back to article Quirky QWERTY killed a password in Paris

Hard-coded into The Register's week is that each Friday morning you’ll find a new instalment of On Call, our reader contributed tales of tech support troubles. Evil shadow Techie wasn't being paid, until he taught HR a lesson READ MORE As this is such an instalment, meet a reader we shall Regomize as "Reynold" who once …

  1. Korev Silver badge
    Coat

    Looks like language was key to the story...

    1. adam 40 Silver badge

      As a canny linguist, I can can butt agree.

      1. NoneSuch Silver badge
        Coat

        On Screen Keyboard

        Saved my bacon more than once. Highly recommended.

        1. gnasher729 Silver badge

          Re: On Screen Keyboard

          On screen keyboard wouldn’t have helped. This program needed you to press the actual physical keys. I’ve never heard anyone doing this. But there you go.

          1. The Mole

            Re: On Screen Keyboard

            On windows I don't believe this, but in the days of DOS it does sound much more realistic. They didn't want the keys to display whilst the user was typing so avoided the standard APIs and so used a low level API which returns the key codes. (That era would also explain why someone though a hard coded password was a good idea).

            Now, either this was a dos program running in windows, or the part about remoting in was complete embelishment.

            1. MacroRodent

              Re: On Screen Keyboard

              If it was controlling some old obscure piece of lab equipment, it was very likely a DOS program. For this sort of thing DOS actually has advantages: it does not get into your way, when you want low-level hardware access.

      2. Toni the terrible Bronze badge
        Happy

        such a cunning answer

  2. Fabrizio

    All your QWERTY belong to us...

    One of the first things I did when i was told to bring order in the chaos that was Europe at my company at the time was to mandate that "All servers shall have only one keyboard layout and it shall be US International" and the French resisted least and the Germans with their QWERTZ resisted most...

    1. Joe W Silver badge

      Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

      Oh, and having the system wide language setting to "English" as well. Helps with getting helped, most documentation is _not_ in whatever your (continental European) local gargling language is...

      ok, same for Welsh, Gaelic, Icelandic, Faroese, and....

      hm, maybe list those who do not have the problem: so "a problem except for people livin in the UK (not the Welsh speaking), Ireland, the USA, Australia, Canada (except for Quebec and the French communities outside of Quebec)..." YOU GET THE POINT, DO YOU?!

      1. big_D Silver badge

        Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

        Actually searching in the local language often provides better results - there is less garbage out there in non-English languages.

        As a Brit working in Germany, I actually go to a lot of authoratative German language resources ahead of the big English speaking platforms, because the information is often better and more concise and I don't have to wade through tonnes of clic-bait that has nothing to do with the topic at hand.

        My PC is in German and the servers are in German - I do switch to US English, when I have to write documentation for our US satellite office, but the rest of the time it is in German. Same with my home computer, it is set to German with a German keyboard.

        1. sebacoustic

          Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

          Yes all very well. My brother's in Germany and not an expert but has Mint on some ageing laptop, ran into trouble when during a fault at an early stage the machine hadn't loaded the German key map yet, bu t his root password had symbols from the german keyboard, GAAAAHH!

          I advised to stick to letters/symbols that are common to both US and German keymap for a root PW....

          1. johnfbw

            Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

            I've seen that too often - Germans with German letters in their passwords create big problems. Personally I try and pick special characters that are in the same place on all keyboards (so sadly no £, Z, Y)

          2. Potty Professor
            Boffin

            Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

            When I was working for a large electrical manufacturer producing manuals for the equipments we built, we had occasion to do so for a Swedish customer. I loaded the Swedish keyboard driver, but we only had QWERTY keyboards, so I printed off a sheet of Swedish keycaps and stuck them onto the keys with Pritt Stick so they could be easily removed when the contract was completed. We all became quite fluent in technical Swedish for a while, but it soon faded afterwards.

      2. brotherelf

        Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

        This seems like a good place for my favourite anecdote, where I had to tell a fellow admin "just wait until April 1st to install the software, then it'll work".

        … the Python logging of the installer croaked on the "Mär" in the timestamps it generated.

      3. Dagg

        Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

        Don't you mean "English - US"!!!! For some reason Americans need to remember that their engish is one of many. Little things like the use of Z instead of S. Colour instead of Color etc...

        1. Azium

          Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

          Indeed, 'US English' is definitely not 'International English'

          1. demon driver

            Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

            My preferred keyboard layout for English-US keyboards is called "English, US International, with accent keys". The 'international' in those keyboard layout designations isn't to suggest that the US variant of either the English language or the English keyboard layout would particularly excel in internationalness, but to indicate that the specific layout adds lots of international special characters, made available through AltGr and/or dead keys :-)

      4. TheWeetabix

        Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

        Well, in Europe, you may find a lot of people prefer the German language version of things like for instance, SUSE and SAP. It’s the same thing how Americans have all of the Spanish language docu… oh right.

        Heck, I have a decent command of written technical German, if for nothing else to avoid gefingerpoken and spitzensparks.

    2. blah@blag.com

      Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

      Oh the joys of server consoles presented in Finnish and Hungarian.

      I always managed but my biggest headache was SQL database collation 25+ European offices. I really tried but in the end had to just pick one (UK English) and mandated "live with it".

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

        At my UK-based multinational all our SQL Server instances were set to US English by default and not to be changed. In fact, I think we even needed to raise a service ticket to have it changed on a case-by-case basis and couldn't do it ourselves.

        This was simply because so much of our third-party software using these instances just assumed US English and crapped out if you chose anything else. It wasn't worth the hassle.

        1. Terje

          Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

          While I personally would like to kill anyone who install a server in something else but English, and exclusively use English for my own computers, I fail to see why any sane person would force a us keyboard on anyone. For many languages it's functionally unusable and since all the common users of said keyboard are used to whatever local version they have you lose productivity as well. One thing that absolutely needs to be sorted out in some smart fashion is sql collations though since I have no small amount of hate for different collations colliding, while at the same time don't want to see å, ä, ö treated as a and o or whatever else the collation of choice of the perpetrator deems correct.

          1. Norman Nescio Silver badge

            Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

            Yes. Collations. A source of never-ending confusion.

            A monoglot English speaker, when confronted with ä & å will expect them to be grouped with 'a', and probably include æ, and similarly ö & ø with 'o' . In Norway å is the last letter of the alphabet, so the Norwegian equivalent of 'from A to Z' is 'fra A til Å'. The Danes confuse things further by using 'aa' and 'å' as different incarnations of the same letter, so 'aa' is collated separately to 'a', and placed at the end of the alphabet with 'å'.

            It is entirely reasonable that monoglot English speakers do not understand the weird and wonderful collation rules of foreign alphabets and languages. In the Netherlands, names that include 'van', like 'van Hool' or 'van Rijn' or other connecting words like de, 's, and in (known as tussenvoegsels are collated under the following name - in this case Hool and Rijn, rather than under v or d. In Belgium, the practice is reversed.

            This means that software used by monoglot users that has foreign terms needs to collate in the order the user expects, rather than the official order - otherwise you wont easily find Aalborg in a list of Danish towns, or van Hool in a Dutch company directory. The fun starts if you have non-Latin-ish characters. å looks like 'a', but ß does not look like 's'.

            If you follow the 'principle of least surprise', then a monoglot userbase will expect letters that resemble familiar ones to be grouped with the familiar - which will, of course, confuse people who know the correct order. You can't win.

            1. gnasher729 Silver badge

              Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

              German has two sorting orders: Dictionary and phone book and they are different. In the phone book, Ä is sorted like AE. In the dictionary it depends on whether the Ä has been created by a plural or not, so Arzt and Ärzte are sorted together in the dictionary.

              1. Dagg

                Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

                German has two sorting orders:

                Interesting where I was brought up in New Zealand the local city Dunedin had a very large Scottish population so in the local telephone book "Mac" and "Mc" were sorted together. Problem was I had a friend with the family name "Machin" which I think was German and he got slotted in with the Mac/Mc mob.

                1. ABehrens

                  Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

                  Spanish formerly treated CH as a separate letter, alphabetized between C and D: CZ < CH < D. (It's still a separate letter, but now officially collates as if it were C followed by H: CG < CH <CI...).

                  When I lived in San Juan (Puerto Rico), the city had a moderately large number of people with English surnames. In the phone book, Spanish names were alphabetized using the old Spanish collating rules, BUT English names used English rules. So you had Cabrera, Calderón, Cervantes, CHAMBERLAIN, CHRISTIE, Colón, Costa, Cruz, Cuellar, CHACÓN, CHÁVEZ, Dávila, Díaz.

            2. File Not Found

              Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

              And don’t even think about how to navigate the alphabetical order in Bangla….or the agglutinated individual symbols for eg ngk or cch in that lovely language.

            3. TheWeetabix

              Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

              I was building an English (and not in QC) identity management system in Canada, with myself as a native Canadian English speaker, a few other Canadians, and a large team of people who had learned English as a second language or overseas in a school or business context, even if it was a primary language. I could not get them to make the transition from the fact that there are no accented characters on the US keyboard, to the fact that we have millions of French speaking citizens, all over the country who are fluent with the compose key, and wish to spell their official name correctly… particularly if their official documents were generated in Quebec.

              A similar problem arose with the concept of hyphens in first names, but a literal screenshot of a “Jean-Paul” in the employee listing (without accents) managed to make that point… or they caved to shut me up. … I then made a comment about including our indigenous alphabets but that went right over their heads. (Frankly, with Unicode and UTF-8. I don’t see how that could even be a problem anymore, but this was then and java is hell.)

            4. Richard Pennington 1

              Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

              I have a 12-volume set of "Duden", which is the official definition of the German language. The letter "ß" causes all sorts of confusion:

              [1] Duden was written by three experts, one each from Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The letter "ß" is not used at all in Switzerland.

              [2] The rules for using "ß" have changed since I learned German about 50 years ago; there was a spelling reform about 15 years ago. Of the three types of occasion for using "ß" (the end of a [part of a] word; before "t"; after a long vowel or diphthong), only the last is still in use. Duden points out that there is not (or wasn't in my copy, which is about 10 years old) a capital "ß", and suggests SZ as a capitalised version where confusion may otherwise arise. Duden also points out that STRASSER (Strasser, with a short "a") and STRASZER (Straßer, with a long "a") are both common German-language surnames.

              1. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

                Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

                > there was a spelling reform about 15 years ago

                Not "a"... 1996, 2006, 2011, 2018... The result: Nobody knows 100% sure how to write German any more. They messed up the first reform so badly, and bodge-fixed it afterwards so badly that no one complains about minor weirdness, as long as the spelling is somewhat "korrekt".

                1. demon driver

                  Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

                  Indeed, and that's the one good thing about it :-)

              2. Wexford

                Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

                Takes me back to a 90s backpacking trip, and first encountering "straßer". My mates and I were saying "strarber" to each other while navigating, until we were politely corrected by a helpful local.

            5. Richard Pennington 1

              Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

              Collations and indexing can cause unexpected effects.

              One example was a handbook for missionaries sent to faraway countries. The index included the following:

              Lead - kindly light

              - poisoning.

              Another appeared in a humorous chess book "Soft Pawn", by Bill Hartston. The index included f1, f2, f4 (squares on a chessboard) and f5.6 (a camera stop). Also the following:

              C, B. B.: See BBC.

          2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

            "I fail to see why any sane person would force a us keyboard on anyone"

            Not even when the anyone is a USian in the US and has only ever used US keyboards previously.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

              DO NOT mess with my return key. It's supposed to be wide, not tall and skinny.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

                I don't mind a tall-and-skinny Return (Enter?) key, but I hate keyboards with "<" and ">" stuck between the "Z" key and the "Shift" key!

          3. big_D Silver badge

            Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

            Why forever English on people who can’t speak or read English?

            Most of my colleagues over the last decade have had rudimentary school English, certainly not fluent and definitely not good enough for technical things, like server administration.

          4. midgepad

            Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

            Apple?

          5. Richard Pennington 1

            Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

            Many years ago, i was working on a project with particular sensitivities, so that information had to be suitably protected (in a spooky sense). This project was a European collaboration (incidentally, one of the "benefits" of Brexit was that the British were bounced out of the project - but I was long gone by then). This particular event concerned a meeting of the international partners, held in France.

            The project language was English, and the discussions were held entirely in English. A member of the English team acted as scribe, and took minutes of the meeting "live" on a laptop provided by the hosts, and the minutes were projected onto a screen so that all participants could see the minutes as they were written. So far, so good. But the Englishman typing the minutes had all sorts of problems adjusting to the French AZERTY keyboard.

    3. Korev Silver badge

      Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

      "All servers shall have only one keyboard layout and it shall be US International"

      The problem with that is the enter key is horrible and also with US English locales you also get dates the wrong way around, temperatures in Farenheit etc. Using British or Irish settings would make much more sense in Europe...

      1. KarMann Silver badge

        Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

        That still won't get you proper ISO 8601 dates, though. I'd even call British 30/6/2023 type dates more wrong-way-around than American 6/30/2023, which is just more jumbled up; 30/6/2023 is the exact opposite order (assuming you weren't expecting digit-by-digit reflexion), and the worst for sorting.

        https://xkcd.com/1179/

        1. ChrisC Silver badge

          Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

          D/M/Y aren't "British" dates, it's the default date format used in damn near every country in the world (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Date_format_by_country)...

          1. Eecahmap

            Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

            Default or no, D/M/Y still sorts badly.

            1. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

              Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

              Which is why ISO 8601 exists.

              A couple of points, though:

              If you are storing dates in a database and sorting on them, store them as dates (or more, likely, datetimes, or datetime2s), not as string representations, then you can index on them to your heart's content without worrying about how they are represented.

              If you are trying to sort anything on dates (such as filenames), and can't, for some reason, order them by date, but must put it in the filename, it is obvious to anyone with half a brain that if the filename needs to be a sorting key, then you put the largest / least variant part first, in any hierarchical structure, e.g. yyyy-MM-dd, or yyMMddHHmmss, etc.

              When representing dates and times, never get MM and mm or HH and hh mixed up (i.e. don't confuse months and minutes, and NEVER user 12 hour times - in a quarter of a century I have never seen an actual requirement to represent times that way)

              1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

                Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

                It gets a bit harder when you're working with historical material and you mostly day, month, year but the occasional "14th century". ISO is probably best if you allow truncation so the 14th century can simply be "13". (This is only one of the many problems with historical dates - Julian/Gregorian, dating by reference to saints' days and regnal years are others. It pays to give close attention to otherpeople's transalation of Regnal years - off-by-one is a hazard.)

                1. Terry 6 Silver badge

                  Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

                  Year of the Fruitbat?

                  1. Cynical Pie

                    Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

                    Up vote for the Sir Pterry reference

                2. Norman Nescio Silver badge

                  Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

                  This is a fairly lengthy discussion about the use of contemporary calendars and historical dates.

                  tl;dr It's complicated.

                  QuirksMode: Making <time> safe for historians

                3. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

                  Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

                  Indeed, historical dates are problematic, and are a completely different problem to the one most people will experience with differing representations of contemporary dates. There's a reason why SQL Server refuses to let you put a value before 1st January 1753 into a Datetime column, although the "conversion resulted in an out of range Datetime value" error is a little annoying, especially if you are moving data from another storage system that doesn't enforce this restriction, and end up having to do some extra data cleansing.

                  I would have thought that "deciphering what this historical document is actually saying" is a whole other category of problem, though. Figuring out dates is one problem, truthfulness is another; for example, it was once "accepted fact" that cynocephaloi* exist in Africa, and they appear in all sorts of manuscripts.

                  *I refuse to spell this cynocephali, it's a loan-word from Greek, and the plural is "-oi".

              2. Giles C Silver badge

                Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

                I once worked on a system that stored files in folders according to date so far so good.

                It had a folder with the day and then the sub folder was the month and the folder below that was the year

                So you had 31 folders numbered 00-31 and then twelve folders inside each of these jan + dec and in each of those a folder for the year 2000-2023, then in each of those folders where 24 folders for the hour and then each of those had 60 folder for the minute and then you found the files…

                So if you wanted a file from January 2nd 2008 at 10:20 the path was 02/01/2008/10/20/file

                Whereas if you want 10th January 2008 at 10:20 the path was 10/01/2008/10/20/file

                Must have made sense to the developer certainly not to the poor fool looking for a file manually

                1. johnfbw

                  Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

                  Even reading your post makes me turn into the BOFH. Where did you bury him?

                  1. Giles C Silver badge

                    Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

                    It was a commercial off the shelf package, but I can’t remember the vendor it is too long ago.

                    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

                      Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

                      Probably a COBOL program. Not necessarily written in COBOL....

                    2. Norman Nescio Silver badge

                      Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

                      Rereading your post rings a bell, as I'm pretty certain I have seen the same weird directory structure somewhere.

                      I worked on a system that used 2-digit years and week numbers, with each week directory containing files with a monotonically increasing reference number, which reset to 1 each week. So the first file in week 23 of 1989 was in something like .../89/23/RI0001.txt

                      This worked fine, other than:

                      - some people did not realise that some years have a week number 53, and made the unjustified assumption that years only ever contained 52 weeks. That caught out a lot of report writers.

                      - The letters at the beginning of the filename had a meaning that was irrelevant for most people, but the final letter was often confused with a digit.

                      - They hadn't yet run into the problem of the number of Recorded Incidents in one week exceeding 9999.*

                      - It wasn't strictly year 2000 compliant. The code generated the year number, not by extracting the last two digits of the year, but by subtracting 1900 from the year. So the directory for the year 2000 was not "00" but "100", which broke lot of things (on testing) that expected 2 digits there. That required a bit of a rewrite, and the 2-digit year numbers were retained, but meant if you were looking for files, you had to know that files from 2000 onwards were in directories listed before those from 1999, 1998, and so on. As the files are not expected (hah!) to have a lifetime of 100 years it shouldn't be a problem - the system had only been running for a little over 35 years when I left.

                      * When the number of Recorded Incidents in a week did exceed 9999, the filename could not be increased in length, as that would break too many other things, so the solution was to go from RI9999 to RIA000, which was followed after you got to RIA999 by RIB000 and so on. I don't know what was going to happen if they got to RIZ9999. The filesystem would probably break first, as having 10s of thousands of files in a single directory probably wasn't sustainable.

                  2. ChemEng

                    Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

                    In my experience most manufacturing locations identify production batches by a straightforward numeric series. One manager I knew was very proud of the method he invented personally which was DDMMYY+numeric order for that particular day. He was quite clever in other respects and well regarded in his field, also stubborn. It was an American company with interdependent manufacturing and retail locations throughout the world. He didn't survive the introduction of centralized global planning and stock conrol.

                2. yetanotheraoc Silver badge

                  Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

                  "24 folders for the hour"

                  I'm slightly disappointed it wasn't 12 folders for the hour and then A.M. and P.M. folders (with the periods, naturally), at the end of the hierarchy.

                3. Bebu Silver badge
                  Windows

                  Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

                  《Whereas if you want 10th January 2008 at 10:20 the path was 10/01/2008/10/20/file》

                  As soon as I saw this my, for want of a better word, brain was constructing a cron job script to hard link each file into a more sane arrangement of directories and folders.

                  Then I realized the BOFH's tried and true solution would be permanent, effective and I dare say more professional.

                4. CowHorseFrog

                  Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

                  Lets pretend the directory per date/time component makes sense... why didnt they start with year then month then day then hour then minute ?

                  1. the spectacularly refined chap

                    Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

                    It does make sense for several reasons, not least the performance of most filesystems degrades quite markedly when you hit tens of thousands of files in a directory since they are often searched with a simple linear scan.

                    However it is more usual to put the most significant units at the root of the hierarchy which also makes it child's play to separate out last month's or last year's files for backup, archival or deletion purposes.

                  2. TheWeetabix

                    Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

                    The phrase “Its the American way!” just cracked through my head….

            2. gnasher729 Silver badge

              Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

              If you sort dates without any intelligence and by ascii order that’s just stupid.

            3. Spamolot
              Boffin

              Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

              Which is why Japanese and some other countries use YYYY/MM/DD (in Gregorian dates).

            4. TheWeetabix

              Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

              D/M/Y sorts badly but reads easily. Y/M/D is easy to read, and easy to text sort, but means you have to read right to left, which is not a speedy skill for most people. M/D/Y is neither, its only possible value could be in reading it aloud, and even then using letters for the month’s name (e.g. Mar-2-2001), keeps you from having to count on your fingers, which is what I imagine fans of that system need to do.

          2. KarMann Silver badge
            Headmaster

            Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

            Yes, but the comment I was responding to was suggesting using British or Irish settings, so in that context, I said 'British'.

            1. ChrisC Silver badge
              Alert

              Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

              Be aware that, in the context of describing something that applies to both British and Irish, implying even tenuously that the latter is the same as the former may not go down too well if said to the wrong person...

              1. This post has been deleted by its author

              2. Toni the terrible Bronze badge

                Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

                British Isles, anyone?

        2. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

          Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

          You did not deserve THAT MANY downvotes! Seems you hit there naz... erm national pride of some which think they are the center of the universe!

          1. KarMann Silver badge
            Facepalm

            Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

            I was a bit surprised, but I realised that whilst I meant 'wrong-way-around' in the sense of 'exactly reversed (from ISO 8601)', it probably sounded like I meant just 'more wrong,' which was not my intent at all; I despise both DMY & MDY pretty equally.

            1. John Sager

              Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

              So what format do you use in real life, e.g. dating a che(que|ck)?

              1. yetanotheraoc Silver badge

                Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

                I use e.g. '30 June 2023', and have done since my first trip to Europe four decades ago.

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

                Check? What a quaint idea, haven't seen one in 30 years.

                Most things I sign either have no need for a date or have a preformatted spot for one, so what *I* think is proper is irrelevant.

              3. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

                Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

                Cheque? For real? In what backwater underdeveloped nation do you live? Last time I had SEEN a cheque was somehwere before 1990, and I never got one and never had to give out one. It is all direct bank to bank transfer here, without any middle-man "money mover" service (paypal for example), which some other weird third world countries need 'cause they cannot do without.

                1. Terry 6 Silver badge

                  Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

                  I don't know where your "here" is. Until about two years ago all the kids' parents payments for their Brownies "subs" had to be paid by cheque. It's changed now, because Mrs. 6 took over the pack to become the new Brown Owl, and immediately went over to direct bank transfer. I'm sure there are many Brownie packs and similar volunteer run groups that are still using the old fashioned ways. And won't change until the generations roll over.

                  1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

                    Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

                    Until a few months ago SWMBO paid a local community centre for her weekly patchwork class's room rent with cheques. The community centre used a stationer's duplicate book to produce hand-written invoices. All very old-fashioned.

                    The centre's book-keeper retired at the end of last year. The lady who took over from him decided to go all modern and has some S/W that produces PDFs she emails out and payment by bank transfer. The first mailing included the full run of PDFs for every group that uses the centre. The next had the correct total but incorrect number of weeks which makes me think her invoicing S/W is a word processor and a clip-art template gussied up with the centre's name. The other day there was an email saying the last payment hadn't been made although our bank statement shows it leaving our account to the account used for the previous few months and presumably the correct one.

                    Paper invoices and cheques were much more reliable.

                    1. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

                      Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

                      > <Story about failing community centre book-keeping>

                      > Paper invoices and cheques were much more reliable.

                      That would be impossible in Europe. Every bank-to-bank transfer is traceable, on both sides. If the new lady makes mistakes and trying to pull such things here she'd be in for real trouble. Where is it where such shit happens in 2023?

                      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

                        Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

                        Anywhere where volunteers run things like the local community centre.

                        Not everyone gets along with doing things electronically and if they don't it's best not to try. I won't say it's an age thing because quite possibly she will be younger than I am. Apart from which it's not so long ago that I as a freelancer, found it perfectly convenient to produce similar paper invoices and pay taxes with the company cheque book..oh, dammit - it was a long time ago.

                        1. Terry 6 Silver badge

                          Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

                          Yes, someone who's voluntarily running a group of some sort,like a community centre or a charity fund raiser, will not be too motivated to mess about changing systems that have worked for them perfectly well for years and even maybe decades. Probably a system that they inherited when they took over. So until someone with more modern ideas,and time/interest in bringing things in to the 21st C takes over, that's how they'll be.

                          When Mrs 6 took over her Brownies she inherited not just the cheque book, but an exercise book full of incomprehensible lists of kids who were near/at the right age to be allowed to join when they got to the top of the waiting list. That has now gone the way of the cheque book, too. The waiting list is in Excel, with ages automatically calculated from dates of birth, highlighted and colour coded (conditional formatting) so that she can see which ones have reached the age when they are old enough to enrol.

                          1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

                            Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

                            I hope the data controller is aware of the change!

                            I would point out that even small organisations are subject to data protection laws. I get the feeling that many small organisations are not aware of their responsibilities, especially for vulnerable people. It ought to be taught as part of the process to obtain DBS clearance (all the staff have DBS clearance, right?)

                          2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

                            Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

                            Mrs 6 is clearly able to to that and/or has you to help. Mrs Community Centre, not so much.

                            1. Terry 6 Silver badge

                              Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

                              That's the point. Until very recently it was cheques and exercise books. And most organisations like this will be too, until the wheel turns.

                              ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

                              Yes I had a hand in the Excel part of it but a simpler system could be used by anyone with a reasonable level of basic IT skills they've learnt in school. Even a WORD table would give a basic waiting list.

                              It's why I get annoyed with commentards who complain about the school IT curriculum. Few kids need to learn to code, but almost anyone may need to be able to use these standard software tools as they go through life and many will be expected to to do their not specifically IT related day job.

                              1. H in The Hague

                                Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

                                "Until very recently it was cheques and exercise books. And most organisations like this will be too, until the wheel turns."

                                Interesting. Here in NL all clubs, associations, etc. that I'm aware of receive their membership fees by bank transfer. If they sell tickets for performances, etc. they usually use a ticketing platform which supports direct bank transfers and credit cards. For ticket sales at the door they usually use a card reader like https://www.coolblue.nl/en/product/777648/sumup-air-contactless-card-reader.html (that does charge fees, but lodging cash with the bank also incurs a fee and most groups want to avoid the hassle of dealing with cash anyway). I think cheques got phased out here two decades ago or something.

                                1. Terry 6 Silver badge

                                  Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

                                  So many of the groups ( here in the UK but I doubt it differs from many other places) that are run by volunteers are run by old volunteers. And many may have been volunteering since before they retired but put more of their time into it after. i.e. are used to doing things how the last chair person wanted it done and are set in their ways. It takes a good generation or more for that to work through, with some of them. Not all. Some are more flexible than others, of course.

                2. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

                  I just put a check in the mail yesterday.

                  It's quite normal here in the literal definition of a first world country.

                  1. Tron Silver badge

                    Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

                    I paid an invoice with a cheque a couple of days ago. Having been forced to do my tax online, passing the endless levels of ID verification only because I was able to dig up a two year old paper bank statement, I made a point of paying that by cheque too. Some government services ask for so much ID verification, that hacking them would allow the hacker to be more me than I am, as most of the data they would lift, I would have lost or forgotten.

                    As for dates, I have to work with French revolutionary dates (which were barking the way only French dates could be), English dates from when the year changed in March and traditional dates in Japanese and Chinese. The Japanese used to (and sometimes still) use the era name (in Romaji or Kanji) such as Meiji 5 (a bit like our regnal years as they appear in legislation), the Chinese used the Lunar calendar with signs of the zodiac. Korea used the Dangun calendar traditionally, whilst the citizen on the Pyongyang omnibus uses the Juche calendar: Juche 1 is 1912, the year Kim Il Sung was born.

                    And you guys worry about date order. Pfft.

                3. that one in the corner Silver badge

                  Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

                  The majority of speakers[1] to our local clubs (e.g. astronomy, history, needlework, crafting, ...) take their expenses as cheques, which is fine by our treasurers.

                  [1] Now I come to think about it, the only one I can think of who didn't take a cheque in the last year or so was a club member and was going to come anyway, so refused to take any expenses at all.

                4. TheWeetabix

                  Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

                  Here, in our first world country, people frequently hand, a voided check over to their employer for direct deposit instead of filling out a form. Checks are usually required as a physical document for things like insurance or the deposit on a mortgage. If it’s more than $1000, writing a check is quicker than doing a bank transfer because usually electronic transfers that are same-day are limited to under $1000 and wire transfers take up to five days. As long as the bank will honour the physical check, the transfer can be same day. A lot of people still receive physical paychecks, especially blue-collar workers, or people that do not have regular bank accounts, such as unhoused or migrant workers. If you haven’t noticed any of this, then you must not be looking, or haven’t engaged in any of these activities yet.

                  1. Is It Me

                    Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

                    That is not the description of a first world country in the twenty first century.

                    That is a county using at best a late twentieth century system.

                    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

                      Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

                      I think it's a description of the world as it is, not the world as you'd like it to be.

                    2. Anonymous Coward
                      Anonymous Coward

                      Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

                      Dear US-Americans trying to claim that you are a first-world country while sticking up for the collection of Heath Robinson Rube Goldberg contraptions that passes for your banking system: the rest of the world (including the, in comparison, impoverished farmers in Africa using M-PESA banking by SMS on their mobile phones) are laughing at you.

                      Have y'all finally got your Chip and PIN cards yet?

                  2. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

                    Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

                    > or people that do not have regular bank accounts

                    which brings up another weirdness: In the country you speak of, having a bank account is so expensive that it does not make sense for low wage workers. If would eat up a fifth of their weekly income.

                    > If you haven’t noticed any of this

                    I'd have to be a leftpondian to actually notice directly. Which exposes your "everyone in the world has to the American way intimately" bubble. Again.

                    You start a never ending track of whats bad - what about starting a track of what's good? There is. But it isn't seen as much since bad thing usually gain more attention.

                5. chas49

                  Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

                  I run a small volunteer group. We set up a few years ago. We opened a bank account with one of the few UK banks which allow such groups to have an account. We have only a few hundred GBP, and transact rarely. We (like many similar organisations) require 2 authorisers for payments. The bank gave us a cheque book. We aren't allowed a debit card or online transactions.

                  So it's cheques but not by choice.

                6. Toni the terrible Bronze badge

                  Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

                  I use cheques to pay about half a bakers dozen per year. I insist on cheques for certain companies I do not want to give anymore info than I have to.

          2. ChrisC Silver badge

            Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

            Interesting presumption that it was downvoted on nationalist grounds for daring to suggest that a good old British date format was inferior even to the complete garbled mess that is M/D/Y, anot not (as the case actually was at least for me) because a) I happened to disagree generally with the notion that D/M/Y is less sensible than M/D/Y and b) I also felt it misleading to imply that D/M/Y is anything less than a near-ubiquitous global format - when you realise just how many countries around the world use it, it places a very different spin on the idea that it's inferior to a format used by but a handful of countries. Inferior in some contexts perhaps, but not in general.

            YOUR downvote OTOH was earned entirely for the thinly veiled suggestion that those of us downvoting the other post have excessively nationalistic leanings...

        3. big_D Silver badge

          Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

          UK is small to big, ISO is big to small, US is middle, small, big... :-S

          ISO makes most sense for sorting purposes, when used in file names etc.

        4. Gene Cash Silver badge

          Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

          Or for the really stupid people here in America: https://crashcash.github.io/images/image-2023-06-11+18-16-09.jpg

          (Found in the "British" aisle of my supermarket)

          1. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
            Mushroom

            Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

            FFS, No 1/11/2016 doesn't mean "November 1, 2016", it means "1st of November, 2016"

            1. John70

              Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

              I presume it's worded as November 1, 2016 for the Americans to understand what 01/11/2016 is.

              1. Version 1.0 Silver badge
                Pint

                Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

                In America 01/11/2016 is January 11th, 2016.

            2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

              Being English I'd write it out in words as "November the first". Americans, of course, write "the fourth of July" on which topic in N Ireland "the twelfth" doesn't even need a month.

              Beware of assumptions.

              1. ChrisC Silver badge

                Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

                Also English, and I'd probably write/say it in words to match the order in which it's written numerically - whilst I'd always use D/M/Y by default in the absence of anything prodding me to use M/D/Y instead (e.g. the myriad of websites and other things with date-entry UIs that seem to assume everyone is happy to use the latter, and bonus points for not stating it explicitly but leaving you to work it out for yourself by trying to set the date to the 13th, oh and double bonus points if they also incude a time entry UI which doesn't state whether it's expecting the time in 12 or 24 hour form...), I'm happy enough to switch between the two in order to avoid confusion by mixing the two formats within a single context.

                As for 4th of July, note that they don't similarly say 11th of September, so it's not merely a convention to refer to significant dates in D/M order. This makes me wonder if the discrepancy is then a historical thing based on their linguistic influences back when the 4th of July occurred - i.e. they started referring to it as the 4th of July simply because that's how they said dates back then, and that particular combination of words has then stuck as a way to refer to the event even though the way in which they say dates in general has subsequently changed?

                1. Ghostman

                  Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

                  As for 4th of July, note that they don't similarly say 11th of September, so it's not merely a convention to refer to significant dates in D/M order. This makes me wonder if the discrepancy is then a historical thing based on their linguistic influences back when the 4th of July occurred - i.e. they started referring to it as the 4th of July simply because that's how they said dates back then, and that particular combination of words has then stuck as a way to refer to the event even though the way in which they say dates in general has subsequently changed?

                  No, not at all. The heading on the Declaration Of Independence has the date written out "July 4, 1776". You can say July4th, talk about what you're going to do for the 4th, if you are taking a trip for the 4th, or even ask "planning to do something on the 4th?

                  The date has basically become a question from the middle of June till July 4th. The date to us in the USA is so important to us that we say the date as if it was a title, much like Christmas Day is a title for December 25th.

                  The day to us is just that important.

              2. Version 1.0 Silver badge

                Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

                I'm English too, but I've traveled all over the world for years now and it's clear that many different countries and cultures have their own views and attitudes for things ... LOL, I grew up as a kid being taught how to do math and dates with Roman numbers. So these days whatever I am shown is an easy translation. I don't see anything as "right" or "wrong" - it's just what countries and cultures do.

              3. big_D Silver badge

                Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

                Being English, I'd write 1st November...

              4. CowHorseFrog

                Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

                Give Americans write Month then day then year, why do they call it 4th of July, when their own system says it should July 4 ?

                1. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

                  Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

                  Show me a human language without contradictions. Ah, you can't, 'cause there is none.

            3. Terry 6 Silver badge

              Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

              The point being that yyyy/mm/dd and dd/mm/yyyy both are in order between most and least significant. The direction is a separate matter. But mm/dd/yyyy is out of sequence. It works in words (November the 7th 2023) reasonably well- at least partly because used like that the year is often omitted or an afterthought. "The wedding is set for July 22nd next year" is as likely as "The wedding is set for July 19th 2024" or just "...July 19th" if it's unambiguous. And the month is often the most significant detail rather than the precise day.

          2. CountCadaver

            Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

            Also apparently they mean lbs not Oz as $60 an Oz is pretty steep, are they selling the sweets from the bag individually?

        5. gnasher729 Silver badge

          Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

          The correct way is 30/Jun/2023, which is very hard to misinterpret.

          1. Benegesserict Cumbersomberbatch Silver badge

            Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

            And very hard to sort

            1. gnasher729 Silver badge

              Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

              How is it hard to sort? Unless you are a numpty, you convert it to a date, and compare the dates.

          2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

            ...unless you don't speak English :-)

            eg List of local translation for "June"

            It's fairly clear to most(not all) that it's the 30th day of "something" in 2023, but which "something"? We can eliminate Feb, but that still leave 11 months to pick from :-)

          3. Norman Nescio Silver badge

            Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

            That depends on whether the reader labels the months in the same way in their language.

            I have had success in using Roman numerals to enumerate the months, which is the practice my father used when dating cheques. He would write a vinculum (overline) over the Roman numerals, and an underline under them - so the 28th August 2023 would be rendered as 28- ̲̅V̲̲̅̅I̲̅I̲̅I -2023.

            Edit to add: (John Brown (no body)) beat me by a couple of minutes as I was faffing about getting the overline and underline to almost work. Using Roman numerals doesn't help much with sorting, but it does reduce the problem from 'all the languages of the world' to 'interpreting Roman numerals correctly'. A pedant would point out that the vinculum would mean that the Roman numerals were multiplied by 1000, but I'll leave that to one side.

          4. Ghostman

            Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

            The correct way is 30/Jun/2023, which is very hard to misinterpret

            NOPE: June 30, 2023

          5. Dan 55 Silver badge

            Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

            Stick to numbers, unless e.g. you think everyone around the world knows what month "čer" is.

        6. ColinPa

          Example dates

          I remember reading the help for a product. The field was a date. They example they gave was "01/02/03". If they had done 23/04/69 - it would have been clearer

      2. emfiliane

        Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

        Keyboard layout has nothing whatsoever to do with locale settings, not in Windows, Linux, Mac, or any other system I know of. You can have the layout that matches whatever your keyboard is while all of the proper settings for date, time, spelling, system language, etc are as you expect.

        1. cosmodrome

          Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

          Sitting in front of a freshly installed Loonix machine (en_US@UTF8 because localized error messages suck at non-trivial problems) and typing on a German QWERTZ Tastatur I can confirm. Most desktop environments and apps will display daytime, temperatures, distances and velocities in reasonable units, nevertheless.

      3. imanidiot Silver badge

        Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

        The keyboard layout setting is entirely separate from the data format, location and language settings. I'm currently typing on a US international layout QWERTY keyboard, with time in 24hr format and date in YYYY-MM-DD (the ONLY correct way). I don't really look at temperatures, but if I did they would be in Celcius. I could have the system language set to my native Dutch if I wanted to (but why would I).

        1. gnasher729 Silver badge

          Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

          As it should be, since most things are about your culture, but keyboard layout is about the physical keyboard that you have.

          Complaint about MacOS: it can swap control/command if you have a pc keyboard, but it cannot handle one Mac and one pc keyboard simultaneously.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

            To be fair, having two different keyboards connected at the same is probably a fairly niche use case, more niche even than having two identical keyboards connected other than in specialised situations where there may be a special custom keyboard for specific use which will most commonly be operated by either it's own driver or the program/app that requires it, eg a PC being used as a cash register or information kiosk.

            1. gnasher729 Silver badge

              Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

              The niche case happened to me because I wanted a keyboard in front of every monitor, so I bought a ten pound keyboard in the supermarket. Yes, I can set up different languages per keyboard (say one French, one Italian) but the control key swap is global.

            2. Graham Cobb Silver badge

              Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

              Not at all unusual when I take my laptop into the office and plug it in to the keyboard and monitor on the desk! I leave the laptop open so I can use both screens and often type on both keyboards as I look between screens. Although I will admit to setting all keyboard layouts to US-Intl as that is what I learnt to use in 1980 and I prefer to know where the keys are than look at the keycaps.

              It could be worse: my first job (in 1978) was programming in APL! Fortunately I have managed to (mostly) wipe the APL keyboard layout from my fingers (except Quad - probably the most commonly used character).

          2. Andy A
            WTF?

            Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

            It all falls apart if you use Microsoft's Remote Console.

            The box you are controlling needs to have its keyboard layout set to the same as the machine in front of you for things to make sense.

            Heaven help you if the password includes a pound sign ( £ ) and you have a US (or other national) keyboard.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

              Had fun trying to explain to someone that he couldn't use '£' in his (SNMP?) server password because it was being accessed by a Cisco router which only accepts 7-bit US-ASCII... "but I have to use a 'special character' in the password, and '£' has always worked in the past"... "with a Cisco router?"... "erm, don't think so"

              (no Codepage 850 or UTF)

            2. munnoch

              Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

              Citrix has a similar problem. It hates the fact that I have a Japanese layout keyboard(*) on my local macbook. It used to randomly switch me back to UK or US english and even once set me to Hungarian. This could happen literally any time. Seems to have stopped doing it in the last few months. Touch wood.

              The only thing that Windows does worse than security is internationalisation.

              (*) Japanese keyboard because the control key is close to being in the 'right' place. I grew up with Sun keyboards and I lived in Japan for a great deal of my adult life.

        2. Toni the terrible Bronze badge

          Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

          surely centigrade?

    4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

      "All servers shall have only one keyboard layout and it shall be US International"

      Is this the physical keyboard or the keyboard layout setting? The real pain comes with an bootable USB drive when they differ, especially when the WiFi passphrase contains at least one of those characters that gets relocated.

    5. localzuk Silver badge

      Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

      Or, you could accept that your company operates internationally, with different languages and therefore different end user needs...

      Of course the French and Germans resisted.

      1. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge

        Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

        At a time I got a bad reputation with Oracle support teams since I kept reporting issues on their software related to internationalization issues.

        Like them insisting that the local admin account on Windows was always named 'Administrator"...

        Or not knowing that in some countries you could have different languages for different locations (e.g., Belgium).

        Or not accepting that you could install a system in one display language and then want to use another keyboard layout (like en-US for the display, and en-UK for the keyboard, because of £ you know - one support guy even thought that UK was using the €...)

        My boss was laughing when I did ask why Oracle insisted that there was no such thing as Scottish Pound when I was working on implementing their POS system (a nightmare where the different parts didn't even agree on the way to handle input and display languages

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

          I dare one of them to go and tell a Glaswegian that!

          And I want to watch.

          1. TimMaher Silver badge
            Pint

            Re: I want to watch.

            See you Jimmie!

          2. WolfFan Silver badge

            Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

            We’ll see a Scottish pound, alright. He'll pound m'man hard. And God help m'man if it's a Scottish lass, a lad might have mercy.

        2. Dave559 Silver badge

          Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

          Yes, we have Scottish bank notes, but there hasn't been a Scottish pound (currency) since 1707, so, much as it pains me to agree with Oracle about anything… The bank notes are still just GBP [1], but with different pictures, and from different issuers.

          [1] or a promise to pay the GBP equivalent from the Bank of England [2], if you want to be pedantic…

          [2] which itself is just pieces of paper these days, no gold or silver for you or me!

      2. that one in the corner Silver badge

        Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

        You noticed he only said "servers", not desktops?

        You know, servers, the caged beasts that are kept alive by only a small, select, group of almost priestly status?

        A chosen cadre who are each others' support lines and may even be shuffled around across the EU to help troubleshoot and fill in gaps?

        And who may eventually find that consistency in their machine chapels outweighs the frustration of being forced to hunt and peck? Who knows, going slowly may help them reflect: is this really supposed to be "rm *"?

        1. Bluecube

          Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

          So THIS is where the Adeptus Mechanicus started off!

      3. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

        >internationally, with different languages and therefore different end user needs

        For end user machines yes, but for servers / network kit it might make sense to stick to the only language the maker actually tested.

      4. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

        "Or, you could accept that your company operates internationally, with different languages and therefore different end user needs..."

        I get the impression that many US multi-nationals have an ingrained cultural problem with seeing geographic regions as far, far more diverse than the conglomeration that is The United States of America. But often it's those same multi-nationals that have, for their own convenience, lumped those disparate sovereign countries into geographical regions such as "Europe", "EMEA" etc.

        One company we contracted for many years ago was an international hotel chain headquartered in Paris, where their IT support was also based and where they shipped spare parts from. I quickly got used to replacing motherboards and setting them up with the BIOS config in German, French, Spanish etc as they just sent out the correct board, whatever the localisation of the firmware :-) Interestingly, they had standardised on IBM PS/2 desktops so finding non-English BIOS screens from a US corporation was interesting and unexpected at the time. Even today, it's not uncommon to find HP printers still defaulting to US letter, in an international market where only the US uses US letter, when doing a factory reset :-)

        1. Toni the terrible Bronze badge

          Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

          eeeeah fer?

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

        Or, you could accept that your company operates internationally, with different languages and therefore different end user needs...

        Of course the French and Germans resisted.

        In my experience the worst is the US: For example.

        Not to long ago Adobe Sign (from a US corp) only signed dates with Mon/DD/YYYY. This is supposed to be a legal document remember.

        I explained to corporate IT support (based in the US) that this generated absolute nonsense for where I am based. Their reply was it was not confusing.

        Adobe eventually allowed different forms on date fields but they don't automatically choose the right format for your locale, they make you choose it each time for each date field if your locale isn't US English.

        When Adobe finally get the message that UI locale and document locale can also differ, their tiny minds will probably explode.

        Back to corporate IT support, their role now is to say any big cloud service works the way it does because it does and they will pass any complaint on, as if the likes of Adobe, Google, Amazon, or Microsoft (all US corps) are actually listening.

        1. gnasher729 Silver badge

          Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

          Excel has a setting to format numbers as “currency”. Before the euro I know a Dutch company that lost money because their documents with cost estimates showed Dutch guilders and their German customers read Deutsche Mark.

          1. Norman Nescio Silver badge

            Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

            I know of a similar (internal) case with a large multinational, where a project costed in GBP was approved in USD. The difference was significantly material.

            Which is why I tend to use ISO 4217 currency codes in documents that I suspect might cross a national border. It helps to be unambiguous.

    6. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

      I insist to have my Windows version using the Etruscean language as a default, and I won't change my mind!

      1. Flightmode

        Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

        Cuneiform on a touch-screen.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

          Hmmm....now known as "gestures" :-)

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

        I couldn't find Etruscan but Noto Sans has Linear A and B fonts if that helps.

        1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

          Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

          I couldn't find Etruscan but Noto Sans has Linear A and B fonts if that helps.

          I prefer something a bit more local (for local people): NotoSansOgham-Regular.ttf

          [Boggling slightly at the idea of seriffed Ogham.]

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

            It's not really the same when it's not carved on the edge of a stone.

            1. Dave559 Silver badge

              Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

              Is that shifty Ea-nāṣir still trying to flog dodgy goods to folk?

              [It seems particularly appropriate to copy/paste the accents, in a discussion thread about internationalisation and localisation…]

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

          Eh, it's all Greek to me...

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

            Only Linear B.

      3. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

        Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

        You can have your CLIENT OS in any language you want.

      4. Toni the terrible Bronze badge

        Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

        The Imperial Roman Army wants a word with you....

    7. JulieM Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

      Aren't US keyboards more or less unusable in Continental Europe?

      (If you know, you know)

      1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

        Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

        Aren't US keyboards more or less unusable in Continental Europe?

        I don't think so, I am in Continental Europe and I am using the US International with dead keys lay-out, which is the same as US keyboards but with slightly different settings to make it easier to type diacritics.

        1. Down not across

          Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

          I used Sun "UNIX" layout for ages without any issues. Any umlauts etc are easily handled via Compose. And CTRL is much more comfortable.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

        I used to use a laptop with an EN US keyboard and switched between US and FI layouts regularly.

      3. gnasher729 Silver badge

        Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

        Slightly inconvenient, or very inconvenient, but not unusable.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

          A US keyboard has fewer keys than the ones used in the rest of the world. The "missing" key between left-shift and Z, in most Continental European countries' layouts, produces the < and > symbols. Hence, one presumes, the specific phrasing "more or less unusable".

          Some of you clearly don't do enough crosswords.

    8. big_D Silver badge

      Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

      We don't have any chaos, but we do use national keyboards in each region - for example, our US subsidiary are allowed to use US keyboards. We don't want to impact their productivity by making them use keyboard layouts they aren't comfortable with.

      As long as you don't use regional special characters in passwords, it isn't a problem.

    9. David Nash Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

      US "International"?

      1. parlei Bronze badge

        Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

        "US "International"?"

        What else will you use to write about various "world" series that have never left the continental USA?

      2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

        Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

        The "US International" keyboard is a US-layout keyboard where certain characters are "dead", and act as modifiers. For example hitting the apostrophe key (') once does nothing, but type ' and then a letter a will give you á.To get an apostrophe you need to hit the ' key twice. I find it easier to use the standard US keyboard, with appropriate compose (Linux) or AltGr (Windows) sequences for accented characters.

        1. TimMaher Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: AltGr

          A customer once asked me what it meant.

          I told them that it was Alternate Green. Because it was on the right.

          1. Flightmode
            Coffee/keyboard

            Re: AltGr

            I had a computer teacher in school in Sweden when I was, like 13-14 (late 80s) who insisted that it meant ”Alternativ Gravyr” - literally ”alternate engraving” - as it produced the symbol or letter that was engraved on the side of the key, not the top. He refused to accept any other possibilities, especially in English, because it was ”obviously a Swedish keyboard, or else it wouldn’t have Å, Ä and Ö, would it?”.

            I just gave up then and there and didn’t bother pointing out Shift, Caps Lock, Enter, Home, End, PrtSc or, my personal favourite from that era, SysRq. Or <see icon>.

            1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: AltGr

              "my personal favourite from that era, SysRq."

              "That era"??? I'm typing this on my Toshy laptop that has SysRq on the PtrSc key. Ok, it's about 8-10 years old, but certainly not the late 1980's and I don't think I've ever used that key function :-)

              Next to that key is one labelled "Pause" as the main function and "Break" as the secondary function. Again, something almost never used these days. Pause used to be handy for pausing long screen listing scrolling up the screen, but most systems scroll too fast for that to be usable these days :-)

              1. Terry 6 Silver badge

                Re: AltGr

                Yup. My wireless keyboard (Advent- a Curry's own brand ow) has those keys too. It's not more than a couple of years old.

    10. Zarno
      Pint

      Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

      All fun and games until that ancient version of NT 4.0 and control software that runs the CNC machine doesn't have English fully there because it was a localized German version.

      And all the scripting/control flow was in German, comments and variables both.

      I got really good, for a time, at comprehending the pertinent stuff, but good luck spelling or saying any of it out loud without a cheat sheet.

      Pint for what I needed after a particularly fun reinstall of the golden master image that I thoughtfully ghosted when I had it for a PM schedule...

    11. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

      Don't get me started on my Polish colleagues and their obsession for configuring a PL keyboard layout on every single VM they build for us... Worst part is the golden images they're using to boot the builds are US-based, with a US-QWERTY keyboard configured by default.

      I often have to deal with those VMs long after their deployment, to solve some obscure issue, and every single time I bitch at the login prompt until I realize they did it again, and adjust my tiping to press the right letters in my Latin-American physical keyboard.

    12. Jon Bar

      Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

      Sounds like the original programmers were working down at the BIOS level to intercept the keystrokes for the password before they were converted to ASCII. In which case, you'd better not make any typos when typing the login no matter what the keyboard layout or language installed were.

    13. Spanners Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

      US "international" because it isn't really.

    14. James Anderson

      Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

      Our AIX kit was delivered from Germany along with godawfull german keyboards.

      Installing and configuring the OS took several steps before you could set the keyboard layout.

      I remember looking at the ceiling tiles envisaging a US international keyboard and touch typing as best I could.

      And try programming in a C style language where [.],{ and } were all on uppercase alt keys.

    15. t245t
      Facepalm

      Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

      Hey elReg commentators, what's with the minus 35 down votes. go on explain yourselves.

      -- quote --

      @Fabrizio: All your QWERTY belong to us... One of the first things I did when i was told to bring order in the chaos that was Europe at my company at the time was to mandate that "All servers shall have only one keyboard layout and it shall be US International" and the French resisted least and the Germans with their QWERTZ resisted most...

      -- unquote --

      1. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

        Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

        > Hey elReg commentators, what's with the minus 35 down votes. go on explain yourselves.

        German here. Very simple: I don't care about the language of the OS, English on servers makes a lot of things easier, on Workstations is fine for me but torture for normal users. But forcing US "International" keyboard layout onto other countries, so they cannot even type common names any more, is ridiculous. An admin from a country with less than 4% of world population should not impose the keyboard layout throughout an international company, that is backward thinking in the worst way possible. Even for normal US people this sounds ridiculous - and I asked them, and their reply was that it is even ridiculous within US itself due to the many languages spoken there. Especially since it is so easy to switch the keyboard layout with current OS-es, just a few GUI clicks away. Even easier in since Windows 8.0 / Server 2012 (without R2) using Winkey-Space throughout the system. Vista and Win7 made it easy too, and it is easy down to Windows NT 3.51

        NT 4.0 -> Start -> Settings -> Control panel -> Input locale -> Add (-> show path to i386 if needed) -> Done without needing a reboot...

        NT 3.51 -> Program Manager -> Control Panel -> International -> Keyboard layout select input language (-> show path to i386 if needed) -> Done without needing a reboot... - Believe me I KNOW it is that easy in NT 3.51.

        1. TheWeetabix

          Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

          I can only imagine the stink, and the lawsuit, if a German company purchased his, and then imposed QWERZ boards for consistency.

          1. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

            Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

            > the lawsuit, if a German company purchased his, and then imposed QWERZ boards

            You don't know Germans. First: QWERTZ. Second: Most Germans can speak and read English, no reason to impose that. Bilingual is the norm here, with a lot of people speaking three languages (excluding Immigrants, who speak more often four languages than Germans).

    16. gnasher729 Silver badge

      Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

      Lots of downvotes but I think people missed the critical word “servers”. On my PC or laptop I decide which keyboard. And in your PC you decide. Servers are many machines handled by the same person, so they should all have the same settings. And preferably the same setting that the manufacturer uses. Of course I expect that the server can handle all kinds of client machines.

    17. TheWeetabix

      Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

      Considering the amount of early and current intense technical literature, written by Germans in German and English for international consumption, I might’ve left their keyboards alone.

      That being said, I’ve mandated timezones for server (utc) and desktop (head office tz) to avoid the absolute PITA of trying to timesync logs or teach NorMericans to ALSO use utc, so maybe not.

    18. Dave559 Silver badge

      Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

      I'll trade your "US International" keyboard for a standard US keyboard, with a proper left shift key and a nice fat (horizontal) return key, and a «compose» key defined (of course), please… :-)

  3. GlenP Silver badge

    Paris...

    Many years ago I went to Paris on a day trip, largely to deliver a "second-hand" laptop - quite why I don't know, laptops weren't cheap back then but was it truly better I flew over there than use a courier or purchase one in France? I suspect corporate budgets were involved!

    Before I went I had a call* from one of my colleagues, "Can you bring me a wateefee?" After a bit of toing and froing I established that what he actually wanted was a copy of What HiFi magazine!

    So I fly to Paris with the laptop and wateefee, link up with a colleague and get to the office then hand things over. First comment, "Oh, it's the wrong keyboard!" What did they expect on a UK sourced machine?

    It ended up being a rather wasted day, albeit with a decent lunch in the middle, compounded by flight delays at CDG. A plane had gone U/S so they combined two flights but wouldn't let anyone leave the grotty concrete Eurohub as they wanted to get everyone boarded as soon as possible. Friends were, "Oh Paris, how glamorous!" Business travel is always a PITA.

    *In the days before ubiquitous email people did actually phone each other!

    1. Mark #255

      Re: Paris...

      Friends were, "Oh Paris, how glamorous!"

      Been there, done that.

      Three days training in a hotel in Cap d'Ail (literally, cross the road and you were in Monaco), out of season.

      Spent a day either side sitting in airports for the only connection of the day.

      At least the weather was clement, but that was the only positive.

      1. Korev Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: Paris...

        I had a trip to Brussels a few years ago, again a nice city to visit. We basically spent all the time in a grotty business park near the airport...

        The hotel only had a poor selection of the good stuff :-( -->

        1. Vincent Ballard

          Re: Paris...

          I had a trip to Brussels a few years ago and the day after the trip was a public holiday back home. My boss was agreeable to booking a later return flight, so I managed to actually see some of the sights, in particular the Atomium. If only it didn't require such a coincidence for business travel to be pleasant.

          1. adam 40 Silver badge

            Re: Paris...

            I had many a business trip to Brussels.

            I made sure my hotel was the one around the corner from "A la Mort Subite".

            One year the king died, Mrs Adam 40 had come too, and we watched the funeral out of the hotel window.

            Happy days.

            1. TimMaher Silver badge
              Pint

              Re: The Morte Subite.

              Fabulous. One of my top Brussels haunts.

              Have a kriek on me .———>

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Paris...

              Wasn't so happy for the dead king and his family.

            3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
              Pint

              Re: Paris...

              "we watched the funeral out of the hotel window.

              Happy days."

              Ah yes, there's nothing quite as uplifting and fun as a funeral :-)

              1. UCAP Silver badge
                Joke

                Re: Paris...

                So long as it's not your own.

        2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Paris...

          If the stuff was good how could the selection be poor?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Paris...

        Had something similar in the early 2000s.

        Sent to a conference of the company's IT security people across Europe.

        Five days in Cannes. Sounds glamorous, doesn't it?

        Except that it was in January. And the conference rooms were subterranean.

        If we hadn't have made an effort to go out at lunchtime we would not have seen daylight for the five days.

        1. lglethal Silver badge
          Trollface

          Re: Paris...

          Hey, they were just trying to make you feel at home! We all know that IT folk work/live in the basement, have an aversion to going outside, and lets face it coming from the UK, it's not like sunlight is a daily commodity.

          Your French hosts put in that little bit of extra effort for you! And here you are disparaging them, shame on you....

        2. Norman Nescio Silver badge

          Re: Paris...

          At the risk of going all "Four Yorkshireman" on you, I once had a three week assignment on a sun-drenched island considerably closer to the equator than the UK, that had plenty of well-heeled tourists.

          I spent it in a well air-conditioned (trans: freezing) secure data centre with no windows - I saw daylight in the car from the hotel to the workplace, but worked past sunset every day, including the middle weekends. Thankfully, I had a light sweater with me that I had worn to get to the airport in the UK.

          My friends wondered why I felt the glamour of international business travel was overrated.

          NN

          1. that one in the corner Silver badge

            Re: Paris...

            > I saw daylight in the car from the hotel to the workplace

            The hotel would like to apologise that they could not supply a car with blacked-out windows, as requested by Accounts when they made the booking. They said something about "trolls"?

          2. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
            Pint

            Re: Paris...

            Least you got to go abroad

            Rosyth was our limit, if theres a worse place to go, I've never been there. Indeed when I die and end up in hell with the beancounters and users with single digt IQs and the attention span of a goldfish, at least I'll be able to say "well... its better than Rosyth" as Satan forces me into a endless meeting with the beancounters while I can hear the destruction being wrought on highly expensive machinery thats taken ages to program.....

            Oh well 2 beers into the weekend and I'm already depressed about what awaits me monday....

            1. Bluecube

              Re: Paris...

              I live very close to Rosyth. I agree it’s a hellish place particularly near the docks.

            2. WolfFan Silver badge

              Re: Paris...

              Those who have been to Stornoway will see your Rosyth and raise you 50. One of my cousins was once there for a NATO thingie; he said that it was somewhat less fun than even behind God's back far northern Scotland was supposed to be.

              1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

                Re: Paris...

                One of my late cousins-in-law blotted his copybook with the Beeb (well before they went Arqiva & got sent to Orkney or Shetland as what he thought was intended to be a punishment posting. He quite enjoyed it.

          3. Caver_Dave Silver badge

            Re: Paris...

            Used to work with/for the F1 teams in the late 80's and early 90's.

            Typical testing trip would compose of driver overnight from UK to Turin. Work from whatever time you got there until late, when if you were lucky, the hotel restaurant was still serving.

            Back at the circuit early and work all day. Usually someone (a local Pizza seller or similar, who was a fan) would bring in Pizza for the team.

            Back at the circuit early on the third day, and when everything was finished, driver overnight back to the UK. (My record Monza to Northampton was 14 hours - before they started timing people between toll booths on the Peage).

            The only time I every got to walk around the surrounding countryside was after an explosive (3 x engine) morning at Magny Cours, which left me with nothing to do. Accidentally wandered into a hunting range and was told to remove myself by 4 burly blokes with shotguns. I thought that painted lines around the trees marked a footpath, but my French was not good enough to find out where I had gone wrong! After that I took a book to read in case I was ever at a lose end again.

    2. blah@blag.com

      Re: Paris...

      CDG was really awful, like a run down 60's post-apocolyptic film set. Jeez those crappy orange plastic chairs and concrete columns repurposed from some multi-storey car park.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Paris...

        Only time I was at CDG was a flight from a working trip to Naples (equally grotty if you spend all your time in a big factory) and the flight was grounded due to storms over the UK airport. Eventually diverted to Heathrow, car parked at Gatwick (or maybe t'other way about but client who'd booked flight was in Crawley). Come to think of it, the outbound flight was delayed because of a leaking fuel filler cap. Air travel!!!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Paris...

        Stopped flying on business now but, when I did, I always insisted on using Schiphol as my European hub - even from the UK it was local airport to Schiphol for an onward connection. Avoid CDG and Heathwick...

        1. that one in the corner Silver badge

          Re: Paris...

          We had a flight booked to go from our regional airport (less than 4 miles from home) to Schipol, "suffer" an 8 hour layover (we had plans for that) and meet the rest of the group for the connection that evening.

          The travel agent was really happy (fine for him) when he managed, at short notice to us, to rearange the tickets "let us meet the whole group early in the morning at Heathrow, so we could all go to Schipol together, no bothersome layover".

          Cue one hurried booking for an overnight stay near London (so cheap!) and a few hundred extra miles on the car, drive to drop the car off in a free spot we have access to, tube back out to Heathrow, the reverse on the way back. Hope the travel agent was *really* happy!!!

          1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

            Re: Paris...

            Hope the travel agent was *really* happy!!!

            He will have been upon receiving the invoice for all extra costs.

            1. Caver_Dave Silver badge
              Flame

              Re: travel savings - NOT!

              I had the opposite once while working for a very large multinational that had its own travel department.

              Heathrow to Lviv direct on the way out.

              Lviv to Krakov. 11 hour lay over. Krakov to Heathrow on the way back

              When I complained I found out that the saving for the travel department by coming back the other way was $1.

              3 meals air-side and the wasted day came out of my departments budgets!

              1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

                Re: travel savings - NOT!

                "3 meals air-side and the wasted day came out of my departments budgets!"

                Of course! That's how accountants and expenses departments work. The money in your departmental budget is already "spent" and it's not their problem how and when you spend it. But making a saving from their budget, however small, is worthwhile and adds to their end of year bonus :-)

          2. Sam not the Viking

            Re: Paris...

            I have been through Schipol several times on business. It is the only airport where something has gone wrong on every trip. Lost bags, late-landing: missed connection, cancelled connection, connection impossible due to distance between gates.

            Ridiculing my experiences and warning, my son took a flight via Schipol on his way to a wedding in Croatia. His bag never arrived. On a return trip from Sri Lanka, his delayed flight incited a number of German passengers to remonstrate and he lingered on their periphery to gain the benefits of their group action. He still missed his onward flight on reaching Schipol.

      3. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

        Re: Paris...

        CDG was really awful, like a run down 60's post-apocolyptic film set.

        And that was before the new Terminal 2E collapsed!

    3. Evil Auditor Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Paris...

      I'm all for poking fun at the French, specifically because at those being super-proud of their highly elaborated language. But in all fairness, me trying my best French sounds much worse to a francophone person than any wateefee or appi* in our ears.

      appi as in "I am very appi" (happy)

      1. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

        Re: Paris...

        You think French is an elaborate language? Interesting. Try learning Portuguese, or Finnish, or Japanese, or indeed any language that doesn't share a good chunk of its vocabulary and syntax with your native tongue...

        1. The commentard formerly known as Mister_C

          Re: Paris...

          Or alphabet.

          Did a Russian course at night school for a couple of years back when Yeltsin was in charge. Bought myself a big English / Russian dictionary but never quite remembered the order of the Cyrillic alphabet well enough (especially the middle letters) to know if the word I was looking for was before or after the random page I'd turned to.

          In hindsight, marking the pages with index tabs would've helped, but it was a nice looking book and I probably wouldn't have wanted to deface it.

        2. Evil Auditor Silver badge

          Re: Paris...

          Well, I forgot the quotation marks around "highly elaborated". I don't know Finnish. Japanese though is all vocabulary with a trivial grammar (and horrific writing - kanji, that is). And Portuguese not that much more complicated than French but with a similarly challenging but more consistent pronounciation. But, for example getting some impressions of Czech or Hungarian grammar was enough though to discourage any attempt of ever learning even just a bit of them.

          1. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

            Re: Paris...

            I picked some examples there of languages I know a little of - it may be I just find French easier because it was the first foreign tongue taught to me at school (and only one to any reasonable degree). My understanding is that Portuguese is more complex due to having both Latin and Arabic roots, and has more tense than many other languages, Finnish is unrelated to (almost?) any other living language, so on those grounds I'm assuming is hard to learn, as there is no common ground to start from, and although I don't know more than a trivial amount of Japanese, my wife is a reasonably serious student of Japanese, and apparently, the syntax is completely different to English, especially the word order in phrases, the writing system is, as you rightly say, horrific, actually being at least three different writing systems mixed up together (I believe there are Hiragana and Katakana, which are native to Japan, and Kanji which are borrowed symbols from Chinese)

        3. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Norman Nescio Silver badge
    4. Mog_X

      Re: Paris...

      It's still the 'city of lights', but the light comes from burning cars!

      1. Down not across

        Re: Paris...

        I went to Nanterre on a work trip (decades ago...) and unless it has changed since....few burning cars aren't going to make it any worse.

    5. big_D Silver badge

      Re: Paris...

      Had to stay in a hotel in Paris mid-summer. No AC and no opening windows, it was around 40°C in the room, it was in an industrial suburb and was essentially a converted warehouse!

      In the morning, I ran a cold batch, then laid my clothing out in a line to the door, with my briefcase by the door... I then took the bath and cooled off a bit, then quickly dried myself and dressed as I headed to the door, then quickly down to the street, before I was sweating heavily again! :-(

      Such a glamorous life!

      Another time, working in Frankfurt am Main, we were staying in either the Maritime or the Marriott, which were right next to our customer's offices. Then the Buchmesse (book show) turned up and all hotels were suddenly 3x as expensive and the Marriott threw us out, because we were on a reduced corporate rate. Mad panic to find us other rooms. I ended up near the Bahnhof (central station), which is a well known drug and red light district. The USP for the hotel I was supposed to be staying in was "a free porn channel"! The carpets were sticky, the matress and duvet were at least clean & relatively new, but the remote for the TV had "black" keys, which were sticky... I turned the light on in the middle of the night, to see something scurry under the bathroom door! I jumped out of bed and opened the door and turned on the light, in time to see cockroaches scrambling for cover. I grabbed my bags and spent the rest of the night sleeping on the floor next to my desk in the customer's offices!

      1. Wellyboot Silver badge
        Coffee/keyboard

        Re: Paris...

        Hotel management wasn't expecting you to turn the lights out!

        sticky keys --->

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Paris...

        and the Marriott threw us out, because we were on a reduced corporate rate

        "How many rooms per year did you used to sell to our company before today?"

        1. big_D Silver badge

          Re: Paris...

          It didn’t interest them, 40 consultants for 18 months, but they could charge 4 times or normal rate for peak periods, because they were 100M from the convention centre.

      3. Evil Auditor Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: Paris...

        big_D, you made two mistakes: 1) when that hot don't dry yourself after the bath; just put on your cloths. 2) in Frankfurt, always stay in the Flemings at Eschenheim tor.

        1. big_D Silver badge

          Re: Paris...

          The Marriott was about 50M from the clients offices.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Paris...

      CDG term1 is utter gash

    7. Down not across

      Re: Paris...

      CDG.. possibly the worst (in many ways) airport I've had the misfortune of having to use.

      Does any flight ever leave it on time?

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Paris...

        CDG isn't an airport so much as a Paris themed park.

        It concentrates the whole 'dealing with Paris and Parisians' into one convenient visit

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Paris...

          My one and only time through CDG was aged 14 or 15 in the mid to late 70's when the place was new and I'd never flown before. It was exciting and the escalators/travelators through the plastic tubes was all SciFi to me :-) On the other hand, brutalist concrete architecture doesn't age well unless you shot blast it clean every now and then to make it look all clean and new.

  4. trevorde Silver badge

    Faux AZERTY

    Worked with a dev who was a real Francophile. He changed his (Windows) input locale to French so that he could simulate an AZERTY keyboard with a (physical) QWERTY keyboard. It caused no end of confusion when we were helping him out. Worst part was he commented his code in French!

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Faux AZERTY

      Ca c'est dégoûtant !

      Can we have a Béret & Baguette icon ?

      1. Inventor of the Marmite Laser Silver badge
        Windows

        Re: Faux AZERTY

        This will have to do >

      2. Korev Silver badge
        Alien

        Re: Faux AZERTY

        > Can we have a Béret & Baguette icon ?

        Well, as we're not allowed Paris any more this should happen...

        1. KarMann Silver badge
          Holmes

          Re: Faux AZERTY

          We'll always have Paris.

    2. WanderingHaggis

      Re: Faux AZERTY

      Having been introduced to keyboards while working in France I love my azerty, though I am bilingual and can use a qwerty. Living now in the UK my laptop is qwerty and my wireless keyboard azerty (I still do some French user support) -- being the only decent (and rude) French speaker in the technical team. Though the windows habit of defaulting the keyboard to UK layout at login is annoying. I would love it if I could set the keyboard layout independently i.e. without having all the Microsoft apps changing language.

      1. RustyNailed

        Re: Faux AZERTY

        " I would love it if I could set the keyboard layout independently i.e. without having all the Microsoft apps changing language."

        Not entirely sure what you mean here - in my experience Windows allows you (and has for many years) to have multiple keyboard layouts for whatever languages you have installed, separate from the Display language. For any given installed language, you can pick a default keyboard layout and also switch between which ever ones you have configured for that language on the fly.

        I used to have a similar setup, only in my case the laptop keyboard was German QWERTZ and my external wireless was UK QWERTY, and the system was installed in English. I was easily able to switch to the German layout when I was travelling using the language picker in the system tray, without affecting any display/app language.

        Additionally, most of the MS apps have application specific language options. I had to find these earlier this year when I was switching my new (corporate German install image) laptop to use English as a display language, albeit with a German keyboard....

        The only annoying thing for me right now is that the proofing tools don't detect what language I'm writing in, they just use whatever I had it set to last.

        1. Andy A
          Thumb Down

          Re: Faux AZERTY

          Windows only allows a SINGLE keyboard layout at a time.

          If you have been using the French layout, returning to the QWERTY physical keyboard and pressing the key marked Q will produce an A.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Faux AZERTY

      "Worked with a dev who was a real Francophile. He changed his (Windows) input locale to French so that he could simulate an AZERTY keyboard with a (physical) QWERTY keyboard. It caused no end of confusion when we were helping him out. Worst part was he commented his code in French!"

      I'm doing this since university, actually. We then had many different KBs depending on the workstation that was available and switching from AZERTY mindset to QWERTY or reverse has always been a pain for me ...

      Even today, at work (Switzerland), since I HATE the QWERTZ landscape, I'm using an AZERTY landscape on a Swiss KB.

      The only issue is, I can't have anyone else type anything on my laptop :)

      1. flokie

        Re: Faux AZERTY

        I just posted before reading your comment and am now distressed to find there are at least two people in the world who'd stick AZERTY onto a QWERTZ keyboard...

        I write in French every now and then on a QWERTY keyboard, and I use AltGr+e for é, and let auto-correct fix other accents. The only real annoyance is "à" which isn't always picked up by auto correct and sometimes require some copy/paste instead.

        1. SCP

          Re: Faux AZERTY

          I used to write some tech documents that needed greek letters for various things. I added my own autocorrections to the dictionary that would replace something like "<gr=a>" with "α" - I found it easier than remembering ALT codes.

          1. SCP

            Re: Faux AZERTY

            Footnote: Having been reminded of this I checked my more recent copy of LibreOffice and found it had a whole selection of autocorrects in this vein using the style ":alpha:". (My copy of MS-Word is a bit more dated and doesn't seem to have this).

            Amongst LibreOffice's collection are things like ":_2:" and ":^2:" for subscript 2 and superscript 2. Look to be extensive and consistently structured making them fairly easy to remember (or guess). Well done to whoever did that bit of work.

        2. A.P. Veening Silver badge

          Re: Faux AZERTY

          The only real annoyance is "à" which isn't always picked up by auto correct and sometimes require some copy/paste instead.

          The trick for "à" is using a dead key lay-out and typing "`" and "a".

          NB: "`" is under "~" (and to the left of "1"), at least on my keyboard.

          1. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

            Re: Faux AZERTY

            DE Keyboard: The key left of backspace is the dead-key "´", and with shift is is "`"...

      2. Vincent Ballard

        Re: Faux AZERTY

        I had a colleague who configured his laptop to use a Dvorak layout but didn't change the keycaps. He regarded the inability of anyone else to type anything on it as a bonus.

        1. VonDutch

          Re: Faux AZERTY

          I have done the same. Very much confuses someone if they go to type anything on my laptop.

          The only challenge is trying to do some gaming you either have to re-map key bindings for Dvorak use ( wasd becomes ,aoe) or switch the layout back to qwerty.

        2. Bill Gray

          Re: Faux AZERTY

          I switched to Dvorak decades ago in hopes of relieving severe carpal tunnel(*). The keyboard has US keycaps, and I can switch between QWERTY, Dvorak, and Russian layouts. Which does puzzle my wife and daughter briefly on the rare occasions that they need to use my computer, until they remember to set the QWERTY layout.

          Converting 'password1' to 'кфжжбыщр1' is another benefit.

          (*) The carpal tunnel went away. But I also switched to a split keyboard and a more ergonomic desk, so I don't really know what did the trick.

      3. James 139

        Re: Faux AZERTY

        "The only issue is, I can't have anyone else type anything on my laptop :)"

        Not seeing anything wrong here.

        It's a bit like my home keyboard, no one else can use it because it's rather old, still working, but has a lot of blank keys.

        Helps that I can touch type.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Faux AZERTY

          "Helps that I can touch type."

          Yes, that's the important step that most people never seem to master properly. If you can touch type, what's on the key caps doesn't matter so long as you know what layout your are using. Luckily it's usually only the letters that get worn off so you can still find the more esoteric and unused keys when you need them by looking for them.

      4. Evil Auditor Silver badge

        Re: Faux AZERTY

        The only issue is, I can't have anyone else type anything on my laptop

        An issue? I consider it absolutely unacceptable for anyone, who I don't share the bed with, to use my keyboard.

    4. flokie

      Re: Faux AZERTY

      One step further: a friend had brought back a QWERTZ keyboard from Germany, and had stuck the AZERTY layout on it.... good luck with that one.

      The Q<->A Y<->Z subs are the easy part for different keyboard layouts. The real pain in the arse is punctuation. With AZERTY you get easier access to accents, but a simple full stop needs a Shift... The M positioned next to L is annoying too.

    5. StewartWhite

      Re: Faux AZERTY

      French is easy for comments - trying to work out what the comments were on Oracle reports that were in Croatian was "fun". Turned out most of the comments were rubbish anyway and the quality of the reports were worse so it all had to be ditched.

    6. big_D Silver badge

      Re: Faux AZERTY

      I use a QWERTZ keyboard, but regularly switch to UK layout for writing documentation or code ( { [ ] } are all on AltGR + key combinations). If you can touch type, you can switch back and forth without thinking after a couple of days using the new layout. What really annoys my colleagues is I use a Natural ergonomic keyboard! :-D

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Faux AZERTY

        Years ago we got some new DEC VT200-series terminals, which the local office had helpfully specced with UK keyboards, unlike the old VT-100s which had what we would now consider to be standard US ones.

        We could live withn a few minor irritations, like " and @ swapping places, but discovering that the shifted [ and ] keys produced the ¼ and ½ characters did not go down well with the C programmers. We clearly weren't the only ones, a short while later a new catalogue entry for a keyboard conversion kit appeared on the EC price list, being a plastic bag with ten or so new keycaps to swap.

        1. Blue Pumpkin

          Re: Faux AZERTY

          Oh yes talking to VAXen with a German keyboard where C and Y are swapped ....

          Ctrl-Y and Ctrl-C not doing the same things .... the number of times I killed myself ....

  5. Locky

    I had this problem. Someone had installed the French default language onto the on-site server, making the admin password go from complex to insane

    1. adam 40 Silver badge

      In Seine?

      1. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge
        Coat

        En Seine, s'il vous plaît!

  6. Kevin Johnston

    magic keyboards

    I spent some time working in Switzerland which has four official languages and about 427 different keyboard layouts which meant chaos when trying to work over a remote connection as it was impossible the work out what effect a keypress on your local keyboard would have.

    What I never understood though was the way some keys had 4 or 5 different accented characters associate but when I was typing in German "IT ALWAYS KNEW WHICH ONE I WANTED"

    Freaked me out every time

  7. Russell Chapman Esq.

    Keyboard Confusion

    I have a Swiss version of an HP laptop. The Z and Y keys are swapped plus various other characters. If I have to use a British keyboard, it takes me ages to find the @ and ? symbols.

    1. Mark #255

      Re: Keyboard Confusion

      For people using W10 (or later I guess), Win+. makes an on-screen emoji selector appear; but it also has tabs for symbols and accents

      1. phuzz Silver badge

        Re: Keyboard Confusion

        For users of pretty much all versions of Windows, there's also Character Map. I've had to resort to using it when using a non-UK keyboard layout just to type passwords. Turkish keyboards are the most confusing I've come across, because some of the letters look like Latin characters, but they ain't.

      2. Red Or Zed

        Re: Keyboard Confusion

        On W11, Win+ caused the screen magnifier to appear

        1. keith_w

          Re: Keyboard Confusion

          On my Win 10 as well. However, for easy access to Emojis, I added the on-screen keyboard to which you can add what ever format of keyboards you like.

          Many years ago, we were investigating changing our insurance management software to a package our home office was developing for IBM S/38s, later AS400s and were talking to IBM about localisation since we are in Canada and the Quebec language laws mandated French for use in the office. Our older software didn't support that, but it was kind of grandfathered. IBM suggested that the best way to localise would be to use message codes to look up the appropriate message in a language database before displaying it. We spent six months reviewing the package being developed and came up with 6 2" binders of required changes.

          We put that in our requirements and got "For a million dollars, we'll change the spelling of check to cheque".

        2. Dave@Home

          Re: Keyboard Confusion

          Caught me out there too, it's Win "+" . (full stop)

          1. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

            Re: Keyboard Confusion

            Thank you! Finally a useful shortcut to the poop emoji!

        3. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge
          Headmaster

          Re: Keyboard Confusion

          you forgot the dot or semi colon...

      3. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

        Re: Keyboard Confusion

        > Win+. makes an on-screen emoji selector appear

        No, from Windows 7 up to Windows 11 it makes the magnifier appear...

        1. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

          Re: Keyboard Confusion

          That's the Windows key and the plus key, not the Windows key plus the . key, as the OP was suggesting. Confused? You will be...

      4. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Keyboard Confusion

        no no no, it is Win+; on an Azerty keyboard

      5. Already?

        Re: Keyboard Confusion

        Having semi retired from this lark I’ve quickly forgotten the less used kb s/cuts, but this morning trying to position two windows equally across the screen I thought Win + < or > did the job, but found that that (or one of them) brings up the emojis panel.

        As any fule know, Win + R or L arrow places a window across half the screen.

  8. Caver_Dave Silver badge
    Flame

    Remote log on

    I had this issue recently with a Swiss company's remote lab equipment that I was having to test my software on. Bearing in mind that they assured me that everything in the company was in English.

    Not only did they spell my name incorrectly for the user name, they gave me a relatively long plain ASCII lowercase password (16 characters long with no 'special' characters).

    However, it would not work, no matter how hard tried.

    In the end I found out that their test lab was a little enclave of German speakers, and so I had to remap my password to the German keyboard layout.

    My user name showed up correctly all the time as the letters in it had no transposition (otherwise that would have given the game away immediately) and of course, the password just showed *.

    Agh!

  9. Mark White

    When I was at uni, there was a wide selection of foreign students and I got quite proficient at installing Windows in whatever language was required. Even got reasonably proficient in AZERTY touch typing even though I can barely speak a handful of words in languages other than English (UK).

    1. Korev Silver badge
      Childcatcher

      I used to work as a tester when Oracle was really hard to install in an automated manner. I used to be able to do them in languages like Japanese and Korean by remembering which buttons to press...

  10. Chloe Cresswell

    Keyboards...

    Back in the day of windows 98 we had a Austrian Managing Director at a company we supported.

    He had a german keyboard layout (QWERTZ) on his machine.

    He had the English version of windows 98 loaded, with the German layout as an option.

    So if you booted the machine you hand an English layout using the German physical layout.

    If you told it to switch, you now had the German layout, using the German physical layout.

    And if you needed to boot to dos, you now had a US layout, using the German physical layout.

    It could get a little weird at times, esp when hunting for | and \

    Chloe

    1. big_D Silver badge

      Re: Keyboards...

      I wrote some software for international reporting at one company. I tried to be kind to the users and tested it with different languages and when it was asking for input of data for the months, it showed the lolcalised month names (Janaury, February, March or Januar, Februar, März, janvier, février, mars etc.). Worked perfectly...

      Only the customer was using Windows 95 International English version...

      I had 1 bug report with the system in 2 years... For many users, the month names were: January, January, January, January, January, January, January, January, January, January, January and January... The International version of Windows couldn't handle localisation! So I ended up reverting to using hard coded, English month names.

      1. mirachu

        Re: Keyboards...

        "Lolcalised"? I like that. Yoink, as they say.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Keyboards...

      "And if you needed to boot to dos, you now had a US layout, using the German physical layout."

      If you booted to DOS, then config.sys should have had the correct country code localisation and autoexec should have had the correct keyb.com parameters passed to set the German layout. (keybde.com in older DOS versions)

      1. Chloe Cresswell

        Re: Keyboards...

        No it shouldn't.

        1) If I was booting to dos, it was as a fix this issue, which means we weren't allowing config.sys and autoexec.bat to run.

        2) Why would the config.sys/etc have the correct paramaters in windows 98 for German, when the default language/layout was English British?

        I did say that: "So if you booted the machine you hand an English layout using the German physical layout."

  11. IGotOut Silver badge
    Joke

    Security 101.

    Need to secure a server in the "Western" world? Install a Japanese keyboard.

    Job done

    1. Outski

      Re: Security 101.

      Try Thai, you get a different charset, plus an entirely new calendar (although I'm sure Steve Bong would be able to navigate it)

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Security 101.

        My wifes laptop was a hand me down from her brother who bought it Thailand. The keyboard seems to be generic US layout with Thai characters added. But he had installed a UK version of Windows on it, so other than some "strange" characters on the corners of the most of thekeys, it handles and behaves exactly as a UK localised version of the laptop would. BIOS config is all in English too. Good for her (and her brother, the previous owner) obviously but I wonder how well it worked for a Thai native speaker, even with Thai Windows installed?

  12. Admiral Grace Hopper

    Different keystrokes for different folks

    I found a Turkish keyboard easier to use than an AZERTY one.

  13. UCAP Silver badge

    I used to work for a Swedish company, although in their UK offices. My laptop originally had a Swedish keyboard on it which made finding certain keys (my locale was UK English) an interesting exercise of memory. I ended up working with a standard QWERTY keyboard next to me for the times when my memory failed (I was not allowed to connect this to the laptop - they took security seriously). Took months to convince IT (based in Sweden of course) that a Swedish keyboard for an English speaker who writes all of his documents in English is generally A Bad Idea.

  14. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge

    Same kind of issue with BIOS password

    When your hardware provider provides a BIOS password setting utility that runs on Windows and use then the configured version of the keyboard with caractères accentués, although when entering the password at startup it reverts to US keyboard layout.

    The fist time I saw that, the user had setup a password with only letters, but unfortunately using a "A", replaced by "Q" at startup.

    Cue a lot of introspection when being denied the ability to start the computer, with a call to the local subsidiary of the computer maker providing only a promise of being called back later, up to the moment the solution dawned on me.

    The next password set by the user was purely numbers.

  15. disgruntled yank Silver badge

    Keyboards

    A co-worker prefers to use the Spanish keyboard layout on her Mac laptop, of course with a keyboard that is QWERTY. On the rare occasions I use the machine, I insist that she switch it to US English--if not immediately, as soon as I see unexpected characters popping up. She has said that she has a German keyboard at home, and I think that she has said she uses a Spanish layout on that. I can't imagine.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Keyboards

      I insist that she switch it to US English--if not immediately, as soon as I see unexpected characters popping up.

      Does the chance of localisation also affect mouse operation so you can't move the pointer up to the flag in the corner of the screen and select the US English layout from the drop-down yourself?

  16. TRT Silver badge

    Add to that the danger...

    of dropping a keyboard in such a way that the keycaps come off. Get those the wrong way round when you push them back and only the most proficient touch typist will be able to log in.

  17. Stuart Castle Silver badge

    Back when I was a student, I worked part time in the local Blockbuster. One of my colleagues (who was unofficially the manager of the store, because the computer system required a store manager for some tasks, and the company were cheap enough they didn't employ a manager for every store). has a photographic memory, at least as far as Numbers go.

    The In store computer was some sort of DEC machine, a 68030 powered desktop with a Micro VAX logo, with two terminals, that also acted as cash registers.

    On a bog standard PC, if you know the ASCII code of the character you want, you can get it by holding "ALT", and typing the three digit ASCII code on the keypad quickly. Can't remember the exact key label, but the system had a similar option. You held a given key and typed ASCII codes. My friend was able to use this method to type in his 15 character password much quicker than most people could follow what he was typing. It was truly impressive..

    1. Sir Lancelot

      A MicroVAX is MicroVAX powered, not Motorola 68x00 powered. Motorola did use the Digital PDP/VAX architecture as the basis for their 68x00 series microprocessors and the instruction sets are very similar.

  18. John Riddoch

    Back in an old job in the late 90s, I did a lot of my work on a Sun workstation. At the time, Sun keyboard were all in US layout, so I got used to that layout for most of my work. Somehow, I could still switch to my Windows machine (some stuff had to be done on Windows, especially the Novell Netware admin) and map back to where " and @ were without any issues.

    1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Sun keyboard were all in US layout

      Ah, but which US layout? Sun keyboards came in "US" and "US/Unix" layouts, with minor differences that could be very irritating, such as Control and CapsLock swapping places, and Backspace, \ and ~ moved around a little. Once you'd got used to one, finding that the system you're using had the other was always a PITA.

    2. Jay 2

      I used to have something similar (alongside standard UK keyboard PC). That's helped when I've logged onto a US box and the keyboard mapping gets a bit squiffy.

      As someone else mentioned, the onscreen keyboard can be very useful!

      Though all of that still doesn't stop some of my US colleagues using certain non-alphanumeric characters in passwords which can be interesting to try and type...

  19. andy the pessimist

    it happened to me too

    Contracting in France. It unscrewed the french keyboard and fitted a uk keyboard. Relieved and happy.

    Contracting in Switzerland. In a French area. Multiple symbols for the same key. How do I get a [ alt graph. Aarrgh. And the it unhelp desk ,god give me strength!

    1. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge

      Re: it happened to me too

      First time I saw a computer in Switzerland (around 1990), I noticed on a key-cap that it was marked with 2 lines like this:

      äü

      üä

      When asking what was the difference, I was told that one layout was for French, the other one for German.

      And that there was under the keyboard a physical switch to go from one to the other...

  20. Grumpy Scouse Git
    Facepalm

    European languages, relatively 'easy' - but Korean....

    I once was sent to a company to install a remote controller. The company was Korean and the people who were going to use it were Korean expats assigned to the UK, so it made sense (I suppose) to supply the software in Korean and the configuration requirements in Korean. If it had been French or German I might have had a chance......

    I could do little more than plug it in and see if it powered up, smile and leave rapidly!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: European languages, relatively 'easy' - but Korean....

      I used to work in a lab and we quite often had Korean and Chinese visitors, if they ever had any issues with their laptop they would bring them in to us help, aaaaarrrrrggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh tryign to do anything on them was an utter nightmare

      1. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: European languages, relatively 'easy' - but Korean....

        You think Korean is bad? You should try supporting Welsh.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: European languages, relatively 'easy' - but Korean....

          Once had a Scrabble set where I had lost many of the vowels. I sold it to a Welshman who was very happy with it.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
            Joke

            Re: European languages, relatively 'easy' - but Korean....

            Did you sell it on EBoyo?

  21. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

    "Hard-coded into The Register's week is that each Friday morning"

    When I look into the past I'd say: Not as hard coded as they suggest. There must be someone around changing the wiring board from time to time...

  22. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    Gawd, that's happened to my users when the password is (eg) p@ssw#rd but the power-on keyboard layout doesn't match the actual keyboard layout until *after* logging in, so the BIOS thinks you're entering p"ssw£rd.

    1. Mark #255
      Facepalm

      NumLock on a tiny laptop keyboard

      I've been caught out by per-user NumLock settings before now, when using a laptop that's normally docked with a proper keyboard.

      Unplug it, and when you first log in (on the laptop's own keyboard), the login screen uses the machine default setting (without the NumLock on).

      Then, after a morning clicking buttons, go for lunch, come back and get "incorrect password" as you try to log in.

      I finally worked out that the lock screen applies the user setting. I always have the NumLock on. But that switches to use the "alternative" (they were blue) values overlaid on the not-enough-keys laptop keyboard - so the right hand of the keyboard was mostly numbers.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: NumLock on a tiny laptop keyboard

        Some laptops have a BIOS setting to switch the default action of the function keys between their F1 etc function and the "blue" functions like volume up/down, screen switch etc. So pressing F1/F2 etc at boot time doesn't go to BIOS setup, built-in diags, Boot selector etc. which can be confusing the first few times you come across it. You have to press Fn and F2 or whatever.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "Gawd, that's happened to my users when the password is (eg) p@ssw#rd but the power-on keyboard layout doesn't match the actual keyboard layout until *after* logging in, so the BIOS thinks you're entering p"ssw£rd."

      When replacing a laptop system board, with at least a couple of well know OEMs, most of the later models, (eg last few years) require localising the keyboard correctly along with putting the system model name and serial number in so the BIOS is properly synchronised with the physical keyboard layout.

  23. jollyboyspecial Silver badge

    Back in the eighties I worked for multinational that had it's European offices in both the UK and Germany. IT support was largely based in the UK. We supported some interesting desktops which had touch screens - well you didn't even have to touch the screen as such just put your finger near the screen. The boxes did however have keyboards, these weren't used very much, their main use was for logging on and a few other minor tasks. The rest of the time the users input data via the "touch" screens. As you may be aware Germany has it's own keyboard layout. The Y and Z are swapped from the QWERTY keyboard that is English speakers are used to.

    When setting up boxes we had to set them up with the right keyboard setting for the office they were going to be deployed to. I kept German spec keyboards around for testing purposes and became fluent in using either. Some staff however forgot.

    It was always fun talking a German end user through logging in with QWERTY keyboard, entering setup and changing over to a German keyboard using my long forgotten O level German.

  24. Nifty Silver badge

    This reminds me of the confusion that can happen when you do remote assist to a PC that's set for a different language region, never mind its attached keyboard at the user end. Them furriners are happy to create passwords with accented letters in them, these usually store and work fine. We've had some hilarious times when I was using a UK keyboard to attempt to enter a foreign language password that was being read out to me over the meeting's audio.

    The best workaround is to bring up the full virtual keyboard (for Windows) as here: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/use-the-on-screen-keyboard-osk-to-type-ecbb5e08-5b4e-d8c8-f794-81dbf896267a

    You can then click on the characters, WYGIWYS style.

  25. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Ugh.. AZERTY

    Ugh... AZERTY. I had the misfortune to use one of these things in Morocco. It was terrible. Leave it to the French to decide to move a few keys around just because.

    Incidentally, I did find it odd that ALL the computers I saw there had AZERTY keyboards... I mean, it used to be a French colony so OK... but the primary spoken language there is Arabic and I never saw a single Arabic keyboard anywhere in the country. Do people there just E-Mail each other in French (or not E-Mail each other at all?) or use an on-screen keyboard or what?

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    kezb uk

    There was someone at school in the 90s who kept leaving the DOS computers set to German, thankfully I knew to type "kezb uk" (which came out as "keyb uk") to get it back to UK layout without the hassle of rebooting the machine

  27. cdegroot

    Swiss keyboards are worse

    Many, many, maaany moons ago I returned from a break to my office at a client site to find an admin at my desk, swearing loudly about passwords lockouts/resets to his colleague at the other end of the phone. This was not a happy admin and these were the days that admins wielded Special Powers from their data center where the VAX cluster lived…

    I asked what was wrong and he told me that something was up with my terminal - he kept getting locked out, all he wanted to do was to do a quick print test for the printer just outside my office but logging in proved impossible.

    Telling him that I switched the keyboard mapping off Swiss (a strange mixture of Qwerz and Azerty so both French and German became accessible) to US so I could write code on the bloody thing did not calm him down but at least helped him resolve the issue quickly ;). As “luck” would have it, his username mapped fine but the hidden by password, of course, did not.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Swiss keyboards are worse

      Servers him right for using your computer without asking!

  28. paddy carroll 1

    Desperate

    Desperately poor,

    Real stories please not just pun magnets

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Desperate

      What do you think "Who call" and "On me" stories are for?

  29. Bebu Silver badge
    Headmaster

    Francophone affectation? ;)

    《In French, a language that uses many áccènts (these are for effect)》only?

    I read this as accusing 'nos amis' on the other side of 'la manche' of sprinkling linguistic confetti over their beloved language purely for the effect of tricking out the boring looking words and tarting up the language generally.

    Quelle horreur!

    Before Mme Dabbsé and readers of Le Registre start calling for my head, I hasten to admit the sanity of french spelling in relation to its pronounciation (with accent marks), makes learning their language much easier than the historical linguistic guessing game that is English.

    I suggest a futhark keyboard would piss off pretty much everyone equally except perhaps Icelanders, Tolkien's dwarves and the usual assortment of nutters (not mutually exclusive.)

  30. An_Old_Dog Silver badge
    Joke

    "World-wide" Passwords

    Can't we all just please stick to the 48-character set?

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: "World-wide" Passwords

      EBCDIC should be enough for anyone.

  31. Test Man

    Imagine going to France and thinking that a QUERTY keyboard was sufficient for the French.

    LOL

  32. ChrisBedford

    The worst kind of sloppy programming

    I thought multiple GOTO statements was bad but this has to be a classic example of ignoring all the rules of coding.

  33. EricB123 Bronze badge

    Unicode, oh Unicode....

    And then there's a Thai keyboard (I actually have a Thai keyboard on my laptop, but QWERTY is squeezed in on each key as well).

  34. xyz Silver badge
    WTF?

    Where are the Paris jokes????

    Techie went into Paris twice, short strokes etc. The whole thing is rife with nudge-nudge wink-winkiness and all we get is a discussion about Swiss keyboards! Mind you the Paris icon has gone too. The world has changed!

  35. Paul Floyd
    Facepalm

    Recipe for RSI

    French typists may be faster

    But for software development (especially the C family of languages) the keyboards are a nightmare.

    # - right next to the enter and shift keys on a UK board, AltGr-3 on a French board

    \ - next to the left-shift on a UK board, AltGr-8 on a French board

    Square brackets and braces aren't on adjacent keys, instead they are symmetric bu spread over the number row.

  36. SkippyBing

    Touch Typing for the Win

    Many years ago I worked in tech support in France so long ago I think el Reg had only just started. I found it much easier to set the keyboard as QWERTY so I could still touch type rather than learn how to do it on an AZERTY one. With the bonus it drove anyone who tried using my machine mad.

    This also helped many years later when a colleague tried to get revenge for some minor misdeed by moving by keys around. Took about a week before I noticed.

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