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back to article Customers give Dell the finger over keyboard screw-up

Dell has left customers shaking their fists this week after shipping an unspecified number of its Vostro 1310 and 1510 laptops in Europe with the wrong keyboard layout. The embarrassing cock-up forces the Z key, which should sit beneath the A and S keys, along the row in Vostro laptops affected by the problem. Subsequent keys in …

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Vostro

Vostro is the biggest pile of steaming crap ever put out there people buying this deserve it.

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dv
Coat

"The Z has to be between the A and S... look on ANY other keyboard"

Yeah... any other keyboard... like those fine AZERTY jobbies?

Mine's the french-typing one.

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right shift

So that's why its called a shift key...

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Unhappy

Some sympathy...

... Dell are busy making staff redundant in the UK so that they can close down all development in the UK Bracknell office in the next 10-14 months. So the people on site here in the UK have a few other things on their minds right now...

http://www.channelregister.co.uk/2008/04/29/dell_axes_17500_jobs/

Still, the upside is the staff are getting paid 4 weeks salary per year of employment so there is a bit of a cushion for those facing the axe.

Makes you want to buy an Apple...

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Hmmmmmm...

It looks like the location of the 2 shift keys has been swapped over- The long shift key is usually on the right

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Stop

@Anon Coward

--- Makes you want to buy an Apple...

No it doesn't

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Flame

Could be worse...

Could be worse... could be a keyboard like those designed by the morons at IBM (now Lenovo) where they thought that the Fn Key was more important than the Ctrl key therefore should be swapped with it and the Esc key needed to be on a separate row thereby ensuring that whenever you went to press it you hit the F1 key instead...

Not that there aren't other examples of idiocy on laptop keyboard layouts out there as well... for example some acer models had Pg Up and Pg Dn instead of the cursor keys...

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Joke

seeya going to catch some \\\\\'s

lets hope nobody with the vostro wants to go to the \oo or have a fit of the snee\e's and have to wrtie about it..

Did you see that doc last night about the \ebra's in \imbabwe.........

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Paris Hilton

timeframes

Look you lot, the 'QWERTY' keyboard has only been in use for over 100 years, why should Dell be expected to notice that the keys are in totally the wrong place?

But I can't help wondering if there's an email somewhere in their system along the lines of "Helpm all of our bew Europeab keyvoards are goibg to be xonpletely nessed up! Vetter hope bovody botixes!"...

Paris, just cos...

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Alert

'Impacted Customers'

If I was an *affected* customer, I would be a tad nonplussed at being described as impacted...

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A lot of silly comments here...

"Makes you want to buy an Apple..." - excuse me, what makes you buy an Apple? Two thousand quid burning a hole in your pocket?

Dell is making company leaner and better, which is great! There are plenty of jobs on the market for those who have any IT skills. So stop bitching, if you can't stand the heat - get out of the kitchen.

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It isn't the shift at all

It isn't the left shift key being to big. It is the" |/" key which is over the enter key on my keyboard and all of the keyboards that I can think of but on this keyboard the enter key is so big that there isn't room for it. So they shifted it down to the next row shifting all of the other keys over.

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Happy

@Curtis

I think you have a wierd keyboard....

I think they (Old El Reg) mean UK keyboard not europe wide, as that looks like a £ sign on the 3 key to me.

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Anonymous Coward

Acer laptop keyboards

Aint much better - a range of models have curved keyboards which make touch typing impossible.

No - I do not have a crappy Acer but my mother does and it's a friggin nightmare.

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Bronze badge

\| is misplaced

Curtis is right, the \| key has been placed where the Z is supposed to be, and then they moved everything over by one. I have three laptops here that agree with my main keyboard.

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IT Angle

Re: A lot of silly comments here...

"if you can't stand the heat - get out of the kitchen."

So now we are into cooking! Where's the IT angle to that?

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Boffin

It is the shift

Curtis Crowson is probably an American. The standard UK layout has the |\ key between left shift and Z and a two-row Return key. There are also a number of other differences:

Shift - 2 is " not @

Shift - 3 is £ not #

There is a #~ key to the right of the ' key

Shift - ' is @ not "

Shift - ` is ¬ not ~

The net effect is that there is one extra key, and the two additional symbols are £ and ¬

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Joke

@ seeya going to catch some \\\\\'s

"Did you see that doc last night about the \ebra's in \imbabwe........."

do you not mean:

"the \evra's ib \invavwe"

although probably would have been harder to work and and would loose some of the comic effect u were going for :P

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@Curtis Crowson

Ah, that would be the migratory backslash, as I like to call it. Although most of the other keys tend to stay put*, in my experience I have encountered the backslash key in no less than six different locations on various different keyboards. I remapped the keyboard on my work PC so that backslash would be where I like it. Confuses my colleagues when it doesn't match up with the labels on the keys, and confuses me when I have to type on someone else's PC. But I like it.

* Excluding UK/US differences, non-English systems and, apparently, Vostros.

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Anonymous Coward

@Anonymous Coward

I use an oldish MS Natural keyboard, I have been for 10+ years and I can touch type on it fine.

Obviously because I am used to it.

But... I can also touch type on any other type of straight keyboard, and the other revisions of "natural" keyboards which are all slightly different angles etc.

If you can't touch type because of a slightly different postion, don't call your style of typing touch typing, you are obviously not doing it correctly.

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Boffin

Not just UK/US

From what I remember of keyboard layouts, the whole "extra wide left shift" thing is mostly a US keyboard trait. Keyboards for most other countries/languages in the world use a narrower left-shift and an additional key.

Similarly, the double-height enter key appears to be the modal style internationally.

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@ Richard Gadsden

<The standard UK layout has the |\ key between left shift and Z and a two-row Return key. There are also a number of other differences:

Shift - 2 is " not @

Shift - 3 is £ not #

There is a #~ key to the right of the ' key

Shift - ' is @ not "

Shift - ` is ¬ not ~ >

I wonder if there is more than one "standard" UK keyboard. Most of the NOT statements you make are TRUE statements on a standard UK Apple keyboard. The key that is immediatly to the right of the left shift on the dell is located one row higher and under the lip of the return key (and vice versa) on an Apple. As others have pointed out, the left shift key is definitely too big and causing the problem.

I know it's "what you get used to" but I can't understand why the PC keyboard put the @ on shift ', when logically shift ' ought to be ", i.e. all the important punctuation keys are together. @ was never a regular requirement 'till the interweb arrived so why was it given such a prominent place all those years ago?

Not a rant, just a curious muse.

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Let's remember that...

...this is TheRegister dot CO dot UK. Any story not specifying otherwise will likely be about the impact of something ON THE UK.

The UK standard keyboard is as others have said quite different to the US and the backslash is next to the ZED. Yes. I said "ZED". So sue me already.

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Anonymous Coward

Rotten UK keyboard

I for one don't appreciate that \| key between Shift and Z

Would much prefer the long shift key instead... But not the way Dell have done it, obviously.

There are a few laptops that put \| somewhere else, like just to the left of the backspace key, or tucked in by the space bar. Much better.

While I'm ranting... what bloody use are the characters ¬ and ¦ ?

<flame>Well, could be worse, could be a Mac: they have an even more useless key between Shift and Z, and no # character</flame>

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Silver badge

On the continent

On the Continent, the less-than and more-than symbols are on the key between LH Shift and Z [or W] where the backslash and pipe symbols are on a British keyboard.

In less civilised nations, the LH Shift key butts directly up against the Z.

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Alien

Czech out

"the Z has to be between the A and S... look on ANY other keyboard and that's where it sits"

As a perfectly legal alien, I switch between the QWERTY and QWERTZ layouts dozens of times a day, being in Central Europe and all...

Sounds like someone hasn't come to terms with living in the Global Village yet ;)

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Varying Keyboard Layouts

I have my Acer Travelmate 8006 and works' HP Compaq nc6400 on my desk and both have different layouts on this row...

Acer:

Left Shift Z X ... N M , . / \

HP:

Left Shift \ Z X ... N M , . /

Z is in the right place on both, the Acer has a larger Left Shift though. The \ | key moves from one end of the row to the other.

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Anonymous Coward

@Ivan Headache

That's a little simplistic. PCs originally took off as flashy ledger books. The @ key was very useful. Quotes are only useful once you start word-processing.

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Anonymous Coward

Ubuntu

Hah! those of us enlightened Ubuntu users don't have to deal with The Man messing with our keyboards! We just . . . wait a sec . . . um, never mind . . .

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Want the "China Price" on your equippment???

Then get used to keyboards designed by Chinamen that don't touch type with the Roman alphabet. I would bet £10 the reason for that screw-up is because the supplier wanted to use the same keys for the left and right shift, one mould rather than two. Probably saves $0.05 per keyboard.

And you can get lead paint on your children's toys, contaminated heparin, and anti-freeze in your toothpaste.

Oh, yeah, and massive layoffs in your own country.

You get what you buy people...

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Looks like...

So it looks like they tried to use the same keyboard underside as the US layout to save some pennies, then just didn't realize that there was a placement issue.

And yeah there have been bad keyboards before (frequently from Dell) where people will put Delete by the space bar and the Windows key by the page up/down keys. And putting the Fn key in the lower left spot is irritating as hell, because things don't close when I hit Fn-C, and by the time I figure out that I haven't hit Ctrl, I'm generally pissed.

Then again I've gotten so used to 92% sized keyboards on laptops that I have trouble with any full sized models. Guess I'll have to live with Fujitsu ultra portables and that HP 2133 sexmotron...

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This happened because someone decided to be tidy....

On my Dell keyboard, the LH shift is very small, and the RH shift is very long. It obviously offended someone's sense of what looks good, and so they made both shift keys the same size - without considering what would happen to the bottom line of keys....

How on EARTH could this have got through any sort of testing?

(Asked and answered, I suspect...!)

You wouldn't get this problem with Ubuntu....

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Joke

All the right keys...

So let me get this straight - the keyboard features all the right keys, but not necessarily in the right order?

Ill get my coat, im off early anyway as its a bank holiday weekend!

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Silver badge

Doesn't anyone have a screwdriver?

It seems that with some small mechanical work (why the screwdriver comes to mind) one could pop off the keys and do a proper left shift on the row. Of course the '\|' key will probably be on the other side (next to the '/?' key) but that is small stuff.

The programming change is left as an exercise to the student.

All fo this reminds me of the @#$%^&* VT-220 keyboard that had an extra ('<>') key between the 'Z' key and th shift key. Made it terrible for the reasonable typists in us.

The lesson: Don't muck with what works. Just to be different doesn't work (at all!).

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Coat

Dell is not the only ones

Take a look at the new Acer 5720's They have tried to cram every conceivable language onto the damn keyboard so the enter key is now vertical and pushed the backslash to the left so you constantly get things that are followed by a backslash and not a return as expected\

oops.

Mines the one that speaks 10 different languages, but doesn't do english

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@Justin

Capital initial letter for countries and other proper names, please.

The \ebras should be in |imbabwe, not \imbabwe.

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Linux

Bloody PC keyboards

All PC keyboards are c**p why did they put the escape key three and a half weeks march north west of the keyboard. How am I supposed to be able to touch type on that. Put the [ESC] key back just outside the left shift key where it's supposed to be like the old HP IFT keyboards. This stupid layout really slows down vi.

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Gates Horns

Dell is unprofitable and should do something about it

These idiotic mistakes are simply the result of a company which is continuously downsizing because it's not making any money by selling PC's. They should do something about this by shipping Ubuntu Linux as standard on ALL PC's so the profit actually ends up in THEIR wallet instead of Microsoft's.

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Stop

Ah the good old days....

... when the keys actually clicked, and they had a sheet of steel in the keyboard to make it HEAVIER! I always throw the company's keyboard in a drawer and use my 15-yr-old IBM Model M5-1.

Looking at the Vostro keyboard, the OBVIOUS solution would be to put that bottom-left key (backslash, pipe) at the bottom-right. Sorted!!

I'll go quietly ....

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@ Anon Coward

--- Makes you want to buy an Apple...

You mean like my G4 Powerbook, where the key labeled "Delete" actually backspaces?

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Thumb Down

oh vo,e om I see mo pronlem with ,y laptop

This is just amother ober the top artivle fro, The Register. I ,eam there is mothimg wromg with this keynoard

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@Rotten UK Keyboard

You get a ¬ symbol? Lucky bastards.

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Gold badge
Joke

No, no, no, It's SUPPOSED to be that way.

For chrissakes, don't you learn history at school? The whole idea behind the QWERTY layout is to SLOW DOWN your typing, so from an engineering point of view, Dell has abundantly delivered on requirement with those keyboards.

If you want fast entry you better switch to DVORAK or stop complaining.

[for those challenged in the humour department, this was a joke. It's Friday. Relax. Go for a drink. Shag someone. Chill. Whatever. And I'll even leave the pun in for you. Do read it again.]

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@Ivan Headache

Some of us may remember that the old mechanical typewriters, even in the US, had the " on the 2-- and in fact, had no 1 key as you used lower-case L for that. There was an @ sign even then though, on this model it was over the "cent" symbol on the right:

http://staff.xu.edu/~polt/typewriters/underwood77maroon.jpg

That site has a nice collection of old typewriter images

Many old mechanicals had a 1/2 symbol as well.

For those who really miss the old days, you could make yourself one of these:

http://www.multipledigression.com/type

What I think is the most ridiculous is that we're using asterisk and slash for multiply and divide on a machine that is designed for calculations-- we don't even have proper math symbols and only because the original machines had to adapt available teletype equipment. Most of what's on our keyboard is due to legacy, not optimum design...

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Coat

Serves you right for buying a Dell.

And I can't believe nobody else has said it, either.

|ealots.

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Thumb Up

I want a large left shift key

I've long searched for a desktop keyboard with a decent-sized left shift key, since I'm right-handed and don't need a shift key on the right. The person who made the small left shift key a UK standard must be a left-hander having some revenge on the majority.

Who makes desktop UK Qwerty keyboards with a wide left shift key, eg by having the backslash key in a better position? Even better if they have Enter and Backspace keys with a decent width too.

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Heart

Dammit, someone mentioned the model M

...the nearest you can get to keyboard porn (or nirvana, take your pick) :-)

As soon as I get a few quid spare i'm treating myself to one ! (pckeyboard.com)

Dammit, i'm thinking "go on, order it now" but I know the credit card is a little tight this month :-/

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Dell Boy

Didn't their namesake once have a problem shifting some doggy calculators with no equal sign?

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Joke

Z has to be between the A and S

bullshit, the z has got to be between t and u, 7 and h.

when will you blokes get yourself civilized keyboards?

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Then there was always

...that cheap keyboard we put on a server that had the power off key where the page-up should have been. Oops.

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