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Emerson Development LLC

Advances in Computers and Communications

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The conventional keyboard layout is an archaic design that does not meet the needs of modern PC usage patterns

Caps Lock Software Solution,
and Demo Program

    This is a software solution for software, keyboard and computer manufacturers to the problem of users inadvertently typing in ALL CAPS. This is a simple way to add value and differentiation to your product.

HOW MANY TIMES A DAY DO YOU FIND YOU’VE TYPED A LINE OF TEXT IN ALL CAPS BY ACCIDENT? ENOUGH TIMES TO BE AGGRAVATING? WELL, WE’VE GOT THE FIX.

The basic Graphical User Interface (GUI) features of Windows, Apple, and Unix are so sophisticated you wouldn’t think there would be room for improvement. But, we at Emerson Development took an annoying problem and created a GUI solution. If you think about the complexity of a GUI, our tweak is a minor improvement -- but people love it!

Our patented solution is a software enhancement that provides visual and audible clues when the Caps Lock key is on -- and will virtually eliminate accidentally typing in ALL CAPS. This software functionality can be incorporated into a keyboard driver, into an application, or sold directly to users as a DLL.

We have a demo application so you can see this in operation for yourself.

Visual

The Caps Lock Cursor demo program is a Notepad or Wordpad style text editor that provides both an audible and visual alert when the Caps Lock key is on. Watch what happens to the mouse cursor when you turn Caps Lock on and off, and toggle the "Switch Cursor" button. (The Switch Cursor button toggles between two styles of a Caps Lock Cursor as a marketing test to discover which version users like best. The production software version will only include one style of a Caps Lock Cursor.)

The distinctive Caps Lock cursor replaces the standard I-beam cursor when the Caps Lock key is on. The two styles of Caps Lock cursors look like this:

           

If you notice how you work, you’ll see that almost invariably the reason you typed that string of text in all caps is because you changed from one topic, entry field, page, etc., to another. That change was the distraction that caused you to forget about the Caps Lock key. When you come back to start the next topic, entry field, or page, you almost always need to reposition the cursor to start typing in the new location. And, when the cursor that you use to position the new typing location says “Caps”, it’s almost impossible to forget that you are in Caps Lock mode.

We also have defined a second visual clue to the state of the Caps Lock key . By convention, the location where the next typed character will appear is marked by a vertical bar called the system caret. You move the caret with either the mouse or the cursor arrow keys. As an optional feature, this system caret will change to a distinctive shape when Caps Lock is on.

The above illustration depicts one possible shape that is suggestive of the letter “C”, for Caps. The operation of the system caret is embedded in the operating system, and so this feature is not included in the demo software. It could, however, be incorporated into a DLL or keyboard driver, along with the other features described on this page.

Audible

The audible feature is just as clever. A software timer starts when you turn on the Caps Lock key -- right now we are using ten seconds, and that seems to be a good value. When you turn off Caps Lock the timer turns off, so it only functions when Caps Lock is active. Every time you strike a key while Caps Lock is on, the timer restarts. Imagine that you are in the middle of typing something that you intend to be in all caps. As long as you keep typing you don’t need and won’t get a reminder that the Caps Lock key is on because with every keystroke the ten second timer restarts. But if you stop typing for more than ten seconds, the timer expires. Perhaps you finished that previous little piece of work and then you refer to a document in order to start the next piece. Meantime, you’ve forgotten that the Caps Lock key is still on. The next time you strike a key a bell will ring -- but just once, because that restarts the timer. Perhaps you wished to continue typing in all caps -- we just gave you that one little alert, and you’ll be thankful for the reminder. But, if you didn’t wish to continue typing in all caps, that one reminder is all you need.

Distribution

There are several ways in which the audible and visual Caps Lock indicators could be distributed to users. Obviously, these features could be incorporated into an application program, as we have done with our demo program. They could also be built into a DLL, Active X control, or keyboard driver for distribution to your users or customers. So, for example, a corporation might distribute a DLL to all of its internal users, whereas a vendor might distribute it with a product.  A keyboard manufacturer might include it with new keyboards, a computer manufacturer might include it as a part of the operating system.

Licensing

If you are interested in incorporating these features into your products, contact us for a license agreement.

Demo Download & Installation

Between the audible and visual reminders, our software solution will be the end of inadvertently typing in all caps -- putting a cap on Caps Lock errors. We’ve gotten raves about our Caps Lock solutions -- you will want to see for yourself.

Just call or e-mail us for a copy of the demo program.

The program is in .zip format; follow the normal procedures for unzipping and installing. (You will get a dialog box asking if you wish to Open or Save -- answer "Open". Your unzip program should automatically start, and show three downloaded files. Click on the file "Setup.exe". When setup starts it asks you to click a button to continue -- the button is the big icon to the left of the instructions. Accept the default options that are offered. You're done in 30 seconds, start to finish.)

An uninstall is included.

 

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