To CAP it all
DESPITE CONCERTED EFFORTS TO WIPE IT OFF THE FACE OF THE KEYBOARD, THE CAPS LOCK KEY CONTINUES TO EXIST. SOME – MOSTLY GEEKS – HONOUR THE KEY BY TURNING IT ON AND TYPING THEIR DOCUMENTS IN UPPER CASE ON JUNE 28 AND OCTOBER 22, OBSERVED AS ‘INTERNATIONAL CAPS LOCK DAYS’ (ICLD). A SMALL SEGMENT OF GEEKS CELEBRATES THE KEY ON AUGUST 22.
Clearly a geek holiday, every ICLD leaves its mark in cyberspace. During the day, a conspicuous number of status messages on social media will be in ‘SHOUTING TEXT’. While it is a way of giving the key its due, the Day is also an indictment of its unrestrained use. For those who relish typing in caps, its message is: “the caps lock has its place, and is not necessary all the time”.
At its best, ICLD is an attempt at humour, a fact illustrated by a comment, one of many floating around in cyberspace. In a message, composed entirely in upper case, a diehard ICLD fan relates his misery. He has been typing his password in upper case all day and Gmail is determined to block his way. The ICLD loyalist adds he will not buckle under pressure.
HOW IT STARTED
The man behind the observance of ICLD is Derek Arnold, a techie with a whacky sense of humour (check out his blog derekarnold.net, where he discusses, among other things, Knifebroom, an invention that combines a butter knife and a broom that helps Arnold open “the swinging battery compartment door to the smoke detector”).
He started ICLD in 2000 to draw attention to the unbridled use of shouting text on the Internet and to encourage its judicious use. Kiruba Shankar, founder of Business Blogging, is on the same page. “Shouting text helps emphasise aspects of an issue. It can come in handy during online debates. However, it will be an effective tool as long as it is used in moderation. When someone types in caps all the time, people can’t figure when and what he is emphatic about,” says Kiruba. “Observing ICLD is a brilliant idea. It’s a way to convey the importance of the caps lock key to the younger generation which is sold on the lower case.”
Arnold’s assessment of the caps lock key is balanced, especially when viewed in the light of the campaigns drawn up against the key. There is no dearth of them on the Internet. Sometime ago, a techie waged “a war on the caps lock key” asking others to urge the bigwigs of the industry to help do away with it. Others have provided solutions to silence it. For example, ihatethecapslockkey.com offers a utility that will disable the key. Detractors of the caps lock often cite the examples of languages that are devoid of any sense of upper case.
ENGLISH HAS IT, SO LET’S SHOUT ABOUT IT!