I once saw a computer which was exhibiting some strange behavior. When you pressed Ctrl-End, the computer would go into standby mode. Now, as any word-processing guru knows, Ctrl-End is supposed to move you to the end of a document in a word processor (just as Ctrl-Home will move you to the beginning of the document). On this computer, it worked fine with the Left Ctrl key, but not the right one. Right Ctrl-End made the computer go into standby. And it happened every single time.
I just about went nuts trying to figure out what could be causing the problem. I figured there was probably some silly little background process that had decided it would be a great idea to invoke the standby function whenever the user pressed Right Ctrl-End, but I saw no suspicious looking processes that might do something like this. Meanwhile, it remained a considerable user-interface problem, because every time I tried to move myself to the end of a document, I ended up accidentally putting the computer into sleep mode instead (usually forgetting that this computer would do so), which was incredibly annoying.
Finally, on the off chance (it seemed unlikely to me, anyway) that it might be a hardware issue, I tried taking off the keyboard and using a different keyboard on the machine.
The problem cleared up immediately.
Some knuckle-headed hardware designer had thought it would be a good idea to hard-wire a PC keyboard so that instead of a keystroke performing its standard, accepted function, it should instead make the computer hibernate. I was stunned. It just goes to show you how misguided PC hardware and software designers can be sometimes. Little wonder that the home-computer market is in such a muddle when you have clowns who implement great ideas like this.
The keyboard was an eMachines model, the kind that would typically ship with their systems back in the days before they got bought out by Gateway. eMachines gets a lot of flack for their cheap (as in low-quality) computers, but I have to give them some credit: They do manage to pack a reasonable amount of computing into a package for a decent price. However, their keyboard design is, apparently, in need of some improvement.
It's worth noting that the same keyboard also wouldn't Ctrl-Alt-Delete with the right-hand-side Ctrl and Alt keys; You had to use the ones on the left. I've seen some strange keyboard designs, but this constituted the stupidest keyboard I've ever seen, bar none.
Back to the main page