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Old 11-26-2005, 03:57 PM   #1
annc
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Default It's true!

The letter 'e' is the most commonly used in the English language. I just noticed that my Mac keyboard has quite a hole gouged in the surface where my fingernail has been pounding into it for two and a half years. Being self-taught on an old Remington manual typewriter, I tend to hammer the keys with the tops of my fingers; and as I have good strong fingernails that get trimmed somewhat infrequently, the most-used key is showing the effects of much use. The 's' and 'd' keys may be showing the beginnings of some damage, but it's very minor.

I've never seen this on any previous keyboards, so it must be partly the result of the type of material on the standard white Mac Pro Keyboard. My older black key Pro keyboard, currently attached to the IBM ThinkPad, shows no damage at all.

   
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Old 11-27-2005, 09:44 AM   #2
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I note that the 'e' and 's' keys on my keyboard have their (embossed?) characters somewhat "dimmed" from usage - even though I use fingertips for touch typing. (Hmm, why is the backspace key NOT dimmed... ;-)

As discussed before, 'etaoin shrdlu' is the letters arranged in order of English language frequency of occurrence - and is a phrase sometimes used by compositors in lieu of 'anon'. Surprising then that our T (or I and L due to finger placement?) keys aren't as battered.

Part of the issue will be how the lettering is "applied" to the keyboard - engraved, embossed or merely printed. I can feel the raised lettering on "Insert" and "Delete" keys but not on the letter keys on this relatively new/inexpensive Memorex keyboard.
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Old 11-27-2005, 12:48 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gary
I note that the 'e' and 's' keys on my keyboard have their (embossed?) characters somewhat "dimmed" from usage - even though I use fingertips for touch typing. (Hmm, why is the backspace key NOT dimmed... ;-)
You must have shorter fingernails than I do, or use the flat of your fingertips to type, instead of the tops of them as I do. The very top of the letter E on the keyboard is slightly lighter than the rest, but the gouged out bit is above the printed letter, which is still very easy to read.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gary
As discussed before, 'etaoin shrdlu' is the letters arranged in order of English language frequency of occurrence - and is a phrase sometimes used by compositors in lieu of 'anon'. Surprising then that our T (or I and L due to finger placement?) keys aren't as battered.
All my other keys are shiny from use, but there is no wear apparent on them. The space bar, as usual, has just a fairly short shiny part slightly to the right of centre.

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Originally Posted by gary
Part of the issue will be how the lettering is "applied" to the keyboard - engraved, embossed or merely printed. I can feel the raised lettering on "Insert" and "Delete" keys but not on the letter keys on this relatively new/inexpensive Memorex keyboard.
The printed letters on my keyboard are just that - no embossing at all, and the tiny embossing dots on the F and J are intact.

   
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Old 11-27-2005, 05:44 PM   #4
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Hmmm... I wonder just what word I may have used most commonly as I'm wearing the "paint" from a - s - o - l - e ... (the H appears to be fine...).

   
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Old 11-27-2005, 09:14 PM   #5
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Hmmm... I wonder just what word I may have used most commonly as I'm wearing the "paint" from a - s - o - l - e ... (the H appears to be fine...).
Hmmm, 'lose a -----' fill in the gap.

   
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Old 11-28-2005, 01:18 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by annc
The letter 'e' is the most commonly used in the English language. I just noticed that my Mac keyboard has quite a hole gouged in the surface where my fingernail has been pounding into it for two and a half years.
Most worn on my five-year-old keyboard are 'e', 'n', 'a', and 's' (sort of in that order). While 'e' is the most frequent letter in Dutch as well, I do type more English than Dutch (including programming since keywords and function names tend to be derived from English as well).

   
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Old 11-28-2005, 03:59 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gary

As discussed before, 'etaoin shrdlu' is the letters arranged in order of English language frequency of occurrence - and is a phrase sometimes used by compositors in lieu of 'anon'.
The following comes from the Linotype Machine listing in Wikipedia:

The Linotype may be best remembered for the layout of its keyboard, which had letters arranged in decreasing order of frequency in everyday English. The first two vertical rows were usually ETAOIN SHRDLU, a phrase that occasionally appeared in print because Linotype operators who made mistakes would run their fingers down the keyboard to fill out the line with nonsense, and sometimes the slug of type would accidentally get used.

End of quote

Now it may be that the keys on the Linotype were based on the occurance of letters within the language, making both references correct. (Edit: I just followed the link above, to another wiki reference, and it does confirm this).

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Old 11-28-2005, 07:34 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iamback
Most worn on my five-year-old keyboard are 'e', 'n', 'a', and 's' (sort of in that order). While 'e' is the most frequent letter in Dutch as well, I do type more English than Dutch (including programming since keywords and function names tend to be derived from English as well).
Ah - another one with a slightly worn 's'. I think my 's' is worn partly because I occasionally hit it instead of 'a'.

   
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