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Steve Jones is the editor of SQLServerCentral.com and visits a wide variety of data related topics in his daily editorial. Steve has spent years working as a DBA and general purpose Windows administrator, primarily working with SQL Server since it was ported from Sybase in 1990. You can follow Steve on Twitter at twitter.com/way0utwest

Keyboard Clash

  rackspacelogoThe SQLServerCentral servers are in the UK, and installed by UK personnel at Rackspace. We recently switched servers to Rackspace, off of the old servers that were installed by Red Gate IT, but they used the US settings, to exactly match the servers that used to be in CO. Even down to the time zone, which was nice for me. Made it easy for me to work on the servers, check jobs, etc.
Over the years I’ve done less management on the servers to the point where I now do almost none. That’s fine with me, but I do occasionally need to fix something that’s broken and for which I don’t have a web interface. Like today when I was trying to merge two accounts for a user. I’m sure I’ve done this today, but I had to search for someone by email to fix things.
US_Keyboard_layout
That’s a US keyboard above, and it’s what I use. I was born and have lived in the US for all but about 7 months of my life. I buy US equipment, and that’s what I’m used to.
Today I went to type in code like this:
WHERE EmailAddress like ‘sjones@mydomain.com’
That’s not really the email, but instead, when I hit “Execute” and got no rows, I looked at my code and saw this:
WHERE EmailAddress like ‘sjones”mydomain.com’
???What?
Apparently the UK has a different keyboard. I was on VPN, and it’s a pain to disconnect and reconnect, and the web doesn’t work for me, so I asked my wife to Google while I tried SHIFT+1, SHIFT+3, SHIFT+4, etc.
Eventually it occurred to me to try SHIFT+double quotes and that worked. However when I googled UK keyboard, I found this as the top result:
UK-Dvorak-layout
That one shows the @ symbol in the upper left. This is actually the layout that my server has.
kbdmt
Working with international equipment or users always brings its own challenges. I follow the Sorting It All Out blog by Michael Kaplan, and I’m amazed by all the differences he finds with different languages. That guy writes more than me, and it’s the best resource if you are worried about how different languages might affect your application. Or you’re just interested in the world languages.
Lesson learned, albeit annoyingly. At least now I know how to type with a UK keyboard.

Comments

Posted by Matt Connolly on 18 February 2010

Hey Steve,

Coming from the UK I know all about the joys of international equipment (try the subtleties of all the different EU keyboards...), but that image of a UK keyboard is waaaaaay out. The UK keyboard actually only differs from the US layout on a couple of keys - and the @ sign is one of them. Wikipedia's got it right - see here: en.wikipedia.org/.../File:KB_United_Kingdom.svg

Cheers,

Matt

Posted by Steve Jones on 18 February 2010

Matt,

Thanks. In searching, I found 4 or 5 images of different UK layouts. I guess it's undergone some change over the years.

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