Yes, that's right. A post on this forum started me thinking and now I'm thoroughly annoyed.
On laptops I've seen, the Space bar is about 5 keys long. On stationary boards, about 6 keys give or take a little. I've noticed that only a little area of my space bar gets worn (I don't have labeled keys so I easily see usage!). And holding my hands in position I see that the thumbs rest exactly 3 keys apart on the middle of the bar. There's room for an Alt-sized key on each side!
I immediately started wanting a new board with a shorter space bar. Then I wanted something else in its' place. Now I'm getting close to Kinesis land, I guess - but I'm still not quite abandoning the old board type since I'll still be using other boards so damn much and I can't afford to be confused by them. Maybe I'm just chicken; that, and the Kinesis costs good money of course (but so would my special idea too!). What about matrix-type (pun intended!) boards? Can you put a short space bar on any of them, or just put a bunch of regular keys where it used to be?
Now, I'm not off to create total chaos either, but I think that there are a few keys I'd love to have a lot closer while typing! And the prime suspects are the arrow keys. If the space bar were chopped up into regular keys I could fit in the right and left arrows on each side of it for really easy access while typing: It'd mean releasing a tiny bit of Vim-type magic on every keyboard session! That would bring the space bar down to 3-4 keys' width which would still be lavish for my tastes. I'd like to get the up and down arrows in there too actually; maybe in the middle of a further chopped-up space bar?
The former 6-char long space bar would then look like this:
| <- | spc | up | dn | spc | -> |
This wouldn't introduce any new scan codes or anything like that, just put a few keys in a much more convenient position at the expense of a big fat key that I've never seen the need for keeping that fat.
The only time I can think of when having a chopped-up space bar would be less convenient, is when I'm not touch typing but want to hit the space bar in a jiffy from doing something else. But I'm not really concerned about that.
Are there keyboards I could rebuild like this? I think I read something in a post a little back but I can't remember where.