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Commander X16 Deluxe Keyboard -- SysReq/PrtSc, Scroll Lock and Pause/Break


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Hi -- I have just decided I'd like to get the Commander X16 Deluxe Keyboard but I have one small but somewhat irksome concern. I see the keys typically labeled SysReq/PrtSc, Scroll Lock and Pause/Break have been replaced with Commander X16 equivalents. I think this is fine, but it seems somewhat inconsistent with the rest of the keyboard which seems to visually support more traditional characters. I understand this was likely done due to space constraints on the key, which is fine.

Commander X16 Deluxe Keyboard by 8-Bit Productions LLC and Chloe Corporation 87-Key V3 Mechanical Keyboard

I am wondering if the newly labeled keys still function as "SysReq/PrtSc, Scroll Lock and Pause/Break" when this keyboard is not used with the Commander X16. I plan to use this keyboard to drive all my computing accross my many computers on my trust PS/2 KVM switch.

Also -- I would like to ask WASD Keyboards if I can modify my buttons to include the missing text. I am currently waiting for their response.

Edited by davidpgil
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Hi -- I have just decided I'd like to get the Commander X16 Deluxe Keyboard but I have one small but somewhat irksome concern. I see the keys typically labeled SysReq/PrtSc, Scroll Lock and Pause/Break have been replaced with Commander X16 equivalents. I think this is fine, but it seems somewhat inconsistent with the rest of the keyboard which seems to visually support more traditional characters. I understand this was likely done due to space constraints on the key, which is fine.

commander16_1.png

I am wondering if the newly labeled keys still function as "SysReq/PrtSc, Scroll Lock and Pause/Break" when this keyboard is not used with the Commander X16. I plan to use this keyboard to drive all my computing accross my many computers on my trust PS/2 KVM switch.

Also -- I would like to ask WASD Keyboards if I can modify my buttons to include the missing text. I am currently waiting for their response.

We do not repurpose the keys on a hardware level. So they will do their original functions on other systems. Hopefully that answers your question.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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1 hour ago, Perifractic said:

In addition I regret we don’t allow customisation of our design, sorry. Hopefully it won’t prove too hard to remember those functions the more you use them.

Some of those are the kinds of functions I don't use often enough to remember them every time.

Back in the day it is the kind of thing I might have stuck a repurposed label above those keys with reminders, though I would of course never suggest doing any such thing to such a lovely mechanism as this.

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Thank you for your thoughtful responses. It is good to know that the traditional functionality will exist unscathed. 

However, I do have an interest in redesigning those keys on my keyboard when it arrives just so I can feel a sense of finality. @Perifractic, would you mind if I could have the name of the font used for those keys? I would be willing to pay WASD to make custom key caps for me. I like to tinker, and I think it would be a fun little project to find a way to make the full functionality able to exist descriptively on those keys even if they are indeed rarely used keys.

 

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Thank you for your thoughtful responses. It is good to know that the traditional functionality will exist unscathed. 
However, I do have an interest in redesigning those keys on my keyboard when it arrives just so I can feel a sense of finality. [mention=3]Perifractic[/mention], would you mind if I could have the name of the font used for those keys? I would be willing to pay WASD to make custom key caps for me. I like to tinker, and I think it would be a fun little project to find a way to make the full functionality able to exist descriptively on those keys even if they are indeed rarely used keys.
 

You can find more info on the fonts here https://www.forum64.de/index.php?thread/68200-what-a-font-was-used-on-commodore-64c-and-128-keyboards/


Perifractic, X16 Visual Designer
http://youtube.com/perifractic
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Back in the day I lived near the WordPerfect offices in Utah, and I recall the keyboard templates they included with the software. There were two, one for PC/XT style keyboards with the function keys to the side, and another for PC/AT style keyboards with the function keys at the top of the keyboard.

I think a clever graphic designer could come up with something nice that could have cut outs that fit over the keyboard to provide the extra labels in a way that doesn't distract from the keyboard itself. It doesn't have to be as big as this example, just including it as a reference to what I'm talking about.

WordPefect Top Function Keys Overlay (and mini manual) | MLTSHP

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6 hours ago, Scott Robison said:

Back in the day I lived near the WordPerfect offices in Utah, and I recall the keyboard templates they included with the software. There were two, one for PC/XT style keyboards with the function keys to the side, and another for PC/AT style keyboards with the function keys at the top of the keyboard.

Man, talk about a blast from the past ... we had XT's in our econ grad student computer lab, at UTK in the early 90's, and since it was a WordPerfect + Lotus123 setup, IIRC the side function key versions of those templates available. (Why XT's and not AT's? I assume they were hand me downs after the profs got ATs).

Since there was no copy protection on the installed executables or data files on the hard drives, enterprising graduate students with computers at home would do a sneakernet of the necessary files on a stack of floppies. And since my PPC640 was 3.5" while these XT's were 5.25", I used a 1571 and 1581 and Big Blue Reader to put together my 3.5" WordPerfect boot disk.

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2 hours ago, Perifractic said:

Funnily enough I’ve been chatting to a guy who has created some really cool keyboard overlays and is sending me some for Commodore 64 games et cetera. I’ll ping him to take a look at this thread.

Yay! I'm making a "contribution" with practically zero effort! 🙂

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9 minutes ago, BruceMcF said:

Man, talk about a blast from the past ... we had XT's in our econ grad student computer lab, at UTK in the early 90's, and since it was a WordPerfect + Lotus123 setup, IIRC the side function key versions of those templates available. (Why XT's and not AT's? I assume they were hand me downs after the profs got ATs).

Since there was no copy protection on the installed executables or data files on the hard drives, enterprising graduate students with computers at home would do a sneakernet of the necessary files on a stack of floppies. And since my PPC640 was 3.5" while these XT's were 5.25", I used a 1571 and 1581 and Big Blue Reader to put together my 3.5" WordPerfect boot disk.

I recall reading an interview with Alan Ashton (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_C._Ashton), one of the co-founders of WordPerfect, where he made a statement to the effect of not condoning piracy of their software, but if someone was going to use a word processor, he wanted it to be WordPerfect. For a period of time, WordPerfect employees were the de facto distribution channel of licensed WP software products to the greater Salt Lake City metropolitan area, because they could (I think) buy practically unlimited copies of software at employee pricing for friends and family.

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I still have WordPerfect for the PC, for the Apple IIgs, and for the Amiga. The Amiga version is on its original installation floppies; the PC version is on a set of floppies (the originals are lost to the mists of time) and an archive of an actual installation. The Apple IIgs version only exists as an archive of an actual installation.

I never got the Amiga version to work... but then I only ever tried to install it on machines with 2.x and higher, and I found out later that there were some 'challenges,' as I recall, in getting WP to work on anything but 1.3.

Speaking of challenges, running WP on KEGS shows some of the limitations of the emulation. The screen cleanup after menus are deselected doesn't really work right, and after a short while the screen is trashed. Works fine on a real GS, though. These kinds of things are why I'm glad the X16 emulator is so strict about following the actual hardware as designed, even if it's at the expense of speed.

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8 hours ago, Perifractic said:

Funnily enough I’ve been chatting to a guy who has created some really cool keyboard overlays and is sending me some for Commodore 64 games et cetera. I’ll ping him to take a look at this thread.


Perifractic, X16 Visual Designer
http://youtube.com/perifractic

Hi Everyone, I'm that guy!

Enjoyed reading the conversation.

If custom keys or other permanent intervention might not be ideal, then for sure it is pretty easy to create custom overlays to place over the keyboard for only those times when using it with other systems. Whilst personally the ones I do currently are for the C64/128, I have been asked on occasion to consider versions for other systems (the most recent was an Elite game overlay specifically for the BBC Micro)... For these and in this case too, in the absence of having a physical example of the computer to measure, it just needs an accurate dimensioned keyboard layout, a brief of what is wanted and one can be designed. Matching fonts, colours and overall matching style of course can be accomodated.

Martin

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On 3/24/2021 at 8:05 AM, davidpgil said:

Hi -- I have just decided I'd like to get the Commander X16 Deluxe Keyboard but I have one small but somewhat irksome concern. I see the keys typically labeled SysReq/PrtSc, Scroll Lock and Pause/Break have been replaced with Commander X16 equivalents. I think this is fine, but it seems somewhat inconsistent with the rest of the keyboard which seems to visually support more traditional characters. I understand this was likely done due to space constraints on the key, which is fine.

Commander X16 Deluxe Keyboard by 8-Bit Productions LLC and Chloe Corporation 87-Key V3 Mechanical Keyboard

I am wondering if the newly labeled keys still function as "SysReq/PrtSc, Scroll Lock and Pause/Break" when this keyboard is not used with the Commander X16. I plan to use this keyboard to drive all my computing accross my many computers on my trust PS/2 KVM switch.

Also -- I would like to ask WASD Keyboards if I can modify my buttons to include the missing text. I am currently waiting for their response.

 "SysReq/PrtSc, Scroll Lock and Pause/Break", I have never used those keys and in most cases cannot imagine what they do, LOL

The only thing that bothers me is that it puts the CTRL key down in the corner, which is a stupidity introduced by PC. Old UNIX keyboards (terminals) and my current (Happy Hacking) keyboard put it where the never used SHIFT LOCK is located on the X16 keyboard. Even the Commodore 64 got it in a better position (TAB) than down in the corner. Having it down there means I need to twist my hand to reach it, and I use that key a lot. It is actually very annoying to me, but I guess that I am the minority. (Rant off)

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9 hours ago, hth313 said:

 "SysReq/PrtSc, Scroll Lock and Pause/Break", I have never used those keys and in most cases cannot imagine what they do, LOL

I use PrtSc occasionally, to screenshot my screen, especially when doing images for step by step explanations of support package use for students.

The only time I ever needed to find scroll lock was the one time I hit scroll lock by accident, and I thought that the spreadsheet I was using at the time had some kind of weird bug until I noticed that the scroll lock light was on and I turned it off.

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11 hours ago, hth313 said:

 "SysReq/PrtSc, Scroll Lock and Pause/Break", I have never used those keys and in most cases cannot imagine what they do, LOL

The only thing that bothers me is that it puts the CTRL key down in the corner, which is a stupidity introduced by PC. Old UNIX keyboards (terminals) and my current (Happy Hacking) keyboard put it where the never used SHIFT LOCK is located on the X16 keyboard. Even the Commodore 64 got it in a better position (TAB) than down in the corner. Having it down there means I need to twist my hand to reach it, and I use that key a lot. It is actually very annoying to me, but I guess that I am the minority. (Rant off)

SysReq was intended to be a key to swap tasks (something like Alt-Tab is used for now.) 

Scroll Lock does what the name suggests - it was intended to let the user use the arrow keys to scroll the screen. The introduction of the mouse kind of made that key redundant, however. 

Pause/Break also does exactly what the name says. It blocks screen output, causing any program writing to the screen to Pause until another key is pressed. Pressing Control+Pause sends a Break message, terminating a running console program. It can also be used to send a Break signal to a mainframe, which does basically the same thing.

And I use the caps lock key Every Darned Day. Some days, it's on more than it's off... and I like it where it is, since having the Control key down low allows me to keep it uniform on both sides of the keyboard. And if you're contorting your hands to reach it, you should be using the control key on the opposite side of the keyboard. 

 

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, TomXP411 said:

SysReq was intended to be a key to swap tasks (something like Alt-Tab is used for now.) 

Scroll Lock does what the name suggests - it was intended to let the user use the arrow keys to scroll the screen. The introduction of the mouse kind of made that key redundant, however. 

Pause/Break also does exactly what the name says. It blocks screen output, causing any program writing to the screen to Pause until another key is pressed. Pressing Control+Pause sends a Break message, terminating a running console program. It can also be used to send a Break signal to a mainframe, which does basically the same thing.

...

 

In Linux I use SysReq to do a low-level reboot of the system and to kill excess tasks via "Magic SysReq" commands. Also, there many 3D design programs that use those keys for some special functions. I am not a fan that this functionality is buried by the C64 commands. However, I do like that I can restore this visible labeling  by just adding it back by having WASD Keys make me a key cap for it. Yes, its going to be pricey, but I am happy to pay to keep having the option to have options.

Thanks for explaining the functionaility you are aware of -- I find it useful to know what the intended purpose was of these keys.

Edited by davidpgil
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9 hours ago, davidpgil said:

In Linux I use SysReq to do a low-level reboot of the system and to kill excess tasks via "Magic SysReq" commands. Also, there many 3D design programs that use those keys for some special functions. I am not a fan that this functionality is buried by the C64 commands. However, I do like that I can restore this visible labeling  by just adding it back by having WASD Keys make me a key cap for it. Yes, its going to be pricey, but I am happy to pay to keep having the option to have options.

Thanks for explaining the functionaility you are aware of -- I find it useful to know what the intended purpose was of these keys.

Something I'm planning on doing is ordering transparent labels for my label maker; then I can add back the media control and PC-specific labels on my keycaps when they arrive... I'll stick them on the front of the key, rather than the top, much like the keys that came with the keyboard. 

 

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5 minutes ago, TomXP411 said:

Here is what my labels look like. Ignore the off center application... my hands aren’t very steady right now. 
 

 

9984CEDA-552C-4A7A-BCC7-0D101B32A82E.jpeg

@TomXP411, those look excellent. Would you mind sharing where you got those labels from or how you got them made? I would like to try your method if possible.

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On 3/26/2021 at 3:36 AM, kelli217 said:

I still have WordPerfect for the PC...

I hope it's v4.2 (character based version) and not Win3.1.  WP5 was the beginning of the end (of the world).  For WP and for the world...

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6 hours ago, davidpgil said:

@TomXP411, those look excellent. Would you mind sharing where you got those labels from or how you got them made? I would like to try your method if possible.

Sure, I happened to have a Brother label maker that I bought a couple of years ago for a network install; I picked up some transparent label tape and just printed out the labels. The P-Touch has a fairly large selection of symbols, including tape transport controls (the <<, >>, and >| symbols) and the speaker icon. The Volume up and Volume down are just a speaker icon followed by an arrow - so two separate symbols for each. 

The print you see there is a 12 point font; while I think that was about the right size for the icons, it's too large for the text. I may peel those off and replace them with the next size down - I think it's 9pt on this machine. 

Links:

As a side note: the Brother works well, but it can be a little limited if you're doing sophisticated stuff, like keyboard glyphs. There are some USB label printers that should let you print graphics. Those are worth looking at if you really want to do a keyboard up right. I'd also suggest some sort of jig to allow you to more precisely place the labels. Mine are all over the place (as you can tell), and I definitely want to re-do them to make them more consistent. 

 

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7 hours ago, TomXP411 said:

Here is what my labels look like.

Looks very neat!!

1 hour ago, TomXP411 said:

I happened to have a Brother label maker

This explains everything. ))

Label makers in local shops near me are pretty expensive, so I never thought about getting one. But the one from Amazon you mentioned is considerably cheaper, so I might investigate the case. Thank you!

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6 hours ago, EMwhite said:

I hope it's v4.2 (character based version) and not Win3.1.  WP5 was the beginning of the end (of the world).  For WP and for the world...

No way. WordPerfect 5.1 was the best in the series. It was 6 that started the downward spiral...

 

 

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