Tuesday Aug 12, 2008

Kinesis Keyboard and the Apple Command Key

I have a Kinesis Model 130 keyboard, an ergonomic keyboard that I love to use. Actually, I have three of them, acquired over the past 10-15 years. I am convinced that they have saved me from tendonitis and carpal tunnel syndrome; that, and my switching to the Dvorak keyboard layout about 15-20 years ago.

But only recently did I try using the Kinesis with my Mac computers and the problem is that I couldn't find the Apple "Clover" key on the keyboard, certainly not in the place where it should be (in the center area of the keyboard, where Kinesis mounts the Alt/Ctrl/Home/End keys where the thumbs can type them).

Turns out the Kinesis keyboards do have the Clover keys mapped, but in different places depending on which model keyboard you have. On older models like my older 130, they are mapped to the embedded layer, to the "H" and "N" keys. (the embedded layer is the layer of keys that you get when you press the "Keypad" button; other keyboards would call this button "Num Lock") On more recent Kinesis keyboards that don't already have a standard Mac keyboard layout, Clover is found in the "PrintScn" and "Scroll Lock" keys.

Here is how to map from the embedded layer to the non-embedded layer. For example, mapping the Mac Clover key from the embedded layer to have it sit where the "Alt" key is (you press "Alt" to get "Clover"), follow the instructions below, which you can also find on Kinesis's web site on this page.

Remapping bottom layer windows key to top layer:

For PS/2 Contoured keyboards, the Windows key (or Command for Mac users) is located in the embedded "PrintScrn" and "Scroll Lock" keys. If you would like to remap the embedded Windows key to the top layer, follow these instructions:
  1. Turn Keypad ON.
  2. Press and hold the Progrm key and tap F12 (LED's on keyboard will flash rapidly).
  3. Press and release the "PrintScrn" key. (LED's will slow down).
  4. Press and release the destination key, for example- Right Alt (LED's will speed up).
  5. Press and release the "PrintScrn" key (LED's will slow down).
  6. Press and release the KEYPAD key.
  7. Press and release the SAME destination key, example- Right Alt (LED's will speed up).
  8. Exit by repeating step 2 (LED's will stop flashing).
Now, in this example, the Right Alt key will function as the Windows/Apple Command key when keypad is ON or OFF.
NOTE: For older PS/2 Contoured keyboards, the Windows / Apple Command ("Clover") key is located in the embedded "h" and "n" keys.

By the way, Kinesis now makes keyboards that easily map between a standard Windows and Apple keyboard layout with a simple key sequence you can press. I just purchased one of those, too...I'm a big fan of Kinesis.

One last note: I've had my oldest Kinesis keyboard for well 12+ years, and I still have no problems with it. They make a high-quality product. It's not cheap (maybe $300), but for how it makes my fingers feel, it's a no-brainer.
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The views expressed on this blog are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Oracle. What more do you need to know, really?

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