The beauty of modern typing (problems with typing emails and forum postings)
Thread poster: LilianNekipelov
LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:32
Russian to English
+ ...
Aug 26, 2013

Hi. I decided to post this thread with a real hope that someone can help me to figure out what to do, or at least what the source of certain problems with typing might be. This is only related to typing e-mails and sometimes posts on certain fora, or replies to job offers. It has been something new -- at least that I have only noticed recently -- like over the last two years -- no more. It does not happen when typing in Word, or another highly professional word editor.

The problem is as follows: not all of the typed letters get typed
the order of some letters changes
the spaces between some words disappear
new unknown, and definitely never typed, words appear

This does happen on Proz that often. I have noticed it here a few times as well, not not as a very severe case. I am really quite a good typist, and yet sometimes something totally different gets typed than what was actually entered on the keyboard. I have heard something about "sticky keys". Can anyone explain to me what that is? Could that be causing some of the problems -- at least with the spaces between the words?


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Rolf Keller
Germany
Local time: 10:32
English to German
Missing chars are often found in web-based software Aug 26, 2013

I have heard something about "sticky keys". Can anyone explain to me what that is?


It's a keyboard option (in Windows see ControlPanel/Acessibility options/Keyboard) for physically handicapped persons.

Could that be causing some of the problems -- at least with the spaces between the words?


I don't think so.

Probably the reason is the Internet, i. e. a forum specific web software (within your browser or at the remote web server), a slow PC, a slow web server or a slow internet connection.
Or a malware that watches your activity in order to get passwords, credit card numbers etc.

Try to type slower.

BTW, missing spaces could just be missing characters.

new unknown, and definitely never typed, words appear


Strange, indeed. Does your browser use an overzealous spelling corrector?

[Bearbeitet am 2013-08-26 12:56 GMT]

[Bearbeitet am 2013-08-26 12:56 GMT]


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Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 10:32
English to Polish
+ ...
... Aug 26, 2013

Lilian, letters missing or displaced can be a sign of input problems, including lag but probably also some other issues. I tend to prefer the ancient but instantaneous PS2 port over USB for keyboards for this reason.

If you type really fast, you can perhaps trigger rollover problems. You can't physically get a USB keyboard to register more than 6 keys depressed at the same time (2 is the usual, sometimes even 1), while a PS2 controller can process just about any number, in theory.

But, getting wrong words probably results from tiredness coupled with inability to see results in real time, and perhaps frustration. That's basically what it is when it happens to me.

I can't be sure, but I used to be convinced that switching from USB to PS2 did reduce typing lag in software with text boxes.

P.S. Sticky keys that you can turn on and off in accessibility options in your control panel are basically ALT, CTRL and SHIFT being treated as depressed until you press another key, which will then register as e.g. ALT plus that key (so that you can press ALT first and F4 later, for example, to close a window). When it comes to input issues, sticky keys are like the backspace key that eats entire sentences if you hold it for too long.

Speaking of which, if holding a key for a while seems to register approximately one million strokes, then it looks like the contacts in your keys may be malfunctioning, especially in a mechanical keyboard. On the other hand, the typical keyboard is a 'rubber dome', which uses a large rubber matrix on which pressing a key folds a rubber bolt ('dome'), which puts some force down there and registers the key press. Mangled rubber domes are no longer reliable, and they need replacement.

Basing on this, if you have a standard office keyboard, you may just need to replace it due to wear. On the other hand, if it's a mechanical keyboard that you have, you likely have a problem with the contacts or the matrix, which probably also leads to replacement anyway (although it should be fixable by a competent techie that has the knowledge and tools to play with mech keyboards).

[Edited at 2013-08-26 13:22 GMT]


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LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:32
Russian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you, Lukasz and Rolf Aug 26, 2013

I hope I don't trigger any revolver problems (just a joke). No, I don't use any pugged-in keyboards -- mostly laptops with keyboards attached -- professionally. I would have thought that it was a problem with the keyboards, but it cannot be with a few machines at the same time, plus it does not happen when using Word at all. It is true -- I usually type very fast. I thought it had something to do with the programs being adjusted for phones more and tablets than regular keyboards which would be really sad, or outrageous, if it were true.

The unknown words -- they are most likely words automatically predicted and typed in by the computer. Have you heard about that?



[Edited at 2013-08-26 13:53 GMT]

[Edited at 2013-08-26 15:00 GMT]


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Shai Navé  Identity Verified
Israel
Local time: 11:32
Member
English to Hebrew
+ ...
Some kind of Autocorrect/Text prediction tool Aug 26, 2013

The symptoms that you have described made me immediately think about the above tools. Because you say these issues are limited to the browser (if I understood correctly), maybe there is some kind of plugin/add-on/setting that triggers auto spelling "correction" (maybe even with the wrong dictionary language set up).

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FarkasAndras
Local time: 10:32
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Poor keyboard or user error Aug 26, 2013

1) not all of the typed letters get typed - could be a keyboard error, but is most likely caused by mediocre rubber dome keyboards degrading with time and requiring a more firm keypress to activate reliably. In other words, mash the buttons harder and the problem will go away. Alternatively, buy a keyboard with Cherry mechanical switches (Filco, Das or other) and the problem will go away (and you'll have a much better typing experience). Brown switches are recommended.

2) the order of some letters changes - you're probably mistyping them. It's hard to imagine the keyboard controller or the computer switching them up. Slow down a bit.

3) the spaces between some words disappear - see 1). This is a relly frequent problem as the spacebar is very long and only has one switch in the middle. If the mechanism is wonky and you're not pressing it right in the middle and/or you're not pressing it hard enough, the keypress won't register. Again, the problem tends to crop up or get worse as the rubber domes used in cheap keyboards degrade over time. Key mechanisms tend to lose lubrication/get dirt in them/get bent out of shape as well.

4) new unknown, and definitely never typed, words appear - maybe you have spell check with autocorrect enabled in your browser and it's 'fixing' your mistyped words.


[Edited at 2013-08-26 14:15 GMT]


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Tony M  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 10:32
Member
French to English
+ ...
Poor keyboard Aug 26, 2013

I have certainly experienced this problem, with my previous Toshba 'Satellite' keyboard; even from new, it was horrible, kept missing letters and spaces. Oddly enough, my friend who is a good, fast, trained typist had no problems at all, while both her husband and I, poor 2-finger typists, experienced precisely the same problems. It was definitely to do with the way of hitting the keys, and as someone else already said, particularly bad with the space bar, because of its length.

I had a different problem with a Logitech wireless keyboard I bought to replace it; there, the Ctrl key became unreliable after 13 months, needless to say, big American bully Logitech wouldn't even talk to me about it... I subsequently bought a cheap "made in China" one, which was mechanically much more reliable. However, with both wireless keyboards, I experienced severe delay problems, to the point that I had no choice but to discard them for professional use.

My newer laptop (Compaq) seems to be OK, though I don't like the keyboard feel — but that's a matter of personal choice.

I do have another problem which is to do with my motor skills (or rather, lack thereof!) — since I type mainly with my two index fingers, I find time and again that if I need to type a letter from the left of the keyboard followed by a letter from the right, my co-ordination is so bad that I invert them; this isn't too much of a problem if the result is nonsense, but of course a spell-checker can't tell if I really meant to type 'form' or 'from' or 'sued' or 'used'

Regarding wrong words, I do sometimes find myself inadvertently typing a homonym, sometimes across languages; I find it really odd that my brain can analyse the word I want to type, and instead of making a visual-mechanical error, I make a phonetic one — I wouldn't instinctively have imagined that the aural aspect came into the transaction? So for example, instead of typing the EN word 'may', I might type the FR word 'mais', and so on.


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Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 10:32
English to Polish
+ ...
Nope Aug 26, 2013

LilianBNekipelo wrote:

The unknown words -- they are most likely words automatically predicted and typed in by the computer. Have you heard about that?


Nope. But I certainly have caught my brain in that mode when typing really, really fast. Brain or muscle memory or a combination of both.


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LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:32
Russian to English
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TOPIC STARTER
Thank you everyone. Aug 26, 2013

I will definitely check all the possible solutions. The unknown words -- these are definitely typed in by the program. I could not possibly be typing "rightly' instead of "rather'. It is just not possible. The letters too --- sometimes the letters that appear on the screen are not even close on the keyboard to the ones I type. It might be some malware, or something with my browser.

Thank you again. Any new suggestions are welcome.



[Edited at 2013-08-26 15:20 GMT]


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Shai Navé  Identity Verified
Israel
Local time: 11:32
Member
English to Hebrew
+ ...
Check the keyboard layout Aug 26, 2013

LilianBNekipelo wrote:
sometimes the letters that appear on the screen are not even close on the keyboard to the ones I type.

Check the language settings in your operating system as well as the keyboard layout (i.e. the key mapping).
However, you said that you experience those issues only in browser based applications, and therefore it is less likely that there is a system wide issue (that would have affected everything), or an hardware issue (although still possible).
Which browser are you using?


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LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:32
Russian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Mostly Safari or Chrome. Aug 26, 2013

I am using mostly Safari or Chrome. This does not happen with all sites, or e-mail providers, even when I use the same browser-- only with some, but quite a few of them. it sometimes even happens when I type in a word in 'Search'. The disappearing spaces between words is even more common.

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Tony M  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 10:32
Member
French to English
+ ...
Wrong letters Aug 26, 2013

Also, even assuming this is an intermittent problem, does the SAME letter always get changed to the SAME letter whenever the fault occurs? if it does, that could point to a hardware problem; if the changes are truly random, then software is the more likely culprit.

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LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:32
Russian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I think they get switched at random-- Aug 26, 2013

sometimes reversed.

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Rolf Keller
Germany
Local time: 10:32
English to German
Why letters can be appear reversed Aug 27, 2013

Let's assume you type the 2-letter-sequence 'ab'.

But Windows doesn't see 2 letters but 4 key events:
'a' key down
'a' key up
'b' key down
'b' key up

When you type very fast, the sequence might be different:
'a' key down
'b' key down
'a' key up
'b' key up

The software includes different routines for Up and Down events. This means that there can be different results, if the second sequence is seen, esp. if one of the 4 events is lost (e. g. for timing reasons). Assuming that the 1st event is lost, then we have

'b' key down
'a' key up
'b' key up

In this case the result could well be "ba', depending on how the software "thinks":
'b' key down --> ok, display 'b'

'a' key up --> oops, there must have been an 'a' key down before, so I should display 'a' now

'b' key up --> do nothing

The above is a simplified explanation, actually things are more complicated. And even more complicated if the input box is part of a web page. Web pages contain proprietary software snippets for handling user actions (clicks & keystrokes). This software could interact with the web server and it could slow down things. Slowing down can in fact result in loosing some key events ...


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