Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The curious case of the rubbed off keys

Last week, I decided it was time for my bi-annual keyboard cleanse.

That’s where I turn my wireless keyboard upside down and shake until an entire meal falls out in the form of various discarded food particles.

I now have that ½ cup of sesame seeds I needed for a recipe.

When I returned the keyboard to its rightful spot, I couldn’t help but notice something. Several keys have been worn to the point that the letters are no longer visible.

It’s most noticeable with my A, my S, my D, my E, and my T.

I tweeted something silly about it, which led several people to speculate about what words I must be typing in excess. Teased? Tasted? Sated? Dates?

Though I like that idea, a more likely culprit is the fact that the fingernails on my left pinky and ring finger tend to grow longer than the rest, resulting in harder wear on those keys.

Yes, I did say harder, though for the record, my H key is perfectly intact.

I’m curious about this phenomenon though. Does your keyboard have certain letters that have rubbed off? What are they, and why do you think that might be? Please share!

And if you want to come over later this afternoon, I’ll whip up a nice snack with keyboard food particles.

26 comments :

TheLabRat said...

My login most places is millahnna and my real life nickname is mouse so my m, l, and n keys take some abuse. E key, since most common letter in english, blah blah blah. THe m and n keys are the most awkward since i tend to stutter when I touch type on those two specific letters.

Linda G. said...

That happened to my last laptop. E, F, C, and I were the worst. "E" is obvious -- it's everywhere. "I" because I write in first person, no doubt. "F" because my MC is known to let loose with a few swear words, maybe? Can't quite figure out "C" -- she doesn't use THAT word when she swears. ;)

Karla Nellenbach said...

for me, it's the N, E, and Q ...I suppose the N and the E are understandable, but I'm wondering why the Q???

Suz said...

My S, C, V, N and M keys are rubbed off a bit. You said this meant I hate words with vowels in them! lol Today though, I discovered my letter E is smidge rubbed off. What say you to this? lol

Penrefe said...

It's a relief to know I'm not the only one who could feed a small country with the scraps under my keyboard! Mine rattles when it comes time to be cleaned!

I play a lot of games on my PC, so my WASD keys are virtually non-existent, as well as my CTRL key and the M key, all used in-game. Other than that the T has also taken quite a beating, although that one's a mystery to me!

Matthew Rush said...

I was going to say it was probably Pyth, either playing games or watching porn, because those keys are often used to move in games, or to fast forward, pause and play in videos. Then I decided it was none of my business.

Laura Maylene said...

I apparently only use my right thumb to hit the space bar, and never my left, so there's a little worn spot on right of center on the space bar.

Jason said...

Either I have a light touch or I have indestructible keyboards. I write thousands and thousands of words a day between two jobs, writing, and emails, on my work and home computers, and I've never worn off letters. I used a co-workers computer for a few minutes the other day and notice half of her keys were blank! It threw me off...I type 100+ words a minute and suddenly I had to hunt and peck even though I never look because it totally through me out of my comfort zone.

I think if my keys started to wear I'd have to ditch the keyboard for a new one.

@ Linda - the F and C keys are probably related. :) How does K look? :)

Danica Avet said...

The minute I read the first sentence, I looked down at my keyboard. Let's see...the V is completely gone and the S, C, part of the E and R are rubbed off. I'm pretty sure I don't write the va-jay-jay word a lot, so that can't be the reason.

I have killer dust bunnies in my keyboard because no matter how much I dust my desk, they hide under the keys and when the light goes off, it's time for l'amour. They multiply overnight, I swear they do!

Sarah W said...

@Laura Maylene: I never thought of that---mine, too!

@Jason: My entire keyboard is now full of diet Pepsi. Thanks.

I'm being careful with my new laptop, but the keyboard of its predecessor was probably coated in chocolate fingerprints . . .

Coincidentally, my E,A, and T keys are the shiniest on my keyboard at the library. Because I, um, drink a lot of tea. Yeah.

cubbageg said...

Pretty much everyone has a default resting place for their fingers between strokes. They might be different depending on whether you were formally trained in typing or just sort of evolved your habits naturally, but the fingertips still gotta lie somewhere, right? Those are probably the keys suffering mystery wear-and-tear.

Noelle Pierce said...

I've replaced about five keyboards for this reason alone! Well, because my husband is a hunt-and-pecker (gad, that sounds so wrong, yet so right) and when he needs to use my computer, he's stumped. Rubbed-off letters on my keyboards tend to be N, S, D and J. I also have a nice little smudge on either side of the touchpad on the laptop, where I rest the heels of my hands. *grin*

Lori M. Lee said...

A, S, D, and W, b/c those are my gaming keys and I used to game a lot xD

Abby Minard said...

This happened to our keyboards at work. The same letters. I think it's a combination of those are the letters most used, and 3 of those are the middle where we rest our fingers. I know I rest mine over the middle 'starting' keys or whatever they're called. The asdf and jkl; are always rubbed off the most.

And that explanation was way too boring for this post ;p I like the word usage explanation better.

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Hmmm, appropriately enough, my N is completely "naked". The H,A, and T only have a tad of coloring near their tops (HATs?) and several other keys are slowly starting to strip. Sounds like an orgy!

Susan

Michael said...

Fascinating.

I have equal wear, it appears, on all of my keys. However, F4, F9, F10, and F11 have come loose completely.

What that means I will leave as an exercise for the reader.

NaKesha said...

Oh yeah, I'm missing A, S, D, F, E, R, C, and half of W, L, N, G, I probably should just invest in a new keyboard but its so fun watchin other people try to type with my keyboard and can't figure it out. I'm use to it. Lol.

SM Schmidt said...

I've actually never worn off the letters of a keyboard before. However, I've typed a letter key off the board with a touch too much enthusiasm. Poor enter, it never had a chance. I wonder if I stopped replacing my keyboards every two years then maybe I'd actually have a chance to rub the letters off.

Todd R. Moody said...

I was certain I would have no worn off keys but to my surprise the D is nearly gone and half the A and part of the S and E.

Perhaps between my work keyboard and yours we could make a nice casserole!
8^)

Kari Lynn Dell said...

My letter keys are fine, but I'm a little concerned about my obvious penchant for caressing my space bar.

Toni said...

I can wear off the letters on my keyboard in just a few months. E,D, F, C, M, N, R, T, and S are usually the first to go. I do write a LOT. But still. Why can't they make a keyboard that doesn't lose its letters in a few months?

Charity Bradford said...

LOL, that's funny. My laptop is a year old now, and the N key is the only one blank. N? Really? At least your missing keys make sense.

Linda G. said...

@Jason LOL! Looked a little faded last I saw it, come to think of it. ;)

urthalun.com said...

All the letters mentioned are gone on mine. But so are O and P and I, wait, I still have my W.
Julie

Anonymous said...

I had the same problem with my lettering on the keys wearing off as well as my lunch falling in between my keys. I did find a solution with a company that sold me replacement labels and a cover to protect my board. Now I have double protection. :) you can find the items at www.smartkeyboardsolutions.com

D.B. Echo said...

I was just looking around for solutions to this and found this post. My most-worn letters are A, N, O, and M - which makes sense, sort-of: my blog is called Another Monkey (anothermonkey.blogspot.com) and these represent the first three letters of each of those words, with the A and M unique to each word. So maybe I atart off typing each word hard, and then settle down? But I also lost my "L" (although the replacement sticker I taped on a few weeks ago is holding) and the "<" and ">" signs (I guess I do more html coding than I realized.)

My new solution is lower-case letters in 28-point type using the VT Bulletin typewriter font, glued to the keys with tacky glue from a ten-year-old bottle. I should coat the keys or the paper will get all grubby very quickly. Maybe I'l apply tape after the glue has dried.