My kingdom for a keyboard: Disruption hits home

All it takes is a slip of the wrist and a badly placed beverage to disrupt your familiar workflow

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For want of a keyboard, a workflow was lost

However, losing most of my keyboard on my primary laptop has upended all my habits the past few days. I tried switching to a Windows 7 laptop for a while, but I quickly found that the time required to establish it as a base system would be too painful. The same goes for the other Macs -- I could move my entire environment to a new Mac, but the time required to do that seemed like an overall loss, considering my replacement keyboard should have shown up days ago. Instead, I plugged in a Mac keyboard and have been trying to cope ever since.

I find that since I'm still working on my main system, my home base, I can't channel that adaptive reflex quite so easily. I'm constantly reaching for the laptop keyboard to log in, or when I'm using the trackpad, I try to use the built-in keyboard that only has a few functional keys left.

By far the worst part is working in shells. My shell interaction reflexes are so ingrained that I've found myself holding down modifier keys on one keyboard and hitting the other key on the other keyboard. Alternately, I'm constantly moving to the bad keyboard for vim commands. It's slowing me down, and above all, that's maddening.

I suppose I'll get my replacement keyboard any time now, and this little existential crisis will pass, but it's been enough to show me how ingrained workflows are to someone who uses so many different computing frameworks every day. A wrench in the works at such a fundamental level is enough to disrupt the whole shebang.

Then again, perhaps I will have fully adapted to this situation by the time it's resolved. However, having just tried to save this column using the other keyboard, I doubt it.

This story, "My kingdom for a keyboard: Disruption hits home," was originally published at Read more of Paul Venezia's The Deep End blog at For the latest business technology news, follow on Twitter.

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