I got up early.
I do get up early anyway, but a combination of cat, mental conniptions and conundrums and the glorious arrival of the sun into Paradise led me to arise from my bed at crack-of-dawn o'clock.
Luckily for me, I had a little job on my desk that would fit nicely into the gap between crack-of-dawn o'clock and reasonable hour.
So, saddled up with a cup of tea, I sat down to do a little document.
Now, part of my lustrous work life involves me tapping keys on my computer rather fast.
Another part of my lustrous work life involves me finding the right words.
Sometimes the right words required are "code" things, to make the computer or the internets do stuff that the people who pay me ask for.
Sometimes the right words required are "fancy" things, to put into documents when the right words haven't yet been found by the people who pay me and I have to grasp them out of thin air.
On these occasions, I have been knows to I stare into space, gesticulate, mutter and engage in other bizarre rituals for them to approach me. (I mention this embarassing fact to save someone who knows me IRL from outing me in comments).
During this whole song and dance performance this morning, the ever helpful Microsoft Word 2002 popped up one of those little notices and I waved it away mangnanimously. (I hate it when software programs interrupt me!)
I then found the right word and my fingers flew across the keyboard - to absolutely no bloddy effect at all!!!
(For those who wish to emulate the following lesson in a practical sense - get the message from Word by leaning on the Shift key for longer than 8 seconds)
I wracked my brains for a clue as to what Word had flashed at me while I was busy plucking ideas, and the word "Filter" fluttered past.
Luckily (?!) for me, the little help paperclip was lurking and ready to jump to my every request - so I decided to.
" " I tried to type. Nothing.
" " - again nothing. I hit keys, tried the shifts, alts, ctrls and combinations but nothing.
"F " after leaning on one key for a long period of time, a letter appeared.
"FI " gee whiz, typing when you have to be on one key for a long time is actually much, much harder (not to mention more frustrating) than touchtyping at speed.
"FILTER KEYS" - so easy to type off now, a real pain in the doo-what at the time. (And yes, the caps lock key was also stuck on).
I clicked the "search" button, and the the little help paperclip offered just that - very little help.
"Do you want to ask the internets?" it asked me.
"Why yes," I replied, and so it opened up an (COUGH-no-COUGH)help page from Microsoft Office XP.
And guess what? I typed " " - the bloddy thing was not just a Microsoft Word 2002 dilemna, but a computer-wide issue.
Even so, maybe Microsoft would know the solution if only I asked the right genie.
"FILTER KEYS" I asked the Microsoft Office XP site.
"I know nothing." it told me.
"FILTER KEYS" I asked the Microsoft Office 2007 site.
"I know nothing." it told me.
Now, this is where I GIVE YOU the benefit of my amazing computer fixit abilities.
A little ray of sunshine beamed into my mind. I remembered something. I remembered that if you have a computer-wide issue, you go to the Control Panel.
Once upon a time (pre Vista) you could click into Control Panel and find an icon called "Accessibility" - of course, in our "dumb everything down" technological revolution powered by Microsoft, Vista** tries to put it into touchy-feely terms.
Once you have selected "Ease of Access" (with a marketing background I know someone sat there and said "we have to give it a positive spin - use key words like "ease" and the punters will stop stressing" and got paid quite a nice sum of money to say that) option, you are faced with more...
Under the "Change how your keyboard works" (funnily enough without the additional "because we have screwed it up on you" topic heading isn't there), right down the bottom is a check box for "Filter Keys" (which apparently Microsoft Office help doesn't know about, it just automatically hits you with it).
Now, I can see the reasoning behind having an option to "Ignore or slow down brief or repeated keystrokes and adjust keyboard repeat rates", really I can.
I just think the darned thing should be easier to turn "Off" than it is to turn "On".
(Oh, and then Blogger wouldn't work for me to post my stress. Aaargh!!!)
Anyway, I hope this saves you the stress I went through this morning, and that everyone's Friday moves us all that one step closer to universal understanding.
(Oh, and just to let everyone know, I am the sort of luddite that has been whinging about every Microsoft upgrade for the last 20 years for the same things)