May 5, 2008: Insert key
There are a lot of useless keys on a standard PC keyboard, but only the insert key has the power to fuck with your work. I would rather the insert key be replaced with a button that gives you a mild electrical shock. Prior to pointing devices, the insert key might have had some utility, but now it’s just a trick button. What it does is it transforms your keyboard into a living nightmare in which everything you type replaces the text in front of it, as if all that other text in your document was just hanging around for decoration. The only scenario this would be useful is if you wanted to get rid of the proceeding text of your document, but only in a quantity of characters that was exactly equal to your newly-inserted text. What kind of asshole would make such an edit? “Man, I really need to delete the thirteen characters to the immediate right of my text cursor, and I also need to insert a word that’s exactly eleven characters long, leaving two extra characters for spaces. Time for my trusty insert key!” How about you insert a bullet into your head? Meanwhile, the insert key is located right next to backspace, which is for people who edit text in an educated fashion. So I’m constantly hitting the insert key on accident, and there’s no way to tell that you’ve toggled on overtype mode until you notice that your new text is eating the shit out of your old text. Maybe there’s a way to disable this—maybe there is. Maybe there’s also a way to pry the button off with a carving knife. But I would like to know if any sort of person needs their insert key, because perhaps I speak out of ignorance. Do coders use overtype mode? Has anybody in the last twenty years hit this key on purpose? Or should I organize a protest?