In the Forums...
Posted: October 24th, 2002
The new keyboard has some subtle, yet important changes. Most notable are the new dual-mode Function keys (F1-F12), and changes to the 11 "zone" keys. "Zones" are 4 distinct areas on top, and left of the keyboard's main keys, which allow you to quickly access any application, website, or function you could possibly want. The keyboard still sports the "zero degree tilt", which makes the keyboard extremely flat and very comfortable.
Starting from the left, you'll notice that the keyboard has a scroll wheel, and 2 buttons. Pressing the button labeled, "go" will bring up small dialog box (similar to internet Explorer's ctrl+O command), in which you can type a web address, and the button with the arrow on it is used like the back button in your browser. The scroll wheel is also configurable, and can be set to open applications, scroll, and browse through your "My documents, my music, or my pictures folders. To configure it, you can use the ITouch utility, or you can just press down on it, and choose its function from a menu.
The next media zone includes 4 keys, labeled, "F-lock", "E-mail", "Messenger/SMS", and "Webcam". My first reaction was to the 4th button was, "why"?. After speaking with the PR person at Logitech, I understand. Logitech has a new application, the "Logitech IM Companion", that allows you to use your webcam in AOL, yahoo, and MSN messenger service. You can get this software here. This button will automatically launch your camera software.
Keeping in mind the ability to assign ANY application to a button, you don't have to use them as labeled. You can use these buttons to launch your favorite games, websites, etc. I use Trillian for chatting, and I launch it from the Messenger/SMS button. The email button was pre configured for Microsoft Outlook, but can be changed to any email program you want.
I want to take a moment to focus on the F-Lock button. If you look at the pictures, you will notice that the normal function keys (F1-F12), are now labeled with commands that you can use in office-like applications, with the first four, F1-F4 preset for email related commands. F5-F8 are configured for document related commands, and the F9-F12 are used to access commonly used folders, such as My Computer, and My Pictures. Note: If you are on a network, and have multiple printers, pressing the print button will send the document to your default printer.
To access these functions, simply press the F-Lock button. Herein lies the discrepancy I mentioned earlier, and that is that when you have Num-Lock on, the LED is lit, and this is the same for Caps-Lock. It seems that the F-Lock LED is lit when it isn't on, and off when it is on. That seems backwards in my opinion.
The media player center in the middle is used to launch pretty much any media player you want. If you're a Winamp user, you can set it up to launch when you push the "Play/Pause" button. To do this, go here, and follow the directions.
The last zone is above the 10-key are of the keyboard and is pretty self-explanatory. Again, these buttons can be used to launch the application listed or any other program you want. Finally, one very cool addition to the keyboard is the marking of certain keys with a diamond. You can see this in the last picture. These keys coincide with normal windows commands accessible by using the control key (ctrl), and a letter in tandem. Each key that has a function has a diamond printed on the front of it, with the name of what it does. For example, the P key has a diamond and the word, "Print". This will help those newbies out there in learning about shortcut keys. Very cool.