Enter versus Return

Clearly a Utility Despite the clunky name, I'm quite fond of my Natural Keyboard Pro. It's the only Microsoft product that I've been consistently happy with.

Now that the move is in full swing, I'm getting used to being a primarily-laptop-keyboard-guy. The other day, I need to do some quick calculations (shipping prices, I'm sure).

First, curse the lack of a dedicated "give me my calculator" button — I can never remember that OS X considers the Calculator an Application, when I consider it a Utility.

Second, I read off the result to Liz, and she stares at me like I'm insane. And clearly I am, because I just told her that 24 x 3 is 216. It's not. Nowhere close.

I had been trying to simulate my old keyboard's dedicated number panel, holding down the function key and using the tiny numbers in the bottom-right corner of the right-hand keys (centered around the "I") that sort-of, kind-of, if you squint at it funny form a number pad.

And then, continuing to hold the function key as I hit Return/Enter.

This, it seems, was my mistake, and I only managed to figure it out by turning on, and closely watching, the "Paper Tape" feature. Calculator.app was treating my Enter key as "Do that, then do it again."

So, it got to 216 as 24 x 3 x 3, or 72 x 3, which is 216, I believe.

Still, it's a weird "feature", and one that makes the function-key numeric keypad almost useless — I don't want to have to pay quite so much attention when I'm typing in numbers, and I'm already focused on making sure I hit the proper stand-in keys.

Also, it occurs to me that Apple recently unveiled it's new keyboard designs, and the new wireless keyboard, also lacking a number pad, likely does the same crazy thing.

Permalink • Posted in: apple, moving, tech stuffComments (2)

Comments

Chris Dolan Aug 30, 2007

I usually do something like

perl -le'print 24*3'

in my Terminal window. It's easier to remember than whether Calculator is in Applications or Utilities.

Alternatively, you can try http://www.google.com/search?q=24*3 because, of course, Google is the command line of the web.

A nice Mac-only option is Quicksilver. If you install the optional Calculator plugin, then you can type Ctrl-Opt-Space to bring up Quicksilver from anywhere, then "=24*3" to do the math.

Joshua Sep 21, 2007

A funny thing happened in the process of creating this blog post: I accidentally deleted Calculator.app. Just when I finally learned that it's supposed to be an Application, it's not there anymore!

This is one of the nastier side-effects of the Mac's tendency to hide file extensions — in an instant, I couldn't distinguish between an image file showing the Calculator icon and the Calculator.app itself.