Last week I spilled tea on my laptop. It wasn’t much, just a few drops on the number pad side of the keyboard. I mopped it up immediately and left it turned upside down like a tent for 48 hours. Two days later we tried it out. Fortunately, everything seemed to be working perfectly, but with one exception, the ‘f’ key did not work.
It was only an ’f’, luckily, not an ‘e’, the commonest letter in the English language. Scrabble considers ‘f’ rare enough to merit 4 points. Nevertheless you don’t get very far without it. It’s in my name for a start. In my work its amazing how many times the words France and French appear. One of the most frequent words is ‘of’, closely followed by ‘for’ and ‘from’. And life without ‘f’ is lie, which won’t do at all.
Once the initial panic had worn off it was time to come up with solutions. The first work around was to open an old Word document and cut and past ‘f’s from it. A bit slow but it was fine for a rushed job. The next step was to open up Dragon Naturally Speaking. No problem with ‘f’s with Dragon, so for good measure I created a document containing lots of ‘f’ words, which I called “The ‘F’ word”. I could forget the keypad and just use dragon but for things like editing and other things such as passwords, should they happen to contain an ‘f’ it might be awkward. Also, as I gave up my office when my grandson came along I no longer have the privacy to chat to my computer all day long.
Without even looking at the computer a PC repair shop recommended a new keyboard. When I asked if I should get it cleaned they said they would look at the machine before ordering a new keyboard. I had my concerns. Firstly, I did not really want to be without it for two or three days and secondly and more importantly, I was terrified they might wipe the hard drive. Back in the early days of the current millennium whenever I took a PC or laptop in for repair they routinely wiped the hard drive. It isn’t so much the data, which is backed up but reloading all the software, finding the software keys, relocating downloads, etc. It used to take all day to restore the thing to something like what it was before. I resented the time wasted and the whole idea of it fills me with dread. When I bought this laptop five years ago the young man in the shop transferred everything from the old laptop to the new laptop for me and I was delighted with the result. So if there was any danger of the hard drive being wiped I was going to get a new laptop first.
No need to do that, said a geeky colleague of my husband, get yourself a wireless keyboard. So that’s what I have done. I have used it to write this blog. It is taking some getting used to as the mouse pad is annoyingly sensitive but I can revert to my old keyboard whenever I need to. I am going to have to do something about the height of the new keyboard and find suitable support for my wrists. I have a tendency to suffer from RSI and the whole point of a laptop is that it is better for my wrists. This device is not currently providing the right level of comfort, but at least we have all the letters of the alphabet.