Follow us:

Brier Dudley's blog

Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

August 20, 2008 at 3:13 PM

Microsoft keyboards get “cruise control”

Microsoft’s hardware group today released two peripherals aimed at PC gamers — a SideWinder-brand mouse and keyboard.

The keyboard has a new key that Microsoft’s calling “cruise control,” which sounds perfect for a lazy afternoon at the office.

When I inquired, a spokeswoman said it’s “a brand-new feature that lets gamers continue an action without having to hold down the key or keys assigned to the action.”

In other words, you can do things like assign the key to control a character’s running, so you press it and the player keeps running until you press it again. That way, you won’t have to hold down the “run” key all the time.

Microsoft’s press materials said you can use the cruise control key for up to four actions, “such as jumping, crouching or switching weapons.”

At first I thought this was an amazing response to the Wii Fit.

But that’s just the beginning. Imagine the possibilities beyond gaming. Office workers everywhere would surely pay $79.95 for a keyboard with cruise control.

Marketers could use the key to automatically churn out press releases (run, jump, crouch, fire …) and students could use it for essays. Teachers could hit the button to randomly grade papers, lawyers could use it for standard-issue briefs and reporters could use it to fill space in their blogs.

This could be bigger than the snooze button.

Here’s a picture. The “cruise control” button is on the upper left, above F2, and has a logo that looks like a person running:

keyboard.jpg

Comments

COMMENTS

No personal attacks or insults, no hate speech, no profanity. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate this thread by reporting any abuse. See our Commenting FAQ.



The opinions expressed in reader comments are those of the author only, and do not reflect the opinions of The Seattle Times.


The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited seattletimes.com access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►