The stupid trends discussed below seem to finally be on the way out. I guess keyboard manufacturers woke up to the fact people want the old, standard layout and there's nothing to be gained from messing with it. Wireless keyboards also finally got good and, at least the better ones, no longer have the issues mentioned below.
(Old) New Keyboard Layout Rant
What's up with this? Almost all the keyboards these days, from both MS and Logitech, have a new layout that was, apparently, designed by a bunch of imbeciles:
The cursor keys have been moved down and to the left, pushing the ctrl key out of its normal place at the expense of losing the right Windows key.
I can live without the extra Windows key. Apart from maybe Win+L and Win+O, which I don't use often enough to care, I don't think I use it at all.
The cursor keys, though... Ugh. I frequently push ctrl-left and ctrl-right with just my right hand, to move the cursor by words. Making the right ctrl key that your thumb sits on higher than the cursor keys your other fingers need to hit at the same time is idiotic. That common keypress is now akward as hell. The old cursor layout was better and I can't see any advantage in the new one.
Let's move on: What the hell is up with the block above the cursor keys? What compelled them to rearrange the layout we've used for decades? Why does the Delete key need to be twice as big as the others; do people have trouble pressing it or something? And I'm used to Page Up being at the top of the block; I'd hit End all the time by mistake...
...WHERE IS THE INSERT KEY? Do they think people don't use it? Have they gotten rid of it completely or just moved it somewhere else? Maybe it's underneath the keyboard. These are the people who designed the god-awful F-lock system, so I wouldn't put it past them. All that unused space. Just think, keyboards could be half-width if we moved half the keys to the underside!
07:23 <tanis^> insert key is alt function of the prtscn 07:23 <nudelyn> lol wtf 07:23 <tanis^> yeh tis odd 07:24 <nudelyn> how do you do alt-prntscreen to grab a window instead of the full screen?? 07:24 <tanis^> by toggling the key function using F-lock 07:24 <nudelyn> oh jesus 07:24 <tanis^> which changes it from Insert to PrtScn and vice versa - it sucks tbh 07:24 <nudelyn> so you can't have the ability to toggle insert mode and the ability to take screengrabs at the same time!? 07:25 <tanis^> no 07:25 <nudelyn> anyone involved in this new layout should be killed
The function keys have been re-grouped as well: No more is F4 at the end of the first block, moved to the start of the second, meaning F5 isn't at the start of a block now. Why? Screw up the old keys people were used to using for closing (F4) and refreshing (F5) windows so the new, pointless F-lock keys are more appealing? Madness. (It's a pain for games, too: Quicksave and Quickload are usually bound to keys at the end of the standard blocks, making them easy to find and push in a hurry. With them in the middle of the blocks, not so much. These aren't keys you push so often that spacing and layout becomes irrelevant, either.)
(As for F-Lock itself, it's ridiculous that differnet keyboards use different meanings for the keys and they often don't even bother being consistent with the standard meanings. F1 was already the help key. F2 edited or renamed things. F5 refreshed things. Don't mess with those ones, at least. And if you really want dedicated Undo/Redo keys, put them on new keys, rather than obliterating commonly-used keys like F2 and confusing the hell out of people when keys randomly trigger different actions in programs depending on the state of some other key.)
What about people who have to use the new layout sometimes and the old layout others? I can accept that constant layout change when it's for a good trade-off, like laptop keyboards which have to save space, but not on a desktop. It just makes no sense when the new layout is worse than the old.
I guess it's time to start stockpiling old PC keyboards. Though there are still some with the proper layout, who knows how long they will last.
PS: Every wireless keyboard sucks, too. (2017: No longer true. There are good ones now.) They lag behind a fast typer (if you haven't noticed this, you just suck at typing, sorry :)). They miss keypresses. Their (reliable) range is horrible. Some of them have receivers/transmitters which are so directional that they stop working reliably if things move slightly. You end up having to put the keyboard right next to the receiver, such that it might as well be wired. The non-Bluetooth ones are not secure at all, broadcasting your keystrokes to everyone nearby with an encoding that is fairly easy to break (and sometimes is broken by accident by people with the same keyboard type). (It's great how they'll broadcast most of your keypresses through the walls of your house, yet sometimes miss letters completely when the receiver is right next to the keyboard. Brilliant. They've managed to combine the worst of both worlds. Well done!) The Bluetooth ones have issues with keys becoming 'stuck' down and repeating for several seconds until the stupid thing reestablishes its connection. Wireless keyboards are a complete failure of technology. Why is it that wireless mice and game controllers work brilliantly, with fantastic responsiveness, range and reliability, yet keyboards -- which should be more simple -- fail so badly? Maybe it's to increase battery life, since mice and game controllers need recharging far more often than keyboards, but if that's the case they've taken things too far and made the keyboards unusable outside of casual scenarios. I have a wireless keyboard for the computer under my TV, where these hassles are worth putting up with for obvious reasons, but I've given up on them for proper desktop use, after trying several brands and types over the years. The tech is not fit for purpose.
PPS: For the last few years, I've been using the Microsoft Comfort Curve 2000 v1.0:
Other than the slight curve (which I like and is easy to adjust to; it's not a full split), all the keys are in a completely standard layout. It's also quite quiet, but still gives good tactile feedback that you've pushed each key. It's one of the best keyboards I've ever used. It's also one of the cheapest. Less is more, I guess.
(Later versions of the Microsoft Comfort Curve differ, however. For example, the "3000" model has teenie-tiny function keys -- whose idea was that trend? -- and a double-height Delete key which displaces the Insert key, and can go die in a fire.)
2017: I'm using a Logitech G613 wireless keyboard now, and it's great. Finally, the wireless keyboard issues seem to be sorted out, at least in its native mode (I have not tried the Bluetooth mode much). Standard layout, other than some extra buttons on the left and above the numpad. The wireless works flawlessly. Great mechanical switches (I prefer them to the Cherry MX Brown ones I used for a year before on a Corsair keyboard, after my Microsoft one finally got too full of Diet Coke to keep using). Only complaints about the Logitech G613 are the key caps use stickers which will probably wear off over time, and the G keys on the side are confusing for a while if you touch-type by finding the edge of left Ctrl with your pinky, since you'll find G6 instead, or you'll push G1 instead of Esc. Great key switches, too, and the drivers are generally OK (with some high DPI problems; come on Logitech!).