Saturday, April 23, 2005 at 3:04AM
Another quickie: When using my laptop at night (for the usual - writing, reading, and programming), I often need to type a function key (e.g., F11 to toggle Full Screen mode in Firefox or Ctrl-F11 in IDEA), but I can't see the darn keyboard! This really screwed me over once - I was hunting for the function key and accidentally (I found out later) invoked the hardware disable for the trackpad! (FYI the laptop is a Toshiba Tablet.) So of course the idea is to provide lighted keyboards on laptops. Well, a search turned up (big surprise) an Apple Powerbook (article from MARCH 20, 2003). Apple (whose Advanced Technology Lab provided funding for yours truly during grad school - thanks!) has had some real design hits, and some misses over the years, but this was a good idea. Sadly, I couldn't find a current model that supports this feature. I really would buy a Mac laptop for my next purchase if they'd just provide a two-button mouse with scroll wheel functionality. I can not live without this. The Toshiba lets you configure a strip on the right side of the trackpad to simulate a scroll wheel, which I use for scrolling and for quickly changing the font size in Firefox.