The Apple USB Keyboard I'm using to type these words has a particularly obnoxious configuration. I believe it is the keyboard that came with the original Bondi Blue iMac, making it a cousin of the infamous hockey puck mouse. That being the case, I suppose any complaints about its design are small potatoes, but there is one thing about it I find particularly silly.

The arrow keys are tiny. In addition, these four noble keys have been shoehorned into the space normally reserved for CTRL and ALT.Because of their unusual shape, size and placement, the left and right arrow keys are particularly easy to remove. Here is the silly thing: the left and right arrow keys caps cannot be transposed. You can take the caps off, flip them around, or put them in each other slots. They just can’t be depressed if you do any of this.

This is because the keycaps have little teeth underneath that match up with ridges in the keyboard. To put it more geekily, the left key cap is 11000. The space where the left keycap is supposed to go is 00111. The right key is 01010; its space is 10101. All of the spaces have 11111 on the flip side of the post into which the keycap locks to prevent the key from being depressed if it is rotated 180 degrees.

But it gets stupider when you pry off the up and down keys. Keep in mind this is only infinitesimally harder if you are inclined to pry off key caps in the first place. The up key cap is 10100. The down key cap is 11000. Astute readers have already realized that this means that you can switch the left and down keys caps (but none of the others).

My question: who thought that switching the arrow keycaps around was a big enough concern to engineer a half-assed solution to it (the keycaps can still be switched, but it renders them unusable), but then gave up three-fourths of the way through? What could have been going through this person’s mind when they came up with this completely inane design? I have switched the left and down keys on my keyboard to spite this person.