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    CAPSlock to backspace in mac

    • Started by vilem
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    • From: Köln, Germany
    • Registered: 01-Apr-2007
    • Posts: 264

    I installed colemak on a MacBook Pro — yes, the really stylish computer with integrated webcam, sudden motion sensor, remote control, bluetooth, airport (wireless LAN), magnetic power cord, smart trackpad that detects when you're using two fingers to scroll up and down a page and of course glowing keyboard keys — today, but the fact that the caps lock doesn't act as a backspace really put me off so much that I had to switch back to QWERTZ. I definiteley don't want to use fkeys beta. It's kinda... hackerish, if you know what I mean, and I think I don't need to mention the look of the website... I just want something that works really easily, without difficult installations. Tiger already lets you swap and disable modifier keys:
    capslock.png
    So why not caps lock to backspace?

    How would I ask apple to do that though? (I have an apple developer account.) We could ask them to include a feature that lets you switch caps lock and backspace. Then they could advertise it as something new and revolutionary they came up with! Please help, you mac users out there!! (like キーボード侍, keyboard samurai!)

    Last edited by vilem (23-Apr-2007 22:58:48)
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    • Registered: 17-Nov-2006
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    キーボード侍って面白い名前だと思います。

    Unfortunately, I don't use a Mac, so I cannot help you. ごめん!

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    • From: Köln, Germany
    • Registered: 01-Apr-2007
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    いいですよ…どうも!!

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    • From: Houston, Texas
    • Registered: 03-Jan-2007
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    I felt the same way, but actually fkeys hasn't given me any problems.  I just eased my concerns by only choosing to install it for the current session.  It's very simple to reinstall if I have rebooted my Macbook for some reason. 

    I have a mac developer account also.  I kind of doubt that any one will listen since they are busy putting all their resources into getting the iPhone out the door and have delayed Leopard 4 months. 

    also read this,
    http://www.apple.com/legal/policies/ideas.html

    at your service,
    kbs

    Last edited by keyboard samurai (24-Apr-2007 22:05:21)
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    • Shai
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    I found in Bodaniel Jeanes' Blog, an alternative way to remap Caps Lock to Backspace without using fKeys.

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    • From: Oslo, Norway
    • Registered: 13-Dec-2006
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    Well yeah, except... it still takes 3rd party software to do it. Maybe this 3rd party will appeal more to Vilem, who knows? But it's still not immaculate.

    I'll post the method here for future reference anyway (ever so slightly edited for style), in case our Polish friends at http://desp.night.pl/keys.html have a power-out or decide to discontinue/warp that unfinished page after all:

    The Mac OS X 10.4 Keyboard & Mouse preference pane provides a way to remap certain keys. However, the interface doesn’t expose the full functionality — a common problem with Apple software.

    Note that this guide assumes you’re using the bash shell.

    What keys can be remapped without the use of any third–party software?
    Name Value
    None –1
    Caps Lock 0
    Shift (Left) 1
    Control (Left) 2
    Option (Left) 3
    Command (Left) 4
    Keypad 0 5
    Help 6
    Shift (Right) 9
    Control (Right) 10
    Option (Right) 11
    Command (Right) 12
    Kernel Panic 16 (this used as a destination actually causes a kernel panic on keypress — as I’ve found out the hard way.)

    How do I remap those keys?
    1) Remap one of the keys available in the Keyboard & Mouse preference pane in order to make the following steps easier.

    2) Locate the hidden property list file used to store the settings:
    FILE=~/Library/Preferences/ByHost/.GlobalPreferences.000d*
    (I assume there’ll be only one such file; you’ll need to verify that.)

    3) Duplicate the file and convert it to the XML property list format:
    cp $FILE ~/keys-binary.plist
    plutil -convert xml1 -o ~/keys-xml.plist ~/keys-binary.plist

    Open the resulting XML file and locate the com.apple.keyboard.modifiermapping key. Its value is an array containing several entries, each in turn containing HIDKeyboardModifierMappingSrc and HIDKeyboardModifierMappingDst keys. The values of those keys are described in the table above.

    4) Convert the file back to the binary property list format, and put it back in the correct location:
    plutil -convert binary1 -o ~/keys-binary.plist ~/keys-xml.plist
    cp ~/keys-binary.plist $FILE

    5) Log out and back in to apply changes.

    How do I remap the Caps Lock key to the Escape key?
    Unfortunately, this’ll require the use of a third–party program. I used a free trial version of Keyboard Maestro, by Stairways Software.

    First, remap the Caps Lock key to the Help key, following the instructions above. Then, in Keyboard Maestro:
    - Create a new macro.
    - Add a Simulate Keypress action, with an User Keystroke — the Escape key.
    - Add a Hot Key trigger, set to the Help key.
    - In the Preferences section, enable the Launch Engine at Login option.
    - While you’re at it, you might also want to disable all other unnecessary features.

    The issue being that with this method we can readily set the CapsLock's Src property (mapping it to something else), but Desp doesn't list a Dst property pertaining to the Backspace function? Or does someone know whether values beyond 16 are applicable?

    Last edited by DreymaR (30-Apr-2007 00:41:31)

    *** Learn Colemak in 2–5 steps with Tarmak! ***
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    • From: Houston, Texas
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    vilem said:

    It's kinda... hackerish, if you know what I mean, and I think I don't need to mention the look of the website... I just want something that works really easily, without difficult installations. Tiger already lets you swap and disable modifier keys

    Somehow I don't see that this other option which requires mucking around in the bash shell as meeting vilem's criteria.  This seems to me to be even more of a hack and not very flexible hack at that.  Plus not only does it require 3rd pary software, it requires 3rd party software that is proprietary.  You need to fork over $20 to help make it more likely that this software continues to work and be available.  At least with fKeys, I have the source code and could modify it myself or the Colemak Mac community could modify it if it became necessary to be compatible with future versions of Mac OS X.  It's also a lot more powerful and flexible than this method is. 

    For example, someone wanted to disable the backspace(delete) that they were used to using when touch typing so they could force themselves to use the caps lock key, that's trivial to do with fKeys by a simple insertion in the configuration file.
    http://texasiaido.wordpress.com/2007/02 … -solution/

    Last edited by keyboard samurai (30-Apr-2007 07:05:00)
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    • From: Köln, Germany
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    Well, thanks, guys! It'll still be some time until i get my mac so i have some time to think about this... well until october or so!! (after leopard has been released!)

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    • Registered: 18-Jun-2007
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    DreymaR said:

    I'll post the method here for future reference anyway (ever so slightly edited for style), in case our Polish friends at http://desp.night.pl/keys.html have a power-out or decide to discontinue/warp that unfinished page after all: (...)

    Indeed, the page will be moved to http://varsztat.com/guides/keys/ shortly.

    DreymaR said:

    The issue being that with this method we can readily set the CapsLock's Src property (mapping it to something else), but Desp doesn't list a Dst property pertaining to the Backspace function? Or does someone know whether values beyond 16 are applicable?

    Unfortunately our friends at Apple don't appear to provide such a property. I wasn't able to get values greater than 12 to work properly.

    keyboard samurai said:

    Somehow I don't see that this other option which requires mucking around in the bash shell as meeting vilem's criteria.  This seems to me to be even more of a hack and not very flexible hack at that.  Plus not only does it require 3rd pary software, it requires 3rd party software that is proprietary.  You need to fork over $20 to help make it more likely that this software continues to work and be available.

    I agree, it's unsatisfactory. However, a free trial version of Keyboard Maestro works just fine. I was unable to find a completely free alternative, but I'll look again for the upcoming revision of my page.

    Last edited by desp (18-Jun-2007 00:29:30)
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