivors of a long-gone era.
« Reply #37 on: Mon, 04 January 2021, 15:43:56 »

The survivors of a long-gone era.

Have you ever wonder why those keys at the top of the navigation pad are still there? Sys Rq, Scroll Lock, and Pause / Break. With the arrival of full graphical interfaces, these humble system's switches appear like a landmark of a keyboard layout. All known them, nobody is interested in them anymore.

1) Should they have to be removed?
2) Do you have any use for them? Please clarify if you are a windows, mac or linux user.

Share your thoughts.


It's quite true they're not normally used for their original intended purposes.

However, computer games often use many keys on the keyboard as controls, like "move forwards", "turn left", "grab an object" and so on. If my computer had a keyboard that was missing those three keys, then my computer would not be 100% IBM compatible, and if some game used Alt-Scroll Lock to dodge a monster attack, my character would be dead!

Also, perhaps those keys might work within a terminal emulator program that was talking to an emulation of DOS.

Yes, this may be an excess of conservatism, but I don't think there's much that can be done about it.