While I was in Orlando last week, I was provided with a company laptop to use. It was a Hell Dell Latitude, which more appropriately or subliminally should be called L’attitude –French for “the attitude” — because one crucial and malignant aspect of it was continually and predominately a freakin’ pain in the ass and enough to keep me from ever purchasing anything but an Apple machine in the future regardless of the price difference.

Here’s the deal. The Dell comes equipped with your standard standard trackpad with two buttons beneath it, and that’s fine. But then for some reason the makers opted to put an additional two buttons above the trackpad and below the spacebar, I’m guessing not for any other reason than except either 1) there was space available between those two components so why the fuck not hell yeah, or 2) 0.0000021 percent of the population prefers the buttons to be above the trackpad.

What’s really righteous is that the apparent undefaultable default for these two unnecessary buttons jammed up right below the spacebar is that if you double tap them even with the lightest and slightest brush of a touch they do this wonderful thing: they’ll automagically relocate the cursor to wherever the pointer is located. So say you’re in Word or in an email program and you’re typing away and making obligatory use of the spacebar to provide that necessary separation between words — you’re screwed. Because inevitably instead of or in addition to the spacebar you’re going to accidentally brush those blasted buttons enough to send the cursor screaming up or down or sideways away from the text you’re currently inputing to be inserted at a point unknown to you until you finally glance up at the screen and instead of seeing something like this:

The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog.

You’re gonna see something like this:

The qpedoverthelazydog.uick brown fox jum

 

What’s really great is when you’re churning out a long paragraph and the cursor relocation happens six lines up or worse, eight lines down into the quoted text of an email to which you’re responding. Then you have to slam on the brakes and go into search-and-rescue mode, cleaning out the wayward fragment before returning your interupted thought process back to its regularly scheduled program.

Loads of fun.

Certainly this rant would all be moot if there was a way to disable this ridiculous, entirely disabling and twice-as-useless bullshit function — and maybe there is a way to do so, but I couldn’t find it. I opened up the control panels for the mouse and the keyboard and any others that might possibly be related but the solution just wasn’t anywhere. I even put in a frantic email to the company IT guy seeing if he might know of a workaround he could offer and he wrote back about how he’d noticed that too as he was prepping the machine for me and had no clue how to resolve it.

So I was left to grrrrrruminate as to why oh why oh hell-to-the-no why would this be standard operating procedure and on what planet could this be beneficial in even the slightest way. On top of that even if some people do find it useful, why isn’t there a readily available button I could click that would allow me to shut it the fuck off.

And in answer to those burning questions I was left having to concentrate on keeping my thumbs away from those damned buttons. And in regularly failing to do so I had to back and fill and repair and curse Dell and Windows and whatever pigmentless and blind computer engineer(s) thought this was such a reeeeeeeaaaaalllly great idea. Bastards all.